Franklin Lakes August 12, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 9 Rooster ordinance sets penalties for noise by Frank J. McMahon In an effort to control noisy roosters, the Franklin Lakes Borough Council has authorized Borough Attorney Douglas Doyle to draft an ordinance to amend the section of the borough code pertaining to noise prohibition. The ordinance was prompted by complaints from two residents of different neighborhoods about noisy roosters that disturb their sleep and their quality of life. In one case, the complaint was heard in municipal court, but that has not resolved the controversy. The council has spent time at several meetings discussing ways to handle the complaints in a way that would be fair to the complaining residents and to the owners of the roosters. “It’s fair to get to a conclusion,” Mayor Maura DeNicola told the council at its last work session. She explained that the issue has gone from committee to committee and it was time for the council to make a decision one way or another. “I understand that the council is being overly cautious as this ordinance would affect other animals too, but I ask the council to come to a conclusion,” DeNicola urged. Councilman Michael Friscia suggested that the borough’s noise ordinance, which he said the court has found applies to roosters, should contain specific remedies. “We don’t need a rooster ordinance,” Friscia said. “We just need a noise ordinance with a remedy and that would affect dogs, too.” Doyle offered three potential remedies that could be added to the noise ordinance and they were accepted by Councilman Brian Trava and Councilwomen Nathalie Lota and Leslie Greer, the three council members present at the meeting. The new ordinance will, therefore, contain three remedies a court can impose if it is demonstrated in a court of law that a violation of the borough’s noise ordinance occurred. On the first confirmed violation, the court could impose a fine on the owner of the animal creating the prohibited noise. On the second confirmed violation, the court would be able to impose a fine, and the ordinance would give the court the option of ordering the animal removed from its owner’s premises. On the third confirmed violation, the ordinance will require that the animal be removed from its owner’s premises. The ordinance is expected to be introduced at the Aug. 18 public council meeting. The council has been grappling with the complaint about noisy roosters since a couple who are residents of Mabel Ann Avenue complained about the noise created by their neighbor whom they alleged was using a chain saw to cut wood commercially on his property. That led to complaints about the noise from a rooster that neighbor kept on his property, and the matter has been in municipal court several times. The owner of the rooster on Mabel Ann Avenue, who also owns nine chickens, claims his rooster makes no more noise than the crows, the connecting of the freight trains on the NY Susquehanna & Western Railroad siding adjacent to that street, or the fire department’s siren. In July, another resident who owns property on Orchard Lane came to a council work session and added his complaint to the mix. He said his neighbor also has a rooster that starts to crow between 3 and 4 a.m. every day and does not stop crowing until dark. According to Borough Administrator Gregory Hart, there are four properties in the borough whose owners have roosters. Those properties range in size from just under one acre to just under two acres. The council considered establishing a minimum lot size a resident must own in order to have a rooster, but the planning board declined to recommend any change in the zoning ordinances, claiming the problem is not widespread and the board did not want to develop a law that protects one party while discriminating (continued on page 15) ����� ���� Going on vacation? Away for the weekend? Work long hours away from home? We’ll care for your pets when you can’t. Please call 201-493-8442 Take advantage of the Energy Tax Credit in 2009 Speak to your tax advisor to ascertain if you qualify, as these credits will make a project more economical for you! 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