FAIRFIELD, NJ — Two ordinances were approved at the Fairfield Township Council meeting on Monday: one that adds properties to a mixed-use overlay zone and one that regulates manure and storage at Fairfield-based farm. The council was also asked to revisit the township’s dog ordinance following the death of a resident’s dog.
The first ordinance adds additional properties located along Fairfield Court and east of Daniel Road West to Passaic Avenue to a mixed-use overlay zone, which allows ground-level retail with residential development above.
The second relates to manure management and storage. The ordinance requires farms not to receive manure from May 15 to September 15 and requires manure to be “stored in a dry, level, impermeable location, free from storm-water runoff and out of the floodplain.” It also prohibits any accumulation of garbage, refuse, manure and animal or vegetable matter that might attract flies.
Barbara Scipio, representing Scipio Farms located on Big Piece Road, came to the podium to ask the mayor and council to reconsider passing the manure ordinance since Scipio Farms is “in compliance” with all Department of Agriculture regulations, and Fairfield Farms, the other working farm in Fairfield, does not use or store manure.
She stated that the Scipio farm is considerate of the town pool, which is located directly across the street from the farm. The farm owners do not spread manure on crops after April 15, she said, and added that the flies the pool members complained about last year did not come from the Scipio property.
“We are not breeding flies,” said Scipio, adding that “these regulations would decrease the value of the property” since perspective buyers might not like the regulations.
Scipio believes this ordinance puts restrictions on the Right to Farm Act, and it asks the farmer to give up rights. She also said that instead of this formal law, “a simple conversation” with the Scipio family would have been enough.
Fairfield Township Mayor James Gaparini thanked Scipio for being considerate of the pool and its members, but he stated that since the Scipio property is up for sale, the township needs to put these regulations into place in case the new owners are not as respectful.
Gasparini informed Scipio that at any time, anyone can come into the township asking for an amendment to this ordinance. He said that since the Scipio Farm already is in compliance with this ordinance, he did not see a problem.
Township Administrator Joseph Catenaro stressed the point that the ordinance also addresses the regulations on the storage of the manure, and this storage is a major issue for the future.
The mayor and council voted to pass the ordinance, but the mayor emphasized that Scipio has the right to come back at any time to ask the council to take another look at the regulations.
In other news, Fairfield resident Desiree Jannicelli addressed the mayor and council asking them to review the township’s dog ordinance—stating that her dog was killed by her neighbor’s pit bull. Her dog had been injured once before by the same dog, she said, but because they were neighbors, she did not report the first incident to the police department.
The ordinance states that a dog should be put down after two incidents.
“This is two incidents too many,” said Jannicelli, but because she never reported the first incident, the neighbor has the right to keep the dog.
Jannicelli would like to see each incident be judged on a case-by-case basis. She said that right now, it has become a neighbor issue, and she believes this dog is dangerous.
Gasparini said he would revisit the ordinance at a later date.