Residents said property owners and tenants were leaving trash strewn about, not maintaining sidewalks and allowing vegetation to grow uncontrolled.
“We only know things when you come in.”
Mt. Laurel Mayor Kurt Folcher once again reminded residents at this week’s Mt. Laurel Township Council meeting of the power they can wield when they attend council meetings to share their questions and concerns.
This week’s particular discussion began when resident George Brill spoke about what he described as the “deterioration of his neighborhood” on Chaucer Road, along with Chaucer Court and Willow Turn in Mt. Laurel’s Larchmont neighborhood.
Brill cited residents of the area, many of them tenants of rental properties, according to Brill, who he said consistently leave trash in their front yard or even in the streets.
Brill said there were also sections of the sidewalks in the area that were “almost impossible” to pass, with some residents exiting their properties by driving their vehicles directly over their lawns rather than the down their driveways.
Brill also pointed to the sidewalks of properties where he said repairs were conducted with light applications of concrete, only to have the sidewalks in disrepair again several years later.
“In my opinion that sidewalk should be closed to public because it’s such a safety hazard,” Brill said.
Another resident and neighbor of Brill’s at the meeting was Douglas Nieto, who lives on Chaucer Court.
Similar to Brill’s complaints, Nieto also spoke about nearby property owners and tenants who he also said don’t properly maintain their properties.
Nieto mentioned recycling cans filled with garbage and recycling items that will continuously sit at properties because garbage and recycling collectors won’t retrieve the mixed waste.
Nieto also mentioned unmaintained bamboo from a neighboring property that will encroach upon his property, even growing out of a sewer pipe.
“This is embarrassing,” Nieto said. “I’m even embarrassed to have my friends come over.”
In response to Brill and Nieto’s concerns, township manager Meredith Tomczyk said she would have the township’s zoning officer examine the locations.
According to Tomczyk, if the officer were to find any violations of township code, the officer could give the tenant or property owner a letter stating they have 10 days to rectify any issue before issuing an official violation.
Once violations are issued, Tomczyk said tenants or property owners would have to appear before the judge in municipal court, at which point the judge could issue a fine.
“Normally, the fine continues until the issue is fixed,” Tomczyk said. “Fines are different for different violations.”
Other members of council also thanked Brill and Nieto, as well as other residents, for making their voice heard.
“Come to these meetings, ask the tough questions, get the answers you need to get,” Councilman Kareem Pritchett said. “We’re here for a reason. Our job is public service.”
Councilman Irwin Edelson also once again referred to the township council meetings as the “living room” for all Mt. Laurel residents.
“You get to scream and holler at us instead of the television, and here you’ll get answers,” Edelson said. “This is real. You get answers right away or we come back to you with answers.”
Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 11 at Countryside Elementary School at 7 p.m. This will be the township’s first “on the road” meeting of the year.