Letter: Chickens, Bees Don't Belong In Yonkers

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YONKERS, N.Y. – The Yonkers Daily Voice welcomes signed, original letters from its readers. They may be emailed to yonkers@dailyvoice.com.

This letter was written by City Council member Mike Breen to various civic groups in response to an upcoming vote on allowing chickens and bees to be kept in the City of Yonkers. 

I am quite certain I have previously discussed “The Birds and The Bees” with you and your neighbors.

Of course I am talking about chicken coops and beehives in Yonkers. Next Tuesday, Jan. 22, our esteemed City Council will be voting to allow chicken coops and beehives to become part of the landscape in your neighborhood.

In fairness to council President Chuck Lesnick, who is pushing this, it will be on an experimental basis – 24 chicken permits and 24 beehive permits for the first two years.

However, in my opinion that is 24/48 permits too many, considering all the mayhem this experiment could instigate.

If I had any thought to consider this experiment, I would have demanded an acreage limit. The current experiment only requires a minimum of 5,000 square feet, which is your typical Yonkers 50-by-100-foot lot. Certainly the towns and villages that have approved this idea have homes on much larger lots.

There will literally be no chicken enforcement. The city for financial reasons is woefully lacking code enforcement personnel. A chicken keeper’s license will cost only $10.00. A beekeeper’s permit is $25.00, with no qualifications to obtain either.

My good wife bought my son a drum set. How many good parents buy their children pets with no forethought for the proper care of the animal? Will chickens become ill-cared-for pets?

Need I say what chicken feed produces!

How many citizens of Yonkers are fatally allergic to bee stings?

Permittees are required to obtain written consent or send certified mail to their neighbors, and in a fuzzy manner of defining consent.

"Consent shall be deemed if there are no objections made to the City Clerk within 30 days.”

No requirement to prove consent was sought. There will be a stress on relationships in your neighborhood when one of these 24/48 newly permitted situations pops up on your street.

The undesirable effects on your neighborhood are innumerable. I could go on and on.

The City Council will be holding a hearing known as a “Meeting of the Whole” on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. preceding the council meeting. All council meetings are preceded by these meetings to allow our citizens to voice their opinions on pending legislation.

For the sake of your neighbors and to preserve our cherished quality of life, I urge you to attend this meeting. Protocol requires that if you wish to speak, you should call the city clerk’s office, 377-6019, by 3 p.m. to sign up. However council President Lesnick as a habit has waived that rule and invited all in attendance to speak.

If you cannot attend please email your thoughts to the City Council by emailing our city clerk’s office, vincent.spano@yonkersny.gov.

Please feel free to send this to your neighbors and friends who live elsewhere in Yonkers. If they are concerned, they can call their council member at 377-6000.

I can assure you that my colleagues John Larkin and Dennis Shepherd are absolutely opposed to this proposal. The remaining four members of the City Council have voted to put this on our agenda for Tuesday night, so I must assume they are in favor of it.

I very much would appreciate your vocal support against this misguided legislation.

Very Sincerely,

Your Councilman

Mike Breen

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