Manure and chickens issues in Oxford

In this April 3, 2013 photo, chickens are seen at a chicken farm on the outskirts of Shanghai, China. After a new and lethal strain of bird flu emerged in Shanghai two weeks ago, the government of China's bustling financial capital responded with live updates on a Twitter-like microblog. It's a starkly different approach than a decade ago, when Chinese officials silenced reporting as a deadly pneumonia later known as SARS killed dozens in the south. (AP Photo/Gillian Wong)

By Marcella Peyre-Ferry

For the Journal Register News Service

OXFORD – Pig manure has been a big stink for residents and Oxford Borough Council. Borough resident Chauncey Boyd came to council Monday, April 8, on behalf of himself and his neighbors to complain about the stench he has been suffering with since before Easter.

Boyd lives near the edge of the borough, and farmland in adjoining East Nottingham Township as well as a portion of the borough off Locust Street and Wedgwood Roads has been the application site for liquid pig manure. “I appreciate the fact we are still a rural community but we are not a disposal site,” he told council. “I believe there is or should be some type of ordinance that should limit this. I believe (DEP) regulations are being violated.

Advertisement

Boyd estimated that he has seen at least 100 loads of liquid manure delivered to the property, and he has not seen any of it turned under into the soil. He has concerns for the smell, the potential health effects on neighbors, and the potential for run off into Tweed Creek.

There are regulations on amounts and locations for spreading manure, and Boyd reported that he has contacted DEP as well as other agencies about what he believes are violations, but he is still awaiting a DEP representative to make a visit to the site. In response, Council agreed to also contact DEP to express their concerns and ask that the situation be checked.

Council also heard from Sycamore Crossing resident Rachel Purnell, who wants the ordinances against keeping chickens in the borough to be tweaked so that she does not have to get rid of her four pet hens.

Purnell has had the hens for three years, and was never aware that there was a problem until a complaint was made to the zoning officer. Now she is being told to get rid of the chickens she has had since they were just a day old. “I know it seems goofy to consider them pets, but they’re my babies and I’m very, very close to them,” she told council, explaining that she had no noisy roosters, her home is in a remote site, and she even has a petition from her neighbors supporting her efforts to keep her chickens. “They don’t make any noise, they are enclosed in a fence, I would think that barking dogs would make more of a nuisance.”

Council suggested Purnell go to the codes committee to discuss any ordinance change she would like to see. One ordinance that council is looking at changing is the prohibition against A frame signs put out on sidewalks downtown by businesses. Those signs, as well as the flag style signs, are prohibited by ordinance, but the regulation has not been enforced. Now council is looking at allowing the A frame signs, but they are still not in favor of the flags.

Council member Randy Teel has a downtown business and is not voting on the issue, but he did contribute to the discussion, asking that the proposed new ordinance be changed from a limit of one such sign per property to one sign per storefront. Making the change will require the ordinance to also define “storefront.” The proposal with the change will have to go to the county for review and comment before it comes back to council for approval.