JACKSON – An ordinance passed that changed the rules of the road, but first the rules of the meeting slowed down the proceedings.
Ordinance 24-23 prohibits parking on portions of Brewers Bridge Road. Councilwoman Jennifer Kuhn said she received some e-mails questioning the need for this. She said the road has experienced a number of fatalities.
“I stand behind the traffic safety bureau and their recommendation of making no parking on both sides of the street,” she added.
During Township Council meetings, residents are given the chance to comment on ordinances before the council decides on them.
An individual – who at first identified himself as “anonymous” – stated he was not legally obligated to identify himself, despite this being on livestreamed video which is archived for later viewing via the township website.
The town’s attorney disagreed, saying that comments are for public record in a case like this, where the governing body has to decide on a course of action. The governing body has the authority to require individuals to give their name and address as that may be relevant to the proceedings.
“That isn’t correct,” the man responded.
The attorney replied “it is.”
“I’m going to go with the lawyer at the table,” Council President Steve Chisholm said.
The speaker claimed a Supreme Court ruling allowed him to speak anonymously.
The attorney again informed him there is a difference between speaking during a town meeting, and submitting comments about a topic. In the latter case, there are situations where you might not be required to provide your name and address.
Adam Silversmith of Brewers Bridge Road ultimately revealed his identity and stated that initially the ordinance called for prohibition of one side of the street parking. “Now there is a revision of Brewers Bridge Road to have no parking on either side.”
Silversmith added, “in addition to that my family has been going through the disturbance of rumble strips that were recently installed along this way. Jackson Police have conducted a traffic study which has resulted in a huge amount of an increase in traffic and ultimately to a recent death.”
“I asked for other modifications and those modifications were addressed by Mr. (Township Business Administrator Terence) Wall to the New Jersey Department of Transportation on numerous occasions where Mr. Wall has claimed that it is up to the Department of Transportation and that they ultimately left it to the township,” Silversmith added.
The resident asked “where will cars park on Brewers Bridge Road? Will they park on grasses? Are more backyards going to be paved so that cars can be parked back there now, such as my neighbor’s a couple houses up? Where will cars park now?”
“Hopefully you’ll take care of that double yellow line that isn’t painted correctly,” Silversmith added.
Wall told the council president that there was a long series of communication with Silversmith and he “categorically rejects his assertions in every way shape and form and will continue to communicate with the residents on safety issues on the roadway.”
“Tragically people have died and that is precisely why the State wants it to be safe and that is precisely the point and it is galling to use the death of a young person in a public forum as an assertion and the complaint when that is precisely why we are here,” Wall added.
Wall said that the idea behind the ordinance was to “ensure the safety of the residents of Jackson and anybody who travels on that roadway. The mayor has been actively involved in designing programs and plans that are complying with the law and NJDOT guidance.”
“We are going to continue to work with our law enforcement folks and engineers and our traffic experts to design – where appropriate – changes that this gentleman is well aware are underway to bring them forth,” Wall said.