[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Stillwater 7-15-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-12. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Land development — See Ch. 240.
This chapter may be cited and referred to as the "Right to Farm Ordinance of the Township of Stillwater."
The purpose of this chapter is to assure the continuation and expansion of commercial and home agricultural pursuits by encouraging a positive agricultural business climate and protecting the farmer against municipal regulations and 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 chapter 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 retention of agricultural activities is desirable to all citizens in Sussex 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.
For the purpose of this chapter only, the following terms shall be defined as follows:
- ACCEPTABLE AGRICULTURAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
- The agricultural management practices recommended or endorsed by the State Agriculture Development Committee, plus those practices complying with a conservation plan.
- The production, principally for the sale to others, of plants, animals or their products worth $2,500 or more in gross sales annually, 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; and other commodities as described in the Standard Industrial Classification for agriculture, forestry, fishing and trapping.
- CONSERVATION PLAN
- A set of decisions regarding the use of soil and water resources. The plan is developed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
- An area of land made up of a single or multiple joining or nonjoining parcels which is organized as a management unit actively devoted to the production of agricultural or horticultural products worth $2,500 or more in gross sales annually in accordance with N.J.S.A. 4:1C-1 et seq., including but not limited to cropland, pasture, idle or fallow land, woodland, wetlands, farm ponds, farm roads and other farm buildings and other enclosures related to agricultural pursuits, which 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 all zones except R-30, 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 agricultural management practices defined herein.
All uses and structures customarily incidental to agriculture shall be permitted accessory uses in all zones except R-30 as 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 physical facilities for soil and water conservation and the harvesting of timber;
Transportation of slow-moving equipment over roads within the municipality;
Utilization of tractors and other necessary equipment;
The employment of farm laborers;
The creation of noise, dust, odors and fumes inherently associated with such uses;
The conducting of farm practices at any time and all times when necessary;
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 to municipal land development standards; and
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, provided that proper sanitation standards, minimum acreage limits and boundary sizes between fencing or enclosures and joining properties are established.
For the purpose of giving due notice of the farm rights contained in this chapter to new residents of the municipality, the Planning Board shall require an applicant for every major or minor subdivision or site plan review, as a condition of approval of such application, to provide every purchaser with a copy of this chapter.
Whenever a new major or minor subdivision abuts a farm as defined in this chapter or a new major or minor subdivision contains space which was not owned by individual homeowners or a homeowners' association, and said space is at least five acres in size, then the following language shall be inserted in the deed of all lots in the subdivision: "Grantee is hereby noticed that there is, or may in the future be, farm use near the described premises from which may emanate noise, odors, dust and fumes associated with agricultural practices permitted under the Township's Right to Farm Ordinance."
The Township Clerk is hereby directed to give notice at least 10 days prior to the hearing on the adoption of this chapter to the County Planning Board and to all others entitled thereto pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-15. Upon adoption of this chapter, after public hearing thereon, the Township Clerk is further directed to publish notice of the passage thereof and to file a copy of this chapter as finally adopted with the County Planning Board as required by N.J.S.A. 40:55D-16 and with the Township Tax Assessor.