Government

Council Reviews Chicken Coop Ordinance, Suggests a Variance for Homeowner

1013c8f0d179369731a4_11_17_chickens4.jpg
Credits: DANIELLE WILSON
4b950cff5e5a907d2786_11_17_chicken.JPG
Credits: DANIELLE WILSON
69afffa180c2f399f2b8_63fb4e084d8e66e66bc0_11_17_chickens3.jpg
Credits: STEVEN RIECKER
1013c8f0d179369731a4_11_17_chickens4.jpg

RANDOLPH, NJ - When Steven Riecker, Randolph resident of 18 years and chicken owner, discovered the township required three acres to raise chickens, but just one acre to own a horse, he asked the council to reconsider the current ordinance and make the township more “chicken friendly.”

Riecker sent an email to the council on Sept. 28 detailing his initial request, followed up with a formal letter on Sept. 29 and the discussion was placed on the Nov. 17 council agenda.

“Based on my informal research online and in the print media, I believe that chickens’ rising popularity as outdoor pets has caused many residents (and future residents) to seek a more family-friendly stance from the township as it relates to property size required to raise chicken,” Riecker states in the letter.

Sign Up for E-News

He began his presentation to the council with his own experience raising chickens on less than three acres of property.

“When my daughter was a senior over here at Randolph High, she got involved with sustainable agriculture as well as in organic farming,” Riecker explained. “Next thing you know, I have three baby chicks arrive at my house…. It was an accident for lack of a better word.”

Soon the family learned about the many predatory animals in Randolph, specifically raccoons, and lost all the chickens. After two years, Riecker and his daughter, Lauren, built a “more fortified coop,” and at this time a neighbor reported the situation to the township.

“My understanding of the situation has shifted slightly as I’ve continued to dig in and research what’s the concern here and possible solutions,” Riecker said.

During the council discussion, Riecker addressed the specific concerns of the council with suggestion for the revised ordinance, particularly the nuisance and vermin associated with chickens, and expressed the family benefits of raising the animals.

“In my opinion, showing kids where their food comes from… provides a wholesome family experience,” Riecker stated.

While allowing residents to keep chickens on one acre, Riecker suggested requiring permits for the structures and imposing several restrictions to maintain the quality of life in Randolph, such as required pest control measures, only allowing 10 chickens on less than three acres and absolutely no roosters.

“People move to Randolph to be closer to the outdoors,” said Riecker’s girlfriend, Karen Brown. “And to have options of possibly having chickens just completes the whole picture.”

Mayor Roman Hirniak asked why Riecker did not apply for a variance, and instead jumped to revising the ordinance.

Riecker responded that he felt owning chickens would be something more residents might enjoy and possibly cause more homeowners to move to Randolph. He wanted to make this improvement for the whole township.

However, the council agreed that this would be a case for a variance, not an ordinance overhaul.

Township Manager Stephen Mountain explained that the current variance process now protects the neighbors, ensuring that the township hears their concerns about changes in the neighborhood. Removing the variance process would take away that opportunity.

“Certainly what you hear tonight is a group of people who are passionate about this issue and who I think want to do it the right way.” Mountain said. “Unfortunately, we see the full spectrum of any activity, and sometimes we don’t have people doing things the right way,”

Other council members mentioned that predatory animals are a big issue in Randolph, and they are working to decrease that risk.

“We recently passed an ordinance banning the feeding of wild animals on private property, and one of the reasons for that was… we were trying to keep wild animals out of people’s back yards. Bears, deer, coyotes, raccoons, fox, we have a lot of wild animals around here,” said Councilman Mark Fostenhausler. “Mr. Riecker did mention he had some chickens eaten by foxes and raccoons, which is understandable because that’s what they do.”

“I also believe that a variance is the right way to go,” began Councilwoman Joanne Veech. “You’re a very caring person, you’re building it to spec, but we can’t take that approach with 5500 other one-acre properties. Add to that the people who get chicks for Easter, and the next thing you know we have all kinds of issues with people who don’t take good care.”

“We don’t have enforcement available to us, to license chickens, and if we do what you’re suggesting, someone will have to go out and check all the time,” Veech added. “We try to keep government small, because we try to keep taxes down.”

Hirniak concluded the discussion by advising Riecker to move forward with a variance, but also seek advice from the Board of Health. With their professional input, the variance process for this type of permit could possibly be simplified.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Randolph

Road Resurfacing Work in Randolph for July 9 - 16

July 7, 2018

Below is a list of the streets for the upcoming resurfacing work. All roads will remain open for local traffic and emergency vehicles. Motorists should allow additional time for travel.



Street Name
Dates of Milling
Dates of Paving


Springhill Road - Forrest Road to #40
7/9
7/11-12


Musiker Avenue - Morey Lane to ...

Randolph Diner: Serving Up the Next Version of the Diner Experience

July 16, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- A diner, back in the early days of diners, typically referred to a restaurant that resembled a dining car on a train. Today, most diners still have a long counter and an array of booths lining the windows – much like the old railroad dining cars – but in many communities, the “diner” evolved into something more than a restaurant.

The diner became a ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_0deb1f4be39307d4940f_coffee_with_a_cop_banner_photo__2_

Thu, July 19, 9:00 AM

Brooklyn Bagel, Randolph

Coffee with a Cop

Community Calendar

Carousel_image_129b24747b7c95bfefaa_puppet

Thu, July 19, 7:00 PM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Musical Monters

Community Calendar

Carousel_image_6e617a468ce0c6ee69fb_el_spotscolor_13

Mon, July 23, 9:30 AM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Nursery Rhyme Time

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Health & Wellness Other

Catriona Lucus Selected to Play in 2018 National Lacrosse Academy  

July 16, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- Catriona Lucus, a rising freshman at Randolph High School has been named as a 2018 Maverik National Lacrosse All-Star and has been selected to attend the Maverik National Lacrosse Academy to be held July 16-19, 2018 in Frederica, Delaware at the DE Turf Sportsplex.

Catriona plays on the DEWLAX 2022 West club lacrosse team as well as being chosen to play with the DEWLAX ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Education: A Bedrock of Democracy, Civic Engagement and Economic Prosperity

July 6, 2018

More than 240 years ago, our nation’s founders envisioned a country where individuals could forge their own destinies and not be constrained by the circumstances of birth. The essential concept was that people could govern themselves and participate in democracy, or what Benjamin Franklin and others called “a great experiment.” The vision was bold and has flourished as the ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 16, 2018

Eliminates Prior Approval for Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Medications; Counseling Options to be Expanded

July 16, 2018

(TRENTON) – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death ...

Garden State Urology named a Center of Excellence by NAFC

Urology group recognized for exemplary care, dedication to patients

WHIPPANY, NJ – Garden State Urology, part of Atlantic Medical Group, was recently designated a Center of Excellence by the National Association for Continence.

Garden State Urology is a cooperative urology group that provides residents in northwestern New Jersey with a modern, integrated, comprehensive health care ...

Registration open for Randolph Hebrew with Early Bird Discount!

Entering its 17th year, Randolph Hebrew of Morris County has opened registration to new students for the upcoming school year that is set to begin on Sunday, September 16th.

Randolph Hebrew enjoys a well-earned reputation as a trend setter in creative Jewish education. It's well trained staff, cutting edge curriculum along with the teacher to student ration allows for individualized ...

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey

How often do you read TAPinto?  Have you downloaded the TAPinto APP?  These are a few of the questions for readers in our 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

We want to hear from you!

The survey will take less than five minutes to complete and will help TAPinto better serve you. 

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

Thank you.  We appreciate your support and ...

Atlantic Health System, MedExpress partner in 11 New Jersey Urgent Care Centers

Atlantic Health System, an integrated health care delivery system, and MedExpress, a neighborhood health care provider, are collaborating to coordinate care between MedExpress' 11 neighborhood medical centers in northern New Jersey and Atlantic Health System's extensive clinically integrated network of physicians, hospitals and other care sites.

The jointly owned centers will enable ...

AtlantiCast

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.