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Town Refuses to Plow Private Hills Cul-de-Sacs

Township Committee also denies association's request for maintenance reimbursement.

The Township Committee on Tuesday unanimously and officially denied a request by the Liberty Ridge Neighborhood Association that the township plow the driveways inside the condominium complex.

The committee also refused to reimburse the condominum association for 14 years of plowing and maintenance.

The 160-unit complex is also known as Section 5 of  the Hills Development, the large housing development near the intersection of interstates 287 and 78 that was approved in 1993.

At issue were 30 cul-de-sacs, or so-called “lollipop driveways,”  that serve the homes in the complex.

The association asked the Township Committee to approve a change that would mean the township would plow theses driveways, and reimburse the residents  for “the cost of clearing and repaving these roads over the past 14 years, or obtaining an equivalent offset of our property taxes and/or having the township take over responsibility for maintaining these public areas,” association treasurer Jonathan Cloud said in a July 12 letter to the township.

The issue came before the Township Committee on July 12 and Aug. 14.

On Aug. 14, Cloud said that the deal with the Hills developer was made before the current residents moved in, and that the residents felt they were not receiving the same services from the municipality even though they pay the same taxes.

Cloud said at the Aug. 14 meeting that it costs the Liberty Ridge residents $50,000 to $70,000 annually to plow the driveways.

On Tuesday, Committeeman John Carpenter said the argument any agreement with the developer was now invalid was flawed.

He said new residents of the complex were aware of the association and its requirements when they bought their homes. Further, he said, the township has denied this request in 2001, 2002 and 2010.

Carpenter also disputed the claim that the complex residents were not getting the same services as other taxpayers.

“No two taxpayers experience township services in the same manner,” he said.

Some residents do not use the library, he said, and currently while 30 percent of households have school children, 70 percent do not. 

“But at some point the 70 percent probably had children in school.”

He said residents of the Liberty Ridge complex pay on average $26 to $36 a month for maintenance and plowing, depending on snow levels.

The resolution outlining the denial said that according to the 1989 Municipal Services Act, also known as the Kelly Act, the township is required to perform certain services the public roads in the complex, but that the cul-de-sacs are not considered public roads.

Further, the resolution said, according to a review by the township attorney of the history of The Hills complex, including planning board minutes and resolutions approved at the time, it was the intention of the developer and the planning board that  the lollipop driveways  were private driveways and not roads.

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