Tracking abandoned homes
Council moves to join county-wide program registering foreclosed properties
by Hannington Dia
Reporter Staff Writer
Mar 26, 2017 | 4205 views | 0 0 comments | 78 78 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Secaucus Mayor and Town Council performs the Pledge of Allegiance before their March 14 meeting.
The Secaucus Mayor and Town Council performs the Pledge of Allegiance before their March 14 meeting.
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Secaucus took a step towards joining Hudson County’s efforts to track properties in foreclosure and provide services to their owners at the Town Council meeting on March 14.

“The Hudson County Division of Housing and Development is working to create a countywide registration of foreclosed and vacant properties,” Town Attorney Keri Ann Eglentowicz explained.
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“This is for the health and safety of all residents in neighborhoods with foreclosed properties.” – Keri Ann Eglentowicz
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The council introduced the “Abandoned Real Property” ordinance, which would require the “registration and maintenance of certain real property by mortagees,” in addition to “providing for penalties and enforcement, as well as the regulation, limitation, and reduction of registerable real property within the Town Of Secaucus.”

The ordinance would be part of a shared-services agreement with the county.

“This is for the health and safety of all residents in neighborhoods with foreclosed properties,” Eglentowicz said, “to prevent blight, to make it available for property maintenance officers to know where they are. The main benefits are that the county will be able to identify households and provide housing resources to those that may need them in foreclosure.”

Secaucus will also begin creating a centralized list of foreclosed properties in the town for property maintenance and code officials.

“We’re searching to find out who owns these properties,” said Mayor Michael Gonnelli, “and you find out they’re in for a foreclosure, and it’s really tough to get them to clean them up. So this is going to be a big help to us.”

A public hearing for the ordinance will be April 11.

Firefighter parking, fining texting drivers

The town also passed an ordinance for a $399,000 bid to purchase land at 148 Centre Ave. near Secaucus Engine No 3 for off-street parking spaces for firefighters.

“Right now, they currently park on the street,” Gonnelli said. “It’s a nightmare with the number of calls we received. Engine 1 has a parking lot and Engine 2 has a parking lot, so if we solve this problem, we solve a lot of problems. We’re starting on negotiations.”

April is National Distracted Driver Month, and the council also adopted a resolution for the “U Drive, U Text, U Pay” campaign next month. The town will apply for grant funding to conduct the campaign from April 1 through April 21.

Secaucus Police officers will conduct speed enforcement patrols targeting distracted drivers. They will implement both fixed checkpoints and roving patrols, according to the resolution.

According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, distracted driving was responsible for up 42 percent of crashes causing fatal and serious injurious in the state from 2008 to 2012.

“We’re following up on that continuously, just to make sure people don’t drive and text,” Gonnelli said later to the Secaucus Reporter. “It’s really serious when they do that. It’s an issue everywhere. Doesn’t matter where you are.”

Hannington Dia can be reached at hd@hudsonreporter.com

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