NUTLEY, NJ - Parking issues for Highfield Lane residents were addressed during the open public meeting Tuesday evening, May 16. Present were Mayor and Public Works Commissioner Joseph P. Scarpelli and Commissioners Alphonse Petracco, Mauro G. Tucci and Steven L. Rogers and via phone Revenue and Finance Commissioner Thomas J. Evans.

The Board of Commissioners chose to hold their executive session to discuss potential litigation and contract negotiations until after the public portion of the meeting was concluded.

Public Safety Commissioner Alphonse Petracco brought forward a way to alleviate the parking issue for the residents on Highfield Lane. Instead of a decal program residents will have the two-hour street parking only enforced between the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. in conjunction with the usual overnight parking restriction. “I know what a burden it is on the residents,” said the Commissioner.

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Commissioner Evan’s request to refund overpayments of 2016 tax charges in the amount of $2,467 to Block 2400 Lot 22 was approved. Commissioner Petracco’s request to award of fair and open contract to Turnout Uniforms in Little Falls to furnish and deliver police, dispatchers and crossing guard uniforms and equipment in the total amount of $60,500 was accepted by the board.

The board approved the following resolutions requested by the Mayor: The raffle application for the Essex County PBA Conference; permission to advertise for sealed bids for roadway improvements to be received and opened on June 14 at 3 p.m.

Public Comment

Resident Rory Moore questioned if the township can install a call in system for those that are not able to be present to give their questions on record during public comment at the commission meetings. Moore wondered if disabled residents could participate by phone as Commissioner Evans does. The Mayor said they would look into this idea.

Neil Henning of Nutley raised more questions about the Davis bike shop property. “There was a stipulation in the written conditions to the closing on the Davis property that there be a valid easement for the property to church street, why was that stipulation put in” he asked? Township Attorney Alan Genitempo replied to his question.” I believe that according to the map it may have been a part of the property. We wanted to maintain that easement of that existed,” he said.

Henning then questioned why the fire code passed in February 2013 but failed in July 2014 due to “windowless basement without a supervised automatic sprinkler system.” Genitempo answered that items were flammable in the basement.

Henning further questioned. “On Feb 26, 2016 Davis’ attorney wrote to Mr. Genitempo that the property would be sold as is and they would not be installing the required fire system. Mr. Genitempo’s office addressed the matter to Commissioner Evans,” said Henning.  He then questioned that discussion however between them. Genitempo refused to discuss that stating “it is attorney-client privilege.”

“Why did he not consult with the other commissioners and made the decision on his own?” asked Henning. “Not sure what decision you were talking about, we were in negotiations with a contract and had multiple conversation about the terms of the contract,” said Genitempo.

The mayor granted Henning one more question over his 5 minute time limit.

“The application for a zoning certificate for the resale of the Davis property was submitted on Jan 15, 2016 without the answer to the question is there a fire alarm and with no signature. Shouldn’t the application be rejected as incomplete?” asked Henning.

“Are you asking if everything was done 100 percent, the way you want it to be? I don’t think so, we knew there was a violation, we got a concession from the seller to have it installed it didn’t get done right away, we finally got done, it’s now installed,” said Genitempo.

“There has been a lot of shoddy work done here, it wasn’t one department that dropped the ball on this…That’s a lot of government issues over a three-year period. That is the point of the questions, to get to the bottom of how this can happen, how we can make it so it don’t happen again and that we are insured that there are none of these out there now,” said Henning.

Resident Gregory Palma asked about a problem he brought to attention last year about a neglected property on Clover Street to finally be addressed. “Nothing has taken place since last year, [about the] decaying chicken coops and sheds that are there. Literally myself and my neighbors cannot use our yards because the infestation of mosquitos. County Mosquito Control has been out numerous times and actually fogged the entire neighborhood and they said until that property is cleared this problem will continue,” he said

“Now with the rains that we had I can only imagine how bad it is going to be this year. I’m not exaggerating when I say we are smacking three, four, five at a time. This is a huge problem I’m here for assistance. The bottom line we pay a lot of taxes and we literally cannot use our back yards,” he said.

Rogers agreed that Palma has been patiently waiting for help. He said the health office and the county department has been to the property. “Everything he is saying he is right on target. There is nothing I can do to remove that stuff; it is a sore eye and it not good for any neighborhood. We are powerless at least I am in the public health department,” he said.

Tucci asked if it’s a property maintenance issue. Scarpelli asked Genitempo to look into who owns the property. Evans said they are doing a property inspection. “If there is something that is a danger to citizens we need to address that,” said Evans.

Due to the Primary Election on Tuesday, June 6, the next Board of Commissioners meeting is re-scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, June 8.