In New Scotland: A chicken in every yard and an appropropriate light for every season 

Enterprise file photo — Saranace Hale Spencer

NEW SCOTLAND — While Councilman Dan Leinung looks to simplify the special-use permit application process for New Scotland residents who want to keep chickens on their property, the town is set to update its lighting law. 

In June 2012, the town amended the lighting law to address certain limitations on the type of lighting that residents could have. Also at that time, New Scotland exempted holiday lights from those restrictions, Councilwoman Bridgit Burke said during the regular town board meeting, on Oct. 14. 

But, since that time, residents have complained that “sometimes folks are using the holiday lights in such a way that it’s a nuisance to their neighbors. Whether or not it is, other complaints have been that the holiday lights have stayed on for most of the year,” Burke said.

So the town has drafted a proposed law that would more clearly identify what an acceptable holiday light is, so that it would be exempt from the rest of the lighting law restrictions. 

It’s “basically” a one-sentence amendment, said Michael Naughton, the town attorney.

The public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 12, at 6:15 p.m., via Zoom.


“Domestic fowl”

In the interest of full disclosure, Leinung said that his wife and a neighbor recently went through the special-use permit application process for trying to keep chickens on their properties. 

Leinung said it took about three months from the time the application was submitted to the time it was approved by the planning board. He said there was a public hearing, and that his wife and his neighbor had to go before the board “two or three” times, and pay a permit fee, and fill out a  State Environmental Quality Review Act form for the chickens.

Leinung said that he spoke to Building Inspector Jeremy Cramer about the ordeal and Cramer mentioned there had been a push a few years ago, 2014 perhaps, to exempt chickens or, in the language of government, “domestic fowl,” from the special-use permit process, if certain conditions were met. That way, the building inspector would be able to sign off on the chickens by issuing a building permit for the coop, Leinung said.

Councilman William Hennessy’s concern was keeping chickens in the more densely populated hamlets, where there are smaller lots — it was pointed out that there are local cities that allow chickens; the city of Albany, for example, allows residents to keep chickens, as many as six.

Leinung suggested that, in those more densely-packed parts of town, the special-use permit process should stay in place, which is the law now, anyway.


Other business

In other business, the town board:

— Set a public hearing for next year’s budget — tentatively, $8.5 million — via Zoom for Nov. 4, at 6:30 p.m.; and

—  Heard from Highway Superintendent Ken Guyer that brush pick-up has begun, and will go from Oct. 13 to Nov. 22. Crews will make four to five full sweeps of the town, Guyer said; there is no set schedule for when and where the crews will do pick-ups — during a normal season, it usually takes about a week to do a once-through  of the town. Workers will start at the Altamont side of town, move through Voorheesville, the middle of New Scotland, Unionville, and onto Feura Bush.

More New Scotland News

  • “It’s just a lot of chance to take ...,” said Wendall Thayer of holding the Voorheesville Memorial Day parade despite COVID-19 still in the community. “It would be awful  somebody caught something because we had the parade.”

  • Voorheesville Trustee Richard Straut said that he and Superintendent of Public Works Brett Hotaling had been talking in recent weeks about the impact of inflow and infiltration on the sewer system in the Salem Hills neighborhood, “about some of the troubles we’ve been having,” in particular during heavy rains and when snow melts. 

  • Robert Baron filed his lawsuit in March 2018, alleging the Voorheesville Central School District fraudulently induced him to resign as the longtime head coach of the girls’ varsity basketball team.

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