The Mt. Laurel Township Council met Feb. 10 for its most recent regular meeting, a combination of resolutions up for approval, first and second readings of a handful of ordinances and recognition of the community’s enduring strength.
All seven resolutions up for vote were passed, with a few garnering special attention and a deeper dive. They included:
- Resolution 20-R-47 required a little additional explanation as to why it called for the cancellation of property taxes on the Stern Light Drive lot. Township Manager/Clerk Meredith Tomczyk clarified that it is a “state of New Jersey property, so they’re actually exempt from paying taxes.” The resolution was ultimately approved.
- Resolution 20-R-48 ensured that, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.30’s permission of “exemption from property taxes for any citizen and resident of the state who is 100 percent a totally and permanently disabled veteran,” resident and veteran Michele Floyd’s property taxes were canceled and any payment thereof was refunded.
- Resolution 20-R-50 was one of the most quickly seconded items of the evening. The resolution authorizes the township to appoint special law enforcement officers for a one-year term. The council quickly approved it, appointing the three candidates — Stephen Monroe, Kurt Shepherd and Robin Perz — to Special Law Enforcement Officer Class II status for a term spanning Feb. 20, 2020, to Feb. 9, 2021.
A mid-agenda item, Resolution 20-R-53, will have a public hearing now that it’s been announced and passed. It will authorize the submission of a grant application to the board of Burlington County’s freeholders for the 2020 Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG).
Specifically, as Tomczyk explained it, Mt. Laurel is “entitled to apply for grant money under CDBG.”
“Each year, the county gives us a map of where we are authorized to pick a location,” she said of the development process that will allow the township to mill and pave Pecan Court. “We only qualify for $88,000 worth of grant money and it will be more than that to pave the court, but this is at the recommendation of the municipal engineer.”
The lone first-read ordinance, 2020-3, reevaluated Chapter 107 of the township code in regard to Parks and Recreation in an effort to encourage residents’ increased usage of the Mt. Laurel Senior/Community Center and facilities on Walton Avenue. The township determined that the rental fees dissuaded many from pursuing opportunities to utilize the available spaces, and also decided that the service of wine and beer is allowed at “properly licensed special events held at the Paws Farm Nature Center, the Mt. Laurel Senior/Community Center or the Walton Avenue buildings and … township-sponsored activities in other parks and recreation areas.”
There will be a public hearing regarding Ordinance 2020-3 on Feb. 24.
The council gave its second reading of ordinances 2020-1 and 2020-2, neither of which elicited public comment and both of which passed. The former called for the township’s calendar-year 2020 budget to be both increased by 3.5 percent and approved and adopted; the latter amended Chapter 148 (“Vehicles and Traffic”) of the township’s code.
Per Ordinance 2020-2, Article XIV (“Schedules”), Section 148-37 (“Schedule VIII: Stop Intersections”) will now include a stop sign on the northbound approach where the looping St. David Drive intersects with itself.
After limited public participation, council members had the opportunity to provide their comments. Councilman Kurt Folcher said that after speaking with some residents in the Amberfield section, he’s interested “to see if we can get the county to lower the speed limit on Church Road to (Route) 73 to 40 mph.
“It picks up some speed: You’ve got two lanes going down into one, and a lot of times people are racing to get into that one lane,” Folcher explained. “I know it’s a county road, it’s a county issue, but that would be something that the neighborhood would like to see.”
Winter has highlighted the fact that the intersection of the Amberfield development and Church Road is a dimly lit area that might benefit from council exploring additional lighting to keep local children safe.
Both Folcher and Deputy Mayor Linda Bobo praised the previous weekend’s three-on-three Mt. Laurel Basketball game hosted by Doug Rimerman and Don Jetter for 11th and 12th graders.
“It was a great success,” Bobo said, adding that the game gave residents a chance to donate used sports equipment to those in need. “All the equipment is going to be donated to underserved populations and communities so that their sports programs can thrive and the children who participate do not have to worry about where they’re getting their basketball or their softball or baseball glove.
“It was a great showing of support in Mt. Laurel, as always.”
Mayor Irwin Edelson stayed with the athletics theme and reminded meeting attendees that Mt. Laurel Baseball will have its opening day the morning of April 4, with girls’ softball beginning April 5.
The council then went into a closed session, where it passed Ordinance 2020-4, authorizing and approving an access easement on Block 1306.01, Lot 1. A public hearing will be held Feb. 24.
The next regular meeting of the Mt. Laurel Council will be Feb. 24 at the township municipal courtroom.