On Friday, a small group of volunteers started
to build the first plots at the Van Riper-Hopper Historic House Museum grounds on Berdan Avenue in what will be a 40-plot garden. About
30 volunteers are expected to continue working
Saturday, and possibly into Monday.
The community garden is a project of the township’s “Green Team,” a small committee of residents working toward the goals of the state’s Sustainable Jersey program, which awards points to communities for completing green or sustainable projects. Grants become available to communities that obtain a Sustainable Jersey certification.
“It’s about health and sustainability,” said Victor Alfieri, a member of the Green Team who has lobbied the township officials to adopt more sustainable policies. “It’s about helping people get quality food on their tables.” Click To Read More
WAYNE – A township man was found not guilty of charges Thursday that he violated a local ordinance by raising egg-laying chicken hens in his back yard, court officials said.
Victor Alfieri was issued a summons in March because
he was raising three chickens on his quarter-acre
property on Woodlot Road. A township ordinance
prohibits homeowners from keeping chickens for agricultural purposes on less than two acres of land.
Judge Lawrence Katz found Alfieri not guilty.
Alfieri said he argued in court that the township code is aimed at restricting the size of commercial chicken farms, but is not intended to ban non-commercial hen raising by residents.
The judge was unavailable for an interview Thursday. A court administrator would only confirm that Alfieri was found not guilty, but would not discuss the judge’s reasoning. No written decision was available.
“The town was misinterpreting the law and enforcing a law that did not exist,” Alfieri said. “I proved that in court.” Click To Read More
Victor Alfieri is not violating town law by keeping three hens on his property for personal use.
By Daniel Hubbard - June 28, 2012
“This whole thing has been very stressful for my wife and I,” said Alfieri, an advocate of sustainability. “I’m glad it’s over. It’s a great victory for health and sustainability.”
Alfieri has kept three hens on his property for about three years. The hens live in a fenced-in chicken run and coop in his backyard.
“Raising backyard hens has improved my life and it’s just wonderful now that all Wayne residents can start to enjoy the same benefits,” Alfieri said.
Alfieri first appeared before Katz May 17 after town planner John Szabo issued Alfieri a summons earlier this year for keeping the hens on his property. The hens each lay 300 eggs a year. Alfieri does not sell the eggs nor does he use the hens for breeding.
Alfieri argued that because the hens are not being used to make a profit, the ordinance governing the keeping of hens on private property does not apply to him. He contended that the law applies to commercial agricultural uses.
Alfieri has previously said that hens are a vital part of the sustainable living movement. He pushed officials to approve an ordinance earlier this year that would've changed the minimum lot size required for residents to own hens from 2 acres to a quarter of an acre. The council did not vote on the ordinance. Alfieri owns about a quarter of an acre of land. He’s been trying to get the law changed for years.
Alfieri said town officials called him a “lawbreaker” for owning the hens.
“Wayne town officials were interpreting the chicken law incorrectly, enforcing a law that does not exist and I proved it in court,” Alfieri said. “Raising chickens in Wayne is not illegal and never was.”
Alfieri owns the hens and has several small gardens on his property. He harvests thousands of pounds of produce from them every year. He also runs a Web site where he tries to educate and encourage others to live more sustainable lives.
“I will continue to fight and help other chicken owners in other towns in their pursuit in changing their laws,” Alfieri said.
Episode - 883- Click Play To Here Interview
Victor Alfieri lives just 17 miles from New York City on a 1/4 acre lot but he hasn’t let that stop him from being a modern homesteader. For Victor It all started after hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast when he started to see things a little differently. While he wasn’t directly effected by the hurricane it got him thinking about being more prepared. He began researching the aftermath and to him there was one thing that stood out.
No one was prepared not the general public, not the local government and certainly not the federal government.
Then a year or so later, he and his wife who both had financial business backgrounds began observing signs of bad times ahead. This put them on a course for research which began with the internet and frequent trips to the library.
Victor found an old book about the depression in 1930′s and started
to remember the stories my grandmother would tell me about how they
survived the depression. Eventually he discovered square foot gardening
and small livestock, specifically keeping laying hens. His hens
eventually put him on a course of conflict with his local government
where he continues to fight for the right of people to simply provide
themselves with top quality home grown food.
Click To Read More
A Wayne resident is fighting to make raising chickens more common in town.
Victor Alfieri has been trying to change a law in town
for two years that prohibits most residents from raising chickens, specifically hens, on their property.
Town law states that up to 25 chickens can be kept
on lots 2 acres or larger in area. The animals’ dwelling must be kept at least 20 feet away from the owner’s home on the property, less than 50 feet from the
side and rear boundaries of the property, and 200 feet from the front property line.
“The myths have to be debunked,” Alfieri said. “People associate chickens with farms and having a lot of them in a small area and that’s not what I want. Most of the people who complain about chickens have never owned them. The only thing they know about chickens is what they see on television.”
Victor Alfieri sees himself as a neighborhood
leader in a global campaign to raise food locally. The fruits and
vegetables he grows on his quarter-acre in Wayne lasts his
family year-round. But his desire to keep egg-laying hens in his back yard has met
with a strict local prohibition.
Victor Alfieri with two of the hens he keeps on
his quarter-acre property in violation
of a Wayne ordinance.
Alfieri would need seven times more land — a small farm, he says — just to have a couple dozen chickens under Wayne's poultry laws. He has three hens living illegally at his place now and wants permission to keep many more. He vows to campaign to repeal the ordinance.
There's recent precedent for overturning anti-chicken ordinances in New Jersey, and there's gathering support for Alfieri and his birds around town and beyond.
— The North Jersey Locavores, a group that advocates using food harvested and raised nearby, has been ramping up its support of measures that would ease restrictions on keeping chickens in residential areas.
On March 31, just days before the Wayne Township Council is scheduled to hold a hearing on a zoning ordinance that would allow more households to raise chickens, the locavores' group will be hosting a discussion on it at the township library featuring Matt Soldano, a poultry farmer from Mahwah.
Erica Evans, a township resident who is the founder and president of the regional locavores' group, said scheduling of the Farmers Talk Series so close to the council meeting, though coincidental, is beneficial for her cause.
"I try to focus the talks on the farmer's journey," Evans said, though she added that she expected Soldano would also discuss the benefits of fresh eggs.
Wayne currently allows a homeowner with at least 2 acres of land to own up to 25 hens. If approved, the new ordinance would allow homeowners with at least 10,000 square feet of land — about 0.23 acre — but less than 2 acres to own up to 4 hens. Roosters would still be banned.
"I understand that it is 2 acres, but most people in Wayne
own less than two acres of land," Evans said. "I think you can raise
chickens on less, and it's just a really good way to get people back in
touch with where your food comes from."
Click To Read More
WAYNE – A local man who’s lobbied to roll back the township’s restrictions on raising backyard chickens may be on the brink of success.
If the Township Council amends the local ordinance, Victor
Alfieri will have made honest hens of the three egg-laying chickens he
keeps illegally on his Woodlot Road property. But lines of opposition
to be forming.
The council last week voted 6-0 with one abstention to
introduce regulations that would permit people with lots of at least
10,000 square feet to raise as many as four hens. Current zoning law
only permits raising chicken hens on lots of at least two acres.
Click To Read More
WAYNE - A Passaic County man is crying foul. He wants to raise chickens on his property so he can eat organic eggs.
Despite Victor Alfieri's intentions to eat food that he produces himself, he was denied a permit to raise the chickens in his suburban backyard due to concerns about the noise, smell, and pests. Alfieri says township officials are misinformed.
Alfieri owns a quarter of an acre. The rules in Wayne are that if you want to own two chickens you have to have at least two acres of land. With the growing sustainability movement, Alfieri says that needs to change.
Officials have put Mr. Alfieri on notice that his hens violate the
law. If he doesn't comply, he could be taken to court. But he vows to
work with city leaders on easing the antiquated rules, so he and others
can know exactly what's in their food.
Click To Watch Video
Alfieri got a summons from the town, and the township council this week declined to change the zoning law that requires a minimum of two acres to raise chickens.
Alfieri lives on about a quarter-acre of land, and neighbors have complained of the clucking sound and occasional smell of chicken manure.
"My neighbor now can own five dogs, and 10 feet away I can't own three chicken hens," Alfieri said.
Alfieri said he keeps the chickens for their eggs, which he says are tastier and healthier than those that come from factory farms. Alfieri likes his poached.
He also grows vegetables, fruit and herbs in his front and back yards -- from garlic to watermelon and snap peas. View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.
Click To Read More
View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.
WAYNE, NJ (CBSNewYork) - A New Jersey resident is fighting to keep his three chickens, even though he doesn’t have enough land to legally keep them.
Click To Here Audio: WCBS 880′s Sean Adams On The Story
“I can raise up to 2,000 pigeons on the property I’m on right now,” said Victor Alfieri of Wayne.
But he doesn’t want pigeons. He wants to keep his three hens. “They offer me fresh, healthy, organic eggs. Their manure is absolutely fantastic for my organic vegetable garden,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.
But in Wayne, the local law says his quarter acre is just too small for three chickens, and his neighbor, Pandy Napolitano agrees. “We feel it’s bringing down our property value, along with the chickens, he says they don’t make noise. We can hear them making the noise,” she said.
When Adams visited, the hens barely went above a whisper and there was no mess and no odor.
The mayor is on Alfieri’s side, but the entire council hasn’t been swayed. “I want the same right that someone has that owns a dog,” said Alfieri.
So, he’ll keep lobbying to amend the local poultry law, and he says
momentum is on his side as more towns become chicken-friendly.