Monday, March 4, 2024

Blairstown’s Land Use Board to Take Longer Look at Kennel Regulations Update

A proposed ordinance with new regulations for dog kennels and other facilities housing canines was sent back to a subcommittee of the Blairstown Land Use Board after the full board decided it still needed some more work before it goes back to the township committee.

The committee had sent the ordinance to the land use board for it to determine if it was consistent with the township’s master plan.

At an uncharacteristically crowded meeting of the land use board, on March 20, numerous residents voiced concerns that the new rules, particularly any potential changes in zoning laws, would constrict the work and scope of kennels within the township. Others were concerned about the rules applying to other animals, particularly horses.

Land use board attorney Roger Thomas emphasized that an existing use, or “grandfathered” use, is generally exempt from changes in zoning ordinances. They may not be permitted to expand beyond the scope of the existing use at the time zoning rules are changed. What is in place already, can stay.

The updated ordinance will add three definitions of kennels within the township.

The first is “Boarding Kennel,” defined as a facility that provides temporary boarding of dogs and other household animals. Essentially a bed and breakfast for pets. This would also include services such as grooming.

A “Commercial Kennel” would refer to a facility that trains and breeds dogs. Commercial kennels would not be permitted to board non-owned dogs except when the boarding is specifically related to boarding or training.

The third, “Rescue Kennel,” would be a facility in which boarding and keeping of dogs is conducted for humanitarian purposes by legally registered, not-for-profit animal rescue organizations. Such dogs would be expected to be transferred to an animal foster home or permanent home as soon as is practical.

The ordinance also adds animal facilities to the township’s Conditional Uses rules, which would permit the facilities as conditional uses in the HC, highway commercial, and R-5, single family residential, zones. The uses would need to meet a number of criteria including property size, facilities and maintenance.

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.