Buffalo Township officials say chicken ordinance could be months away
A proposed ordinance that would allow small farm animals in residential areas of Buffalo Township could come up for a hearing this fall.
Supervisors Chairman Ron Zampogna said September or October could be when a formal ordinance proposal could go before a required public hearing. He said that would happen only after township officials complete their study of the issue and come up with an ordinance they consider appropriate.
Following a township supervisors meeting, Zampogna said the issue was raised again by Christina Myers of Garden Way.
Last year, Myers ran afoul of a township ordinance that prohibits agricultural animals in residential areas. The ordinance allows it as a conditional use only on residential properties that are more than four acres in size.
The issue came to the supervisors attention when a neighbor complained about the odor and noise generated by more than 30 chickens on the property where Myers lives.
She said she raises the chickens to provide food for her family and does not sell the birds or their eggs. But, her property measures only one acre.
Zampogna said there have been some public workshops regarding ordinances that involved Rich Grossman, a consultant on ordinances. He said Grossman came up with a suggested ordinance.
“It would allow some livestock in R-1 and R-2,” Zampogna said.
Myers said she was concerned that she and others who support her position could miss the hearing if it is not publicized enough.
She noted the supervisors had public hearings on two ordinances Wednesday but she was not aware of them and is afraid that residents interested in the animals issue might miss that hearing when it happens.
“Mostly, I’m asking for a little openness on what is going on,” she said.
The supervisors said public hearings are advertised in the Tribune-Review, posted on the township’s website and notices are put on the front door of the municipal building.
Supervisor Gary Risch said the township is updating its website and it was off-line Wednesday, which he said he was not aware of. He promised that the website will be back on line soon.
Myers said she also is concerned about what the ordinance, itself, will say.
“My concern is that we are going to come to the hearing without knowing what is being voted on,” Myers said.
She said people should know what regulations the township is trying to “push through.”
Solicitor Larry Lutz said advertising the public hearing is required by law and the advertisement also will have a summary of what is being proposed.
“This isn’t a process that occurs in one night,” Lutz said. “Nobody is going to push anything through.”
“There are a lot of different things we’ll be addressing, including the chicken issue,” Lutz said.
Myers said she is concerned supervisors aren’t giving enough weight to opinions from residents in favor of allowing the animals in residential areas.
Supervisor Matthew Sweeny said that isn’t the case and supervisors receive input from residents when they talk to them individually.
“We have to take all sides into consideration,” Sweeny said.
Tom Yerace is a freelance writer.