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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 , and another addressing certain engineering and design aspects of the project—.

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 at the 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.

Shirley July 06, 2012 at 05:22 PM
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.” I see basketball hoops in the street or on the curb strip frequently as I drive through town - and have for years. Surely the police have noticed the hoops while on patrol. Why haven't they been enforcing the ban? I've seen cars come thisclose to kids playing basketball. It's difficult for me to believe that some parents can be so unconcerned for their children's safety.
john q public July 06, 2012 at 06:41 PM
There's a net at the intersection near the pool, 2 cops and a senior fireman live within 1 block - yet it remains
Anne Carroll July 06, 2012 at 07:00 PM
One more time: What happens at The Heights affects all of Collingswood. As go The Heights, so will go Collingswood.
Shirley July 06, 2012 at 08:14 PM
An amusing but telling story: an acquaintence used to take the same route on her daily walk. Month after month, year after year she saw the same auto. It never moved (the leaf litter was piled up on and around the car) and never ticketed. Curious, she called the police station to get the definition of an abandoned vehicle and was told it meant one not owned by anyone. The car hadn't been moved in 3 years and the inspection sticker was 2 years out of date but it did belong to someone. She thanked the person on the phone and hung up. A few minutes later an officer appeared at her door asking her what was the problem. He had first stopped to see the auto. She related the story and said she was concerned about the potential for fluids to leak out, run down the storm drain, and contaminate the water. His response: 'So what do you want me to do?' Flabbergasted, she could only reply, 'I don't know.'
Shirley July 06, 2012 at 08:59 PM
How will it ever change, Anne?
DG July 06, 2012 at 11:31 PM
We received a letter at our home threatening of a $ 1000 fine if the net was not removed within a week. (It had been there for 2 years) My wife contacted the zoning department as the letter quoted an ordinance that does not specifically include basket ball hoops. When my wife questioned if there had been a complaint, she was told there was not, but there was a complaint on Madison, the zoning office indicated that every one in town would be getting a letter... however weeks later....hoops remain all over town.
eamonn shields July 07, 2012 at 01:46 PM
The heights is going down the toilet, mayor Malley and his cronies are probably waiting for more proof of this decline, much like the French in the early stages of Hitler's war. Their proof personified itself as a hundred panzer tanks driving down the champs ellesee, collingswood will need to wait for the "section eight welcome" banner flying from "A" tower. By then it will be too late and they'll be searching for another Richard Kohen to bail them out again. He is such a pompous arrogant a#@.
One road town July 07, 2012 at 02:52 PM
An apt with a balcony is now going for $1,200-1,400. Add on garage parking at $50 per month, laundry service, (the pending trash service@ $25 per month), the pool fee for a two bedroom is $250 per season & the gym and the clubhouse are $50 per month....The Heights are not cheap by any stretch. And they kill the residents with high rent and insane add on. And then they take in the section 8 housing, makes no sense. I've been in there recently & it's a pigsty. The carpets are soiled with human/pet waste, on every floor (and at least two of the buildings I've been in) The drop ceilings are stained with pipe leaks (hopefully, it's only water)..The buildings need a major overhaul. Greystar started to pump air conditioning into the lobbies, which is nice. But that has created two problems; the huge mice epidemic they have had now makes the lobby smell (imagine bad cat litter), I was told that's what Hantavirus smells like. The second, now the lobby has become a hangout for every kook, low life and psycho. Greystar is also operating an illegal business which a 'mental health' service out of some of the apartments. This business takes on former crackheads, heroin users and quasi psych ward patients. None of these things of course are disclosed to the public or to the tenants. Who knows what Greystar's motivation is to make this the ghetto, but they sure are pros at it.
Shirley July 07, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I imagine that in Collingswood, as in most towns, law enforcement is both capricious and arbitrary. Still, your child is safer in the backyard. If you own your home, you could put in a concrete pad yourself. It's tedious and hard work but not that expensive. I've done it myself.
Shirley July 07, 2012 at 03:15 PM
It's heartbreaking to read this and know that Collingswood residents are living in such poor conditions. I can remember when The Parkview, as it was known, was a place of luxury living. I don't understand why the mayor, et al. would be waiting for further decline; it only sullies Collingswood's reputation further. I assume the Board of Health has been called - repeatedly. Why not take your issues to the Courier-Post, the Inquirer, and CBS channel 3? It can't hurt.
theclinton July 08, 2012 at 01:00 PM
What is wrong with kids playing in the street?
senior July 08, 2012 at 06:23 PM
One roadtown; you are correct. Life is not cheap at HOC. What is astonishing to me is that people who have section 8 and pay little money for expensive units do not take care of the area they live in. Also , although I am a pets lover I do not think that highrise buildings are the best places for dogs and cats. That said I want to tell a little story. Many years ago (maybe 15 or so) as a worker of human services I visited resident of Heights (it was diferent name than,and I did not live there yet). Upon entering the building I thought "hm..it is a nice place..."even though carpets in halls were a little dirty and I detected not a pleasant smell around...but my client was elderly and had section 8; so I thought it is still a nice place for her to live. Than I entered her apartment....man oh man...boy o boy....Not only was she a hoarder; the place was infested with roaches...plenty of them..in a day light. Well; to end this story I must say that that person was moved to another county and I lost contact with her, although I know that she died about 10 years ago. The point of this story is that it was at least 15 years ago....The moral????? I live it to you...Oh, by the way; I anjoyed the use of air conditioner in the spell of hot weather knowing that I do not have to pay for electricity...it is about the best thing free at HOC...
Shirley July 09, 2012 at 11:46 PM
It's dangerous! Unless, of course, you don't have cars speeding up and down your street. We do.
berry September 28, 2012 at 03:20 PM
just left there, i was in D building in an end apt. with a balcony, after two years, I ran away......the new clients are frightening,,,,and i have been a nurse in psych centers as well as major phila hosptials.. its dangerous......good luck to new tenants!

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