Indian Field residents are objecting to Hardyston’s decision to stop plowing snow in their community starting next winter and to reimburse the homeowners instead.
At the council’s Sept. 30 meeting, a resident representing Indian Field said the move is unjustified, finding, after a review of the town budget, that 30 percent is paid for by taxpayers in the homeowners association.
Marie Neubig said she remembers when the Hardyston Planning Board approved the Indian Field subdivision. They decided that the gated community should be opened up so that the roads could be plowed.
In addition, she said, the homeowners association pays for the roads to be plowed and maintained, and that the roads in need of plowing are minimal.
Many residents believe the stoppage is unjust in light of the fact that their taxes continue to be raised, she said.
“I don’t understand why they won’t plow my development. It’s flat. It’s easy,” Neubig said.
She said Indian Field residents pay the same taxes, if not more, than other communities in Hardyston.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” she said.
The township manager, Carrine Piccolo-Kaufer, said after reviewing its Department of Public Works operations, the council decided in July to stop snow removal for all private qualified communities, including Indian Field.
“Due to staffing limitations and manpower issues, it makes more sense for the town to provide a reimbursement to these communities than provide the actual service,” Piccolo-Kaufer said.
The township does not provide snow removal for many qualified private communities in Hardyston, she said.
In these communities the roads are not owned by the township but by homeowners associations, she noted.
Reimbursement a legal option
Piccolo-Kaufer said the township is complying with the law. “Under the New Jersey municipal services reimbursement act, municipalities are not required to provide services on those roads,” she said. “They are required to provide a reimbursement to the homeowners association based on a formula for any services that they provide elsewhere in the community.”
The town does continue to plow Forest Hill Way in Indian Field so that school buses can enter the development safely, and pick up students so that they do not have to come to the intersection at Route 94 to get on the bus.
Indian Field residents said they are upset over the maintenance of the front entrance to their development, which they say is in an eyesore and safety hazard, having not been mowed or otherwise tended to for some time. The brush is growing on the sidewalks at the entrance, they said. One resident said homeowners take great pride in their community, and that the unsightly entrance strips them of their dignity.
Piccolo-Kaufer said the two lots at the front entrance of Indian Field were purchased by a private citizen through tax sales. These lots are zoned for commercial use and are not part of the development, she said. The current owner has not allowed the homeowners association to maintain the lots.
Residents have complained over the years that the properties now have brush and high grass that has not been mowed or cleared. Piccolo-Kaufer said the township does not have a property maintenance ordinance requiring lawns to be mowed on vacant, undeveloped lots, like the two at the entrance.
A resident asked why the township outsources a recycling company when it has trucks that can do the job. Piccolo-Kaufer said that in 2018, the township outsourced recycling to Blue Diamond, and that the decision was made based on a budget review. It is more cost-effective to subcontract a waste removal company than provide in-house service based on the workforce needed to do the job.
Editor’s note: The original story gave the wrong name for the development, Indian Field, in the headline. The Advertiser regrets the error.
“I don’t understand why they won’t plow my development. It’s flat, it’s easy.” Marie Neubig