Brick officials on Tuesday night introduced an ordinance that would restrict parking on three streets during daytime business hours after residents complained that cars are inundating their neighborhood, blocking mailboxes and driveways on a daily basis. An attorney for the business generating the traffic said anti-Jewish discrimination was behind the attempt to impose the restrictions.
The ordinance, unanimously approved for introduction, would ban parking between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Duquesne Boulevard, and portions of North Lake Shore Drive and Lafayette Drive. Residents of the Lake Riviera neighborhood who attended the meeting spoke of nonstop parking, blocked driveways, mail missed for days on end because boxes were blocked and garbage collection unavailable because of vehicles parked in front of cans.
The controversy surrounds Tryko Partners, which is located at 575 Route 70, at the intersection of the highway and Duquesne Boulevard. The company is involved in three business – multifamily housing development, skilled nursing facilities and the purchasing of tax liens. The third sector – tax liens – has apparently produced the heavy parking since the company holds frequent auctions. The company’s CEO is Yitzchok Rokowsky, a member of Lakewood’s Orthodox Jewish community.
Isaac Sassoon, an attorney representing Tryko, harshly criticized the proposed parking restrictions, saying they would “handcuff the growth of our business.”
Sassoon also claimed there were “racial overtones” to the restriction, saying he saw a discussion on Facebook about the parking issue where “derogatory comments about Jews” were posted.
“Our employees were assaulted with ‘Heil Hitler’ remarks,” he added, also saying that the company had pressed charges against the son of a neighboring resident who allegedly vandalized the building’s landscaping.
Neighbors, however, told a different story.
“From day one, since they opened their doors, we have had, on average, a minimum of 19 cars parked on shoulders both sides of Duquesne Boulevard,” said Jim Stoever, a 30-year resident of Duquesne. “They park directly up to the front of my driveway, making it increasingly difficult to get out onto a busy street. If they can’t reach the mailbox, we get no mail. We have residents who go for days without mail because their mailboxes are blocked.”
Stoever said he has now resorted to placing an orange traffic cone in front of his garbage can on garbage day so trash can be collected.
“This is not something that happens one or two days a week, or a few times a month – this is every day,” he said.
Scott Logan, another resident of the neighborhood, said he and other residents have politely asked those parking to leave more room for driveways and avoid blocking mailboxes to no avail. In one instance, he said, one of the patrons of the business called police on a resident because they were blocking a space with a traffic cone.
“I’ve had my garbage cans moved out of the way,” Logan said.
Residents of the neighborhood lined up to support the parking restrictions. Two residents opposed the restrictions, however they were both employees of Tryko.
Tryko’s property also includes a chiropractic office and a Wells Fargo bank. Richie Campbell, a neighboring resident, said he saw five cars parked in the bank’s fire lane Tuesday.
“Every single day, it’s like that,” said Campbell. “When a company needs to expand, they need to expand to a larger facility.”
Township officials said due to the number of complaints from neighboring residents, they were compelled to take action.
“Residents are complaining about the traffic, the parking, blocking driveways and mailboxes, parking too close to corners, so we obviously have to do something about it,” Mayor John Ducey said.
“Unfortunately, there is no further growth possibility on the lot,” Sassoon told officials at the meeting. “To me, this is absolutely unconscionable that this will be achieved, and this would really handcuff the growth of a business that has really been trying to grow for the last couple of years.”
Sassoon, in his comments, did not directly threaten litigation. Kevin Starkey, the township’s attorney, defended the proposed regulations and the intent behind doing so.
“There is an implication here that there are some kind of … racial or religious undertones attributed to the council,” Starkey said. “This council … doesn’t control Facebook or comments made by the public on Facebook, and absolutely, unequivocally, has no discriminatory intent against any religion or race. Anything to the contrary, frankly, I think is outrageous to stand there and contend.”
The ordinance will be up for a public hearing and second vote Sept. 27. If approved at that meeting, the ordinance will be formally enacted.