Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.


Carroll Valley votes yes to chickens, no to sprinklers

Danielle Ryan

(5/10) During the May 9 Carroll Valley Borough Council meeting, the Council voted in favor of chickens in the Borough and against the mandated in-home sprinkler systems. Both topics have been on the table, going back and forth for months, even years, but the Council has officially chosen to advertise their stance on the ordinances, which will be officially voted upon during the June meeting.

The Chicken Ordinance has been a topic of debate for the past several months, residents of the Borough standing relatively evenly on both sides of the topic. Arguments in favor of the chickens included: the desire to eat and maintain an organic lifestyle, knowing where the food being consumed came from, teaching children responsibility, pleasure of having chickens as pets. Those against chickens in the Borough showed concern over potential improper maintenance, lack of cleanliness, noise, and attraction of bugs and other nuisance wildlife. Both sides were weighed by the Council, but in the end, they voted in favor of chickens.

The new proposed ordinance, that was presented at the May meeting, 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." In short, if passed, the Borough will allow backyard chickens outside of properties zoned agricultural. Those wishing to keep a few backyard chickens will have to acquire a permit from the Borough first.

The ordinance presented to the Council included 2 lines that were removed: the notarization of the applicant’s signature on the permit document, and the deed precedence over the permit. Neither of these conditions are present in other Borough ordinances, so the Council voted to exclude them from this document to maintain consistency within Borough Ordinances.

The mandated in-home sprinklers have been another hot topic as of late in the Borough. This issue was brought back up to the Council at the end of 2016, when Council member Tyler Pyles asked the Council to consider repealing the mandate. Since that time, the Ordinance has been discussed by the Planning Commission, who recommended not repealing the ordinance.

Realtors and some builders in the area stand on the side of not mandating sprinklers, as the added expense has been turning new potential builders in Carroll Valley away. "The cost of these sprinkler systems generally starts at $6,000 and depending on the size of the home, may exceed well over $10,000," said local realtor Trish Rowe. "It should be a home-owners choice to install these sprinklers." Fire Department personnel stand on the other side of the argument, having seen the detrimental effects of fires. "It is a life safety issue," said Dave Martin, Fountaindale Fire Department Chief. Reality is, even the best responding volunteers don’t always make it to the fire in time. With the way the new buildings are being constructed, the Fire Department only has five to ten minutes to get to the scene before the home is engulfed in flames. Fairfield Fire Chief Bill Jacobs closed by asking, "What is a life worth?" "Carroll Valley is on the cutting edge, mandating these sprinklers and should remain that way."

After hearing public comment for several months on this topic, Council was ready to make a decision. Council members were all but evenly torn on the topic, but voted 4 – 3 in favor of the repeal.

Both ordinances will be voted upon during the June Borough Council meeting. A public hearing concerning the sprinklers will be held at 6 pm, prior to the regularly scheduled Council meeting.

Read other articles about Fairfield