Cobleskill ZBA says: no goats


By Patsy Nicosia

Chickens, yes.
But sorry, no goats.
That's the ruling the Village of Cobleskill's Zoning Board of Appeals made Monday after Susan Carver and Ken Nichols asked to be allowed to keep up to three pygmy goats at their 240 North Grand Street home.
The couple-like others in the village-already keep chickens in their backyard, an unusual one-acre lot that back up on the Post Office on Union Street to the rear.
With a convenience store across the street and homes surrounding them, Ms. Carver argued that the neighborhood is already "mixed use" and pointed out that of the 30-plus neighbors they notified regarding Monday's ZBA hearing, only two showed up with questions.
They had hoped to keep the 18-inch high, even-tempered goats as pets, for their milk, and as four-footed lawn mowers.
Ms. Carver said they'd be dehorned and always secured and pointed out they'd be less noisy than dogs.
"You probably wouldn't ever see them," she said.
Village zoning prohibits livestock in most of the village, forcing Ms. Carver and Mr. Nichols to seek a use variance-which the ZBA unanimously denied, citing concerns over noise and odor.
"Yes, I think it would alter the existing character of the neighborhood," said ZBA Chair Phyllis Chianucci, in reading through the criteria for granting the variance.
"There's no getting around the odor, and they do make some noise."
ZBA members also said that while they believed Ms. Carver and Mr. Nichols would be responsible goat owners, the variance would remain with their property even if they sold it, opening the door to others who might not be.
Two other village goat "herds" got the boot Monday after Code Enforcement Officer Mike Piccolo learned of their existence and issued orders of remedy.
He is still investigating claims of donkeys in the village, he said.