So from what we've gathered two neighbors had complaints and one of them actually went around to the rest of the neighborhood and got other people onboard probably by using false information. The board of health is having a hearing tomorrow which their complaints (below) will be brought up and I have a chance (although slim) to answer questions to get approval. As the lady from the board of health said, "It doesn't look good". I'm looking for tips from people who have been through it or just general facts (with sources) I can use to rebuttal the complaints. Thanks. First letter ----- As direct abutters to --, we are contacting the Board of Health to formally inform you that we strongly oppose the application to permit our neighbor to keep chickens. We noticed that the neighbor has already built and installed a small structure (** It's a playhouse my brother built my kids **) that looks like a chicken coop in their backyard and it is just 4 to 6 feet from our property. We oppose this application for several reasons that are described below: 1. Allergies - One member of our household has severe allergies to many different allergens. One of the strongest allergies of this individual is to bird feathers, bird dust and mites. These allergies have been tested, diagnosed and documented by a Physician (Allergy Specialist). We are concerned that the installation of this coop will cause severe allergic reactions and poor health for this family member, given how close this coop is to our property. (** There are bids all over our town including wild turkeys that like in the trees right next to their house **) 2. Odor - (a) Our neighbors at -- were very dismayed when they heard about this application. Among other negatives, they are most concerned about the odor caused from chicken waste. They have a vacation home in Maine and their neighbor uses chicken waste as a fertilizer. On days he fertilizes, the smell is so strong and disagreeable, that they must close all of their windows and sometimes are forced to leave their cottage. (b) We have a friend in Westford who has a neighbor with a small backyard chicken coop that is near their home. They describe the odor as unbearable on many days and are in a protracted legal battle with the town and neighbor to have the chickens removed. (c) Also, we have noticed that the neighbor at -- has also constructed a large compost bin (next to the coop) that is even closer to our property (just 1-3 feet). We are concerned that the chicken waste will be dumped with garbage into this bin and the source of odor will be even closer to us. (d) There are several internet sites that list odor as a major concern for neighbors of urban chicken coops. 3. Vermin, Insects and Predators - A major concern is that this chicken coop will attract vermin such as rats and mice to our yard. Rats are very difficult to eradicate once they are established. Insects are also a problem as flies, cockroaches and other disease carrying insects are attracted to the mess associated with these coops. We have had trouble with raccoons in our neighborhood and this coop will intensify this activity. Finally, we have had sightings of coyotes and foxes in our neighborhood resulting in fear for neighborhood children and pets. We believe that these predators will be more attracted to our neighborhood that has many families with small children and pets and that this coop will put them in danger. 4. Noise - By many accounts, the number one problem from backyard chicken coops is the noise. Both friends that describe the intense odor problem (No. 2 above) also note that they are often awakened as early as 3:30 - 4 AM by the noise of the chickens. While roosters crow early, loudly and often, hens also make a huge racket. Chickens squabble all day long, and plenty of cackling accompanies the activity. Many websites maintain this is a major complaint from neighbors of a backyard chicken coop. 5. Disease - Research has shown that germs from chickens can cause a variety of illnesses in people, ranging from minor skin infections to serious illnesses that can cause death. In recent years, several hundred human Salmonella outbreaks associated with live poultry contact from backyard chicken coops have been reported to the CDC. It’s quite common for chickens to carry Salmonella, which is a type of germ that naturally lives in the intestines of many animals and is shed in their droppings or feces. Live poultry may have Salmonella germs in their droppings and on their bodies (including feathers, feet, and beaks) even when they appear healthy and clean. The germs can also get on cages, coops, hay, plants, and soil in the area where the birds live and roam. Additionally, the germs can be found on the hands, shoes, and clothing of those who handle the birds or work or play where they live and roam. Due to a serious medical condition, one member of our household has a severely depressed immune system which makes this family member much more susceptible to infections and diseases. This person enjoys gardening in the backyard which is just a few feet from the proposed coop. If this family member contracts Salmonella it could have a devastating and debilitating and potentially lethal health effect. Salmonella is currently a rural problem, why make it an urban problem? Why risk bringing Salmonella to our neighborhood? We have lived at this location since 1988 and have tried to be friendly and accommodating to our neighbors. We feel that since the neighbor has already installed the coop near our property without approval, this presumptuous act already demonstrates disregard for neighbors and local laws. We are very concerned and have been in touch with our attorney. In conclusion, we vehemently oppose the application of this permit as it will lower the quality of our life, create an unnecessary nuisance close to our property, attract disease-carrying rodents to our neighborhood, lower property values and potentially will engage all parties involved in protracted legal action. Please consider our objection and do not allow this permit. ---- Second letter (This has an attachment showing all the houses in the neighborhood that oppose the coop.) ---- Anyone who has been near a commercial chicken operation and/or visited a local farm where chickens are kept, have undoubtedly experienced some unpleasant scents. This is true even if the coops are cleanly regularly. Scaling the size of the operation (6 to 10 chickens) to fit a ¼ acre lot does not change this fact. Keeping chickens in a neighborhood where house lots are ¼ acre or smaller raises concerns for the neighbors in general and especially for abutting neighbors. In the case of --, bedrooms are less than 30 feet from the property line. Concerns include: Chickens can smell bad and may attract flies. The dominant wind direction on Melrose Ave is WNW (April through June) & NNW (July through September). This would direct any scent toward 33 Melrose Bedrooms & backyard. Responsible waste management. Spilled chicken food can attract rats and mice. The hen house may encourage local predators including foxes, skunks, weasels, and fisher cats. Noise – Hens also make a racket. Chickens squabble all day long, and plenty of cackling usually accompanies the activity. Admittedly, hens are not as noisy as roosters, but with the lot size being ¼ acre this will be without question a problem for abutting neighbors. Ignoring these concerns would be irresponsible and would have quality of life ramifications for abutting and non-abutting neighbors. ---- Thank you.