Niskayuna Chickens
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Niskayuna Chickens: Micro-Farming Initiative for Niskayuna, NY

UPDATE April 2015:

Website Closing
Stay with us on FaceBook!

It has been a long five years and no progress made in the town of Niskayuna regarding backyard flocks.

We continue to receive contact from people wanting to have a residential flock, and chicken outlaws hiding from the law. The fight is not over.

Thank you all for the support you have shown to us personally and to the Niskayuna Chickens movement to legalize personal poultry in Niskayuna, NY. Please do not give up! Continue to contact our Town Board, Planning Board, and Zoning Board members to push for our right to home-produced food. There is now, more than ever, a great need to protect our ability to feed ourselves using our land and resources. Too many families, small farms, and food producers are feeling the sting of an overzealous government interfering with their ability to support their families, themselves, and their community. Please do not let our right to food pass away without a fight!

UPDATE May 2013:

Planning Meeting
Saturday August 25, 2013 at 11am
1346 Hillside Ave, Niskayuna, NY 12309

The Town of Niskayuna has ignored our request and petition for residential flocks. We need to form a battle plan to move forward!
We will be re-activating our petition for new signatures from Niskayuna residents. If you are not from Niskayuna, please consider attending either in-person or virtually to help us brainstorm and as a show-of-support.
We will be meeting inside as the weather will be a wee bit wet, still. Please park nose-first on the front lawn by the cedar trees. We will be meeting in the garage office at the end of the driveway.

Find More Information on Our FaceBook Event Page

UPDATE April 2012:

Our appeal is still pending acceptance by the NYS Supreme Court. Judge Sara Read requested a conference with our lawyer, Jennifer Storm, to obtain more information, which is excellent news. The Supreme Court is presented with thousands of cases and, with only seven (7) Justices, they only accept a few cases a year. We are deeply honored that interest has been shown and more information requested.

Jennifer Storm:
"I had a conference with Judge Sarah Read of the New York Court of Appeals and my impression was that she was receptive to our argument. The Court of Appeals, New York's highest court, only picks a few cases to review. It is an honor that they are even considering ours. I think its obvious that an injustice was done here. I can only hope that after she considers the arguments and the filings the Judge agrees that this us an important case and that it deserves a full review by the Court."

UPDATE June 2011:
We have presented over 200 signatures so far to the Niskayuna Town Board in support of the Micro-Farming Initiative, and more people are joining us every day! In response, the Town has created a Comprehensive Development Plan Committee to review the proposal for inclusion into the Comprehensive Plan for 2013. The committee is headed by Kathy Matern from Glenville, the Town Planning Officer who also holds several other key appointed positions in the Town, and is the sole complainant against our chickens and micro-farming activities. The battle for our rights to produce food at home must continue using this committee as a vehicle.

The Town of Niskayuna, NY has no ordinance/code/law against pet chickens in any residential zone. In spite of this, the Town took us to court, forced us to give up our beloved pets, and fined us nearly $4,000. We were never charged with any code violation as there is no law against chickens. Judge Swinton found the definitions in the Town Code regarding chickens to be irrelevant, introduced a new definition for the word "farm", declared chickens cannot be pets and may only be farm animals, and then found against us based on this new, unwritten law he created. We are appealing the ruling with great hopes for success.

The Town Board has refused to speak with us and other concerned citizens regarding this loss of rights with no input from the public. As a community, we are alarmed at the Town's intention to "clarify" and "redefine" existing town codes to prevent the keeping of chickens and other animals and strongly feel we have a right to have our opinions and desires heard by our elected officials.

We are currently circulating a petition to protect chickens and micro-farming rights in Niskayuna, NY, which we intend to present at the Town Board meeting on June 28, 2011. Please join us to protect our rights to self-sustainability, to use our land as allowed by law, and local government accountability to its residents.

Thank you so much for your continued support!
John & Brenda Helm