Grove City man simply wants his hens to live at home

ContributedDon Huntington of Grove City and his grandson Elijah visit his hens, which he moved to his son’s Pine Township home because chickens are not allowed in the borough.

GROVE CITY – Don Huntington is willing to help Grove City borough enforce an ordinance update that, if approved, would let him keep his chickens at home.

“They’re adorable, and I love them,” he told borough council during public comment during Monday’s meeting.

Huntington attended the session as a follow-up to his talk June 21, when he proposed that council amend an ordinance to allow residents to keep up to eight hens on their properties. Grove City’s current ordinances prohibit residents from keeping chickens.

Borough officials announced Monday that they would hold a special work session to discuss the ordinance at 7 p.m. July 26 in the borough building.

“No one wants problems with chickens in this borough less than I do ... I’m not asking for a lot,” Huntington said.

He and his wife, Brenda, had seven hens at home until earlier this month, when they relocated the animals to their son’s home in Pine Township.

Huntington said they are sad not having the hens at home and worry that the chickens are not acclimating well to the sudden change. They had been raising the hens since August, when they were a week old. Before buying the chickens, they researched borough ordinances and found nothing about chickens under the “animal” section.

In May, the chickens came to the attention of Taylor Pokrant, the borough’s code enforcement and zoning officer, after another resident had asked Pokrant if chickens were allowed and specifically mentioned the Huntingtons’ fowl.

Chickens are prohibited in Grove City under ordinances addressing “minimum space, use and location requirements.”

Huntington said on Monday that he’s spoken to other code enforcement officers who gave positive feedback about allowing chickens to be kept at residential properties. He’s also found “overwhelming support” from community members who are in favor of updating the ordinance as well as encouragement from social media.

“My two biggest proponents are my neighbors on either side of me,” he said.

Huntington said he spent a lot of time and resources preparing his backyard for the hens, so he feels he’d be able to help Pokrant enforce the ordinance if it does get amended.

He understands that some people don’t like chickens — when he was younger, he didn’t like them on the family farm.

But Huntington said there’s a big difference between chickens on a farm and backyard chickens. They’re like his pets, and he thinks he could help things run smoothly if the borough allows backyard chickens.

In his proposal, Huntington suggests that residents with backyard chickens pay a permit fee, take a class, have an annual inspection, and follow certain guidelines about housing, waste and food.

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