Hanover residents cry foul over chicken regulation

Ashlee Vandewater said she wants her son to grow up knowing that even though her family doesn’t live on a farm, they can still provide for themselves.

The Hanover resident and her husband, Matt, are challenging council members to amend an ordinance that regulates them to owning four chickens at any given time.

“If there’s merit to her argument that you can raise more than four chickens in a manner that doesn’t create issues for your neighbors, I’ll take it back to the council,” said borough manager Michael Bowersox, who will be visiting the 24-year-old’s home in May.

Bowersox explained the legal standard for any animal complaint is “whether or not they are a nuisance.” He said residents with chickens should be held to the same standard as dog owners.

For example, he said, a resident can own one dog that is a nuisance or own five dogs that are not a nuisance.

“We are in a position where there were people who were creating conditions that made it difficult for their neighbors to live in,” he said.

Council members had lengthy conversations and held a public hearing, which wasn’t highly attended, to draft a fair animal ordinance, Bowersox continued. Instead of banning chickens, the general consensus was to limit owners to four, he said.

Council members unanimously approved the ordinance Dec. 27, 2017.

According to the ordinance, residents need a chicken permit. Four chickens are allowed per lot, regardless of lot size; no fowl or poultry other than chickens may be kept, harbored or permitted to reside on a property; no roosters are permitted, and only hens are allowed, the permit reports.

Residents can keep the chickens they currently have, but they will only be permitted to keep them “as long as complaints are not received.” Once any current chickens are removed, the owners will not be “permitted to replace them above the limit of four,” the permit explains.

Vandewater penned a letter to the borough when she filed her $25 permit application fee.

Read more of this The York Dispatch article by Jana Benscoter by clicking here.