Liz Alexander

Liz Alexander accepts a proclamation on behalf of Join Together Atlantic County, proclaiming “Knock Out Opioid Abuse day” in Egg Harbor Township at the Oct. 4 Egg Harbor Township Committee meeting.

Bill Barlow / For The Current

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP— At the Oct. 4  council meeting committee members Laura Pfrommer and Paul Hodson raised questions about the enforcement of the township’s curb and sidewalk ordinance. He mentioned two properties, one on Fourth Street where a home was damaged by fire. To rebuild, the township has required they install sidewalk and curbing.

“That’s just not fair to the homeowner,” said Pfrommer.

Miller suggested that the township could make an exemption for fire damaged properties.

“We need to look at the ordinance,” said Hodson.

Pfrommer brought up older neighborhoods, where there are no sidewalks, specifying a home on West Jersey Avenue. There, she said, the township is asking an owner to build a sidewalk to nowhere.

“If it provided a public service, I could understand it,” she said. “But there’s no public service that anybody’s gaining.”

“Well, that’s a decision that the five of you have to come to,” replied Miller. He cited areas where there didn’t used to be sidewalks at all, and there are now sidewalks. “The whole purpose was to create safe streets and provide walkways.”

He said there was a clear consensus on committee not to consider rebuilding a house destroyed by fire as new construction under the curb and sidewalk ordinance. But he did not want an exemption in the area of the township listed as high growth areas.

McCullough brought up another issue, citing an area in which someone running a business out of his house was issued a zoning violation. That will mean the owner will have to seek a use variance, install sidewalks, and incur other expenses.

“I don’t know why we have to go look for problems,” McCullough said. “It’s a shame. I really feel bad for the guy. He’s not doing anything different than he’s done for years, and now we’re punishing the guy.”

“We’re not punishing him. He’s been breaking the law for years and years,” answered Miller.

McCullough said he was surprised Miller didn’t go after a family that designs swimwear, who were the subject of a recent feature story in The Press of Atlantic City.

“I haven’t. I’m not the zoning officer,” Miler said. “I’m not chasing bathing suit people that do mail order out of their houses. They don’t have delivery trucks lined up outside of their house.”

But Miller seemed to be in no mood to back down on the other property.

“Anybody doing commercial out of their property has to put in curb and sidewalk,” he said.

“He’d be better off finding another place to do his business. We’re going to chase him right out of the neighborhood,” said McCullough.

Others on council said the property does not have any immediate neighbors.

“Well, we’re the neighbor, and I have plans up in my office for a school facing his back yard,” said Miller.

“That’s never going to happen,” answered Pfrommer.

“Well, maybe not in the next five or 10 years, but it’s going to happen sometime,” he responded.

Taking the last word, Pfrommer said, “I don’t think so.”

Later in the meeting, Prommer presented a proclamation dedicating Oct. 6 as Knock Out Opioid Abuse day in the township. Reading the resolution into the record, she said New Jersey is in the midst of a life-threatening opioid abuse epidemic.

Liz Alexander accepted the proclamation on behalf of the organization Join Together Atlantic County. A graduate of Stockton University who is now part of AmeriCorps Vista, stationed at Stockton and working with Join Together Atlantic County, which describes its mission as “to prevent, reduce and/or delay substance abuse among youth of Atlantic County.”

“You guys putting forth your efforts is really important to us,” Alexander told committee.

Committee also put off a vote on an ordinance that would establish a tax abatement for 6801 Black Horse Pike for a new retail building. A new Walmart opened at the site in July. They delayed the vote until the Oct. 18 meeting.

Stephen Nehmad, an attorney representing the property owner, attended the meeting but made no comment. According to township administrator Peter Miller, Tom Smith, who is representing the township in the matter, had a recent conversation with Nehmad.

“They have a slight disagreement. Hopefully in the next two weeks we can resolve that,” Miller said.

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