By Matthew Sockol
MILLSTONE – Municipal officials have retained the services of a real estate appraisal firm after issues involving the maintenance of a detention basin were raised in a lawsuit.
A detention basin is a storage site that delays the flow of water downstream, according to thefreedictionary.com
On Aug. 3, the Township Committee passed a resolution to enter a contract with Gagliano & Company, Shrewsbury, for appraisal services related to issues brought up in litigation against the township.
According to the resolution, the value of the services will likely be less than $17,500 and the anticipated term of the contract is one year.
Deputy Mayor Michael Kuczinski and committee members Gary Dorfman, Nancy Grbelja and Fiore Masci voted to enter the contract with Gagliano & Company. Mayor Bob Kinsey was absent.
The litigation was filed by residents Randall and Susan Leach and Image Homes, Inc., regarding the alleged neglect of a detention basin on Liberty Lane, off Millstone Road.
A complaint was filed by attorney Margaret Carmeli, who represents the Leaches and Image Homes, on July 21, 2014. The defendants are Millstone Township; 50 unidentified individuals believed to be township employees; and a couple who live on Liberty Lane.
According to the complaint, a detention basin is on the property of the other couple. In 1991, Millstone representatives entered an agreement with previous owners of the property on which the detention basin is located to grant the township an easement over the portion of the property on which the basin is located.
The complaint alleges that under the terms of the agreement, the owners of the property at that time and all subsequent owners of that property are responsible for the maintenance of the detention basin and that the township is responsible for the maintenance of the basin’s drainage pipes.
In December 2011, the Leaches informed the township that water from the detention basin was flooding their property. Throughout 2012, township representatives inspected the basin and determined it needed to be cleaned of debris, according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges that the Leaches’ property and a neighboring property owned by Image Homes have suffered flooding, erosion, loss of trees and vegetation, and other damage from storm water originating on the other couple’s property between June 7, 2013, and the date of the complaint (July 21, 2014).
The complaint alleges that Millstone is liable for failing to maintain storm water facilities … failing to issue notice of maintenance obligation, negligence, the dangerous conditions of a property, nuisance, continuing trespass and, along with the other couple, breach of contract.
Officials passed a resolution authorizing defense of the litigation on Aug. 20, 2014.