Legalize Backyard Hens
  • Petitioned College Township Council

This petition was delivered to:

College Township Council

Legalize Backyard Hens

    1. Petition by

      Jennifer Landry

      State College, PA

We as College Township Residents believe that we should lawfully be able to keep backyard hens.

A group of College Township Residents have joined together and have done extensive research on this topic. There are many myths associated with chickens that just aren't true:

- Chickens stink. Chickens themselves do not smell. Just like any pet, if improperly cared for an odor can develop. This is easily corrected and prevented with regular cleaning of the chicken bedding. The bedding can easily be composted and makes a great chemical-free fertilizer for your garden.

- Chickens attract rodents. Chickens do not attract rodents, but any improperly stored food can. This can be prevented by storing any pet food in an airtight container such as plastic storage bin with a lid.

- Chickens are loud and crow - Male chickens, called roosters, crow loudly. Female chickens, called hens, do not crow. Hens typically make a soft clucking sound not heard from a distance. You do not need to have a rooster to get eggs from hens. The draft ordinance only requests to allow for the keeping of hens and not roosters in a residential zone.

- Chickens attract bugs. Chickens actually love eating bugs! Many people use chickens as a means of ridding their yards of bugs such as ticks. Ticks are a nuisance and they transmit Lyme's Disease to pets and humans - a common issue in our area.

- Chickens lower property values. There is no evidence to prove this theory. With the popularity of chickens rising there are many attractive options now available for chicken housing. There are many cities large and small across the country making changes to their local laws to allow chickens as pets. In our area, Harris Township, Patton Township, and the State College Borough have all recently made changes to allow chickens within their residential zones.

We have met with our Zoning Officer to discuss the townships concerns and we have worked with the Agricultural Law Resource & Reference Center at Penn State to address these concerns in a draft ordinance. This draft ordinance will be presented to the Township Council in January (date to be announced). We need your support, help us legalize backyard hens by signing this petition.

To stay up to date with the College Township Hen Initiative and to read the draft ordinance join our Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/235696013227878/ and like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CollegeTownshipBackyardHens or email us at collegetownshipbackyardhens@gmail.com

Please share this with your College Township friends and neighbors.

To:
College Township Council
I support legalizing backyard hens as pets in the residential areas of College Township.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Ordinance voted down 3-2

      Jennifer Landry
      Petition Organizer

      Township Council voted down our ordinance, despite the petition numbers; overwhelmingly positive comments made by the public at the hearing; and the facts presented to them. I'd like the thank you all for your support over the past several months. I'd also like to remind you that several council seats are up for a vote in the upcoming election in November. If we wish to live in a more sustainable and 'resident' focused township it is up to us as voters to elect those that share these same goals. This is just one small battle in our war for a more sustainable community. It is not over! Take care and have a wonderful summer, we'll be in touch soon.

    2. Public Hearing Date Set!

      Jennifer Landry
      Petition Organizer

      The big day is quickly approaching. To show your support for this cause please attend and plan to comment at the Township Council meeting on July 18th at 7pm. Council will most likely vote with the majority of public comments made that evening. If you are unable to attend please mail your comments to the Council prior to the meeting. Don't just tell your friends, bring them along!

    3. Upcoming Meeting: Township Council

      Jennifer Landry
      Petition Organizer

      We're on the agenda for the Township Council meeting on May 2 at 7 pm!
      This meeting and the one after it are the one to attend. Please come if you are able.

      And if you can't make it...

      ...if you know someone who legally keeps chickens in another local municipality, please invite them and their neighbors to come.
      ...if you haven't written Council yet on the subject of backyard hens, please do! Just send an email to ctcouncil@collegetownship.org.
      ...if you've already written Council on the subject but can think of another angle, write them again (briefly)!

    4. Draft Ordinance recommended to Township Council!

      Jennifer Landry
      Petition Organizer

      Planning Commission has recommended to council to adopt an ordinance allowing backyard hens! The draft ordinance can be seen here: http://www.collegetownship.govoffice.com/vertical/sites/%7B6F77EE0A-5147-4D68-88D3-B3066A5A57B4%7D/uploads/OB-1_O-13-_Keeping_of_Chicken_in_Residential_Areas.pdf . The PC removed minimum lot size requirement and changed the adjacent dwelling setback from 30 to 40 feet. The next Council meeting will be a crucial one, we'll need all the supporters we can get! We'll keep you posted when we know more.

    5. Planning Commission Meeting #2 - April 2nd

      Jennifer Landry
      Petition Organizer

      We have our next date with the Planning Commission this coming Tuesday at 7:30 at the College Township Building. Here's how you can help:

      1.Write an email to ctcouncil@collegetownship.org before the end of the day Friday. State calmly and concisely that you support the lawfulness of backyard hens in College Township, even on small lots. Address the note to both the Planning Commission and the Council.

      2.Attend the meeting Tuesday and voice your support.

      3. Invite any friends whom you know legally keep chickens in Harris Township, Patton Township, and the Borough to come to the meeting to educate the Planning Commission on what it's like. Ask them to bring photographs of their hen enclosures. Ask them to invite their favorable neighbors to come, too.

    6. Planning Commission Update - March 5th

      Jennifer Landry
      Petition Organizer

      The Planning Commission meeting resulted in the assignment of Mark Holdren to write a proposed chicken ordinance for College Township Planning Commission to review at future meeting. This was also done in 2009 but then the Planning Commission recommended to the College Township Council to not pass the ordinance. There were three Planning Commission members who were leaning in favor of a well-written ordinance, Janet Sulzer, George Khoury and Steven Lyncha. Unfortunately, Ray Forziat and Anthony Fragola seemed more strongly inclined to be negative. The other four present didn't strongly indicate what their preference was for or against a chicken ordinance. There seemed to be concern for the wider issues of more agricultural livestock being allowed, lot size limitations, and increased wildlife predators. Any letters or support you might be inclined to provide, would be very helpful!

    7. Planning Commission March 5th - We need your support!

      Jennifer Landry
      Petition Organizer

      The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for 7:30pm March 5 at the College Township Municipal Building. They will be addressing our chicken proposal.

      Because Council takes the findings and recommendations of the Planning Commission seriously, this meeting is crucial to our cause. If you can make it, do.

      Here are some notes on meeting format for Mark Holdren, the College Township Senior Planner: "Generally speaking, the format for Planning Commission will be as follows: Staff makes presentation, the Commission comments on presentation and items in agenda packet, and then the floor is open to comments from the public."

      So please, come be a part of "comments from the public" part! What'll be important to bring with you is as much expertise on backyard hens as you can gather along with a calm, cooperative, confident, and problem-solving tone.

      Also, It's not too late to send your handwritten letters of support!

    8. Petition Presented to College Township Council

      Jennifer Landry
      Petition Organizer

      Again thank you all so much for your support so far! We had a nice turnout tonight. However, the battle is not over yet. We presented to the council requesting for a change in the current ordinance. They were open to reconsidering this matter, they voted to send the matter onto the Planning Commission. More news to come on that... If you haven't written a letter yet to the township it's not too late. Send your letters to the College Township Planning Commission at 1481 E College Avenue, State College, PA 16801 calmly and respectfully stating your support for the legalization of backyard hens in College Township.

    9. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Jackie Bonomo LEMONT, PA
      • over 1 year ago

      Having backyard chickens will help improve by local food production by providing eggs, bug control, and improving soil fertility which cats and dogs can not do.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • AnneLiese Nachman STATE COLLEGE, PA
      • over 1 year ago

      I'd love to have backyard hens! I also hope to have bees and be more self-sustaining.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Mel DeYoung LEMONT, PA
      • over 1 year ago

      Supports local food, helps individuals in tough economic times, adds to charming character of an historic village.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • John Miley STATE COLLEGE, PA
      • over 1 year ago

      Because contemporary society's divorce from agriculture is short sighted and foolish. And fresh eggs are delicious and healthy. People should be able to cultivate their own.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Russ deForest STATE COLLEGE, PA
      • over 1 year ago

      I live in College Township and I believe residents should have the right to raise a small number of chickens on small lots.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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