Cracking down
Council adopts ordinance to ban illegal apartments
by Hannington Dia
Reporter Staff Writer
Jul 15, 2018 | 2698 views | 0 0 comments | 132 132 recommendations | email to a friend | print
COUNCIL
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The mayor and Town Council voted to ban illegal apartments in Secaucus at their June 26 meeting. Illegal apartments can include, according to the ordinance: an additional dwelling unit within a single or multi-family dwelling, or one for which no proper certificate of occupancy has been issued.

According to the adopted ordinance, there has been a “proliferation” of unlawful or illegal dwelling units in town, causing a strain on town services, and more garbage and traffic.

The ordinance bans anyone from charging or receiving rent payments for use or occupancy of such apartments.

Those charged with violations can be fined at least $500 and/or get a 90-day jail term for each violation.

Owners of these apartments will also have to pay relocation costs for tenants who receive eviction notices. They may also have to pay restitution damages to the town, if the council determines that the occupancy has caused an increase in use of town services.

“Just so you know, I got quite a few calls on this,” said Mayor Michael Gonnelli, after the council cast a final vote. “People are a little bit concerned, people are eyeing on the side of safety.”

After the meeting, Gonnelli said the town is investigating one person who owns six apartments that are suspected to be illegal.

He said many of the fires fought by the Secaucus Volunteer Fire Department are basement fires in illegal apartments, Gonnelli said.

New cops hired

The council swore in four new probationary police officers at the meeting. Frederick Kowal, Dennis Calacione, Matthew Kirvin, and Kasey Kelly are the latest to join the force.

“With these four officers, we will be up to 72 sworn police officers,” said Police Chief Kevin Flaherty, just before the swearing in. “It’s the largest we’ve ever been. I’ve asked for manpower, and whenever I’ve asked, they’ve [the town has] provided.”

The new officers come after officials swore in two at the May 22 meeting. According to Gonnelli, most of the new officers will be working in the public schools and in the field.

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“People are eyeing on the side of safety.” – Michael Gonnelli

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Improvement projects

The town clerk will collect bids for a contractor to do paving work on the entire stretch of Flanagan Way after a resolution passed at the meeting. This year, the New Jersey Department of Transportation gave Secaucus a $550,000 grant for the work. The clerk will also seek out bids for improvement work on John Street and Post Place, after another resolution passed. The town estimates a possible cost of $125,000 per street.

The town is also bidding for a firm to do reconstruction work on Fourth Street, from Centre Avenue to the street’s southern terminus.

Click it or Ticket results

Secaucus police stopped 148 motorists from May 21 through June 3 as part of the Click it or Ticket campaign. They gave out 70 summonses for cell phone violations and 51 for seat belt violations, said Councilman John Gerbasio during the committee reports. Three arrests were made.

A reminder to dispose of your garbage properly

Councilman James Clancy reminded residents to put out their trash or garbage around collection times. Within the last few weeks, people in town have been putting out their garbage up to three days before pickup, Clancy said. That leads to trash in the street, which is susceptible to wild animals.

A town ordinance mandates that residents put out the trash at 6 p.m. the night before collection, the councilman noted.

Hannington Dia can be reached at hd@hudsonreporter.com

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