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Sustainable Connellsville asks council to consider chicken-raising ordinance

| Sunday, June 23, 2013, 6:45 p.m.

Geno Gallo with Sustainable Connellsville is hoping members of Connellsville City Council will reconsider the possibility of allowing residents in the city to have the opportunity to raise chickens.

Gallo approached city council last week. He said that since the subject was brought up a few months ago, Sustainable Connellsville has done further research and has gotten some input from the poultry association in Uniontown.

Gallo said there are several municipalities throughout the state which have ordinances allowing for the raising of chickens, including Ambridge, Reading, Allentown, Aliquippa, Meadsville and even Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

“This is a trend that has been going on for about the last 10 years, and I think it's being driven by the Buy Local push, as well as citizens just being concerned with the safety aspects and quality of their food,” he said.

Gallo said there are two definite sides to the issue — those who are passionate about doing it and those who are concerned with any ramifications allowing this might have.

“We've come up with a sample ordinance for you all to look at and maybe consider, but no ordinance can ever foresee every potential problem,” he said.

Gallo suggested the city look at allowing the raising of chickens on a very limited basis by issuing permits on a trial basis to a select few residents.

“Maybe have those individuals attend a workshop by the poultry association before they get any chickens, and then, after maybe 18 months, revisit the issue, tweak the ordinance and decide then whether you want to continue with it or whether it's a no-go,” he said.

Councilwoman Marilyn Weaver, who is also a health board representative, said the health board sent a letter to council recommending council not allow residents to raise chickens in their yards.

“I suggest that you and those who want to do this come to the next health board meeting and listen to all the stipulations that are associated with this,” she said.

Gallo said if an ordinance to this effect was passed, it would really start to identify the city as a sustainable community.

In other business, council agreed to the closure of South Arch Street from Crawford to Fairview avenues on Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. for a dedication ceremony and celebration of the placing of a Ten Commandments monument in front of the Order of the Eagles.

Mayor Charles Matthews said the Thou Shall Not Move group has been raising funds to erect these monuments at several area churches, but it seemed fitting that the first one would be erected in front of the Eagles — the organization that purchased the Ten Commandants monument in front of Connellsville Junior High in the 1950s.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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