Why the cluck can’t I own a chicken?

People like raising chickens.  They give delicious eggs and people that raise them say that it’s a clean sustainable pet/food source that should be available in Teaneck.

There’s also a local ordinance prohibiting it:

Sec. 6-5: Keeping of pigs, horses and certain other animals prohibited.

[R.O. 1951, ch. 6, § 4; Ord. No. 341112-20-1994, § 1.]
No person shall keep or allow to be kept in any building or premises, or on any lot of ground of which he may be the owner, tenant, lessee or occupier, any pigs, horses, mules, cows, pigeons or poultry of any age or description.
Repeal movements have come and gone since the rule was created in 1927.  There’s one happening now.

It even has a Facebook Group: Keep Chickens Teaneck

So what’s the deal with chickens and this ban?

The practice of owning chickens in town was regulated in the ’20s as population density turned Teaneck from farmland to residential1. It was formally banned anywhere a decade later in 1937.
(census estimates show the population changing from 4,192 in 1920 to 16,513 in 1930 and then to 25,275 in 1940)
This ordinance is one of the oldest the municipality has.
Ordinance 412 appeared in July 1927

Continue reading “Why the cluck can’t I own a chicken?”

Community Choice Energy Aggregation: Coming soon?

NJ is part of the PJM interchange for electricity.  PJM has a horrible history of meeting clean energy goals set by the State and consequently, instead of generating clean energy, providers like PSE&G have met quotas by purchasing certificates from power plants in other areas that count towards the clean energy mandate.

The CCA program extends the ability to purchase those certificates (called RECs or Renewable Energy Credits) from third-party electric suppliers.

Some towns seem to have had a rocky start, unable to find bids, some found initial bids, but couldn’t find renewals.  The information (pro and con) is laid out below.

My hope is that people will share and read about the program to have an informed discussion at our subsequent council meetings.

– Keith Kaplan

What is Community Choice Energy Aggregation?

The general concept behind the program is to allow an entire County / Town(s), to use their collective purchasing power to decrease electric rate prices for clean energy supply.  In theory, if you can make clean energy less costly through aggregation, everyone can replace dirty energy sources while spending the same amount they paid through PSE&G (or at a small discount).

The legal basis for the program can be found in the NJ legislature’s  Government Energy Aggregation (“GEA”) Act of 20031.  It permits counties and municipalities to create an ordinance (or resolution) to establish an “Aggregation Program”.

Does Air Become Cleaner?

It does…. somewhere.  But only if the Municipality can find a bid. Continue reading “Community Choice Energy Aggregation: Coming soon?”

Teaneck Bans Facial Recognition by Police and Departments

Ordinance 7-2021:

ADDING ARTICLE XXXIV, “PRIVACY” TO CHAPTER 2 OF THE TOWNSHIP CODE ENTITLED “CHARTER/ADMINISTRATIVE CODE”

This ordinance will ban the use of facial recognition surveillance technologies by the Township.

These technologies have resulted in innocent people (including this one here in NJ), being held for crimes they didn’t commit. Crimes there were not even anywhere close to. 10 days. Sitting in a cell for a crime you didn’t commit. Continue reading “Teaneck Bans Facial Recognition by Police and Departments”

Coming Soon: Facial Recognition Ban in Teaneck

When it debuted in 2018, Amazon’s Face Recognition Falsely Matched 28 Members of Congress With mugshots (including 2 from NJ).

Promise Kept: Code Update

There’s something new at the top of the online version of the Teaneck Code:

Available here: https://ecode360.com/TE0774

Includes legislation adopted through 12-08-2020.

Promise Kept:  When I ran for office, I pledged to work on making sure you could go to the website and see what the law is.

This may sound like something you’d take for granted, but for decades, this has not been the case.

In 2018, I wrote this post:

Why re-codification of the Teaneck Code is important

Well, it’s taken the better part of two years, but we’ve done it.  The code is now updated through all legislation passed by Teaneck in the last month.

Want to know if parking is allowed on your block?

You can go here and check: https://ecode360.com/13625579
(as a bonus, the streets are now in alphabetical order for easy perusing)

What’s next?

In 2019, a resident wrote me about a neighbor, seeming violating the code by not having a fence around an above ground swimming pool.  After extensive research and telephone calls with the Building Department, it turned out that the State modified guidelines and pre-empted our code.  The resident read the section correction, but it was no longer enforceable.  Yet, it was there.  Now, it’s not.

There were a lot of projects I’ve been wanting to pursue, but needed an updated code in order to get them done.

Those, are now on my radar.

As always, if you have suggestions, please keep them coming.

 

Because that’s the rule: Dog Licensing and early re-vaccination

Recently, a question was raised by a resident about the need to re-vaccinate a dog in order to get an annual license from Teaneck.  I’ve looked into the issue.  As with most things in NJ, it’s…. complicated.  I’ll break down the relevant rules below and discuss some changes that I’ll be suggesting.

Issue:

  • July 2020: You get a new dog
  • October 2020: You get your dog vaccinated for Rabies (expires one year later in October 2021)
  • January 2021: You attempt to register your dog in Teaneck

 

This is a common scenario that many people have faced, only to find a rejection notice.  Residents are being told to re-vaccinate for rabies.  It’s confusing to most dog owners, because the vaccine is good for a year and they received it only 62 days ago.

Why can’t a dog get registered and then get a booster before the October vaccination expires? Continue reading “Because that’s the rule: Dog Licensing and early re-vaccination”

Affordable Housing vs Rent Control

Affordable housing enables Teaneck to keep the promise of equality and equitable treatment in our real estate markets. It furthers the objective of what Teaneck has always been about. Rent control does not. And I want to take a few moments to explain what the difference is.

From the time NECO and Fair Housing activists put out “Not for Sale” signs in response to blockbusting efforts, we’ve held true to the creed that everyone* deserves to live here and that we should be a town that creates the environment that allows people to move here and live here.

Affordable Housing creates a lower than market alternative for those unable to afford to live here due to market rates effectively pricing them out. All modern apartments must comply with affordable housing requirements. The affordable housing units are given only to those that can’t afford them otherwise and the processes in place ensures that ONLY those needing affordable housing receive it.

Rent control on the other hand has no means-test. It applies to a mere subset of units here in town and it has a lot of drawbacks. Make $250k a year? You get the benefits of rent control. Continue reading “Affordable Housing vs Rent Control”

Mayor Dunleavy on Advisory Boards: Clearing up misconceptions

At the August 11, 2020 meeting of the Township council, ordinance 15-2020 was adopted, which modifies some provisions for Council’s advisory boards.

In the video below, Mayor Dunleavy provides the reasons for the changes and current state of the Council’s Advisory Board operations.

I want to thank the Mayor for spending the past two years, meeting with all Advisory Board chairs, Township staff and others to create this new framework, which will bring additional clarity and productivity to the boards and how public input shapes the decisions council makes.

Anyone interested in applying to serve on an Advisory (or Statutory*) Board may click here: Application for Township Boards
(* The ordinance above only applies to advisory boards, statutory boards are governed by State statue)

Do Not Disturb: How to read an ordinance

In the State of New Jersey, Municipal governments are given powers from the State legislature.  If we are not specifically given a power, we can’t legislate it.

Of course, the State can also yank back powers and if the State lege chooses to act differently than a municipality, the local ordinance is superseded and can no longer be enforced.  An example of this could be seen in Teaneck’s “hands free phone ordinance” or the “requirement for fences for certain above ground pools”.  No matter how wonderful the local population may find the rule, once the State acts in a specific area, the local rules fall.

The question recently came up about whether or not the local “noise” ordinance is enforceable here in Teaneck.

I think this is a good opportunity to share with the public how I look at questions like this, so you can see how the process works out.

First and foremost — what is the ordinance? Continue reading “Do Not Disturb: How to read an ordinance”

[UPDATE] Above Ground Pool Information [update #1]

As I mentioned in the previous post, many residents have requested information about above-ground pools in light of COVID-19 altering summer plans.

In the past few weeks, I had meetings with the manager, the zoning subcommittee, the building department supervisor and code officials.

Note that fence and setback requirements represent serious and potentially deadly safety issues.  While a permit is not required, you must comply with them.

Here’s the latest:

Temporary Pools (no standing water)

  • No permits will be required for temporary pools that will be emptied at the end of each day.

(However, they must still comply with regulations., including fence and setback requirements. — see below) Continue reading “[UPDATE] Above Ground Pool Information [update #1]”