Police & Fire

Chatham Township Committee Goes Back to the Drawing Board on Regulating Outdoor Fires

Chatham Township Fire Marshall Barry Howard lays out the reasoning for an ordinance to regulate outdoor fires Credits: TAP Chatham
Chatham Township Fire Marshall Barry Howard drafted the proposed ordinance from the NJ Uniform Fire Code Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM,  NJ - The idea is to give the Chatham Township Police Department the guidelines it needs to enforce rules about outdoor fires, such as fire pits, and to keep township residents from burning garbage and other items. 

"It will be there if we need it," Chatham Township Police Chief Steven Hennelly said. "We're not going to be driving around looking to enforce it."

After a discussion of a proposed three-page ordinance that would regulate outdoor fires, the Chatham Township Committee took an informal vote and decided, 4-1, to send the ordinance back to the safety committee for tweaking. No date was set on when a revised ordinance might be introduced.

Sign Up for E-News

Chatham Township Fire Marshall Barry Howard authored the ordinance, using the NJ Uniform Fire Code as his guide. Howard indicated in his 25 years on the job, there have been about 24 incidents regarding outdoor fires.

Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter led the opposition to the ordinance, which he didn't feel was necessary. He was the lone dissenting vote.

"It's far better to educate people than regulate them," Ritter said.

Mayor Curt Ritter and Deputy Mayor Kevin Sullivan weigh in on whether the ordinance is needed or not

Deputy Mayor Kevin Sullivan sent an email to committee members that offered changes in the wording of the ordinance. For example, he didn't think it needed to say there could be no fire within 15 feet of a residence. 

"The gist is that you don't want people burning garbage in their back yard," Sullivan said. "Leave it up to the homeowner where it should be. As a homeowner it is their responsibility to keep it at a reasonable and safe distance."

In reading the guidelines set force in the proposed ordinance and listening to the objections to the wording, committee members Mike Kelly, Robert Gallop, Karen Swartz and Sullivan all voted to send it back to the public safety committee for review.

"I don't want there to be too many onerous regulations for the homeowner," Swartz said.

Chatham Township Police Chief explains that the calls to the police are all about the smoke created by outdoor fires

In other business, the committee voted, 4-1, to amend its open space tax ordinance, setting the open space tax at a half-cent per $100,000 of assessed home value. If the ordinance was not amended, the open space tax would be two cents.

As he did when the ordinance was introduced, committee member Robert Gallop cast the dissenting vote. Gallop indicated that the higher tax would help replenish the open space fund. Other members did not feel it was necessary and noted that the tax could be raised if the funds were needed,


TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, February 19 – Sunday, February 25, 2018


By Galina Natenzon

Friends of the Library are continuing their book collection in preparation for Annual Book Sale.  Kids are off from school on Monday for Presidents’ Day – bring them to the library!  We have plenty for them to do.  For adults, Professor Licklider’s second lecture on North Korea will take place on Tuesday.  The ...

A Week at the Library of The Chathams - Monday, February 5 – Sunday, Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Week at the Library of The Chathams

Monday, February 5 – Sunday, Sunday, February 11, 2018


By Galina Natenzon

Friends of the Library book collection continues.  The tax season is here, and dedicated volunteers are here to help you with you tax returns!

For information about all programs or to sign up, please call the library at 973‑635‑0603 or go to ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...


February 20, 2018

To the Editor,

I told my daughter I needed to write about gun violence. Know what she told me? “Mom, be sure you’re not too polarizing. People won’t listen.” She’s right. At age eleven she’s figured out that we adults need to be reminded how to speak to one another in order to fix a problem. But I have hope and belief that we can fix that discourse in our ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!


Mindfulness and Meditation Courses Beginning March 2018

February 20, 2018

Mindfulness and Meditation Courses Beginning March 2018

-Space is limited as classes will be small-

MADISON, NJ – In celebration of the new spring season, come experience and enjoy Mindfulness and Meditation with Wendi L. Dumbroff, MA, LPC. Dumbroff is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Madison, New Jersey, where she specializes in individual, family, ...