Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Blairstown Chicken Changes Put on Hold

It’s good to be a chicken in Blairstown, as the township Land Use Board is expected to review what are considered to be, in some cases, “unreasonable” requirements, such as mandating two acres to own one bird.

The changes, however, originally proposed as part of the Backyard Chicken Ordinance, will be proposed as an amendment to the township Master Plan, rather that a new ordinance, which could require extensive and expensive notification procedures, Land Use Board attorney Roger Thomas said. Adopting it as part of a Master Plan revision is a much simpler process, Thomas said.

Among the changes in the ordinance proposed at the Land Use Board’s February meeting, when the measure was introduced, roosters would be restricted in VN or VR zones, which include most of the Village area of Blairstown. In residential zones of five acres or more, roosters would be permitted. Farms would still be permitted to have roosters.

At the February meeting, Land Use Board member Charles Makatura said he did not think roosters should be subject to a blanket prohibition, pointing out that many people came to Blairstown knowing it was a rural community. He said roosters mostly cause problems in densely populated areas and agreed that they should be restricted from the village area.

While revising the minimum area for chickens to one-quarter acre was considered, it was pointed out that the existing set-back requirements, generally 100 feet from the property line, would make having chickens impractical. Currently, the two-acre minimum is the standard, and this also applies to other non-household animals such as ducks, turkeys, guinea hens, pigeons, pheasants, quail, rabbits and other small animals, the attorney, said.

The changes, if adopted, would likely include requirements for animal feed to be kept in tightly closed metal or plastic containers. There has been concern in the Village area that feed containers could attract vermin. The area already has a problem with feral cats dining in the dumpsters.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.