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Eatontown Council Approves Chicken Ordinance, Mayor Vetoes

EATONTOWN: The borough's new ordinance governing the keeping of chickens was passed by the council, however Mayor Dennis Connelly said he will not signing the ordinance.

"I will be executing my veto power," Connelly said following the 4-2 vote in favor of the ordinance. "I will not be signing it."

Borough Attorney Andrew Bayer said the mayor's veto power means that the ordinance cannot become effective unless the council approves on a resolution by a 2/3 vote to overturn it. That resolution could be on the agenda at the next Eatontown Council meeting on July 12.

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 on an ordinance unless there is a tie. Before the vote took place, Connelly said he does not feel the ordinance will not stop people from violating it.

"You can make any law and you can make it strict, but people do not abide by it," Connelly said.

Currently, chickens are only allowed on lots that are 5 acres or larger. Councilman Anthony Talerico has 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.

Before the ordinance was adopted, several Rose Court residents spoke in opposition to it, while others who have had chickens who refuted their claims.


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