JACKSON-Jackson Township Councilman Barry Calogero attended this month’s “Meet the Mayor” session with Mayor Michael Reina and demanded an immediate and total enforcement of the township council’s recently modified right of way ordinance.
Reina addressed the audience and said while his office did not write the ordinance nor did he ask for the change or aggressive enforcement of the ordinance, it has been on the books for forty plus years and he has to succumb to the will of the township council.
What does this mean for residents? Get your stuff out of the way today, or you could be fined.
Reina said an immediate enforcement crackdown will begin this week. Anyone who received recent notices of violations could receive summonses for any item left in the right-of-way, that strip of government-controlled land on the private property that extends anywhere from five to ten feet from your curb.
Under the ordinance passed by the council, targeted items will be basketball hoops, hockey nets, electric cars, landscaping, fencing, abandoned cars, trailers obstructions any permanent structures, lawn signs, and eruvs.
“Some people don’t like it, it’s unfortunate, but it’s the law, I can’t circumvent the law, especially when I’m being told to enforce that law,” Reina told the audience of approximately 10 people. Reina said his code enforcement officers have been instructed to enforce the law immediately. “If you’re not using it, it shouldn’t be there.”
Reina vehemently denied that the ordinance was an effort by his office to block Jewish eruvs in town, again, reminding the audience that it was an ordinance passed by the township council with strict orders for the administration to enforce.
The township council on several occasions has denied the law change was intended to target the Orthodox Jewish population in town.
On Bennett’s Mills Road alone, at least 30 objects were visible this week in the right of way, creating a huge to-do list for the township’s four code officers in coming weeks and months.
Reina said he is aware of the large scope of the upcoming enforcement operation and that the town is prepared, citing three of the four code enforcement officers having prior police department experience. “They’re used to getting yelled at,” he joked.
When asked if the law can be modified or scaled back, Reina reminded the audience again, that he does not write the laws, the township council writes the laws and his office is tasked with the enforcement of those council drafted laws.
“If you want to change the ordinance, you have to lobby the council, it’s their law,” Reina said. “Just like you would lobby Washington, D.C. or Trenton, come to council meetings and let your voice be heard.”
Reina added that even though the council ordinance provides for jail time and a thousand dollar fine, he doubts anyone would be facing the maximum penalty set forth by the law for violations.