UPDATE: Shunpike Fencing Dropped, Market Farming Ordinance Added to Committee Agenda
The fence was on a June 16 draft of the agenda for Thursday's meeting but has since been removed; a possible introduction of the commercial farming ordinance has also been added.
UPDATE – A fence for Shunpike Field was one of the items up for discussion at Thursday's Chatham Township Committee meeting, according to a June 16 draft of the agenda, but an updated agenda shows that the discussion item has been dropped.
Since the field's opening on Saturday, neighbors have said that at least two people have been caught wandering onto private property.
Residents spoke at the last meeting on June 9 to say that their properties and Sunset Lake, a small private lake that homeowners pay into an association to use, is easily visible and accessible through the wooded area around the field's northwestern border.
Linda Sisk, who lives on Lake Road, has lived in her house for 10 years and has seen people cut across the private property.
“My thought is that increasing the use of the field will increase the number of people coming over,” she said. “The bleachers are very close to our homes and access to the lake area is easy.”
Committee members Bob Gallop and Bailey Brower, Jr. asked that residents of the area send an email to the committee or come to the June 23 meeting to make their voices heard on whether a fence is necessary.
Ciccarone said he believes closing off the foot path is a good first step toward eliminating any possible trespassing concerns the neighbors have.
“I personally don’t believe a fence is necessary,” he said. “The trees are thick, you can’t even see through them and you couldn’t easily walk through. Shunpike Field has been used for some 30 years. If trespassing becomes an issue, we will address it. But closing off that foot path is a good first step. Putting a fence along entire tree line is unnecessary. It’s a completely unnecessary expense. That’s my only objection to it.”
Sisk and neighbors Rinna Lin and Mary Ann Fasano all spoke at a committee meeting on Oct. 22, 2009 about these same concerns. According to the meeting's minutes, Ciccarone is cited as mentioning a fence twice.
Once, in response to Lin's concern of the insurance liability for the Sunset Lake Property Owner's Association, the minutes state, "Ciccarone said that Sunset Lake would become less accessible from Shunpike Field due to the installation of fencing."
Fifteen days after Mayor Nicole Hagner and Deputy Mayor Gallop met in subcommittee to discuss a possible market farming ordinance, the ordinance has been added as a discussion item at Thursday night's meeting.
The committee has discussed since May the possiblity of allowing properties with small acreages of land (five acres or less, according to a discussion at the May 12 committee meeting) to grow produce for the purpose of selling it for profit.
The issue has caused some contention among the residents of the Green Village neighborhood in Chatham Township, where the ordinance would have the widest effect. The Bucuk family were the ones who asked the committee to consider allowing small commercial farming in the township. A neighbor, Erich Templin, said that allowing farming in Chatham would destroy the "pastoral" atmosphere of the neighborhood.
The meeting Thursday begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Chatham Township Municipal Building.