Government

Randolph Town Council Reviews Sussex Turnpike Project and Ordinance To Prohibit Wildlife Feeding

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RANDOLPH, NJ- The town council met again on Thursday, Sept. 17, to discuss the Sussex Turpike project and a potiential new ordinance.

The town council quickly reviewed some of the details to the upcoming Waterline Sussex Turnpike Project. The project will start on the week of Sept. 28 and will consist of two phases.

The first part of the project will start on the Calais Road intersection to the intersection of Church Road. That phase will last from Sept. 28 to Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be a detour for eastbound traffic. The second part of the project will be on the Harvey Terrance and West Hanover intersection from Oct. 22 to Dec. 20 from 8p.m. to 5 a.m.

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"This is a night project at no additional cost. The contractor actually prefers to do the work at night. This is a great benefit to the businesses in that area and they're very happy," said Mountain.

Township Manager Stephen Mountain also reported that the municipal cell tower bid meeting will be on Oct. 1 for all bidders. Those who want to bid on the cell tower will have to be present at the meeting.

The most heavily discussed item of the night was the proposal of an ordinance to prohibit the feeding of all wildlife on private property. A few months back, Mountain reported that the Wildlife Management Advisory Committee (WMAC) heard concerns that residence feeding deer have drawn in an exceeding population of wildlife. This feeding has had a few negative impacts from overpopulated streets resulting in unsafe driving to drawing in even bigger wildlife like coyotes and bears.

During the public portion, residents had a lot to say. Sue Grassmeyer from WMAC was present Thursday night. Grassmeyer has been a WMAC member since 2009. She explained that during the six years she has been a member the subject of banning the feeding of wildlife has been discussed every year.

Many other towns have already approved similar ordinance and residents have said it has helped decrease the population of deer sightings in town.

Other members of the public expressed that the feeding has lured in other wildlife such as coyotes and bears. One man, Amel Rush, says he feels like a "prisoner" in his own home because of the overpopulation the feeding has caused. Rush has neighbors on both sides of him that have been caught feeding deer. Their feeding has attracted the deer to the area and Rush's home.

"These feeders are selfish and have no regard for their neighbors. This is a serious situation enhanced by the feeder," said Rush.

Deputy Mayor Roman Hirniak reminded the council and the public that this was originally brought up by a family who was concerned for their young driver. The feeding has drawn in a high population of deer, which  has overcrowded the roads potentially causing accidents. Hirnial also reminded all council members that the ordinance was to prohibit the feeding of all wildlife, not just deer, on private property.

"This is a righteous ordinance. There is no reason why not to pass it," said Hirniak.

After the council discussion, there was a vote from six to one in favor of passing the preparation  for the ordinance. Councilman Mike Guadagno did not see how this ordinance would really make a difference and provide a substantial decrease in the deer population.   If the ordinance passes on introduction it will be scheduled for a second reading and a public hearing.

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