Land donation, no smoking at local parks and Budd Lake Beach renovation are some of the main topics hitting the Zoom Mt. Olive Twp. Council meetings.
Residents are always welcome to listen to the recorded meetings for more details on any of the topics. Just go to the Mt. Olive Township Website, click on Live Stream Council meeting, Township Council and select the meeting date to zoom on in.
During the Sept. 1 meeting, the council discussed a land donation at 67 Crease Rd., Budd Lake. The council agreed to initiate an environmental study on the land to determine its usage.
Last May, the township received correspondence from a realtor inquiring as to whether the township would purchase the two-acre land for $59K, explains Mt. Olive Twp. Business Administrator Andrew Tatarenko. The township owns the two adjacent lots totaling 50 acres.
Tatarenko followed up with the Open Space Committee regarding the inquiry but due to the cost of the recommendations, it did not recommend the purchase, he explains.
But when the realtor contacted the township a second time, he offered the land to the township at no cost.
Tatarenko says it would cost the town $3K to pay for an environmental study, for a Phase I Environmental Analysis, of the land and those monies would come from the Open Space Fund.
Councilman Alex Roman asks whether the property could be used for a building or structure.
“It’s in an area where you wouldn’t put a building,” says Tatarenko. It will be used for recreation, “passive use,” such as trails to be built down the road.
The property is worth $46,100 and will cost the township $1,500 in property taxes, he adds.
Councilwoman Colleen Labow questions the council at the Sept. 1 meeting about the ordinance on no smoking in public parks after a resident brought the concern to her.
One ordinance says a person can smoke on a trail, while another ordinance says one cannot.
Tatarenko explains the ordinance: Smoking is prohibited on any recreational field but it is allowed in parking areas.
“It does not state if you can smoke on trails,” he says.
Labow suggests the ordinance be amended to include no smoking on trails.
People are on trails to exercise, says Labow. “The last thing they want is someone blowing smoke in their face,” she says.
Labow says she “feels we should be consistent” with that message.
Mt. Olive Twp. Mayor Rob Greenbaum advises the council to fix the ordinance to say no smoking, nor vaping in all areas of the parks and trails. He warns, however, that the ordinance will still not stop anyone from smoking.
“You can prohibit smoking in the park,” says Greenbaum, “but you’re not going to have enforcement by police. People are still going to smoke in the park. Just change it; just do it, put in ordinance no smoking at the public parks.
“There’s no smoking in the dog park; people still smoke in the dog park,” he says. “There’s no kids allowed in the dog park; kids still go in the dog park. There’s no food allowed on the soccer field; people still bring food on the soccer field.
“At the end of the day, it’s just not enforceable,” says Greenbaum. “Let’s get on with it. It’s the politically thing to do. It just should be done. It doesn’t matter. People are still going to smoke in the parks.”
Greenbaum recommends that the ordinance should specify no smoking at the parks, rather than it eliminating smoking on all township property.
“We do have employees who smoke on the municipal properties,” says Greenbaum. With that, he says he thinks “it should just reflect the park at this time.”