PLUMSTED – Abandoned homes, a road filled with potholes, and veterans benefits were subjects of discussion at a recent Township Committee meeting.
Resident Karen Lamphere spoke to the governing body about any ordinances that would cover abandoned homes and safety issues associated with those structures “as well as any ordinances that covers homes that are in bad shape and not being maintained.”
“The reason I am asking is that there is an impact on people who are either trying to sell their homes or it is a value thing for folks in the neighborhood. What are our options?” she asked.
Mayor Robert Bowen asked if it was a case of the home being abandoned as far as upkeep or if they were vacated. Lampshere said the home in question does meet its tax requirements. “The house is empty. It is in bad disrepair and it is starting to sink and it is a safety hazard.”
Township Attorney Jean Cipriani replied there were ordinances on the books for abandoned properties and separately a property maintenance ordinance. “If you can identify the property to the clerk we will look into the enforcement of those ordinances for that property.”
Township Clerk/Business Administrator Jennifer Witham said there was a code enforcement officer and an abandoned property secretary that would help with those issues.
Resident Elizabeth Irwin has been working on a petition that has been signed by residents on her block concerning road conditions. “We are constantly calling you guys about getting this fixed. The road is dangerous.”
Irwin lives on Lepky Avenue. She said a boy was riding his bicycle when he fell and broke his eyeglasses on that portion of road. “I have been there for 19 years. My road was never this way before,” she said noting that it started with “two homes within the development started to pump their sub pump into our road which was draining to the end of the block creating floods.”
“What I heard was what they were told by the township to bury them so they were no longer draining them into the road. We have these holes on our street. Those holes are dangerous. What is going to be done?” Irwin asked the governing body.
Mayor Bowen said in 2021 a drain and repaving project had been approved. “We have one resident who is waiting for easement approval so we can start the job. In the meantime, we can put back on the list to fill the potholes. We are working with the homeowner and we are very aware of the condition it is in.”
Witham said the day after the Committee meeting, a township maintenance worker went out to review the property that was filled with potholes again. The anticipated cost of this project is about $400,000.
She added that it was more extensive than a mill and pave project as it involves drainage work that concerns another property owner who is not living on Lepky Avenue to consent to it.
Once that owner consents to the work on their property, a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection permit application will have to be submitted. This is normally a lengthy process.
A temporary pave on that road was performed in areas that needed it the most until a more permanent solution is made. Other options are being considered regarding this problem.
Resident Claire Catalano came to the committee meeting to speak about the loss of veteran benefit programs because of the development she lives in. The Lennar development, Venue at Longview, is in a PILOT agreement with the township.
Lennar has a PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) program for 30 years. The first five years, Lennar will pay a reduced rate based on taxes and then after year five, years six-30 will be at the regular rate.
Residents said they were ineligible for benefits such as a $250 program for veterans and other programs due to this PILOT program.
Committeeman Leonard Grilletto said 12th District Assemblyman Alex Sauickie who was a guest at that meeting earlier in the evening was working to get veterans included within legislation he proposed.
Cipriani pointed out that the regulations that currently exclude them from benefit programs based on the PILOT program are from the state not the township.