Proposed chicken ordinance won’t be just about chickens

About 15 citizens showed up two weeks ago to a Loyalsock Township public hearing on how supervisors should regulate the keeping of chickens.

The feedback the people who showed up provided will prove valuable, township officials said, as they attempt to keep a balance between the people who want fresh eggs and wings and those who don’t want chickens meandering onto their property and roosters crowing in the early hours.

“That ordinance is no longer going to be just about chickens,” zoning officer Garth Womer told supervisors at their Tuesday night meeting. “We’re going to focus more on a nuisance animals ordinance, updating the animals chapter. This way it encompasses a lot more than just chickens, rather than saying who can have chickens or where they could be.”

Womer and Township Manager Bill Burdett still are working on drafting another animal ordinance for the supervisors to consider. Right now, the township only has a barking dogs ordinance.

“This is so much simpler to figure out,” Burdett said. “The chicken thing just took off. This way we can deal with problems, if they come up.”

Another zoning issue was closed out at Tuesday’s meeting – supervisors voted to approve an ordinance regulating the placement of any potential prison in the township. Prisons will be conditionally allowed in commercial and industrial zones; since the township didn’t have them allowed anywhere before, it was feared due to some precedence in other municipalities, that an entity looking to build a prison could sue and then place one in any zone in the township.

Supervisors now will have to deal with a zoning issue at the former Becht Elementary on Clayton Avenue, after the proprietor of the Pitter Patter Preschool there came to Tuesday’s meeting to ask whether a Curves fitness facility could use some of the space.

“We’re wondering if that’s considered a recreation facility, or if we can be considered a community center,” Pitter Patter owner Bobbi-Jo Lundy asked the board.

Womer and several board members informed her that Curves is considered a for-profit, retail entity that can’t be placed in an “R-1” residential zone.

“Did you not get proper information before you closed on the property?” Supervisor Jeff Rauff asked Lundy.

“The church didn’t tell us they went through all this hoopla,” Lundy replied. “You have all the different zonings: retail establishment, recreation facility, public or private.”

Rauff asked Lundy her plans for the remainder of the building.

“The whole downstairs is taken up with Head Start and childcare,” Lundy said. “Curves just wants one classroom … we’re trying to get space rented out so we can put new windows in, and make it so it’s not such an eyesore.”

In other business, supervisors approved a slew of amendments to sewer agreements with other municipalities in preparation for transferring its sewer system to the Williamsport Sanitary Authority. The WSA takeover tentatively is scheduled for Sept. 20.