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New Jersey Town Threatening Residents with 90 Days in Jail; $2,000 fines for Basketball Hoops and Eruvs

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JACKSON,NJ-Spurred by complaints over eruvs installed by Orthodox Jewish residents in the township, the township of Jackson, New Jersey has issued a directive to residents to remove all obstructions in the public right of way.

With some residents in town complaining about the eruvs, poles, attached to each other by thin wire to mark out areas where they may carry objects such as keys, strollers and even babies, according to Jewish religious law, the township was at a loss on how to enforce the new objects popping up around town.

According to sources within the township, the matter has been under legal review for several weeks, but this week, the township began issuing code violations and warnings to anyone who obstructed the public right of way between the public street and a homeowner’s property, typically encompassing the curbs, public easements, sidewalks and varying distances beyond the sidewalks.

Many residents complained on social media this week about receiving violations notices for eruvs, basketball hoops and even landscaping that resided in the public right of way.

Violations cited township ordinance 372-8 and 372-10, stating that the failure to remove the objects from the public space could lead to fines up to $2,000 and 90 days in jail.

We reached out to the township officials, including Mayor Michael Reina, Township Business Administrator Helene Schlegel and the five member township council township and received the following response from Administrator Schlegel:

Please be advised that Township ordinance § 372-8 states,No person shall encumber or obstruct any street or public place with any article or thing whatsoever unless permission has been first obtained in writing from the Township Committee of the Township of Jackson.”  We are simply fairly and equitably enforcing the existing ordinance as written.

According to township ordinance, 372-10, fines could range from $100 to $2,000 and could land the violator in jail for up to 90 days.

Township code officials have issued “Notice of Violation and Order to Correct” notices to residents.  We asked the township to confirm the number of violations issued, but have not received a response.

“Basketball hoop in street or right of way. Must be removed,” read one violation we obtained from a surprised resident.

An attachment to the violations from the township identified basketball hoops, advertising signs, real estate signs, poles and eruv wires, and for sales signs as obstructions that could land a homeowner with a violation notice.

 

 

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