Kennett Square residents complain about chickens, blight

Photo by Fran Maye Leslie Whiteside tells Kennett Square council that a lack of codes enforcement has resulted in a decrease in the quality of life in her neighborhood.
Photo by Fran Maye The Stenning Hill development in Kennett Square, where some homeowners say a lack of codes enforcement is causing a reduction in the quality of life there.

By FRAN MAYE

fmaye@21-centurymedia.com

Residents of a small neighborhood in Kennett Square say chickens running wild, appliances that sit in driveways for months, cars parked on sidewalks, and teens skateboarding on streets are not only reducing their quality of life, but affecting the value of their homes.

“This is just tearing this community apart,” said Robert Whiteside, one of about 200 homeowners in the Stenning Hills development. “It’s decreasing the property value of our homes.”

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Whiteside told council that he is trying to sell his home because he wants to downsize. He said one person didn’t put an offer on his house after viewing the neighborhood.

Whiteside’s wife, Leslie, told council that ordinances are not being enforced.

“When you took the oath of office as a council member, you took an oath to represent the entire community, not just parts of the community,” she said. For years where I live in Stenning Hills, it has been neglected and ignored. And now it’s affecting me personally.”

Leslie Whiteside said she was pleased with the job Police Chief Ed Zunino has done for the neighborhood, but she said the codes department has not been responsive to the problem.

“There are codes issues that are being ignored,” Lelsie Whiteside said. “This is not acceptable. There is nothing wrong with progress, but all the things being done in our community are for the people who come to visit, not the people who live here.”

The biggest problem, Leslie Whiteside said, are the many chickens that run around, and suggested borough officials draft an ordinance to address the problem.

“We don’t need chickens in our community,” she said. “I walked around town last week, and saw seven chickens.”

Don Quinn, who lives on Wayne Avenue, said he too has witnessed chickens running around on lawns and streets.

Janet Wilson, who lives on Scarlett Avenue, said the chicken problem has worsened. “There are chickens behind the houses that face South Street,” she said. “I’ve even seen chickens running out of a front door on a house on Scarlett Avenue.”

Councilor Leon Spencer promised action will be taken.

“Blight in any neighborhood is unacceptable,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if’s Kennett Square or Hockessin, Delaware. It’s unacceptable.”

Spencer said he was “alarmed,” and “concerned” about the residents’ issues.

“We need to be looking at this,” he said. “I don’t pay lip service. We have a public safety committee that needs to take a look at skateboarding on Ridge Avenue. We have to look at attractive nuisances on driveways. Refrigerators in yards are attractive to a small kid. And chickens, as much as I like chicken, the thought of chickens coming out of someone’s house is rather alarming to me. We have work to do.”

Leslie Whiteside, a former director at Kennett Consolidated School District, said it is no coincidence that not a single council member lives currently in Stenning Hills.

“Kennett Square is not kid friendly, it is not senior friendly, and is not middle class friendly,” she said. “We need Kennett Square to be family friendly.”

Council promised to address the issues.