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New rules for chicken farms after Somerset County neighbors raise a stink

The chicken industry is booming on the Eastern Shore, with new — and larger — chicken houses being built on a larger scale, causing farmers to face not-in-my-backyard activism. (Baltimore Sun video)

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. (AP) — Somerset County officials have approved stricter rules for poultry houses after residents raised a stink about bad smells and loud noises coming from their neighbors.

County Commissioners on Tuesday adopted an ordinance that calls for the minimum space between chicken houses and residences to be doubled from 200 feet to 400 feet.

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The ordinance also calls for buffers, such as plants, around poultry houses to further block the view, sediment in the air, and odor.

Princess Anne resident Theresa Perdue said she thinks the buffers will help, but she wishes the new rules were tougher.

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Bill Satterfield with Delmarva Poultry Industry, the region's trade group, said he thinks the new rules are "reasonable" and "workable."

The new rules will go into effect Oct.1.

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