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Proposed chicken ordinance gains momentum in North Huntingdon Township

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 1:16 a.m.

A proposed ordinance on backyard chickens took center stage during the North Huntingdon Township commissioners meeting on Wednesday.

More than 10 residents put their support for poultry on the record. A majority of the packed audience applauded after each person made brief comments to commissioners.

Although the commissioners will make the final decision, the township's planning commission is tweaking a draft ordinance. It is not clear when a final ordinance will be presented to commissioners.

“I'm still waiting to see a final draft before I can make a final decision,” Commissioner Brian West said. “It still needs to get past the planning commission.”

The planning commissioners could finalize a draft as early as its next meeting, on Monday.

“I think it's our job to get an idea of what the constituents want and act accordingly,” Commissioner Richard Gray said. “At this point, I haven't read the ordinance and it's not before us.”

Rob Painter of North Huntingdon collected about 50 signatures on a petition that he presented to commissioners.

“These are people that are going to take pride in what they do,” he said. “I hope you will listen to everyone with an open mind when it comes to backyard chickens.”

Some residents stood up to make the case that dogs can be noisier and feral cats could produce smellier waste than chickens. Other supporters expressed intent to teach children about a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

“I think there's somewhat of a lack of education of people that oppose it,” Nick Benevento of North Huntingdon said. “If you oppose it, I hope you read about it to get a better understanding to see they're not the nightmare that everybody makes them out to be.”

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

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