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Upper Planning Board Postpones ‘Seasonal Structure’ Review

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By Camille Sailer

PETERSBURG – Residents of the Oak Ridge and Bayberry Cove mobile home parks, along Route 9, in Marmora, were hoping the Upper Township Planning Board May 20 would finally bring clarity to their continued use of “seasonal structures, described as building over existing trailers or mobile homes by the Oak Ridge property manager of 18 years, Kathy Coburn.  

Before the meeting, Coburn told the Herald that “residents pay annual taxes to Upper Township. At Oak Ridge, it’s $1,500 per unit, and we have 240 units, while Bayberry Cove pays about $500,000 total each year. Residents don’t require many services and don’t have children to send to Upper schools, so there is no cost there to the township.  

“For decades, these structures have been legally built, and there was no problem. We now have residents who have not been able to move back in for their seasonal, seven-month stay because they had to demolish their homes and have been waiting for permits to rebuild. We were waiting for the Planning Board to resolve this problem, at their February meeting, but each month, it’s been delayed.” 

At the May 20 meeting, the Planning Board, again, postponed discussion of the issue until the next meeting, scheduled for June 17, which will be held in person, as will future meetings.  

Mayor Richard Palombo, who also attended the May 20 meeting, responded to a concern about town hall capacity by explaining, “The logistics of holding both a virtual meeting and an in-person meeting at the same time are too complicated, and thus the decision has to be an either/or, and we are trying to get back to normalcy with in-person meetings.” 

In response to the Herald’s inquiry for more clarification on the Planning Board’s seasonal structure review, Municipal Engineer Paul Dietrich said, “We aren’t looking to make a change (in regulations), but to clarify what you can do. The former construction official allowed them (mobile home and campground residents) to build something that wasn’t permitted under zoning. We started to enforce the current zoning, so now they can’t do that anymore. (The issuehopefully will be discussed June 17. 

To contact Camille Sailer, email csailer@cmcherald.com. 

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