[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Chester as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Land use — See Ch. 113.
This article may be cited and referred to as the "Right to Farm Ordinance of the Township of Chester."
The purpose of this article is to encourage the continuation and expansion of commercial and home agricultural pursuits by continuing a positive agricultural business climate and protecting farmers against unjustified private nuisance suits, where recognized methods and techniques of agricultural production are applied and are consistent with relevant federal and state law and nonthreatening to the public health and safety. At the same time, this article acknowledges the need to provide a proper balance among the varied and sometimes conflicting interests of all lawful activities in the State of New Jersey.
The purpose of this article is not to have this article in part or in whole supersede any other ordinance of the Township of Chester. The retention of agricultural activities is desirable to all citizens of Morris County because it ensures numerous social, environmental and economic benefits, including the preservation of open space, atmospheric habitat; the preservation of land as a nonreplenishable resource and as a source for agricultural products for this and future generations; and the protection and maintenance of the aesthetic beauty of the countryside and rural character of the community which includes farm architecture and scenic variety.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACCEPTABLE AGRICULTURAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
- The agricultural management practices recommended and endorsed by the State Agricultural Development Committee, plus those practices complying with a conservation plan.
- The production principally for the sale to others of plants, animals or their products, including but not limited to forage and sod crops; grain and feed crops; dairy animals and dairy products; livestock, including dairy and beef cattle, poultry, sheep, swine, horses, ponies, mules and goats; grapes, nuts and berries; vegetables; nursery, floral, ornamental and greenhouse products; forestry, fishing and trapping. Agriculture shall not include intensive poultry or swine production or extensive animal feedlot operations.
- CONSERVATION PLAN
- A set of decisions regarding the use of soil and water resources. The plan is developed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and approved by the Morris County Soil Conservation District.
- An area of land made up of single or multiple joining or nonjoining parcels located in the Township of Chester which is organized as a management unit actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use, including but not limited to cropland, pasture, idle or fallow land, woodland, wetlands, farmponds, farm roads and under farm buildings and other enclosures related to agricultural pursuits, which farm use occupies a minimum of the lesser of five acres or five times the minimum lot size of the zone in which the property is located, exclusive of the land upon which the farmhouse is located and such additional land as may actually be used in connection with the farmhouse as provided in the Farmland Assessment Act of 1965, N.J.S.A. 54:4-23.3, 54:4-23.4, 54:4-23.5 and 54:4-23.11.
- Any private action which unreasonably interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of another's property, which may be enjoined or abated and for which the injured or affected property owner may recover damages.
The right to engage in agriculture, as defined herein, shall be permitted in any zone, and it shall be presumed that such uses, activities and structures in connection therewith shall not constitute a public or private nuisance, provided that such agricultural uses are conducted in conformance with the acceptable management practices defined herein.
All uses and structures customarily incidental to agriculture shall be permitted accessory uses in the zones set forth hereinabove, including but not limited to:
The storage, processing and sale of farm products where produced.
The use of irrigation pumps and equipment.
The application of manure, chemical fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides and herbicides.
On-site disposal of organic agricultural waste.
Installation of soil and water conservation practices in accordance with a Conservation Plan approved by the Morris County Soil Conservation District.
Transportation of slow-moving equipment over roads within the municipality.
Utilization of tractors and other necessary equipment.
The employment of farm laborers.
The conducting of farm practices at any and all times when necessary.
The creation of noise, dust, odors and fumes inherently associated with such uses.
Provisions for the wholesale and retail marketing of the agricultural output of the farm which include the building of temporary and permanent structures and parking areas for said purpose which all must conform with municipal land development standards and comply with all relevant municipal ordinances, including but not limited to § 113-243 of Part 5 of Chapter 113, Land Use.
The raising and keeping of farm animals, including pets, pastoral farm animals (dairy and beef cattle, sheep and goats), swine, fowl, horses, ponies and mules, pursuant to proper sanitation standards, minimum acreage limits and boundary sizes between fencing or enclosures and joining properties.
Editor’s Note: Former Article 2, Traffic Management Plan for On-Farm Activities, adopted 10-6-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-09, and which immediately followed this section, was removed at the request of the Township as it was declared void by the New Jersey Superior Court.