Items tagged with 'Albany chickens'

Interesting in 2011: Mike Guidice & Jen Pursley Guidice

Mike & Jen Guidice (photo-Patrick Dodson).jpg

Hounds on the Hudson owners, and Albany chickens proponents, Mike and Jen.

All this week we'll be highlighting some of the interesting people we've gotten to know over the past year.

We've known about Hounds on the Hudson Mike and Jen for a while, but this year the owners of the local dog walking company became known more for chickens than for dogs.

When the city of Albany took away the chickens they'd been raising for years in the backyard of their Grand Street home, Mike and Jen, along with councilman Dominick Calsolaro and a group of dedicated volunteers, worked to amend a 10-year-old law that prohibits farm animals from being kept in Albany in order to allow for small urban chicken coops.

Word spread quickly through social media, and for a while it seemed that everywhere we went someone was talking about urban chickens. But the issue sparked other conversations about participation in local government and what it really means to be a progressive city. Regardless of the outcome, it was interesting to hear the various opinions.

The Albany chickens group campaigned, refined their ordinance and finally got it passed by the common council, but in the end Jerry Jennings vetoed the law and there were not enough votes on the council to override.

So after all of their efforts, Mike and Jen did not get their chickens back. We've been wondering what they did get out of the whole experience, and what, if anything, is next for Albany chickens.

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Albany chicken veto override vote

Dominick Calsalaro speaking ahead of the veto vote

Councilman Dominick Calsolaro speaking ahead of the override vote.

The push to allow backyard chickens in Albany came to an end Monday as an override attempt of the Jerry Jennings' veto failed to get enough votes in the Common Council .

Mike Guidice, who along with his wife Jen Pursley has been leading the chicken coalition, was disappointed -- and talking about what's next.

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Scanning tweets on the Albany chicken veto

twitter birdAs you've probably heard, Jerry Jennings vetoed the Albany backyard chicken ordinance today (there is a whole bunch at that link).

A scan of some of the reaction on Twitter is after the jump.

It's worth nothing that the chicken coalition used Twitter as one its organizing tools, so it's probably not surprising a lot of the reaction there was pro-chicken. On the mayor's radio show this morning, a few people did express their opposition to the ordinance (and there was at least one supporter, too.).

We mention this because the perceived level of public support/opposition has become a big talking point on this issue. And while people have cited phone calls or neighborhood association votes or the ever popular "I've heard...", we haven't seen anything conclusive, yet. It'd be interesting if a polling org (hello, Loudonville) would survey this issue.

OK, on to the tweets...

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Jennings to veto Albany chicken ordinance

chickens thumbnailUpdated at 6:30 pm

Jerry Jennings announced today that he's vetoing the Albany backyard chicken ordinance.

The ordinance passed the Common Council by an 8-7 vote. It would take 10 votes to override the veto.

The mayor's office released a statement this afternoon explaining the veto. That -- and reaction -- is after the jump.

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Albany backyard chicken ordinance passes

albany common council chamber

Someone was playing the chicken dance music in the chamber before Monday's meeting.

It's been six months since Jen Pursley and Mike Guidice had to give up their backyard chickens after someone complained to the city. And now they're on the verge of getting them back. Legally.

Monday night the Albany Common Council passed an ordinance that makes it legal to keep backyard hens in the city. But it was close.

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Of government and chickens

albany common council law committee chickens

The Albany Common Council law committee's meeting on backyard chickens last month.

By Martin Daley

soapbox badgeAll my life I've tried to steer as clear as possible from the political arena. But, the older I get, the more I see how government makes a difference in my everyday life. It would seem that politics has found me.

There's an old saying that laws are a lot like sausages -- no one wants to see how they're made. Sadly, I'm finding out just how true that saying is. The more I get involved in local government, the more frustrated I am.

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Pecking at the Albany backyard chicken issue

Michael Guidice

Michael Guidice making his case for backyard chickens in Albany.

The proposal to allow backyard chickens in Albany is moving on to a vote before the full Common Council.

The council's law, buildings and code enforcement committee voted 3-1 Thursday night to pass along the ordinance to the full council without a recommendation. "[The result] was better than we expected," said Michael Guidice, who's been leading the backyard chicken effort with his wife Jen Pursley (remember, it was their backyard coop that got this issue buzzing).

The vote came after some spirited clucking back and forth on the issue.

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The proposed Albany chicken amendment

chickens thumbnailFollowing up on the Albany chickens story, here are the main points from the amendment drafted by common councilman Dominick Calsolaro to allow hens in the city...

+ The amendment would only allow hens -- no roosters, and no other farm animals.

+ People wishing to keep hens would have to get a permit from the city clerk.

+ There will be a fee associated with the permit (equal to the fee paid for a dog license).

+ The application for a permit would have to be accompanied by:

"adequate evidence that the applicant has notified all of the property owners and residents within 50 feet of the property lines of the property on which the hens are to be kept and in the case of multifamily dwellings, the express written consent of the owner of the building and all tenants residing in the building other than the applicant"

+ The application would grant the city's codes office the right to inspect the property "at any reasonable time."

+ Inspections will look to see that the hens have a pen, that it's in good repair, clean, and "free of vermin, obnoxious smells and substances." Other criteria include a lack of noise, and suitable conditions for the health of the hens. The pen would also have to be 15 feet from any building capable of housing people.

+ If an inspection finds people aren't following the rules, the permit can be revoked.

The full proposed amendment is embedded after the jump.

Jen Pursley and Michael Guidice -- the couple whose backyard hens set off this discussion -- have organized a coalition to push for a change in the city's laws (they passed along the proposed amendment to AOA). The group appeared at last night's common council meeting. The amendment still has to go to the law committee for discussion before coming up for a vote by the whole council. [YNN] [@leahgolby]

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Changing Albany's chicken laws

Chickens in coop

Ain't nobody here but ...

Albany residents Michael Guidice and Jen Pursley keep a handful of chickens in a coop in their Grand Street backyard. Or, they did -- until last week, when code enforcement officers knocked on their door and let them know the chickens would have to go.

Now Michael and Jen, along with 1st Ward Councilman Dominick Calsolaro and a handful of supporters, are working to change Albany's law -- and show people that keeping urban chickens can be a small step toward a sustainable downtown.

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The Scoop

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