Residents Talk Hoops, Heights of Colls. Trash with Borough Leaders
Commissioners also tabled a pair of ordinances related to the LumberYard project until a special session can be convened July 25.
At their monthly meeting Monday, borough commissioners offered early drafts of ordinances that would address outdoor pet-keeping issues, establish a new family practice in town, and set limits on how long people can keep dumpsters and storage containers on their properties.
The commissioners also tabled a pair of measures—one forming a tax-relief PILOT program for the Ingerman Group, the developer attached to complete the LumberYard project, and another addressing certain engineering and design aspects of the project—as a result of conflicting document drafts at its June planning board meeting.
To address those matters, commissioners will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. July 25 following the special planning board meeting July 16.
Yet the two issues that dominated discussion at the public session involved steadily deteriorating environmental conditions at the Heights of Collingswood apartment complex and a dispute about basketball hoops on a dead-end street.
“There’s a lot of people moving out,” said Peg Bullock, a longtime Heights of Collingswood resident. “Some of this stuff is just building up.
“My husband called to tell them the fans in the garage weren’t running and the resident services manager said they didn’t know they had a garage,” Bullock said.
Of specific concern, she said, was a valet garbage service implemented by property management company Greystar that charged residents a monthly fee for the privilege of leaving their garbage and recycling outside their doors for collection.
In addition to violating borough fire code, Bullock said the practice was unsanitary and led to the declining quality of the hallway carpets—which, she says, have gotten so filthy that the property manager is trying to decide whether to replace or clean them.
“Well, don’t take six months to decide,” Bullock said.
Collingswood mayor James Maley said that in his view, Greystar was doing “a lot of things” much better than the prior management company had, but that he was concerned by the issues Bullock raised.
“They’re trying to get a handle on things that were mismanaged in the past,” Maley said. “We do believe they’re taking control.”
Cindy Barasi of Madison Ave complained that she felt as though her family were targeted for enforcement of a borough ordinance prohibiting basketball playing in the street.
“About four months ago, a police officer came to our house on a Sunday and said, ‘You need to get rid of that basketball net,’” she told commissioners. “My son was bawling his eyes out, just to let you know.”
Maley told Barasi that the borough has never allowed freestanding structures like basketball nets in the street because it is a safety issue.
“We don’t want kids playing in the streets,” Maley said. “You can have the net at the end of your driveway and the kids can play basketball all day long.”
As far as Barasi’s complaints of selective enforcement, Maley said that unfortunately, when neighbors complain, the authorities have no choice but to respond.
“Police went to your door that day because people that live around you called,” he said. “What are we left to do? We have parks and basketball courts [for basketball].”
Other residents pointed out that access to other facilities remains an issue because school courts are gated and locked. Maley said that perhaps the body would look into those concerns.