Chatham Votes to Move Ahead with Farming Ordinance

Township Attorney Carl Woodward explains some details about the ordinance. Credits: Tracy Ness
Resident Dan Miller is a proponent of the ordinance. He says his family has farmed his land for 200 years. Credits: Tracy Ness
Resident Richard Templin has long been a vocal opponent of the proposed ordinance. Credits: Tracy Ness


CHATHAM TOWNSHIP, NJ – After more than eight months of review and public comment the Township Committee has decided to move forward with a draft ordinance to allow limited family farming on parcels of more than three acres of land. That had some Green Village neighbors applauding and left others not so happy.

The ordinance, which will be available on the Township’s website later next week, will outline the conditions under which small scale farming will be permitted including the size and scope of accessory structures, setbacks, hours of operation, use of fertilizer and the use of well water among others. Ironically, farming is currently allowed in the township, the only catch is that residents are not permitted to sell what they produce. 

Sign Up for E-News

“We currently have several farms in the township including Averett Farm, the Ferber Farm and the Fornaro Farm stand on Southern Boulevard that all pre-date the Right to Farm act that came about in 1983,” said Mayor Nicole Hagner. “I don’t know why the committee at the time did not accept the model ordinance but given the request from some members of our community, we feel it is important to address this issue.” 

At issue is a request from the Bucuk Family, owners Green Path Landscaping, who want to grow organic fruits and vegetables to sell to local markets and restaurants. Along with Dan Miller, who is also interested in farming on his 5 plus acres that has been a farm in his family for almost 200 years. 

“We are not looking to hurt the community in any way, shape or form. My father, grandfather and great grandfather have all farmed this land,” he said. “Ten years ago the front of my property was a hay field and I still cut the field with a tractor, I plow the fields and use what I grow for my own consumption or I give it away. The only thing changing is that I’d like to bring in a box truck once a week to bring the produce to market.”  

Committee member Bailey Brower said he remembers victory gardens, a large cider press in town, picking up pumpkins along Green Village Road and see no issue with small family farming. 

“We never envisioned combines rolling down Green Village Road or planes overhead dusting the crops,” he said. “If people want to grow vegetables and sell them to local markets, I think it is a fine idea.” 

Neighbors who are not in favor of for-profit farming have a very different view of Green Village. Vocal opponent Richard Templin said, “There has not been a farm in operation in this area in 100 years. You’re talking about creating a farming ordinance for a town in the New York Metropolitan area. This is asinine.” He continued saying that the ordinance was “specially tuned for four properties” and that the committee “has not produced one citizen of Chatham who wants to farm.” 

Christopher Struenig said that the township already has a process for people who want to seek a variance and sees no reason to allow for a new conditional use process. He was also concerned that no traffic or environmental impact studies have been done. “I moved in a year ago and I am trying to improve my property,” he said. “I need to figure out if this has just been dumped on us because we are a corner in the township.”

Hagner explained that the draft ordinance would be reviewed by the planning board, who may recommend further study to the committee. Township Attorney Carl Woodward said with the current variance process and applicant would have to prove hardship or other special reasons to gain approval, which is very difficult to do. 

“With conditional use, the applicant must meet the conditions set by the township and get site plan approval. There is much more control if we set the standards,” he explained. 

The draft ordinance will be sent to the planning board for review and that may take some months before a recommendation is sent back. Residents have the opportunity to provide comment to the planning board when the issue is listed on the board’s agenda.  

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Thu, July 19, 12:00 PM

Madison YMCA, Madison

Free Childhood Nutrition Seminar at the F.M.

Fri, August 10, 6:00 PM

Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, Madison

Downtown Concert Series: Mama D & The Vexations

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, September 30, 8:00 AM

College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown

Walk to Fight Alzheimer's

Giving Back Health & Wellness

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, July 9 – Sunday, July 15, 2018

Please note that the library will be closed on Sundays now through Labor Day weekend


Our summer program is in full swing.  This week we are starting some of our most popular children’s programs, Chess for Kids and sewing classes with Miss Polly.  Children will also enjoy a visit from a special guest, Queen Maria Isabella from Medieval Times.  Teens ...

Longtime Chatham Resident Passes the Torch to Current Residents

July 13, 2018

To the Editor,

I moved to Chatham from Ohio in 1961 and left just over a year or so ago. My daughters went through the school system and one of them still lives there with her son.

Clearly, we found the Library and local educational opportunities to our liking. 

When it came to giving back to the community, I chose to support the Library and served as a Board member for 15 ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.



Video: Point View's Petrides Talks Netflix's Cash Burn as Company Reports Earnings

July 16, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on discussing Netflix's earnings report and why the streaming service should dilute shareholders to plug its cash burn.

​​​​​​For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...