EAST ORANGE, NJ - Driving around the City of East Orange, it is hard to miss the eyesore of vacant and abandoned properties. Tackling the issue of abandonment can save the City millions on public safety, and increase the home values of the area. Since the Green Administration took office, addressing this problem has visibly been a priority.
This week, a designated team known as "VAP" (Vacant Abandoned Property) has been formed to clean and maintain VAP properties throughout East Orange. The team is made up of employees of the Department of Code Enforcement in collaboration with the Department of Public Works. Together, they have staffed the team to target City, private, and bank-owned properties that are vacant and have been a blight in the community.
To preserve the cleanliness of the neighborhoods, code enforcement officers have been tasked with identifying owners who fail to upkeep their abandoned properties. Those who fail to comply can face fines up to $2,500 per violation per day until the property is cleaned or up to 90 days in jail. Each week the VAP team tackles dozens of properties in all five wards.
This is a part of Mayor Ted Green’s aggressive approach to abate eyesores in the community. “We want our homeowners to take pride in East Orange,” said Mayor Ted R. Green. “As a community, we have to set a standard for what we want our neighborhoods to look like. This clean team is a perfect example of how to demonstrate our commitment to this effort.”
The VAP team joins an ongoing aggressive strategy initiated in 2019 through the City's Policy, Planning, and Economic Development, Legal, and Property Maintenance departments, requiring owners to repair or lose their abandoned properties. This is the initiative responsible for over two-hundred rehabs currently occurring throughout the municipality.
Along with activating the VAP clean-up crew, and the 2019 strategy, Mayor Green has also promoted several initiatives including “Mayor on the Block,” where the clean team focuses on specific neighborhoods in various wards throughout the city while the mayor and his administrative team listen to and address constituent concerns. In the coming weeks, a new litter campaign titled “Love Our City” will kick off, promoting the importance of keeping public spaces clean by enforcing littering laws and fines.
For more information on the VAP team, please contact the Division of Vacant and Abandoned Properties at 973.266.5320.
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