By Matthew Sockol
MILLSTONE – Municipal officials have taken action to alleviate residents’ frustration after two large house parties in Millstone Township prompted complaints.
Residents who took to social media on the day of the parties to express their frustration about strangers parking in and walking through their neighborhoods claimed that advertisements for the parties indicated a fee was required for attendance.
At the July 20 meeting of the Township Committee, officials said two parties occurred on July 17 – one at a home on Clarksburg Road, near Cottrell Drive and Mountain View Court, and one at a home on Beechwood Lane, off Disbrow Hill Road. A party at the Beechwood Lane home also occurred on July 16.
On July 22, committee members held an emergency meeting and passed a resolution declaring an emergency and a temporary condition for special parking regulations on Clarksburg Road and Beechwood Lane, and the neighboring areas of Mountain View Court, Cottrell Drive, Hartshorne Court, Francis Court, Agress Road, Mercy Mount Way, Disbrow Hill Road, Ossener Court, Strahan Court, Purcell Court and Princess Court.
The resolution prohibits parking at locations on those streets from noon on July 23 through 2 a.m. Oct. 16.
The resolution states that the action was taken on the advice of Dan Specht, the director of the code enforcement department.
Specht informed the committee that an emergent and temporary condition exists on those roads as a result of activities being held at the Clarksburg Road and Beechwood Lane homes which resulted in the potential inability of emergency vehicles to adequately travel on the roads, according to the resolution.
According to New Jersey State Police Trooper Alejandro Goez, officers responded twice to the Clarksburg Road house party on July 17. The first response was to a noise complaint which two troopers were sent to investigate. Multiple troopers later responded to a report of a fight breaking out at the location, but the officers did not witness a fight and no arrests were made during the party, according to Goez.
Police did not respond to the Beechwood Lane house party because no calls for assistance or to complain about the situation were made regarding that gathering, according to Goez.
Residents who were upset by what transpired over the previous weekend expressed their objections to the house parties during the July 20 committee meeting. They discussed issues including guests’ vehicles clogging streets, littering, noise, the guests’ attire, public urination and the general behavior of the guests.
A resident who lives near the Beechwood Lane home where the latest party took place said similar parties have occurred at the home for three years, but said no complaints had been made. According to the resident, the previous parties took place once a year in August.
This year, the resident told the committee, a party was held at the home in June and two parties were held over the weekend of July 16-17. The resident said that during the July 17 party, he saw about eight buses driving into his neighborhood bringing people to the party.
Streets clogged with vehicles belonging to party guests was a primary source of concern for the residents, who were worried that emergency vehicles would not be able to respond quickly in the event of an emergency. Residents were also concerned about their own and their guests’ ability to navigate their neighborhood.
Committee members were sympathetic to the residents and indicated legal action would be taken against the homeowners. Township Attorney Bob Munoz told the residents they would need to sign an affidavit if they wished to present evidence against the homeowners in court.
Residents were critical of what they perceived as a lack of action on the part of the state police. The committee members informed the residents they would be meeting with the state police on July 25.
A large house party at the same Clarksburg Road home occurred in June 2014 and resulted in the arrest of a resident of the home and a resident of Burlington City. They were charged with the unlicensed sale of alcoholic beverages. In municipal court, the Burlington City man pleaded guilty and was fined $2,158, while the summons issued to the resident of the home was dismissed.
After that 2014 party, municipal officials took the following action:
- After an emergency was declared by the state police and a resolution was passed by the Township Committee, parking would be prohibited on streets and sections of streets where temporary emergency notification signs have been posted.
- The charging of any fee or contribution for the use of a private swimming pool and its adjacent areas was prohibited.
- A special permit was required for amusements that use commercial music and for commercial parties.