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Scotch Plains, New Jersey?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Anyone know if one can own chickens in Scotch Plains, New Jersey? I keep looking and while I've found some mentions of chickens and my town, I've found nothing about if I will be allowed to keep them and if I am, how many. I have found that some nearby towns allow chickens or are thinking about allowing chickens, but nothing about Scotch Plains.

post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

Been doing more research and finding more things than I found two years ago when I first started searching.

 

From two years ago, I found that in 2000 Scotch Plains used chickens to see if the West Nile Virus was in the area. That was basically all I found that connected Scotch Plains and chickens at the time, though now I think I have an idea where they kept the chickens in 2000.

 

What's new that I've found: Mention of Scotch Plains in this book published in the early 20s called American Poultry Advocate Vol XXX No 1. Was also mentioned in The Poultry Item which was published in like 1911. And in several other poultry books around that time.

In 2013, a man from Scotch Plains was helping a town change its ordinances on chickens.

Also found this on ClerkBase under Scotch Plains: "Domestic animal" shall mean any cat, dog, or livestock other than poultry. And then goes on to talk about dogs and cats, and something under 'Moneys to the Treasurer of the Township' that mentions 'for payment of damage to or losses of poultry and domestic animals, except for dogs and cats.'

 

So it seems like my town had some well known chicken breeders at the start of the 1900s, poultry are not considered domestic animals, and it sounds like maybe poultry is allowed. There is nothing that says outright that chickens (poultry) aren't allowed and if they are allowed how many one can have for their size of land. Looks like I may have to finally call someone or go to the municipal building. Not looking forward to that.

post #3 of 8

There is a man named Victor Alfieri from Big Dog Farms in Riverdale.  He raises chickens, and is very well versed in local laws.  He is an advocate for people trying to keep their chickens and fights to change town laws.  He also gives chicken classes on the first Wednesday of the month at Mike's Feed Farm in Riverdale. Their phone is 973-839-7717.

 

Try to get in touch with him - I'm quite sure he will know if you are allowed to have chickens in Scotch Plains.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

So, I decided to check around the internet again to see if anything new has appeared about owning chickens in Scotch Plains. And I found a notice that I've never seen before, so I assume it has recently been added. It's a notice about reasons not to give chicks as Easter gifts and at the end of it, it says the law concerning chickens for Scotch Plains.

 

3-3.5 R-1 Residence Zone.

a. Permitted Primary Uses.

 

1. One-family dwellings.

2. Customary and conventional limited farming operations including the raising of flowers and vegetables and horticultural materials but not including the use of commercial greenhouses nor the raising of any animals except customary household pets.

 

Chickens have been decided on that they are not customary household pets. 

 

 

So, because my town has labeled chickens as not a 'customary' household pet, they are not allowed. I've never heard the term customary household pets before, so I did a little looking about. Apparently it is used quite a bit as it is legally vague so the town, or anyone who uses it, can say no or yes to anything they want.

 

Any thoughts or ideas on how I can get this changed?

post #5 of 8

Did you ever figure this out?  Just moved to Scotch Plains (near Shackamaxon) and I was thinking about getting some chickens.  Wondering if you've discovered anything else?  

post #6 of 8
I live in plainfield... have 3 chicks that I will be moving to a backyard pen & coop soon. Do you guys have any or decided against it ??
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki0 View Post
 

So, I decided to check around the internet again to see if anything new has appeared about owning chickens in Scotch Plains. And I found a notice that I've never seen before, so I assume it has recently been added. It's a notice about reasons not to give chicks as Easter gifts and at the end of it, it says the law concerning chickens for Scotch Plains.

 

3-3.5 R-1 Residence Zone.

a. Permitted Primary Uses.

 

1. One-family dwellings.

2. Customary and conventional limited farming operations including the raising of flowers and vegetables and horticultural materials but not including the use of commercial greenhouses nor the raising of any animals except customary household pets.

 

Chickens have been decided on that they are not customary household pets. 

 

 

So, because my town has labeled chickens as not a 'customary' household pet, they are not allowed. I've never heard the term customary household pets before, so I did a little looking about. Apparently it is used quite a bit as it is legally vague so the town, or anyone who uses it, can say no or yes to anything they want.

 

Any thoughts or ideas on how I can get this changed?

Did you get anymore updates on this?  I am buying a house in Scotch Plains and I would love to know more about whether we are allowed to have back yard chickens.

 

I did some research on my on my own and it seems as though chickens are prohibited.  See the following link, code section § 184-130 reads as follows...

 

 

§ 184-130Animals and birds.

The keeping of fowl, chickens, ducks, pigeons, horses, ponies, or other domestic equine animals, pigs, goats, sheep or cattle or other kinds of livestock or exotic animals prohibited in all zones.

 

http://ecode360.com/13464386 


Edited by TonyDaoud - 11/22/16 at 10:57am
post #8 of 8
So the code you referred to is the Fan wood code. And the Section 3-3.5 noted above is a subsection of Chapter XXIII, but "customary household pets" is not defined. Though the section on Animals only discusses dogs and cats.

I looked into this again because I plan on starting beekeeping in the spring, and I wanted to make sure that was kopasetic under the code. It is not clear that it is.

One section I did see on Animals discusses the prohibition of feeding animals that "are neither human nor domesticated." So I don't think that is a prohibition on chickens.

I think the best bet is to petition the town to allow backyard chickens, though they will probably require a permit.
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