Residents continue to purchase chickens in anticipation of a new animal ordinance that may make it more difficult to keep a flock on some township lots.

The ordinance was scheduled for introduction at the Wednesday, October 7, meeting, but council sent the ordinance back for revision to the dog and cat section.

Mayor Eric Wilsusen said he keeps hearing more and more people are getting chickens, presumably so they will be grandfathered in and not subject to the new ordinance.

The ordinance limits the number of hens on a lot of one acre or less to five and on a lot of two acres or less to 10. Cockerels and roosters are prohibited on any non-farmland assessed property.

Chickens must be kept in a fully enclosed coop with a run. They must be in rear yards only, at least 25 feet from fenced in property and 50 feet from non-fenced property.

Livestock is also addressed on property of more than five acres.

Domestic animals are included in the same ordinance.

Council Vice President Melissa Senatore questioned the number of dogs and cats allowed, suggesting a maximum of five rather than eight, given the small size of many properties in the township. Township Attorney Tom Ryan said council could table the ordinance and introduce it later or introduce it now and amend it later. Township Administrator Debi Millikin said she would work on a revision for the October 21 meeting. She said the number of domestic animals could be based on the size of property just as livestock numbers are.

When asked if the breed of dog should be taken into consideration, Millikin said that is not within municipal jurisdiction.

Council did act on a resolution protesting a rate increase request from Jersey Central Power and Light.

The rate increase would average 8.5% for residential customers. Councilman Jay Dunham said the utility’s performance in the last storm was too poor to justify any increase. Council unanimously passed the resolution.

Dunham also commented on a story in a publication that appeared to take credit for the elimination of rolling property assessments. Wilsusen said he corrected that, informing the publication it was the repercussions of a Passaic County lawsuit that resulted in the township eliminating the program. He also said there is no relationship between the way property assessments are done and the state’s school funding formula as has been alleged.

Christmas Tree Lighting

Wilsusen said it is too early to make a call on whether the township’s Christmas tree lighting will be held this year.

The historical society will hold its open house at the museum as usual.

Senatore, who called into the meeting, said the museum is such a tiny building it will be difficult to adhere to the rules for maximum capacity. Wilsusen said there will be activities outside as well as in the building. He said the historical society members say they have figured out a way to manage guided tours of the building.

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