By Angela Ciroalo
West Long Branch — The mayor and Borough Council discussed parking and snow removal during the council meeting on Wednesday, Feb 7, due to recent complaints they received.
Councilman Steve Cioffi, Chairman of the Department of Public Works, said a borough ordinance does not allow anyone to park on the street when snow is on them in West Long Branch. Violators receive a ticket issued by the police department.
According to the ordinance, no resident can park on either side of any road at any time of the day or night when roads are snow covered.
Cioffi said that the borough has received complaints about the way roads are being plowed and in their defense, he wanted to explain that the road department has had a very difficult time plowing streets where residents are not compliant with the ordinance – especially in the early phases of a clean up.
“During a snow storm, the initial response of our road department is to go in and open up the roadways to the best that they can,” said Cioffi. “And then come back and then go curb to curb.” Cioffi said the road department is not neglecting or improperly plowing the roads. When cars remain on borough streets, the road department is not able to plow the area where the car is located, and they must also avoid striking it, which can become an obstacle, he explained.
Mayor Janet Tucci said that it is not only difficult to plow around cars, but it is also dangerous. “My plea is, during a snow storm … just remove your vehicle from the street,” said Cioffi. “And understand that the plows will come if there’s a one path roadway, and they are going to be back to clean it up.” The mayor and council reported during the meeting, that the police department has been diligent in issuing summonses for cars parked on snow covered roads, although it still remains an issue.
In an attempt to prevent issuing summonses, Chief of WLB Police Larry Mihlon sent out a reminder to residents before the first snow storm.
“I thank you chief for putting out the call to remind people, but I don’t think it needs to be done every snow storm,” said Tucci. Tucci explained that it is a learning process. “I think people are getting the picture, and I think people that get the tickets understand why they got it and it won’t happen again,” she said.
Councilman Christopher Neyhart asked if the department of public works had any issues involving the amount of salt available.
Cioffi said that the borough does not, and is prepared if more snow is to come. “We’re fine,” said Cioffi. “The Superintendent has obtained two loads [of salt] from the county. There’s not an issue.”
New Ordinances in WLB
Council gave consideration to three new ordinances suggested by the borough ordinance committee. Gregory Baxter, Borough Attorney, said the ordinance review committee met on Feb. 6 to discuss the issues and the different ways they would like to confront them.
The first involved an ordinance to resolve complaints about rental homes. The second ordinance would limit the quantity of storage units or trailers allowed on a property, as well as the time frame they can remain there. The third was a request to adopt an ordinance restricting residents from having certain farm animals on their property.
The ordinance involving the storage unit will be created and voted on during an upcoming meeting. The ordinance involving the farm animals will not be considered because the mayor and council did not feel it would be necessary.
Tucci said that there is no need for an ordinance limiting the kinds of animals allowed in the borough, because there are no current issues involving any of the residents’ livestock or animals. The council agreed.
The rental home issues was the most prominent issue discussed. The ordinance, according to Baxter, will be based off a similar ordinance that Ocean Township and Long Branch currently have, which require landlords to confront their tenant’s issues after a certain number of issuances.
“The requirement is a certain number of convictions in the course of a year. You will go to a hearing officer and the hearing officer will require [the landlords] to post the bond,” said Baxter.
Baxter also discussed ways to seek assistance from the neighbors of rental homes to better handle situation such as parties or noise violations. “If we’re going to issue summonses, the [neighbors] are going to be our witnesses,” he added.
Tucci explained that she is not happy about the need for more ordinances. “I’m not a proponent of more government, but we’re put in a position with these rental homes that we have to do something,”she said.
The ordinances will be discussed more during upcoming council meetings.