Adams Township to revisit animal ‘nuisance’ ordinance
ADAMS TWP — Supervisors tabled an ordinance to prohibit animals from “becoming a public nuisance” Monday, Nov. 27, after residents voiced concerns over agricultural rights.
Township manager Gary Peaco said the ordinance was developed to address “cows and large animals roaming loose” and “causing a health, safety or welfare problem outside the property.”
Township solicitor Michael Gallagher said the ordinance is designed to prevent animals from trespassing and defecating on people’s property.
“If it becomes an issue, it’s something then that the township can address,” he said.
Resident Rob Crouthamel, who has operated a farm in the township for 10 years, said he was “surprised” to see the ordinance on Monday’s meeting agenda.
“I’m very concerned, just based on the title of this ordinance, that it could affect my ability to have livestock on my property,” he told supervisors. “So I want to confirm that the ordinance properly exempts from the nuisance ordinance any agricultural operations in accordance with ‘Right-to-Farm’ law.”
According to the state Department of Agriculture, the “Right-to-Farm” law requires municipalities to “encourage the continuity, development and viability of agricultural operations within its jurisdiction.”
“Every municipality that defines or prohibits a public nuisance shall exclude from the definition of such nuisance any agricultural operation conducted in accordance with normal agricultural operations,” the law states, “so long as the agricultural operation does not have a direct affect on the public health and safety.”
Crouthamel said if the ordinance did not exclude agricultural operations, it would set up the “few farmers remaining” for repeated nuisance claims from neighbors and developments in the township.
Gallagher said “nothing in this ordinance pertains to” normal agricultural activities.
“If you are doing normal agricultural activity, there is no way that the township can prosecute you on that,” he said.
Resident Tina Wilson asked that more time be given so residents could review the ordinance.
Supervisor Ronald Nacey asked to table the ordinance until it could be further reviewed.
The supervisors unanimously agreed, with chairman Russell Ford emphasizing it would be voted on at the Dec. 11 meeting.
“We’re actually trying to make it fair for both parties,” Ford said.
The municipal building and the surrounding Adams Township Community Park were illuminated Monday ahead of the township’s Winter Light Celebration on Friday, Dec. 1.
“You’re here for the test night,” Ford said.
The first formal night of the township’s holiday light display will start at 6 p.m. in the community park, with hot chocolate sales and crafts prepared by Girl Scout Troop 28850 until 8 p.m.
Photos with Santa will be available at the schoolhouse until 7 p.m. registration is required and can be made by contacting the parks and recreation office at email@example.com.
A fireworks display will close out the evening at 8 p.m.
“It’s beautiful,” Wilson said, commenting on the display.