Chatham Township Committee Discusses Resident Concerns Over Backyard Fire Pits
Friday, March 1, 2013 • 7:11am
CHATHAM TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Township Committee was given updates from several subcommittees to recap
last year's progress and look forward in 2013 during its meeting on Thursday night.
Representatives from the Zoning Board, Planning Board, Environmental Commission and Colony Pool all addressed the township committee.
Zoning Board Chairman Anthony Vivona spoke of particular concern about working with the township and fire department to ensure that new rules are established to handle new fire pits that have become popular in Chatham residents' backyards. Although homeowners who have had zoning issues with their structures have been very compliant in correcting problems, many neighbor disputes over safety have become issues of their own.
Currently, a fire pit cannot be less than 20 feet from a structure, such as a house, and 15 feel from a property line, according to state fire safety codes. However, some residents still want more to be done and extra safety precautions to be imposed in the town’s regulations.
Additionally, Vivona asked the township to consider a better definition of a corner property. In some instances Vivona and other members of the Zoning Board felt that the property rules were being abused by builders. Several committee members did not agree and questioned if the town even has any way of taking action to in the orientation of a home or style of a proposed home on a resident’s property if the required regulations are being met.
The Planning Board and the Environmental Commission also gave assessments of last year's work and new ideas for the future. For example, the Environmental Commission received its certification to be part of the Sustainable Jersey program and is also planning a sapling sale in April. They also are looking to establish a nature trail in the township.
Representatives from Colony Pool and Strand, a tennis-training program, presented their recommendation to the committee for a new tennis program.
The new program would essentially outsource the tennis portion of Colony Pool to Strand. Members would still have the same membership free to utilize the program but the scheduling, management of the courts, lesson and clinics would be run by Strand.
The committee approved the plan.
Several capital improvements were also discussed, including equipment for the publis works and volunteer fire departments, and building improvements such as installation of generators for various public facilities.