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Urban chicken farming remains no-go in Penn Hills

| Monday, March 7, 2016, 11:00 p.m.

Plans to allow chickens in Penn Hills still haven't hatched.

Council tabled plans to amend the municipality's zoning ordinance that would have allowed residents to keep up to four hens in backyard coops.

Councilman Gary Underwood said he had concerns about the wording of the ordinance and how it was being incorporated into the municipality's code.

“I'd like more detail,” he said.

Several residents who spoke in favor of urban chicken farming said they were disappointed.

Resident Pete McQuillin said he has raised chickens and that the ordinance is “clear and enforceable.”

“All the problems I've seen with keeping chickens are addressed in this ordinance,” he said.

Municipal planners said the popularity of urban farming is growing, and residents have asked whether they are allowed to keep hens.

The amendment would allow residents to keep hens on their property if they obtain a permit and ensure that the chickens have a fenced outdoor area or a predator-proof coop. Roosters and the slaughtering of hens would not be permitted.

Owners would be responsible for the upkeep and safety of the chickens, and they would have to manage noise, odor and vermin.

Nearby communities such as Forest Hills, Plum and the city of Pittsburgh allow chicken coops, which are popular among people concerned about food stability and sourcing.

Kelsey Shea is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at 412-320-7845 or kshea@tribweb.com.

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