RANDOLPH, NJ- The town council met once more on Thursday, Oct. 1, to discuss the wildlife banning ordinance in more detail and discuss the current status of the Parks Master Plan.
During the public portion of the meeting, resident Judith Stewart told the council that the proposed ordinance to ban wildlife feeding states a bird feeder should be at least four feet high. Stewart expressed that a bird feeder at four feet was too low.
"Deer can reach that high and knock down the bird feeder then they have food to eat," said Stewart.
She suggested that the council review the height allowed for a bird feeder. Stewart thought it should be at least six feet or at most eight feet high above the ground. The council agreed to discuss the ordinance further. It was not put up for a reading Thursday night.
Councilman Michael Guadagno felt that the ordinance was too broadly written.
"The main thing that disturbed me about this ordinance was that it aimed at everybody in town. Let's try to get the ordinance aimed at what we are trying to do. We're trying prevent people from causing public harm through a certain loop," said Guadagno.
Guadagno feels the ordinance can be written in a more defined way directed to the people who feed the wildlife and not directed to everybody in town. He believes the ordinance "encroaches" the rights of residents and they should be allowed to feed other wildlife if they choose.
"A lot of residents came to Randolph to be in nature, to enjoy nature. I think we are taking some of that away from them with this ordinance," said Guadgano.
Deputy Mayor Roman Hirniak disagreed and felt that it was best to ban all wildlife feeding before another animal feeding problem surfaces and results in other harmful consequences to the town.
Township Manager Stephen Mountain is going to work with their attorney to fix the wording of the ordinance and bring it back to the council for review.
There was a Park Master Plan meeting with the consultant and the public recently. A detailed presentation was given about the data collected to date by various means such as online surveys and statistical ballads. The completed benchmarking analysis was reviewed and so were the public comments taken from the input summarized in the presentation.
"I was really pleased. There were a lot of new faces. There was certainly a lot of interest expressed in the Master Plan. I'm very excited to move ahead with the steering committee," said Mountain.
The next couple of meeting will be critical. The steering committee will take the data collected and combine it with the input from the staff. Information of programs, facilities and the financial cost benefit analysis of the various ideas will be put out on the table.
"There's a lot of work to be done but I think we are set up well from the information collected," said Mountain.