After public comments, Florence Township to rework large-vehicle storage ordinance

Residents express concerns over measure

By:Vanessa S. Holt
   FLORENCE — After listening to input from the public last week, the Township Council decided to start over on developing an ordinance that would limit the storage of boats, trailers and other large vehicles on public streets.
   "We had to introduce it to get input from the people affected to see if there were minor amendments to make or if we would need to make more substantial changes," said Mayor Michael Muchowski.
   He said the intent was to eliminate any fears that the governing body would table the ordinance and then "slide it through" without proper notice.
   Residents had expressed their concerns about the proposed ordinance amendment over several weeks, said the mayor.
   The proposed ordinance would have prohibited parking trailers, campers, recreation vehicles, boats and boat trailers, and nonpassenger vehicles on streets or front yards for more than two consecutive hours per week.
   The ordinance also would have limited the storage of tires in residential areas.
   "Everyone agreed that the intent of the ordinance to get these type of vehicles off the street was a mutual goal," said Mayor Muchowski. "One of the concerns was having clearer definitions, especially in the area of commercial vehicles."
   Another concern was making the language of the ordinance clear enough that it would be enforceable, he said.
   "Some of the language was confusing, even to us, so the council agreed to kill the ordinance so we could start from a foundation and create something everyone is comfortable with," the mayor said.
   The ordinance had been created in response to resident complaints over the years. Because the township is on the Delaware River, many residents have boats or other watercraft.
   Large vehicles parked on the street created aesthetic and safety issues and resulted in congestion, said the mayor.
   However, many residents, particularly in Roebling, do not have enough room on their properties for off-street parking, he said.
   "We don’t want to pass an ordinance that won’t be enforced or will be difficult to enforce," said Mayor Muchowski. "We can’t cover every situation, but anything we do is better for residents than what was on books to begin with."
   A new ordinance should be ready for introduction by the end of the summer, but there is no specific timetable, he said.