Township to crack down on code violations

Bordentown Township police and code enforcement officers to seek out businesses illegally operating out of residences.

By: Eve Collins
   BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP — Police officers and the township’s code enforcement officer will team up to patrol the township, looking for businesses illegally operating out of homes in residential neighborhoods.
   "There are ordinances in place and people are not aware of them or choose not to observe them," said Mayor George Chidley in a phone interview on Wednesday. Lt. Frank Nucera of the Police Department met with the Township Committee on Monday to discuss the issue.
   Sgt. Norman Hand will work with the municipality’s new full-time code enforcement officer, Michael Lutz, who was hired just one month ago, Mayor Chidley said.
   The two will begin patrolling neighborhoods, looking for violations of motor vehicle codes and businesses illegally operating out of residences.
   The code enforcement officer enforces zoning and property maintenance codes, along with other municipal codes that are not enforced by the Police Department, according to Township Administrator John Mason. While the township also has a zoning officer, Mr. Lutz will enforce zoning violations in the field, he said.
   The process will take place in increments, with officials first knocking on doors and warning violators to take action, the mayor said. If they do not comply, violators will receive a notice and eventually a citation to appear in municipal court, he said.
   The situation was brought to the committee’s attention by residents who reported that businesses are being run out of homes in violation of township’s zoning laws, the mayor said. In some neighborhoods, business owners conduct their trade in the street, in some cases leaving vehicles illegally parked, he said.
   The mayor would not give specific examples of business owners who are operating illegally.
   In situations like this, there is an overlap of duties between the code enforcement officer and the Police Department. If an illegally parked vehicle is found, it can be brought to the department’s attention.
   The crackdown is principally a quality of life issue for residents, Mayor Chidley said. "If someone lives in a residential area, there is an expectation that it will remain residential," he said.