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Backyard chickens welcome in Carroll Valley

Danielle Ryan

(7/18) After months of debate amongst the community of Carroll Valley and much deliberation between Borough Council members, a vote in favor of backyard chickens was finally made.

The topic of chickens has been a popular discussion item over the past few years, but has never been passed through until now. Back in October of 2016, the ordinance was once again revisited because the verbiage and language in the old ordinance was causing some confusion within the community. Residents stood evenly on either side of the debate, and both sides have been passionate about their opinions since the beginning, stated Borough Manager Dave Hazlett.

The old ordinance only allowed residents living in an agriculturally zoned area to own livestock, which includes chickens and other poultry. If a resident lived outside the Agricultural District, in a residentially zoned area, and owned livestock or poultry, they were susceptible to a penalty.

The new ordinance reads as follows: "An Ordinance of the Borough of Carroll Valley amending Chapter 2 of the Borough of Carroll Valley Code of Ordinances to: create a new part 4, entitled "chickens" to include provisions permitting the limited keeping of domesticated chickens as an accessory use to a single-family detached dwelling." Residents are allowed to own up to six hens and are to keep them in a coop of pre-determined specifications, specifically a structure at least eighteen inches high and at least three square feet of floor area per chicken. In addition, those wishing to keep a few backyard chickens will have to acquire a permit from the Borough.

Residents concerned with the presence of chickens in the Borough mentioned the possibility of distress within the community, potentially causing residents to take their neighbors to civil court if they were displeased with the presence of chickens on a neighboring property. They also noted a possible health concern, lack of cleanliness, presence of an odor and the deed restriction on many properties in the Borough that do not allow poultry.

Those in favor mentioned a growing desire for self-reliance on eggs, meaning having the knowledge of where they come from and how the chickens that produce them are treated. Residents also noted the value in teaching children responsibility by taking care of chickens and enjoying the pleasure of having chickens as pets.

The Board voted unanimously in favor of this ordinance, and chicken supporters rejoiced.

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