South River introduces ordinance regarding rules for vacant properties

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SOUTH RIVER – The South River Borough Council has introduced an ordinance amending the municipal code that would, if adopted, prohibit houses and buildings from being on vacant properties if those structures are not properly maintained.

A vacant property is any building used or to be used for commercial or residential use which is not legally occupied or at which substantially all lawful construction operations or occupancy has ceased, and which is in either an unsafe condition or where the exterior of a property is not maintained in accordance with the borough’s property maintenance code, according to the council agenda.

“We are limiting registration to properties that are not maintained in compliance with the property maintenance code,” Borough Administrator Art Londensky said.

Any property that contains all building systems in working order and is being actively marketed by its owner for sale or rental will not be deemed vacant.

The council introduced the ordinance on Feb. 10. A second reading and public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 24. Council members may adopt the ordinance following the public hearing.

Properties that meet the borough’s vacant property criteria and are subject to a summons and complaint in an action for foreclosure will be deemed a vacant property, according to the council agenda.

The initial registration fee for each vacant property will be $200. The fee for subsequent renewals will be $100.

In other business, council members appointed Mark Kukoda, Kyle Stevens and David Rader as probationary police officers with the South River Police Department.

Officials said there is a need for additional police officers to maintain proper coverage in the borough and to bring the police department to appropriate strength to allow for its efficient operation as required by law.

The three appointments filled vacancies left by the retirement of Sgt. Kevin Nielsen, Patrolman Joseph Castellano and Patrolman Christopher Monek, according to a statement from Police Chief Mark Tinitigan.

“This conditional appointment will require the three candidates to successfully complete a comprehensive medical and psychological examination, as well as a mandatory substance abuse test in order to be eligible for appointment as probationary police officers with this department,” Tinitigan said.

The new officers started in South River on Feb. 11.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.