Holmdel ordinance proposes rules for keeping, raising chickens

HOLMDEL – Members of the Holmdel Township Committee have introduced an ordinance that will, if adopted, regulate the animal control of fowl.

According to the ordinance which was introduced on March 23, Holmdel residents “have a renewed desire to keep and raise chickens in their backyards for reasons that include the creation of a healthy food source through the backyard production of eggs, the promotion of an educational and recreational outdoor activity, and concerns regarding the physical, medical and dietary treatment of commercially raised chickens.”

Committee members said they want to enable residents “to keep a small number of female chickens on a non-commercial basis, while creating standards and requirements that ensure that domesticated chickens do not adversely impact the neighborhood surrounding the property on which the chickens are kept.”

According to the ordinance, among other regulations, no more than six hens will be permitted to be housed or kept on any single residential lot that is 43,000 square feet (1 acre) or smaller; no more than 12 hens will be permitted to be housed or kept on any single residential lot that is larger than 43,000 square feet (1 acre); the breeding of roosters and/or chickens is prohibited; chicken coops may only be located in rear yards or side yards; chicken coops require a zoning permit; and coops must house the chickens and keep them confined at all times.

Chickens will not be permitted to be housed in a residential dwelling or in an attached or detached garage except for brooding purposes, and chickens will not be permitted to be kept in a manner that constitutes a nuisance to the occupants of any adjacent property, according to the ordinance.

Penalties will be levied for violations of the ordinance, which will be enforced by Holmdel’s code enforcement officer.

The ordinance was introduced with “yes” votes from Mayor Greg Buontempo, Deputy Mayor Cathy Weber, Committeeman Prakash Santhana, Committeeman Tom Critelli and Committeeman D.J. Luccarelli during a meeting on March 23.

A public hearing on the ordinance has been scheduled for April 13. The committee members may adopt the ordinance following the public hearing.

During the time set aside for remarks by committee members, Santhana, who sits on the Planning Board, said that in the past, political donations were made to municipal officials prior to when development applications that proposed the construction of affordable housing in Holmdel were heard by the board members.

Santhana proposed that the five committee members consider enacting a “pay to play” ordinance specific to affordable housing development applications. A motion was made to have the township attorney draw up such an ordinance.

Santhana, Weber, Luccarelli and Buontempo voted “yes” on the motion. Critelli recused himself from the issue.

The details of a “pay to play” ordinance may be reviewed by members of the public at such time when the ordinance is placed on a Township Committee meeting agenda for possible introduction.