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Holmdel officials adopt ordinance with rules for keeping, raising chickens

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HOLMDEL – Members of the Holmdel Township Committee have adopted an ordinance that regulates the animal control of fowl.

Mayor Greg Buontempo, Deputy Mayor Cathy Weber, Committeeman Prakash Santhana, Committeeman Tom Critelli and Committeeman D.J. Luccarelli voted “yes” on a motion to adopt the ordinance during the committee’s meeting on April 13.

No member of the public commented on the ordinance during the public hearing that preceded the committee’s vote.

According to the ordinance, 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 wanted 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.

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