Law & Justice

$7,400 and Counting from Roxbury's Zoning Scofflaw Court Day

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Michael Bartek's property on Route 46 in Kenvil
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ROXBURY, NJ – The price of ignoring Roxbury ordinances was made clear to eight business operators who appeared in local court last week as part of the township’s effort to crack down on slobs and scofflaws.

At a special session on June 30, Roxbury Municipal Court Judge Ira Cohen imposed about $7,400 worth of fines on the eight defendants. He adjourned until August 18 three other cases.

The summonses, from Roxbury Zoning Officer Patricia Fischer, were the result of a mid-April sweep of businesses by a team of Roxbury officials. At the time, Roxbury Township Manager Christopher Raths said the goal of the 7-hour-long operation was to get the businesses to comply with township and state codes.

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Typical of the cases were those brought against Juan Correa, who operates Valley Auto Wreckers on Berkshire Valley Road. He is charged with illegally storing vehicles within 20 feet of a right-of-way, expansion of a non-conforming use and operating as a junk and used-car dealer without a license.

Correa’s matters were among those adjourned by Cohen, as were the cases against Michael Bartek, whose operations on Route 46 in Kenvil prompted Fischer to cite him for illegally parking storage containers and vehicles.

Raths said the entities cited in the April sweep were given some time to bring their properties into compliance. “Owners are given 10 or more days to abate a violation,” he said. “If they don’t then they get a summons. A significant number of properties abated the violations within the 10-day period.”

He acknowledged some of the defendants were unhappy about the crackdown. “A couple people thought we were picking on them,” said Raths.

However, the effort also has supporters, he stressed. “A lot of people thought it was about time,” said the manager. “And if you go around you can see there’s been some improvements in the properties ... I am very pleased with the efforts of the staff to resolve these matters."

Raths said "violations remain" at properties throughout the township and he vowed that "the town staff and my office will remain diligent in enforcement of our ordinances.” Raths said he anticipates “additional enforcement sweeps this summer.”

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