Instructions for petitioners applying to raise fowl

Obtain official petition form from either the Town Clerk, Board of Appeals office or on the town’s website: – Boards & Commissions/ Zoning Board of Appeals/Application-instructions.

The Tisbury Zoning By-law Section 04.03.05 requires a special permit to raise fowl.  There are no specific requirements, but, the Zoning Board of Appeals addresses these applications on a case by case basis with deference to your neighbors.

  • If you are located in a residential district and wish to raise fowl, keep in mind the following:
  • You must have the birds contained in a pen/coop. 
  • The pen must be fenced so that rodents are unable to enter.      
  • Birds may not free roam outside the pen.
  • Food for the birds must be contained in a sealable container, like a trash can with cover.
  • No roosters are permitted.  Roosters produce loud and bothersome noise which can be offensive to your neighbors.
  • If you do not own the property, please obtain a letter from the owner agreeing to these terms.

If you have any questions about completing the petition the Board of Appeals’ secretary may assist you.  Board members may NOT offer advisory opinions or discuss petitions to the Board – so please do not phone or speak with any ZBA member about any matter pending before them. 

In order to be processed, your petition must be complete with ALL required information and accompanied by three (3) copies of a plan of land prepared and stamped by a Registered Land Surveyor.  The board retains the right to require any additional plans or information, as it deems necessary in making its determination.

Plans submitted to the Board of Appeals shall be exact duplicates of those submitted to all other Town boards and shall conform to the standards as set forth in the Tisbury Zoning By-laws, Section 10.04.01.  With the exception of the site plan, no other submitted plans shall be printed on paper larger than 11”x17”.

Take your completed petition and all appropriate plans (3 sets of each) to the Town Clerk, along with a check for the filing fee in the amount of one hundred thirty-five ($135.00) dollars.

The Board of Appeals will schedule a hearing on your petition within sixty-five (65) days of the Town Clerk’s receipt of your petition.   Notice shall be published and mailed in accordance with the provisions of MGL, Chapter 40A, S. 11.

All notices for public hearing will be submitted to the newspaper a minimum of two weeks prior to the scheduled date of public hearing.  Applicants shall be responsible for the costs associated with publishing the advertisement and shall be billed by either the Vineyard Gazette or Martha’s Vineyard Times directly.

Time limits for hearings and decision may be waived upon request by petitioner and approval of the Board.