York Township Pa must have 2 acres!?!?

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by jljohnson, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. jljohnson

    jljohnson Hatching

    Sep 8, 2013
    I moved to York Township Pa about a year ago. We are zoned rural and have just under half an acre.

    I recently decided to look into raising chickens to work towards being self sustaining, as a natural bug repellent for my garden, and for the enjoyment of having a few girls. I started to research what I need and how to care for the birds. I felt ready to start working on a coop and figured I better check with zoning to be sure I was legal. Imagine my shock when they told me you needed a minimum of 2 acres!

    My girlfriend that lives in Wrightsville can have chickens, and her land is half the size of mine in a more urban setting. So of course I am not happy about the ordinance.

    I came to backyard chickens hoping to find some advise on what I can do to get the ordinance changed. All help is greatly appreciated!
  2. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    What county are you in? Check to see if your township is zoned for all USDA activities. Just check, do not explain reasons for asking during your research. No need to get into conflict before you have all your info gathered . Find out "why" you need 2 acres? Have the animal rights folk been busy using land mass as a way to limit animal breeding? If so, it's possible the Township Supervisors may have just rubber stamped their demands without researching further The AR folk are real good at making their demands seem compassionate and realistic, when they aren't. Check with the State and find out how much land they require for chickens. Maybe that number is in your favor. Classic chicken math says 4 sq. ft. indoors for large fowl, 10 sq. ft. outdoors for large fowl. 1/2 those numbers for bantams. Check building requirements, and set-backs from property lines, ventilation, feed requirements, refuse and manure disposal, etc. You need to have all your ducks in a row before you go before the board. Helps if you can take a 4H poultry director, animal control agent, farmers with you. It may be the township had complaints from neighbors about noisy roosters and this is how they settled it.
    BYC has a lot of great info on how to present this info in a positive light at a zoning meeting.
    Karen in rural western PA
    Here are some interesting links and a BYC thread on PA Right To Farm :

    Also check and see if this applies to you: a property that is zoned rural/ag so we have no limits on livestock.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
  3. jljohnson

    jljohnson Hatching

    Sep 8, 2013
    Thank you for all the info Karen! I am in York County. I am zoned rural, which is why I didn't check with the township as soon as I decided I wanted chickens. Figured I was in a zone that would be guaranteed to have chickens. Shame on me for assuming! Now that I have an idea on where to start, I'll begin gathering my info.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: