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Colts Neck will tighten code on placement of brush

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COLTS NECK – A public hearing is expected to be held at the Colts Neck Township Committee’s Jan. 31 meeting on an ordinance that amends the municipal code regarding property maintenance and leaf and brush pickup.

Committee members may vote to adopt the ordinance following the public hearing.

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When the ordinance was introduced on Jan. 10, officials spoke about the potential changes in three areas: leaf collection and removal, brush and branch collection and removal, and property maintenance.

“There was often brush being placed in the street and potentially impeding traffic,” Township Administrator Kathleen Capristo said. “This (ordinance) will address and clarify that the placement of brush and leaves cannot be 3 feet into a paved portion of a road and cannot impede traffic. This will address the portions of town with more narrow roads.”

The ordinance states that:

  • All leaves placed along the curbline or edge of pavement shall be no closer than 25 feet to a street intersection
  • Piles of leaves must be placed parallel to the curbline or edge of pavement
  • No leaves may be placed, stored or staged in the right-of-way of a public street, or placed, stored or disposed on any public property, common open space area without approval, or in ponds, lakes, streams, swamps, marshes, wetlands buffers, conservation easements, nontidal floodways or similar watercourses.

Officials said some residents are placing brush and leaves in the right-of-way, off the curb, which is not in violation of the current ordinance.

The amended ordinance states, “All brush shall be placed at the curbline or edge of pavement and shall not extend onto the paved portion of the street further than 3 feet and shall not impede traffic or create a safety hazard. Notwithstanding the 3 feet encroachment into the street … no pile of brush shall be placed to so occupy a street as to interfere with or interrupt the passage of cars or vehicles.”

Capristo said the ordinance also addresses undeveloped property. Property owners who have a lot that is not developed and who tend to let brush, leaves and grass grow at will, will be directed to at least mow or trim back the grass or branches.

The ordinance states, “The owner of all real property, either developed or undeveloped, shall maintain the grass or natural vegetation within a public street right-of-way in a mowed manner to a maximum height of 6 inches and free and clear of all nuisances and any hazards to pedestrians or other persons using the public right-of-way.”

“This is the direction the town has taken over the last two years,” Mayor J.P. Bartolomeo said. “We are not turning into a town of (too many) rules, we just want to make sure the rules are in place and they are enforced.

“It is the way of the future, it is not to make it difficult for people, it is to keep it on a level playing field. It is the direction the town is going in on all fronts when it comes to keeping the town the way it is supposed to (look),” he said.

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