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City OKs chicken ordinance, concerts on Webster St.

The Common Council approved a chicken ordinance based on the strict Buffalo model and, after some hesitations, allowed for a summer series of four Saturday night rock concerts near the canal on Webster Street.

"I really think this is a little cramped," said dissenting Alderman Malcolm Needler at the Tuesday night meeting.

He cast the only no vote, explaining concerns about liability to the city and the potential hazards that would come with the concert crowds estimated at 3,500 to 5,500.

The concerts will be held in the block of Webster Street near Crazy Jake's bar and restaurant, which is sponsoring the series.

While the city attorney must review the final proposal, Tuesday's vote allowed the street to be closed for four concerts by "tribute" bands playing in the famous styles of KISS, AC/DC, Guns N' Roses and Journey on June 30, July 7, July 28 and Aug. 4.

Alderman Russ Rizzo had related concerns and was satisfied after they were addressed with amendments to the proposal: The city asked for $2 million in insurance instead of the proposed $1 million; the Renaissance Bridge will be closed to traffic; staff working the concerts will supply emergency medical technician certification.

"No one can predict what's going to happen," said Alderwoman Nancy Donovan. "We just hope it will be a safe environment."

The council also approved a permitting process for small backyard chicken coops by adopting rules which require neighbor consent and are similar to ones adopted in Buffalo in 2009. North Tonawanda had an old ordinance, which allowed chickens with a permit, but did not say how permits should be granted. The new rules, intended to allow for household use, don't allow roosters, selling of eggs or slaughtering.

"We simply took the ordinance from the 1950s and updated the policy," said Donovan, who said people had been inquiring about raising chickens.

"Even though it's solid and stringent, I think it works for both sides," she said. "This ordinance sends a loud and clear message that your adjacent neighbors have to agree."

Also Tuesday the Council, in a 3-2 vote, gave a resident permission to increase his parking space in front of 137 Fifth Ave. and pave city property, a patch of grass 18 feet by 16 feet.

"I don't want the city to start looking like a parking lot," said Donovan, who cast a no vote along with Alderman Eric Zadzilka. "I don't want to encourage people to start making man-made driveways."