Friday, April 12, 2024

Frelinghuysen Updates Abandoned Property Regs

Frelinghuysen will be joining neighboring municipalities by updating its regulations related to vacant and abandoned properties in town.

The ordinance aligns recent changes to regulations on the state level that resulted from several court cases in the past year, said Township Attorney Richard Bellin.

“Essentially what happened is a result of some court cases,” Bellin said. “There were challenges to the existing abandoned property law at the state level. So, the state redid its statute and that statute that required us to change our ordinance. It pretty much does the same thing but there are some additional procedures.”

If certain conditions apply to a vacant property, the property would be listed in the Township Property Registration Program. The party responsible for the property, including owners and lienholders, would be required to pay registration costs ranging from $500 to $3,000.

The township would then be empowered to take action necessary to regulate the care, maintenance, security and upkeep of the exterior of residential or commercial properties. A lien against the property for costs incurred by the township could be applied.

In particular, the state was concerned about what it terms “attractive nuisances,” properties and structures or objects that in addition to being an eyesore, draw the attention of people—especialy children—to explore, vandalize or otherwise trespass and pose a danger.

The conditions that would suggest abandonment include neglected vegetation, an accumulation of newspapers, mail and other deliveries and statements of neighbors.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.