Mt. Laurel residents who are feeding stray cats may soon be feeding the township a small fine.
Mt. Laurel Council discussed adopting a new ordinance making it illegal for residents to feed feral cats and dogs in the township. Currently, it is illegal to feed any wildlife on township property such as parks, but there is no ordinance preventing residents from feeding animals elsewhere.
“We don’t have anything for the neighborhoods,” township clerk Meredith Tomczyk said.
Tomczyk made the proposal to council after Burlington County officials recommended the township pass an ordinance on the subject, citing health and safety concerns with residents. In April, a fox discovered near Burry Port Way in Mt. Laurel tested positive for rabies. While there have not been any feral cats testing positive for rabies in town, officials fear a resident could contract the disease if contact is made with an animal.
Tomczyk said the ordinance is directed toward residents who are feeding large groups of feral cats in certain neighborhoods. She said residents are feeding groups of 20 or more cats in some areas. County officials have already been in some neighborhoods, warning residents.
“The county actually goes out and tells the neighborhood there are no feeding laws,” Tomczyk said.
Mt. Laurel is one of a number of Burlington County towns that has a shared services agreement with Willingboro for animal control. Tomczyk said out of those municipalities, Mt. Laurel is the only one without an ordinance regarding feral cat and dog feeding.
A proposed penalty for a first offense would be a warning. A second offense will impose a fine on residents. A proposed ordinance could be on council’s agenda for first reading as early as its next meeting on May 18.
Planning board to conduct study for possible redevelopment plan
Council authorized the planning board to conduct a study and determine whether two properties can be declared areas in need of redevelopment.
Both areas are locations for proposed affordable housing developments. The first, a parcel located on Moorestown-Mt. Laurel Road, is the proposed location for the next phase of the Ethel R. Lawrence Homes development. The second location, on Hainesport-Mt. Laurel Road, is the proposed location for the Connell Tract Development. Both sites are wooded and vacant.
The planning board’s study will go through a set of criteria to determine if either site qualifies as an area of non-condemnation redevelopment. If it does qualify, a redevelopment plan will be created for the area.
Township manager Maureen Mitchell said regardless of the outcome, the only development allowed to occur on either site would be affordable housing.
Food vendor permit ordinance proposed
Food vendors working single events may soon be required to get a one-day license.
The township is discussing an ordinance to require food vendors brought in to work single-day events on township property to get a permit. Tomczyk said there are a number of vendors who are selling food at events such as sports tournaments without notifying the township.
The proposed ordinance would force vendors to apply for a permit with the township each time they want sell items at a park for an event. Vendors would be able to apply for a permit each time they are at the park. Vendors would also have the option to receive a yearlong permit.
“Police would do a background check, and we would check that they have a county board of health certificate,” Tomczyk said.