invitation, july 2 zoning board, brookline MA


In the Brooder
11 Years
Jun 22, 2008

I will be appearing before the Brookline, MA zoning board on July 2 at 7pm, any and all backyard chicken supporters will be welcome to attend. The current zoning requires chickens to be sited 100 feet from any residence, impossible throughout most of the town including, sadly, my own lot. I made the unfortunate and innocent mistake of putting the coop between my house and my neighbors and her (understandable) complaint to the health department led to the building departments realization that I am no in compliance with the law. I have requested a variance and I am putting together my case (is there a lawyer close by who'd like to stand up for me?). The more the merrier, although I have been advised by the head of the department and the assistant to the planning board that variances are rarely granted and I am unlikely to win this. I have already moved the chickens into my garage, they are now at least 40 feet from all residences and I will be begging my unhappy neighbor to recant her complaint.

Any other suggestions are welcome, as will be any one who would like to appear that night in support.

Best to all,

I can't attend but GOOD LUCK to you!

Talk to your neighbor and find out what her specific concern is, and see if it is something that you can satisfy. Check with other neigbors for their support (or lack thereof)

Good luck!
I would suggest you rent or buy the video "Mad City Chickens", which very artfully chronicles the successful effort there to have the local ordinance changed in Madison WI (otherwise known as the Berkely of the Midwest, or, 78 square miles surrounded by reality). Nevertheless, it is worth a look. They also have a website: You might even want to show the video to the city council, although it is a bit long, but VERY entertaining and very well done.

You can also look at their ordinance which is on the city website and can be located by putting "Chickens" into the search box.

Rather than a variance, you might want to focus on getting them to amend the ordinance entirely. Variances are not usually granted, which is probably why they are call "Variences." I don't see that you really have a basis for the variance but you can use this to start a discussion on the issue. I would try to enlist others in town to support your cause.

Attorney and former Planning Commissioner, Illinois

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