MICKLETON- At their meeting on Sept. 24, the East Greenwich Township Committee tabled a decision regarding fencing at Amherst Farms for a basin that could pose a safety risk to children.
A six-foot wet basin lies below a hill between Amherst Farms on Quaker Road and Amherst Meadows on Democrat Road, and a recreation area sits between the two properties.
Amherst Farms Homeowners Association President F. Scott Fein expressed disappointment that Amherst couldn’t get a fence that completely surrounded the basin. “Our main concern is with the children of our neighborhood going in the basin,” Fein said. “We agree with your plan of using visible and physical deterrents to keep children from going in there.”
But Engineer Erik Biermann explained that price quotes for fences that surrounded the area were triple the price of a smaller fence. “A quote was just over $4,000 for a wire mesh fence that would go from treeline to treeline,” Biermann noted.
“We don’t have $12,000,” emphasized East Greenwich Mayor Fred Grant. Committeeman Dale Archer pointed out that a temporary fence was currently in place there, but called it just a “short-term fix.” Action on the fence was tabled until the Committee’s next meeting in October.
The Committee did approve a resolution approving the submittal of a grant application with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for work on Heritage Road. But they tabled action on escrow procedures, the introduction of a salary ordinance, and introduction of an ordinance prohibiting parking on Berkley Road. The no parking ordinance was tabled for a second time.
“This is a redevelopment area where we are partners with the developer, explained Grant. “Gloucester County doesn’t want parking on Berkley Road.” Archer argued, “The County has not given supporting documentation that this has to be done.”
During the public portion of the meeting, Mickleton resident and political candidate Wilfredo Rojas expressed concerns about how much the township’s recent lawsuit against developer Ron Zeck would cost the community. East Greenwich filed a lawsuit against Zeck and other parties alleging that deeds for two plots of land meant to be dedicated to the town were never delivered.
“I would just like an estimate on how much this is going to cost,” Rojas commented. “Do we have enough money in the budget to handle this, or are we just going to “swipe the credit card,” as Dale Archer has said before.
Rojas was referring to a remark Archer made regarding township financial problems during heated budget negotiations earlier this year.
Grant mentioned that East Greenwich had spent $4,000 on the lawsuit to that point.
Craig said the lawsuit was due to a breach of contract performance. ”When a developer makes a promise to turn over land, that promise should be complied with,” stated the deputy mayor. “We as a committee felt this was the proper action to take.”
Craig assured Rojas that the money was available. Rojas is the lone Democratic candidate running for election to the Committee in November. Craig has decided not to seek re-election.