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Hampton board says no to keeping chickens, goats on residential property

ptrchickman4082912
Philip G. Pavely
Max Rosarius stands near the pens holding chickens and goats on his 15-acre parcel of property in Hampton on Tuesday, August 26, 2012. He was recently cited by the township for having the animals on his Hillcrest Farms. Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
ptrchickman1082912
Philip G. Pavely
Max Rosarius looks over the chickens and goats on his 15-acre parcel of property in Hampton Tuesday August 26, 2012. He was recently cited by the township for having the animals on his Hillcrest Farms. (Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)
ptrchickman2082912
Philip G. Pavely
Max Rosarius walks by the chickens and goats on his 15-acre parcel of property in Hampton on Tuesday, August 26, 2012. He was recently cited by the township for having the animals on his Hillcrest Farms. Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
ptrchickman3082912
Philip G. Pavely
Max Rosarius looks over the chickens and goats in a barn on his 15-acre parcel of property in Hampton Tuesday August 26, 2012. He was recently cited by the township for having the animals on his Hillcrest Farms. (Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)

Hampton’s Zoning Hearing Board denied on Tuesday an appeal by commercial developer Max Rosarius to keep 50 chickens and four goats on 14 acres in a residential area of the township.

Rosarius, 76, appealed the notices he received in April and May for violating the township’s zoning ordinance that prohibits people from keeping farm animals in a medium-density residential area.

Neighbors have complained about the noisy fowl.

Stephen Farino, the attorney for Rosarius, asked the zoning board to dismiss the violation notices or suspend a decision on the appeal until the state Attorney General’s Office reviews Hampton’s zoning ordinance to determine if it conflicts with state law.

The seven-member zoning board, meeting in regular session, denied both requests.

The state attorney general has 120 days to accept or decline Rosarius’ request for a review.

Rosarius claims his 14 acres constitute a family farm protected by a state law — Act 38, the Agriculture, Communities and Rural Environment Act known as ACRE — enacted in 2005.

If the attorney general declines to review his case, Rosarius plans to fight township officials in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.

“When it goes to Common Pleas Court, they’ll have to defend their position if they can,” Rosarius said before the meeting. “I don’t see how we can possibly lose.”

Rosarius said he raises chickens for food. “We raise them for eggs, and to eat and breed them for more chickens. We haven’t had any slaughtered yet. We haven’t sent any to market yet.”

His neighbors, he said, really don’t have grounds for complaints.

“Every one of us can do what we please to do all day — whether it’s pushing papers or making contracts — but we better hope, at the end of the day, that somebody is raising food so we can all put something on the dinner table,” Rosarius said.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or at [email protected].

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