LAKEHURST – Borough officials approved an ordinance aimed at “nuisance properties” that require the police or other services frequently.
This ordinance notes that there are properties located in Lakehurst where nuisances and other activities occur which have resulted in the excessive consumption of municipal services. The added cost of these municipal services “should be paid by the property owner and not through general tax revenues.”
Excessive municipal services are defined in the ordinance as “any qualifying Lakehurst Borough Police Department calls made to a property while that property is on probationary nuisance status.”
A nuisance property is described in the ordinance as “properties on which activities occur that result in qualifying Lakehurst Borough Police Department calls for municipal services during any 60-day period in excess of the number of calls listed on the schedule 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – are considered nuisance properties and are subject to the penalties and procedures as set forth” in the ordinance.
There will be a probationary nuisance status designation applied to properties which, as determined by a public officer, have received the requisite number of qualifying calls within a 60-day period. Probationary nuisance status is effective for a 12-month period beginning on the date of the public officer’s determination.
The property owner is liable to the Borough for $300 per offense withing that 12-month period. The list of offenses include violations of laws that disrupt the peace or harm others.
However, there are some violations that don’t count, because police don’t want people to be afraid of being fined for something so they don’t report it.
Borough Attorney Ian Goldman explained the governing body didn’t want to deter anyone from contacting the police in relation to a 911 call for an overdose, by way of example, which is why it is one of the 10 items not on the call list.
Police Chief Matthew Kline or his designee will administer the necessary record keeping and investigation required in connection with this ordinance. He or his designee will also have to keep and maintain records documenting information concerning the properties serviced.
Councilman Jim Davis asked if the ordinance applied to “maintenance repeatedly throwing junk out of someone’s house because they have repeatedly put crap out on the curb.”
Council President Steven Oglesby said that excessive debris would fall under code enforcement services “if it is a nuisance.”