NJCOLA should follow the law

09 Nov 2020 | 06:27

    To the Editor:

    I am writing this letter in response to Mr. Hofer’s (President of the New Jersey Coalition of Lake Associations) of Nov. 5.

    Mr. Hofer must stand corrected when he states “the people who live in lake communities, like Ms. Gorman.” Lake Neepaulin is not a designated “lake community.”

    This was well-clarified in 1981 in legal action decided by retired Judge Reginald Stanton on page 31 of his decision ruling he was “terminating the neighborhood scheme” and “all of the obligations of the property owners to contribute to, in accordance with their deeds.” This became effective Feb. 18, 1983.

    To be clear, there is no criticism of the “volunteers” and their dedication to their communities. However, forcing people to “volunteer” by paying dues for something they are legally protected from doing is another story.

    Placing liens on the homes of people, especially during a pandemic, is heartless. S908 puts protections from those liens in place.

    Actually, it is in the best interests of the entire municipality if the dams and lakes are maintained. Otherwise it could become what’s called the “blight in the neighborhood” theory. “Blight” does not end at the property line of the lake community. That “blight” affects the property values of the entire municipality.

    So, Mr. Hofer, carry on representing NJCOLA. No one asked you not to. What is asked is to follow and respect the new law and to follow existing law, especially State Statute 40:56-27. Assessments proportionate to benefits; not to exceed benefits which states benefit must be real and peculiar. Not one’s interpretation and search for loopholes to skip around it.

    The 24th District Office has worked tirelessly to right the wrongs of organizations, such as NJCOLA, that inflict arbitrary and capricious assessments on properties of homeowners that happen to be near lakes and more importantly, are deed protected from such assessments.

    Kathleen Gorman

    Wantage Township