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The Keeping of Animals

In response to increased interest among residents for more opportunities for “backyard” agriculture, the Selectmen requested that staff research and propose modifications to the Town’s regulatory approach to safely and responsibly allow for what were once considered traditional agricultural animals, like chickens, goats, and rabbits, on residential properties.  This amendment is aimed at residential properties and does not impact properties that qualify for agricultural exemptions under state law, such as but not limited to, Chapter 40A, s.3.

Generally, the Town’s existing residential zoning rules forbid the keeping of such animals, but when allowed, the regulatory environment is disjointed.  This proposal clarifies those differences, which, once addressed, could permit animal keeping across more of the Town than currently allowed.

Currently, animal husbandry is allowed only in the RII district, which is difficult to rationalize given the wide variability of lots sizes across Town, regardless of district.  This proposal seeks to apply new rules regarding the keeping of animals to all three principal residential zoning districts (R-I, R-II, and R-III), which cover most of the Town’s area.  It excludes all mixed-use, commercial, and industrial zones, as well as several residential districts due to their highly specific purpose.

 

Proposed Motion

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