Will probably be greater than a month earlier than a Unity couple full their quest for a township zoning variance permitting them to proceed elevating chickens of their yard.
Jeff and Kristin Kuhns’ Tuesday night look earlier than the township zoning listening to board ended abruptly, after two hours of testimony, when township Solicitor Gary Falatovich was referred to as away for a household emergency. A couple of half dozen witnesses stay to be referred to as when the listening to continues on Oct. 27.
The couple, who reside on a half-acre parcel in a residential neighborhood on Vary Avenue, are interesting a zoning violation discover stemming from the 20 chickens they’re elevating on lower than the minimal 2 acres specified by township ordinance.
The couple stated at earlier township conferences that they deal with their chickens as pets, they usually’ve argued that the fowl shouldn’t be topic to the 2-acre requirement for livestock.
Kristin Kuhns testified Tuesday that the household’s chickens have distinct personalities. “They’re excited to see me, similar to a cat or a canine,” she stated. “They’re animals you do come to have emotions for.”
Pittsburgh legal professional David Toal, who’s representing the Kuhns, prompt his purchasers’ chickens might be thought of a permitted accent use, in accordance with township zoning. “We could not want a variance in any respect, relying on the way you interpret this ordinance,” he stated.
Falatovich cited a bit of the ordinance that lists fowl and pigs amongst animals that aren’t permitted on lower than 2 acres.
The testimony was difficult by the truth that Toal cited sections of the Unity zoning ordinance as they seem on the township web site — the place they’re numbered in another way than within the authentic ordinance. Toal stated he would submit a written model of his arguments, utilizing citations from the unique ordinance.
Kristin Kuhns acknowledged she didn’t test with Unity officers regarding pertinent township rules earlier than buying her first 10 hens within the spring of 2019. She stated she thought of zoning info posted on the township web site complicated however discovered nothing that led her to imagine chickens wouldn’t be allowed on her household’s property.
Township zoning official Harry Hosack testified that the rules for elevating poultry have been on the township books since 1991.
The Kuhns submitted into proof a letter from Kristin’s doctor, indicating having the chickens helps her with a medical situation, and one other from a counseling service, stating that the chickens present her emotional help.
When requested by Falatovich, she declined to publicly determine the referenced medical situation. She stated the chickens have been a consolation to her whereas dealing with the covid-19 pandemic. “They’re an ideal stress reliever,” she stated.
Biss didn’t have a possibility to testify earlier than Tuesday’s listening to was halted, however Unity resident and sport warden J.R. Flowers addressed one of many issues she’s expressed — that the chickens appeal to wild predators.
“If bears had been a problem, the chickens can be gone,” Flowers stated. He added that different, smaller predators had been discovered within the space lengthy earlier than the chickens arrived.
Biss additionally complained concerning the crowing of roosters. Kristin Kuhns testified there have been two roosters amongst 10 bantam chicks she bought in Might, however the gender of these smaller chickens isn’t obvious till they’ve grown for a number of months.
By that point, she stated, she’d grown connected to the roosters and famous it might have been tough to search out new properties for them even when she’d needed to provide them up. She stated the roosters are confined in a single day in a shed below a black sheet to maintain them from crowing, till 7:30 a.m. or later.
One other challenge is whether or not the couple’s three rooster coops violate zoning language that doesn’t permit accent farm buildings inside 100 toes of a neighboring property.
Whereas their zoning attraction proceeds, the Kuhns requested the township supervisors to think about altering the ordinance to ease restrictions on yard rooster hobbyists.