JACKSON-Complaints by neighbors prompted township officials here to issue code violations to Seer Farms, a self described animal sanctuary located on West Veterans Highway according to Mayor Michael Reina.
Township officials issued a series of violations to Laura Pople, of Perth Amboy, the owner of Farms, for maintaining and operating an impoundment facility (pound) and shelters in a residential area. Officials said that Pople does not reside at the residence in Jackson.
“Upon further research it appears that the property consists of 2.60 acres and would not be eligible for farmland qualification as the minimum acreage needed for farmland is 5 acres,” said Jackson Township Business Administrator, Joey Torres. “Pursuant to NJSA 4:19-15.8, animal holding facilities that contract with municipalities for the impoundment of stray animals seized by animal control officers, or receive and distribute animals that are surrendered by owners, need to be licensed as a shelter.”
Whether for profit or not, this establishment is operating as a commercial business according to Jeff Purpuro, Township Zoning Officer. He has been advising the owner of the statutory requirement governing animal facilities for the past 3 years.
“Any facilities operating as both a shelter and pound, should be licensed for both types of operations”, stated Business Administrator Joey Torres.
The owner’s failure to apply for a land use variance, in addition to complaints received by neighbors for maintaining a public nuisance, has led to the issuance of violations. It was determined by the Zoning Officer that no records of zoning approval determining that approximately fifteen or so accessory structures that were noted on the site comply with municipal land use.
In addition it was noted that there were three motor homes/ recreational vehicles that, per Article X, Chapter 244-169.C, only permits for one vehicle per any single-family residence, and per 244-69.E, shall not be occupied and not be provided with utility connections.
Mayor Mike Reina stated today that the structure was not being used as a primary residence.
The township said in a statement, “as it pertains to the principal building (dwelling unit), access was not gained, nor was access requested. But based on a visual of the dwelling, and the large cages that were constructed at every window that were available to the animals that apparently occupied the interior of the home, it could be presumed that the home is no longer being used as a single-family residence, but rather a shelter for over 300 cats.”
“It is believed that the owner is finally going to submit an application to the Zoning Board of Adjustment after 3 years in operation. It is important to note that there are various areas in town where this is a permitted use, unfortunately in its current location, it is not permitted”, Torres said.
“This matter has been scheduled before the court for April 25th.”