College Township council to weigh in on chicken issue

A township resident is crying fowl on common objections to backyard chickens — like smell and noise — and tonight will request that the township allow hens on smaller lots.

Scott Stilson submitted to the township information on keeping backyard chickens and a proposed ordinance. He will give a presentation to the Township Council at Thursday’s regular meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at the township building, 1481 E. College Ave.

Harris Township was the last municipality in the region to debate a backyard chicken ordinance, approving one in February of last year. It allows residents to raise two to eight hens on lots less than 10 acres, depending on lot size. Those with lots as small as 3,000 square feet can raise two chickens.

State College and Patton Township also allow chickens on residential lots.

College Township allows the raising of livestock and poultry in the agriculture zoning district on lots that are at least 10 acres in size.

This isn’t the first time the township has heard a request for allowing the birds on smaller lots. Manager Adam Brumbaugh said a request came in several years ago.

“Basically, council just set it aside and did not take any action,” he said. “In order for the resident’s request to move forward, council would need to direct staff to do something with that request.”

That could take the form of further research or sending the issue to the Planning Commission for review.

An online petition had 107 signatures Wednesday evening in support of the movement. In an email to the township, Stilson said he thinks that at least 95 percent of those who signed are township residents.

Stilson could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

The proposed chicken ordinance is similar to others in the region, prohibiting roosters on lots less than 10 acres and, as in the Harris ordinance, allowing a range of two to eight hens, depending on lot size.