Let the chickens be

Saranac Lake trustees should reject a local law proposed by the Community Development department to block villagers from raising chickens and other livestock animals.

The recent trend toward people raising fowl in their backyards is a good one, helping people be more self-sufficient, healthier (lots of fresh eggs and meat to go around) and more conscientious about the resources they use. Like the gardening boom, it’s part of a local food movement that’s done a huge amount of good locally and nationwide, especially in regard to teaching children where the things they eat come from.

Community Development Director Jeremy Evans, who is pushing the law, put the matter in a nutshell with this quote: “We haven’t had a huge problem yet, but we’re well aware of problems in other communities.”

In other words, it’s a pre-emptive strike.

In Saranac Lake there are many pros and almost no cons with regard to chickens and other livestock, so leave them be. If a problem arises, chances are it will be localized and not worth stamping out village-wide. If there is a chronic, widespread issue, then maybe it will be time to pass a law or code – not before.

The village board will host a hearing on this proposal at the start of the next village board meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on the second floor of the Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main St. We encourage you to join us in urging the board to say no.

Municipal planning and zoning is good when it solves problems. It’s bad when it imagines them.

We already have too many useless and annoying laws and codes on the books.