WELLSBORO — The birds will have to go.
After a month of waiting, a committee recommended to borough council at its Aug. 10 meeting that it not amend its ordinance about keeping livestock in the borough.
At the July 13 meeting, Bodine Street residents Raquel Rogers and Anna Wales asked the council to reconsider its ordinance to allow them to keep four ducks and four hens on their one-acre property. Council postponed levying any fines until after the committee review.
If convicted of violating the ordinance, the couple could face penalties of $50 plus court costs for the first violation, $100 plus costs for the second, $150 plus costs for the third and $200 plus costs for a fourth violation, then $250 plus costs for subsequent violations. Each day the birds remain on the property is a separate violation.
The recommendation came from the council’s General Governance Committee: Lou Prevost, John Sticklin, Joan Hart and Craig West.
Under the present ordinance, borough residents with 10 or more acres may keep a horse or cow. Those with 15 or more acres may have up to four animals. The ordinance prohibits keeping swine, chicken, turkeys, pigeons or other domestic or wild fowl, goats, llamas, alpacas, and other species not defined in the ordinance.
In July, Rogers and Wales said the birds are kept within a coop next to the barn. The pens are cleaned daily and waste used as compost. The birds eat kitchen scraps and forage for insects, including ticks.
They asked council to allow chickens and small livestock such as goats and sheep because of a resurgence in people growing their own food and keeping poultry, bees and small livestock. Several neighbors spoke in support of the family keeping chickens, noting that Bodine Street has a long history of having livestock on properties there.
In other business, council:
- Authorized Borough Manager Scot Boyce Jr. to apply for a grant from the county for reimbursement of purchases related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He plans to apply for $400,000, which includes police salaries from March 1 through Dec. 31, wipe down seat covers for the police vehicles, masks, sanitizers, industrial cleaner, two self-contained breathing apparatus and lost revenue due to lower tax collections.
- Authorized Boyce and solicitor Chris Lantz to proceed with action against two properties for violations of the sidewalk ordinance. The walks have maintenance and obstruction issues, said Boyce.
- Announced Woodland Park closed Aug. 10, as well as Bryden Street which goes through the park, for a construction.
- Approved a request from the Wellsboro Bible Church to distribute ice cream on borough side streets between 5 and 8 p.m. Aug. 20.
- Announced the last day Packer Pool will be open is Aug. 25.