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Kinnelon Impound Lot Proposal Raises Concerns Among Council

Councilman worried lot could become a nuisance or eyesore.

During a lengthy and, at times, heated discussion, members considered the idea of building an impound lot in the borough at a workshop meeting Thursday night.

Councilman Andrew SanFilippo, who also serves as chair of the public safety committee, brought the idea before the council. 

“We’re talking about doing shared service with other municipalities,” SanFilippo said. “Surrounding towns would want to use this.”

The lot could serve as a possible source of revenue for the borough in that sense, he said, but it would also provide a place for to put impounded evidence vehicles.

“There is quite a bit of traffic on [Route] 23 related to heroin,” Mayor Robert Collins said. “If, in fact, that activity is something that is going to be going on, we have to address it.” 

Currently, some impounded vehicles are kept in the parking lot behind the Kinnelon Police Department. Council members noted that at the time of the meeting, there were five or six vehicles taking up spots in the lot that had been there for nearly four months.

The proposed impound lot would be located behind the municipal football field, making it accessible to the police department while keeping it out of the way of citizens. 

“Location is key,” Councilman Ron Mondello said. “It needs to be in a place where it’s not an eyesore, not a nuisance.”

The council also considered the possibility that the lot could be broken into, by either people or animals, and vandalized. 

“This is a one way in and one way out area,” Collins said. “It’s a very controlled situation here.”

Borough Attorney Mark Madaio said that Edison, which has an impound lot, has seen its lot broken into on many occasions.

Councilman James Freda voiced concerns about the amount of research that has been done thus far on the project.

“We don’t know any of the laws,” Freda said, referencing possible fees and inspections associated with having an impound lot, as well as the need to keep it maintained. But he added, “if it’s just a matter of putting up a fence, it’s a no brainer.”

The council did not have a cost estimate for building the lot at the time of the meeting.

chick hicks September 14, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Is this proposed lot adjacent to the preserved land behind the municipal complex that Mayor Collins worked so hard to obtain? If these vehicles are sitting there for "months" won't they be in forms of disrepair and possible contamination to the environment ie. that land? Gee, I know a couple of homes in the Borough that have cars strewn across the property for years. They could probably rent space from those homeowners to keep the cars-what's four more?
Hickville September 14, 2012 at 12:53 PM
The Mayor and council are clueless. They pass ordinances about solar panel placement, they pass property maintenance ordinances and no they are worried about a few parking spots at the ghost town at boro hall. The realty is they do not enforce any of the ordinances we have anyway. Chick Hicks is right. There are properties in the town which have grass 3 to 4 feet high, abandoned unregistered cars on property in plain view probably polluting the ground water, homes with holes in the siding, dumpsters that stay in yards for years, cargo containers in drive ways and they let people store harmful waste and maintain their properties in deplorable conditions. The employees of the town do not enforce the laws especially for the good old boys . I guess the Mayor and council probably do not want to be home so they make this stuff up to keep them out at night. If they just drove around the boro and saw how many people here leave their properties and actually made sure the laws were enforced then I would say they are doing something.. There is no accountability!
mimi September 14, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Gee, glad it's not just Butler that doesn't enforce those laws. They bother people on stupid things but laws to improve the look of the town never are addressed. Has anybody looked at the downtown area?
Larry Huyler September 14, 2012 at 03:56 PM
“This is a one way in and one way out area,” is a false sense of security. Does anyone remember there are woods behind that area. Anyone wanting to tamper with these vehicles could just walk through the woods and jump or cut the fence (oh since it will be out back, it will also be out of view). Let's not forget that the vehicles could likely have hazardous waste runoffs, and since this area is so close to a stream, I think the town would also need to get a variance from the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council and we know how that goes. Looks like more planning and alternatives need to be sought.

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