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February 13, 2012 at 10:54 am
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.
“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 messand 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.
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Raising Chickens Gains Popularity in NJ
April 10, 2014, 5PM EST
By Andrea Vasquez
Victor Alfieri prefers to eat local. Alfieri began growing his own fruits and vegetables about seven years ago. “And it led toward raising chicken hens, and of course you start to do research about supermarket eggs and the poor quality that’s available to us, so I thought it would be a tremendous benefit to my urban homestead to add chickens,” the caretaker at Big Dog Farm said.
Alfieri — nicknamed the Chicken Man — is part of a growing group of urban homesteaders who want to know exactly where their food comes from. A few years ago, Mike Goldsmith started hearing about backyard chickens and held an informational meeting to gauge interest. He’s now held four annual chicken owners workshops and has seen attendance quadruple since the first year.
“Last year we had close to 200, and this year close to 200. So it’s grown astronomically,” Goldsmith, owner of Mike’s Feed Farm, said.
A municipal court judge ruled Thursday
that Victor Alfieri is not guilty of violating
a town law by keeping three hens on his
Judge Lawrence Katz's ruling represents
a months-long battle between Alfieri and
town officials over the rights of residents
to keep hens on private property.
"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."
The emphasis on local, organic food is running afoul of local zoning restrictions across the tri-state area, as some communities seek to restrict amateur farmers from keeping chickens and other barnyard animals.
In Wayne, N.J., Victor Alfieri keeps three chickens, which provide about three eggs a day.
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.
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Urban homesteader, Victor Alfieri, of Gro-Rite Garden Center, in Lincoln Park, talks about the increase in backyard chicken coops, Tuesday, February 13, 2018. Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com
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."
Matt Kadosh, NorthJersey Published 4:32 a.m. ET July 24, 2018 | Updated 7:37 a.m. ET July 24, 2018
Wayne man denied permit to keep chickens
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.
"Chicken Man" ALFIERI FOR COUNCIL-AT-LARGE
By Resident Kelly, Patch Poster | Oct 23, 2013 1:12 pm ET | Updated Oct 30, 2013 7:26 am ET
My name is Victor Alfieri, the "Chicken Man", and I'm running for Wayne Council At Large this November 5th. I'm running to make a difference, not to become a politician. I enter this election with a very unique perspective. As most of you remember, my wife and I were called criminals by Wayne's mayor and council for wanting to live a natural sustainable lifestyle. At that point I realized we had a serious problem and it needed to be fixed.