UPDATE: Due to a reporting error, the name of the property owner who was the subject of a citizens’ complaint was transposed with the name of one of the speakers.
Tammy Duda is the owner of the Prospect Point lot in question. The speakers from the public were Leslie Lech and Sharon Victori.
The Chronicle regrets this error.
There may not be many farms left in the township, but Jefferson was once a farming community and the municipal ordinances reflect that fact. A group of Prospect Point residents are not too happy about it.
Leslie Lech of Schwartz Boulevard told the Jefferson Township council on Wednesday, September 2, she has a neighbor with chickens, including a rooster, ducks, and a pig. Another neighbor, Tammy Duda, claims the animals are noisy and the property is too small for so many animals.
Resident Sharon Victori asked the council to review the township livestock ordinance, claiming the property in question is less than a quarter acre and also is home to rabbits, dogs, and cats. She noted the township requires dogs to be licensed and questioned why no permit is required for the farm animals. She also claimed the animals were not well-kept.
The neighbors claimed the chickens have attracted the attention of a fox, and one was afraid the fox would go after her small dog.
Code Enforcement Officer Joe Macaluso said he was at the property in question on a 90+degree, humid day and smelled nothing. He said the yard is fenced and he never saw a pig. He did say lot minimum requirements should be addressed and noted the rooster seems to be a problem.
Councilman Jay Dunham also saw no problems on the property, adding “I’m sure they didn’t clean up just for us.”
Council President Kim Finnegan said she also visited the property. She noted council was about to discuss possible changes to the livestock ordinance just when COVID-19 hit.
Township Administrator Debra Millikin said the township can add an acreage requirement. She also said they can ban roosters in a residential area.
She said Macaluso deals with these complaints frequently, including complaints about goats and miniature horses. Chickens are often an issue, she added.
Mayor Eric Wilsusen noted livestock is exempt from the township noise ordinance. He suggested a no-fee registration for livestock and grandfathering in existing animals.
Millikin said she would have some suggestions for an amendment to the livestock ordinance by the next meeting.
Another property issue that was discussed involved donation bins in commercial areas. Macaluso suggested a limit of six bins on any property. He said the Acme has eight and the old Pathmark had 10.
Township Clerk Michele Reilly said other municipalities have limits on the number of bins. Some limit in residential zones and Rockaway Township does not allow them on municipal property.
Macaluso said the bins are supposed to be permitted, but not all are. Reilly said the owners of the bins are required to prove the property owner wants them. Township Attorney Tom Ryan said the property owner is liable for debris scattered outside the bins and other problems.
Wilsusen said all non-permitted bins should be removed.
Dunham suggested allowing no more than four bins per property. Reilly said the zoning officer should approve all bins and the township should follow Rockaway’s lead of none on municipal property. Ryan said state statutes give that authority to the zoning officer.
Millikin will work on those regulations as well.
In other news, Reilly said the township will be allowed one polling location for the general election, the underclass cafeteria at the high school. School will be closed that day. There will also be a drop box for mail-in ballots at the municipal building with 24/7 monitoring. A camera will provide a feed to the police dispatcher.
The box will be installed before the ballots are mailed out, Reilly said.