Don’t buy those chickens just yet.An ordinance permitting residents to keep backyard chickens poised for passage at the Upper Dublin Board of Commissioners meeting June 12 was sent back to the township and county planning commissions.the proposed ordinance would permit backyard chickens as an accessory use for single-family detached homes with a minimum half-acre lot. those with one-half to 3 acres could keep up to six chickens; 12 chickens could be housed on properties 3 acres and larger.Rick Barton, code enforcement director, said about 39 percent or 3,750 of the 9,630 residential lots in the township would be eligible under the ordinance. a 1-acre minimum would apply only to 515 lots, which “would be quite restrictive,” he said.
Coops and pens would have to be 25 feet from the residence and from rear and side property lines, with a 4-foot high buffer surrounding the pen. Roosters and the slaughtering of birds would not be permitted.Current regulations permit chickens only on lots of at least 5 acres, though some township residents have received permission from the zoning hearing board over the years to keep the birds as pets and egg producers. a growing interest in the hobby led to creation of the ordinance, which the township planning commission began discussing last December.Harm Scherpbier, a township resident who has seven chickens on his 1.5-acre property, testified at a public hearing on the ordinance June 12 that his neighbors have never complained about his chickens, which he has had for years.“It has been very successful,” he said, noting the chickens are a private source of eggs and served as pets for his children when they were young. “They don’t escape,” the pen, which is completely enclosed, does not attract predators and the food is stored in a steel bucket so animals can’t get into it, he said.two of his neighbors, one being Commissioner John Minehart, the other resident Anderson Zega, both said the chickens have not been a problem.But Commissioner Ron Feldman objected to the lot size and setbacks in the ordinance as being too small. Continued…
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