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Backyard chickens rejected again in North Huntingdon

| Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 3:11 a.m.

The hopes of chicken supporters were once again dashed when North Huntingdon Township commissioners shot down another proposal for backyard hens on Wednesday night.

After an hour of public comments from supporters and critics, commissioners Brian West and Lee Moffatt pleaded for other commissioners to find a compromise to allow people with small lots to have poultry. The motion comes a week after the board voted down the first proposal.

As it stands, only people with at least 10 acres of property can have chickens in the township. The proposed ordinance, which would have allowed residents with lots that are 7,500 square feet to keep up to four hens, was rejected last week.

“I'm 100 percent for this,” Moffatt said. “Is there anything we can do to compromise? I think I should have a right to have chickens. Our ordinance does not make sense.”

West, who cast the only vote in support of the chicken ordinance last week, made a motion “to move forward for a proper ordinance.”

There was no second.

Commissioners discussed changing the recommended property size or the location henhouses should be placed on property. They also debated a trial run for 10 people in the township.

Commissioner Tony Martino told the board that any amendments, such as limiting the number of chickens or increasing the proposed size of lots for chickens, would not be sufficient.

“I don't want it,” he said. “I think, representing a majority of the people in North Huntingdon Township, I don't believe they want chickens in their backyards. I'm totally against it. We voted on this last week. It's a dead matter as far as I'm concerned.”

Moffatt closed the discussion by urging poultry supporters to continue their efforts.

“It does sound like a dead issue,” he said. “But don't give up.”

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or adolasinski@tribweb.com.

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