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Debate over Montrose chicken ordinance

Newswatch 16's Jack Culkin tells us about efforts to change what some call an outdated ordinance in Montrose.

MONTROSE, Pa. — In Montrose, one issue has been pecking at members of the borough council raising chickens in the neighborhood.

Something Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer Roy Williams says is not feasible for many people due to the current ordinance.

"The size of the lots in town other than a handful of them makes it difficult with the way it's written now for them to be able to have chickens," said Williams, Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer.

The ordinance allows people in Montrose to have chickens at their homes if there is a minimum of fifty feet between property lines. 

Now, people want to change it.

Over the past few weeks, the council met with community members about adjusting the property line requirement to allow more people to have chickens in residential neighborhoods.

Council Vice President Edward Herd is on board with updating the ordinance.

"Instead of fifty feet, maybe ten feet, ya know, something that would allow the common properties in town to have chickens as well, which I see," said Edward Herd, Montrose Council Vice President.

Now one of the main reasons people want to bring chickens into residential homes is to provide economic relief, but one business says that even starting up can get costly.

"Fence, coop, chickens, buying the chickens, buying the animals, buy the feeders, buy the waterers. There is an initial cost to that; that is a fair amount," said Guy Parrish, owner of Montrose Feed & Supply.

Montrose Feed and Supply owner Guy Parrish dealt with these startup costs when his family got their chicken coop.

Although it helped lighten the grocery bill a bit, his daughter Katie Lamphere believes owning animals like chickens needs to mean more than just saving a couple of bucks.

"Like having animals is not get rich quick it's an investment and you kind of do it because you love it. You love the animals. You love knowing where your food comes from," said Katie Lamphere, Montrose Feed & Supply Manager.

The decision of whether to ease regulations on chicken ownership in the borough of Montrose has yet to be decided.

The issue will be brought up at the next borough council meeting on August 15th.

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