CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Cedar Grove police will soon have more authority to enforce the no swimming rule at Devil's Hole in the township.
Devil's Hole is a ravine in the Peckman River, located behind Foodtown and the apartments on Little Falls Road near Community Park. It has long been a picturesque place to visit, but has also been a gathering place for young people.
"Throughout the years, young people have visited the location," said Township Manager Tom Tucci at the town council meeting Monday. "It seems lately, with the advent of social media, it has become an attractive nuisance with large groups of young and sometimes older people going there."
Tucci noted that the area is not safe for swimming for a number of reasons. The ravine is deep and a young man drowned there in 2014. The water quality also makes the water unsafe for swimming. Tucci pointed out that the flow of the Peckman River contains discharge from both the Verona and Cedar Grove sewage treatment plants.
In response to resident complaints, Cedar Grove police have stepped up patrols in the area to seven times daily. In addition, Department of Public Works is visiting the area three times a week to make sure people are not leaving garbage about. To help police, Tucci asked the town council to revise the current township ordinance giving it "a little more teeth" and allow for better enforcement. Specifically the new ordinance would spell out that swimming is absolutely prohibited and provide for signage indicating as much, as well as notifying visitors of the safety hazards.
"It's just not safe and we want ot be able to put them on notice," Tucci explained. "We are looking for compliance. People can visit, but we can't have people swimming."
The township council agreed with Tucci's recommendations and authorized him to revise the ordinance. It will be presented at the next council meeting for first reading.