Delaware Town Council Tackles Livestock Ordinance and Public Concerns

During a recent Delaware Town Council meeting, significant time was dedicated to discussing a revision of the livestock head count ordinance, which is currently limited to pigs. The Agricultural Advisory Committee has been tasked with reviewing and potentially establishing maximum head counts for other livestock, such as cattle, sheep, and chickens. This topic was prioritized due to the urgency expressed by the community to integrate the committee’s recommendations swiftly into an enforceable ordinance.

Public concern was also notably high on recurrent power outages on Zentech Road, legalities surrounding property on Lambertville Headquarters Road, and a potential large-scale chicken operation that could introduce 300,000 chickens to the area. Residents called for consistent application of ordinances and expressed fears that such developments could change the community’s character. Moreover, the meeting covered a variety of other issues, including the appointment of a new Director of Public Works, ongoing budget preparations, and the introduction of ordinances related to sewage disposal and food establishment permit fees.

The matter that captured the council’s immediate attention was the review of the livestock head count ordinance. The current ordinance, specific to pigs, does not account for other types of livestock, which many residents feared could lead to unregulated animal numbers. The Agricultural Advisory Committee is expected to respond promptly to avoid situations where individuals might exploit the lack of regulation by stockpiling animals before the new ordinance takes effect.

Residents expressed their concerns during the public comment segment. Issues of public safety and environmental impact were highlighted, particularly regarding the introduction of a large chicken operation. One resident likened the situation to preparing for a tornado, urging the council to act proactively to safeguard the community from potential harm. Another resident questioned the council’s consistency in applying ordinances, referencing a past incident where a farmer was denied permission to plant trees due to water usage concerns, and comparing it to the proposed chicken operation’s expected high water consumption.

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The potential change in community character was also a concern. A speaker mentioned plans for the retrofitting of a barn for retail sales, which many feared would harm the community’s rural nature. Furthermore, road conditions on Upper Creek Road were brought up, with calls for the council to address the hazardous state caused by water erosion.

The appointment of the new Director of Public Works, Justin Squashic, was met with applause, as he brought valuable experience from his previous position. The council was informed that the ongoing budget preparations were on track for introduction on April 18th. Additionally, the council set public hearing dates on April 8th for ordinances amending sewage disposal fee amendments and food establishment permit fees.

Other resolutions from the consent agenda were approved without controversy, including special event permits, tax cancellations, and a significant payment for municipal obligations primarily due to school taxes. The council also approved a letter to be sent to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regarding a property cleanup.

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New business addressed included organizational changes to the Environmental Commission, approval of a Farmland Preservation Program application, and renewals of Maintenance and Farming Services agreements, as well as a lease agreement for Raven Rock Schoolhouse. Moreover, the council heard updates on the Municipal Utilities Authority meeting about the post office sewage bill and the senior meeting concerning speeding concerns.

During the meeting, the council navigated issues surrounding the property on Lambertville Headquarters Road, including inquiries about permit legitimacy, health inspections, and potential legal violations such as unauthorized installation of fences. It was noted that minor Uniform Construction Code violations had been identified, and the township was coordinating with state agencies to address concerns.

The credibility of information shared on social media was a topic of discussion, with the township attorney clarifying that access had not been denied to a property that had been the subject of scrutiny. The attorney emphasized proceeding in a legally defensible manner and cautioned against the spread of unverified information.

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The council recognized the community’s urgency in addressing the proposed chicken operation and other issues. They asked for patience from the residents as they work on developing effective and legally sound ordinances. The council advised against further contact with outside agencies, as the township was already in communication with these entities.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
James Waltman
City Council Officials:
Joseph Vocke, David Bond, Chad Bower, Susan D. Lockwood

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