Friday, May 20, 2005

The Columns, Updated: VIII

After my last item on the Columns, I contacted Senator Dianne Allen and Assemblymen Jack Conners and Herb Conaway via email to solicit their help in clarifying the situation.

No word back from the Assemblymen, but Senator Allen's office has been very helpful. Jenny [whose last name I won't attempt to misspell], the senator's legislative aide, has called twice to follow up and left detailed voice mails each time. Here's what she found out:

  • Judge Sweeney's ruling and the land use board's decision do not prevent Capital Academy from bringing their "boys" in to maintain the property.
  • The township code enforcement officer reports that no inspections of the building have been conducted, and thus no certificate of occupancy can been issued. It would therefore be unlawful for anyone to be housed in the building, but not for them to work on or around it. The code enforcement officer did tell her he thought it was a good thing for the property to be maintained.
I can't believe there's a business case for busing these kids in to cut the grass. Their current housing situation in Mercer County puts them 25 miles away, meaning an hour round trip minimum for at least two employees, plus the time required to supervise the kids as they cut the grass. The only way it makes sense is if Capital Academy expects a bigger payoff at the end, and is investing the time and energy of putting those kids on the grounds so they can make a claim later.
It's important to keep the pressure up, and ensure this business doesn't locate in our residential neighborhood. There are several ways to do so:
  • Keep talking to your legislators, the township committee, and any other official who will listen.
  • Drive, walk, or ride by the Columns every day, and question what you see happening. I go by every morning on the way to work.
  • Help pay the legal bills from the last set of hearings. Contact me if you need specifics. The last time I spoke to the folks who engaged Mr. Germano's capable services, he was still owed a significant chunk of money.
Keep your eyes open, Delanco.