JACKSON – The term “property underwater” is used in situations where a homeowner’s property value exceeds what it’s really worth. For Robert Kirchhofer of 445 Whitesville Road, that term is a bit more literal.
Kirchhofer’s property has been experiencing flooding issues for more than a decade now. During recent Township Council meetings he has discussed his situation which he said was caused by work performed on a project by CDR Whitesville LLC.
Lakewood attorney Ryan Malc represents Kirchhofer and said last week that a complaint was filed on behalf of his client against Bil-Jim Construction that was involved with work for CDR. The complaint also includes CDR who Kirchhofer says is responsible for the flooding conditions of his property.
Kirchhofer provided Council with pictures depicting his flooding issue. He stated that Councilman Ken Bressi, who was Council President at that time he spoke to him, assured him that his problem would be addressed.
Council President Nixon confirmed if CDR Whitesville LLC received a cease and desist letter from Ocean County to cease operations to which Bressi responded saying the Planning Board inspected the property and it took them quite a few years to stop the drainage issue there.
Bressi added that the last time they were heard by the Planning Board, pictures and testimony were provided on this situation. CDR Whitesville LLC was working to address this matter and they received a cease and desist letter to halt any work conducted on weekends.
“We have no current complaints regarding this property,” Bressi said during a council meeting in February.
Kirchhofer said comments made by council were untrue and he has attended previous council meetings explaining the situation he was facing.
Council President Nixon encouraged Kirchhofer to contact Business Administrator Terrence Wall who he said would take appropriate measures to ensure his matter was addressed.
Kirchhofer had to appear in court recently having been served three violations by the township’s code enforcement office for not removing boats and several other items off the property that were in violation of the township’s code.
The resident had problems removing certain items as the trailer he used was stuck in the mud from recent flooding conditions. He showed a video to prove his dilemma. The resident encouraged members of the governing body to view the pictures and video.
Bressi said approvals for CDR Whitesville LLC were authorized before he became part of the Planning Board. He added that the State Department of Environmental Protection investigated CDR Whitesville LLC and confirmed there were false allegations made against them. Their construction was halted while the Planning Board addressed concerns and this is the first complaint heard since this manner was resolved.
While Bressi said the issue had been addressed he also said there was a possibility that it needed further attention.
Resident Denise Garner said that as an environmental commissioner, she noticed violations by CDR on Kirchhofer’s property. The owner of this property owes the DEP fines for violations adding that Kirchhofer had endured this situation for years. She added that there was a retention pond or wetlands area that was illegally filled.
“This has been going on for 12 years now. My back yard is like a retention pond. This has to be addressed,” Kirchhofer said.
Kirchhofer said that CDR had started work in 2008 on a 36-unit industrial project and had purchased land from the township.
“From that point on there has been flooding and it’s been a nightmare,” Kirchhofer added. “I didn’t mind the industrial park going in but I didn’t know it would mean my property flooding. They received seven or eight extensions on the work. It has been at a standstill,” Kirchhofer said.
Kirchhofer said “everyone is pointing the finger at someone else. It is a case of non-functioning drainage. I’m not an engineer but someone needs to fix the problem. I have had 11 years of flooding.”
A representative from Bil-Jim Construction declined comment for this story and CDR Whitesville could not be reached for comment.