By SUE MORGAN
Peter and Patricia OSuch say that what they see as over-regulation in Fair Haven is leaving the town’s residents feeling disaffected, alienated, and bullied.
“They’re micromanaging the residents,” said Patricia, who with her husband has resided on Parker Avenue for seven years. “It’s unreasonable.”
Her comment was prompted by proposed revisions to boat storage ordinance that would force the couple to store their 14-foot long vessel and its trailer not in their side yard, but in a small backyard between November and April.
But it reflected a general sense among attendees at Monday night’s bimonthly council meeting that residents are feeling put-upon.
Other complaints centered on a summons issued to a 4-H member for the goat he tends in his family’s yard and the construction of a dome to store road salt opposite homes near the public works yard.
Peter OSuch challenged the council to research how long the current boat ordinance has been on the books and why it was needed in the first place. With about 30 other boat owners and like-minded residents sitting in the of the council chambers, he wasn’t the only one to be calling for it to be scrapped altogether.
“We want to know when it became law and who wanted it,” OSuch demanded. “Regulation for regulation’s sake might be good for lawyers, but it ticks people off.”
If language in the proposed revisions prohibiting storage of boats, motorized or not, in front or side yards except between May 1 and November 1 was not enough get boat owners fired up, a request by absent Councilman Jerome Koch not to act on the ordinance until he could be present had residents putting the heat on Mayor Mike Halfacre and the council.
Despite Koch’s request, the council introduced the revisions anyway and scheduled a public hearing for the Nov. 24 meeting.
Later, in a letter written by Koch and read aloud by Halfacre, Koch cited concerns that storing boats more than 21 feet in length and less than 40 feet long in driveways or front yards would lead to residents parking their vehicles in the streets during the winter.
“(The ordinance) exists for a reason. It’s to protect the streetscape,” Halfacre read from Koch’s comments.
Also up for a public hearing on Nov. 24 are proposed revisions to a long-standing ordinance setting specific standards for keeping non-domestic animals as pets.
The new language in the law came about after Arlene LaMarca, the mother of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School junior Matthew LaMarca, received a summons from the borough because her son keeps two goats on their property as part of a 4-H project.
The goats are bathed, penned, have been immunized and are in good health, according to the LaMarcas, who sought the council’s intervention with the citation at earlier meetings. With the assistance of other 4-H members, Matthew told the council that he cares for the goats and shows them in the Monmouth County Fair, the Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township, and at fundraising events for non-profits such as Lunch Break in Red Bank.
Meanwhile, it was a salt storage dome now under construction at the boroughs public works yard that had Maple Avenue resident Joseph Shannon and about 20 of his neighbors all shook up.
Armed with a petition signed by those neighbors, who live across the street from the yard off Third Avenue, Shannon criticized town leaders for not notifying the affected residents that a “circus tent” was to be built near their homes. The petition called upon the council to spend some of the $90,000 set aside for the dome to be used to put evergreens or some other buffer around the yard where construction noise and smells have diminished the area’s quality of life.
“You’re right,” Councilman Christopher Rinn told Shannon. “We should have been a courteous community and we should have notified you.”
Although Halfacre admitted that Shannon’s complaint was the first he had heard about the salt dome, he pledged that the administration would assign the borough engineer and other officials to investigate the situation and keep notify the neighbors of any future action.
On his blog, Halfacre wrote yesterday that “we are going to look into masking or otherwise camouflaging the structure.”