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Chicken coop

Chickens are seen inside a portable backyard coop.

Carlisle borough residents may be allowed to keep chickens in their backyards by spring.

The borough has advertised an ordinance that outlines the restrictions and permitting fees for keeping chickens. The borough council is expected to take up the measure in March.

Under the prooposal, residents in the R-1 (low density residential) district would be able to keep chickens, as would any resident whose lot area is 5,000 square feet or more. Property owners in the institutional zoning district could also keep chickens provided the lot is 5,000 square feet or more.

At a recent council workshop meeting, councilwoman Brenda Landis asked if there was any flexibility concerning the lot size requirement.

“I do feel like it is a little bit more restrictive than some other places have been. I’m just trying to make sure that it is accessible to people that would make use of it,” she said.

Michael Skelly, the borough’s planning/zoning/codes manager, said the borough staff researched requirements in other municipalities, and set a lot size requirement that seemed reasonable. Setting the lot size at 5,000 feet means about two-thirds of the properties would be eligible to keep chickens, while dropping the requirement to 4,000 square feet would make 80 to 85 percent of properties available.

Councilman Sean Shultz said the ordinance can be revisited in six months. If people are not applying to keep chickens, that would be a sign that the lot sizes may need to be adjusted.

“You’re going to expect right off the bat people who are interested are going to jump on the program,” he said.

The ordinance also requires that chickens be kept in a coop or shelter designed to adhere to state standards or regulations concerning animal protection or health standards. The shelter is required to be placed a minimum of 60 feet away from any residential structures. It is also to be fully screened and buffered by fencing and/or vegetation so that it can’t be seen by the public.

Residents will be permitted to have four chickens, none of which may be roosters.

Bedding in the shelter must be changed daily and disposed of weekly, and is not allowed to be stored openly. Chickens are also only permitted to be kept in the backyard of the lot.

Eggs or chickens may not be sold commercially or as a home occupation.

Any slaughtering of chickens is required to be done in the residence of the property or another principal structure on the lot.

Annual permits carrying a $50 fee will be required to keep chickens. The permits would be required to be renewed annually after an inspection.

Email Tammie at Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.


Carlisle Reporter

Carlisle Reporter for The Sentinel.