Camp Hill will not change ordinance to allow most residents to raise chickens

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CAMP HILL, Pa. – After a year of discussion, the borough will not make changes to an ordinance that could have allowed most residents to raise chickens in their yards.

More than 30 people took almost two hours speaking out on the proposal Wednesday night, but the borough planning committee recommended not making changes at this time after all the input it received.

“The majority of the borough was in opposition, but we don’t know that factually,” borough council president Peter Robelen said. “That’s kind of an opinion based on talking to a lot of people.”

The borough originally outlawed the practice for most of the borough in 1982, instead allowing up to ten birds on properties over an acre, provided the pens are at least 75 feet away from property lines and are kept clean.

A large number of residents spoke out against it, saying they were concerned about smells and noises from potential chicken coops.

“Nobody has told me what’s going to happen to my property values when we begin to have chickens in the community,” Connie Egan, who spoke out against the proposal, said. “Nobody has told me how we’re going to enforce what is happening.”

But the growing concept of urban farming has made the idea of raising chickens popular among some groups who want locally sourced poultry.

“[It’s] probably going to cost $5 an egg by the time it’s done but I’ll be one of the people that does it,” Mark Hoover, who supported changes, said. “I take care of my property, I don’t expect to cause any trouble for anyone, I try never to I’m a responsible homeowner, why are you stopping me from doing this?”

Several council members called it a divided issue, some recommending the public to bring the issue to a public referendum or to apply for a conditional use permit to raise chickens in their yards.

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