EATONTOWN: Those who wish to keep chickens in their backyards will have to wait a bit longer the ordinance allowing them has been vetoed.
Eatontown Mayor Dennis Connelly exercised his authority to veto the ordinance on Thursday, July 13 following the passage of the ordinance in late June. Connelly has been against the keeping of chickens since the subject came up in 2016.
"It is my opinion that this issue has been handled more to accommodate the few residents that were in favor of keeping chickens and with less regard for our entire community that will have to live with this change," Connelly said in his veto letter.
Connelly goes on to cite zoning, enforcement, quality of life and health issues as his reasons for vetoing the ordinance.
"I do hope that the governing body members that voted in favor of this change will reconsider their position," Connelly said "The majority of residents of this town will not wish to participate in this activity and everyone in this town purchased their property knowing this activity was prohibited."
The governing body can overturn the mayor's veto by a 2/3 vote on a resolution that will be on the agenda of the next council meeting on July 26.
Council members Anthony Talerico, Al Baginsky, Virginia East and Patti May voted for the ordinance and Mark Regan and Donna Mazzella-Diedrichsen voted against it. The vote will likely go the same way when the ordinance override resolution is on the agenda. Connelly cannot vote unless there is a tie.
"I respect the Mayor's right to veto an Ordinance and have read and studied his accompanying statement," Talerico said in an email to Word On The Shore. "This matter is scheduled for vote at the next Council meeting where Council members may choose to override his veto or not."
Currently, chickens are only allowed on lots that are 5 acres or larger. Councilman Anthony Talerico originally proposed relaxing this requirement so more people could have chickens, albeit with increased guidelines and restrictions.
The ordinance allows residents to keep 5 chickens in their backyard in their lot is at least 5,000 square feet. One additional chicken is allowed for every 1,000 square feet of property, up to a maximum of 12,000 square feet and 12 chickens.
The ordinance does not allow roosters on any property smaller than 5 acres, and does not allow people to keep chickens for sale or consumption.
In order to keep chickens, residents must first receive a zoning permit and obtain a permit license annually for $25. The ordinance also states that the zoning officer or code inspector will have the right to "periodically inspect" premises to make sure the chickens are being kept in a clean and humane environment. Any resident who violates the rules of the ordinance can have their zoning permit revoked and will be forced to remove their chickens.
The ordinance also has stringent guidelines for the size, location and types of coops where the chickens will be kept and also outlines how their food and droppings should be kept and disposed.
Some changes have been made to the ordinance since it was first discussed in April. The main modifications are that it now says chickens can only be kept in single family homes and cannot be slaughtered on the owner's property.