By EMMA BARTLETT
Council members unanimously approved a rooster ordinance on June 27 that allows homeowners to keep one rooster in a coop and fenced-in area on their property that is no closer …
By EMMA BARTLETT
Council members unanimously approved a rooster ordinance on June 27 that allows homeowners to keep one rooster in a coop and fenced-in area on their property that is no closer than 150 feet to the dwelling of any abutter. While the ordinance has gone into effect, council members plan to amend it to include enforcement methods and violation fees.
Councilman Richard Campopiano introduced the rooster ordinance at June’s ordinance meeting after hearing complaints from residents regarding the disrupting sound of roosters in the early morning and night. Councilwomen Jessica Marino and Nicole Renzulli previously introduced a more extensive chicken ordinance that did not pass, causing Campopiano to make his own attempt.
“This whole thing comes down to respect for your neighbor,” said Campopiano.
Campopiano said the 150 foot distance is fair to everyone. He added that multiple people came out to support the ordinance, but no one from the poultry community came forward.
“I pride myself in putting myself in other people’s shoes and seeing it from another person’s perspective. I have a hard time seeing the other person’s perspective when it infringes on someone else’s rights….just because you have the right to have a rooster doesn’t give you the right to put it under another person’s window or right next to them,” Campopiano said.
Campopiano said the “rooster police” are not going to come out tomorrow but suggested that the city possibly provide a list of rooster sanctuaries on Cranston’s website as a service for residents who have to get rid of its rooster because the animal violates the 150 foot requirement.
Councilman John Donegan said he wasn’t looking to slow the ordinance’s passage and, while he would like to trust that people would be neighborly, there needed to be some type of enforcement mechanism worked into the ordinance.
He said when it comes to talking about the functions of city government, enforcement of city code should not be left up to the private citizens and isn’t a good precedent to set.
“Right now there wouldn’t be a fine and nothing to be able to hold over them [residents] to say ‘you have to do this’,” said Donegan, mentioning that there are no enforcement mechanisms in place.
Additionally, Donegan said there needs to be an avenue for appeal. He said currently, there are no enforcement mechanisms.
Attorney John Verdecchia said Donegan’s point was well taken.
“You can’t deprive someone of their property without due process of law,” said Verdecchia. “You have to provide them with some avenue of appeal.”
Verdecchia said residents have a right to be heard in court if they disagree with the determination of a code enforcement officer or government agent.
Following the June 27 full council meeting, Campopiano plans to work with legal counsel and other council members to draft rules of enforcement and fines. There are no fee ideas in mind at the moment, but Campopiano mentioned that there was a set of fees in place from a prior animals ordinance that Marino and Renzulli introduced and he is hoping to draw from there.
Campopiano hopes to introduce the fees as an amendment at the July 14 ordinance committee meeting and will be working with the administration on who will be handing out fines if someone is found in violation of the rooster ordinance.
Campopiano said immediately after the ordinance passed he received text messages thanking him. He said it feels fantastic knowing that the ordinance passed, since roosters have been an ongoing issue in the city.