Pittsburgh urban farming takes 'big step forward' with new ordinance
July 8, 2015 12:00 AM
"Pittsburgh City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday making it cheaper and easier for residents to get permits to raise chickens and goats and keep beehives.
The ordinance replaces a 2011 urban agriculture zoning law that charged city residents fees totaling $340 and required a hearing process that could take 10 to 12 weeks. Now, homeowners and renters can bring a site plan detailing a desired coop, apiary or other animal structure and get a permit in a single day for $70.
“It’s a big step forward for the chicken people,” said Jody Noble-Choder, organizer of the annual Chicks in the Hood urban chicken coop tour who also runs an urban “farm” and bed-and-breakfast with her husband in Highland Park.
“Not only was the process expensive and time-consuming, but there was about a 50 [percent] chance that you may not get approval."
"Jana Thompson of the Pittsburgh Pro Poultry People, who helped draft the ordinance with Mrs. Noble-Choder and others, estimated the city is home to some 400 to 500 chicken coops that currently are illegal. Some “renegade farmers” will likely remain as such, she said, but the new law means some “from the first step will do it correctly.”
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