Neighbours' city chooks live too close for comfort

23:00, Mar 21 2014
cara miller
BAD CLUCK: Cara Miller shows the distance between her bedroom and the fence, behind which the neighbours’ chickens live.

A Stoke woman is asking the Nelson City Council to update its bylaws on keeping chickens in residential areas, in line with the Tasman and Marlborough district councils' bylaws.

Cara Miller's neighbours have a permanent chicken coop which has been built near the boundary fence between the two properties two metres from her bedroom and the chickens often wake her.

Mrs Miller says she has no problem with how the chickens are kept, she just wants an updated bylaw so people think more about where they place their chickens on their properties in relation to their neighbours.

There is a bylaw stating people can keep up to 12 chickens on their land within Nelson City, but they must be kept on the owners' property in a coop and noise must be "contained" within the property. No roosters are allowed.

In Tasman only six chickens can be kept and must be in an enclosure at least two metres from boundaries and 10 metres from neighbouring homes. In Marlborough, urban residents may keep up to 12 chickens, but the birds must be in an enclosure placed at least three metres from neighbouring properties.

Mrs Miller approached the Nelson City Council planning and regulatory committee asking it to follow the Tasman and Marlborough councils in adopting a bylaw to limit where chickens can be put on residential properties.


She said she thought some councillors missed her point at the meeting and presenting to them was "awful".

Councillor Kate Fulton said in her experience of keeping chickens they were not loud, while councillor Mike Ward suggested Mrs Miller should just talk to her neighbours.

Mrs Miller said the point of the exercise was not specifically about her neighbours, but about changing the rules so that as more people in residential areas decide to have chickens they will think about how many chickens were suitable for the size of their property and where they should place the coop so it would not disturb neighbours.

She said an animal controller had been out to look at the neighbour's coop and gave it a 10-star rating, but missed the point of its impact on the wider community.

Councillor Matt Lawrey said he had been to the Millers' place and their neighbours. He said the chickens were kept in great condition and well cared for and he understood both sides' views, but with more people keeping chickens in urban areas their impac could become more of an concern. "I think we are going to see more of these sorts of issues coming up," he said.

Planning and regulatory committee chair Brian McGurk asked council staff to report back to the council at some stage about how effective the bylaw in place now was.

Nelson Mail efforts to contact the Millers' neighbours have been unsuccessful.

The Nelson Mail