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Chickens are now welcome in North Versailles Twp. after a unanimous vote of commissioners at their August meeting.
The new ordinance, approved by commissioners, will allow homeowers to apply for a permit to keep up to four female chickens on their property. The property must be a single-family dwelling and chickens must be secured at night in their coop.
Commissioners were moved to act after local Girl Scout Adeline Naser, who was working on her Bronze Award, made a presentation at the June meeting and said keeping chickens would help promote more organic and sustainable food production.
“There are regulations about how a coop can be constructed and designed and what materials can be used to ensure chicken coops look respectable,” township solicitor Greg Evashavik said. “Coops and their associated pens must be located at a minimum of 15 feet from a property line and a minimum of 25 feet from any adjacent building or residential structure not owned by the applicant.”
The ordinance regulates noise and waste removal and prohibits slaughtering of chickens. Citations can be issued if a resident does not comply with the terms of the ordinance which can lead to removal of the chickens and fines.
“I got numerous calls about this and concerns,” Commissioner Sam Juliano said. “This ordinance was written very strictly so anybody that does not comply — they’re done.”
Now that the ordinance has passed, officials said commissioners will determine a cost for the chicken permit, in order to cover inspections and ordinance enforcement, and then pass a resolution fixing those expenses.
Kristen Keleschenyi is a freelance writer in North Versailles Twp. and one of the hosts of the Kristen & Amber Show on WMCK Internet Radio at 5 p.m. Saturdays, 9 p.m. Mondays and 4 p.m. Thursdays. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published August 26, 2020.