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Borough's Youngest Chicken Advocate Returns

Young Erich Gittler furthered his chicken-keeping initiative and followed-up with commissioners Monday night.

"I just wanted to see if you've made any progress with my request to keep chickens in Collingswood."

The voice of 8-year-old Erich Gittler, again donning a full suit and bespectacled, as he approached commissioners at their meeting Monday night. 

Young Erich's last visit came during the , during which he advocated chicken-keeping in Collingswood, his plea backed-up by extensive research. 

"We've done a little bit of looking at it," said Mayor James Maley Monday night. "It's made some news recently."

Commissioner Joan Leonard added her input on keeping chickens.

"I've been talking about this with residents since you last approached us," said Leonard. "And I'm hearing that people are concerned about how many chickens you can have, or how much room you'd need to have to keep them away from neighbors."

Erich had already proposed in August that residents could keep up to three chickens, kept in an enclosed area with up to 4 square feet of living space per chicken.

"I think there's definitely some people who want this, and there are others who don't want it at all," added Maley. 

But Erich was prepared once again.

"Well, here's some chicken ordinances from other towns," said Erich, handing a stack of paperwork to the mayor. "They include ordinances from Michigan, Seattle and someplace in Arkansas."

Erich said he feels supporters outweigh chicken-keeping opponents in Collingswood. 

"There's even a Facebook group dedicated to keeping chickens here," he said, adding that the page was created before his mission began. "It's called the Collingswood Chicken Uprising. I think they started to raise awareness, and my (appearance at the August commission meeting) got people moving on it."

Erich's latest idea, which he brainstormed Monday afternoon with a friend: a community chicken coop. This idea, he said, would leave no unhappy neighbors in its wake. Erich proposed borough resident volunteers, who could feed and keep the chickens in one designated spot, and residents could collect eggs. 

But Monday night, the most apparent factor in Erich's dedication to his cause came in the form of sweets. 

"I made chicken-shaped cookies for everyone," he said, pointing to a box in the corner. 

Commissioners and borough officials were surely not opposed to the treats, biting into the cookies and applauding Erich's baking talents after the meeting. 

"I'm a chicken supporter myself," said Maley. "Just not in my backyard."

Loretka October 05, 2011 at 01:09 AM
Once again, I support Erich's mission. I think it's a great idea and should not be shoved aside. Seriously. It's no laughing matter. I would be more in favor of individuals having their own chickens, rather than a community chicken coop. With a proper ordinance, there should be no problems. And I hope it extends to Haddon Township.
Joe November 10, 2011 at 01:40 PM
With respect to Erich, I think the commissioners/residents of Collingswood have much bigger issues to worry about right now. I appreciate and respect his initiative and his preparedness but unless the chickens are going to pay taxes we really need to be having different conversations; like when is this Lumberyard nightmare finally going to end, or when is somebody going to step up and stop the non-sense at the Heights, or when are we going to be able to have basic infrastructure repairs/upgrades taken care of. At a minimum, I feel like I shouldn't have to pay $12,000 a year in taxes AND still have to clear my own storm drains every time we get a heavy rain.

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