Tuesday, March 26, 2019


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No Chickens in East Greenville
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            East Greenville's ordinance allowing a small segment of residents to keep chickens in the borough has been rejected. A motion by borough council Tuesday to override Mayor Keith Gerhart's veto received only one affirmative vote, from Member Alison Palmer. Five yes votes would have been necessary to approve the measure.

            "The chicken ordinance is dead for now," Solicitor Michael Peters said during the meeting.

            Gerhart cited three reasons for the veto, which was issued April 30, according to Peters. The solicitor announced them as health issues, concerns that residents might request similar accommodations for other animals and that only 30 property owners would be allowed to keep chickens.

            Vice President Jim Raftery, an early advocate of the ordinance, voted against the measure to override. Raftery said he could not second the motion, originally made by Joe Rock.  "I'm torn," Raftery said, explaining that he has received equal positive and negative feedback on the ordinance. He also asked the audience members for their opinions.

            Prior to the vote, Member Marita Thomson announced that a resident on Hamilton Road in Colonial Village has been keeping ducks "for years. We've gotten complaints that they are running all over the place."

            Gerhart said he confirmed Sunday the presence of four or five chickens at a residence on Main Street.

            On April 18, council approved the ordinance. Thomson and Lon Brinckman II voted against it. 

            "At this point, the board can vote to override or go back to the drawing board," Peters said.

            Prior to Monday's vote, Brinckman II announced his opposition to the ordinance. He said the municipality did not have a structure in place to enforce any potential violations. Initially, Brinckman favored the concept of allowing people to keep chickens as therapy animals.  However, the ordinance didn't address therapeutic issues. The 12-page ordinance was drafted to limit the number of homes allowed to keep chickens.

            According to the language, no more than three female chickens may be kept on single family property in the borough. The chickens have to be stored in a chicken coop or chicken pen at all times only in a rear yard. Chickens shall be secured within a locked coop during all non-daylight hours. The coop must be located at least 20 feet from the property line and at least 30 feet from any adjacent building not owned by the permittee.

            Additionally, the person wishing to keep the chickens will be required to apply for a residential chicken permits, which spans three years. A permittee or co-permittee who wishes to continue keeping chickens shall apply for a new residential chicken permit at least 30 days prior to the expiration date of the previous permit, according to the ordinance amendment.

            Renters wishing to keep chickens require written permission from the property owner, according to Peters.

            The pen, to be constructed of wood or metal posts with wire mesh fencing material, shall contain at least 10 square feet of area per chicken, rise at least four feet above the ground and be buried at least one foot below the ground. It shall be covered with wire mesh, aviary netting or solid roofing, according to the document.





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