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Latest News in Roxbury, NJ

Route 15 Lane and Ramp Closures Tonight in Jefferson

JEFFERSON TWP., NJ - Route 15 drivers beware: Lane closures will take place on Route 15 northbound and southbound tonight (Sept. 9) as the Weldon Road Bridge over the highway project advances in Jefferson, said the state Department of Transportation (DOT).Beginning at 8 p.m. and continuing until 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, DOT contractor, Berto Construction, is scheduled to close the right lane on Route 15 northbound, as well as the left lane on Route 15 southbound underneath the Weldon Road Bridge.Additionally...

JEFFERSON TWP., NJ - Route 15 drivers beware: Lane closures will take place on Route 15 northbound and southbound tonight (Sept. 9) as the Weldon Road Bridge over the highway project advances in Jefferson, said the state Department of Transportation (DOT).

Beginning at 8 p.m. and continuing until 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, DOT contractor, Berto Construction, is scheduled to close the right lane on Route 15 northbound, as well as the left lane on Route 15 southbound underneath the Weldon Road Bridge.

Additionally, the ramp from Weldon Road eastbound to Route 15 northbound is scheduled to be closed and detoured at the same time.

The lane and ramp closures are necessary to remove bridge girder, said the DOT. One lane of traffic will be maintained on Route 15 in each direction overnight.

The following detour will be in place:

Weldon Road eastbound to Route 15 northbound detour:

"The $7.6 million project will replace the Weldon Road Bridge over Route 15," said the state. "The new bridge will restore two lanes of traffic in each direction and improve the vertical clearance under the bridge. The project will advance in stages with the south side of the bridge being demolished and reconstructed first. Once that stage is completed, traffic will be shifted onto the newly constructed south side of the bridge to allow the north side of the bridge to be reconstructed. At least one lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction on the bridge."

The DOT will provide advance notice of any lane or ramp closures. The project is expected to be complete in the spring of 2024.

The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors, advised the DOT. It urged drivers to check its traffic information website www.511nj.org for construction updates and real-time travel information.

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'Inaccessible' Trees Blamed for Roxbury's Labor Day Weekend Power Outage

ROXBURY, NJ – An extended power outage that impacted Landing on Labor Day Weekend - blamed on fallen trees in hard-to-reach areas - is prompting township officials to push for more preventative maintenance by Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L).A company spokesman said the utility is addressing the situation.The outage was discussed at this week’s meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council. Councilman Bob DeFillippo and Councilman Shawn Potillo were particularly vocal, suggesting the utility needs to be bette...

ROXBURY, NJ – An extended power outage that impacted Landing on Labor Day Weekend - blamed on fallen trees in hard-to-reach areas - is prompting township officials to push for more preventative maintenance by Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L).

A company spokesman said the utility is addressing the situation.

The outage was discussed at this week’s meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council. Councilman Bob DeFillippo and Councilman Shawn Potillo were particularly vocal, suggesting the utility needs to be better at trimming dead and dying trees adjacent to its lines and equipment even if they are deep in the woods.

Roxbury Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Rick Blood said Tuesday the Labor Day Weekend situation became extended because the equipment damage happened in a difficult-to-reach section of the transmission lines' route through the area.

JCP&L Spokesman Chris Hoenig on Wednesday confirmed Blood’s account.

“Yes, there was a tree that came down on the lines and caused the switch to become burned,” said the spokesman. “The area is in mountainous terrain that is indeed inaccessible by vehicles. Following the repairs, JCP&L teams surveyed the area and identified additional diseased ash trees that our forestry crews are developing action plans to remove.”

Hoenig said the outage, “at its peak, affected approximately 2,200 customers” in Mount Arlington and Roxbury on Sunday night and Monday.

“The outage began just before 11 p.m. on Sunday night,” he said. “During the repair process, crews performed switching that reduced the number of customers affected, and 149 customers were ultimately without power for the duration of the event. Full restoration was completed at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Monday.”

Potillo, whose district includes Landing, said he was upset to learn “there was a tree in the woods that fell down, and they couldn’t get to it because they haven’t been proactively trimming those areas so that they can get back there” to service it.

“It’s unfortunate that so many residents had to be without power on Labor Day for that reason,” he said before asking Roxbury Township Manager John Shepherd to request the utility “start proactively trimming trees in the woods, not just along the streets.”

Not Just the Deep Woods

Roxbury officials contend there are plenty of areas in town that are not inaccessible but are ripe for tree-related power outages.

“The problem is the ash trees,” said DeFillippo. “Specifically, there’s a problem on Carey Road (in Succasunna). “Massive dead ash trees looming over power lines that have clearly been designated to be taken down and continue to have these red ribbons around them. (Trees) that JCP&L tells Mr. Blood are not on the schedule to be taken down.”

Blood said JCP&L had a pool of money for tree removal statewide. He said he was told the fund was depleted before the company could get to the Carey Road trees and others in Roxbury identified as needing to be felled.

That assessment was challenged by Hoenig.

“To be clear, JCP&L’s tree trimming program is facing absolutely no budget constraints,” said the spokesman. “Where possible, JCP&L has increased budgeting for tree trimming/forestry maintenance. Our crews regularly remove ash trees affected by emerald ash borer to prevent risk to our system. As a reminder, JCP&L cannot trim trees that are located off our rights-of-way without explicit permission from property owners.”

The council directed Shepherd to ask that JCP&L send a representative to a council meeting in the near future.

State Sen. Anthony Bucco, who attended the council meeting as Roxbury’s township attorney, said he got involved after learning power was out “twelve or thirteen hours” into the outage.

“I called the executive vice-president of JCP&L at home on his cellphone and said, ‘Look, what the heck is going on?’” Bucco said. “He assured me they’d have power up shortly. What he expressed to me was that they isolated the first incident and as they were visiting that incident, they uncovered other areas that need to be addressed. It was multiple areas not just one.”

Hoenig took some exception to parts of Bucco’s report.

“For the record, we don’t have an executive vice-president,” he said. “In fact, there are not even vice-president-level positions at JCP&L. Under the FirstEnergy structure, regional operations directors report directly to Jim Fakult, who is the president of New Jersey operations.”

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TAPinto Roxbury is free to read, funded entirely by business advertising.

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Act Fast for Your Chance at Roxbury Hot Dog Gulping Glory

ROXBURY, NJ - Let's be frank about it: If you can down a bunch of wieners, you'd be a weenie to pass-up tomorrow's First Ever Roxbury Rotary Club Hot Dog Eating Contest.The contest, part of Saturday's Olde Suckasunny Day street festival, is scheduled to take place at 12:30 p.m. in front of the Roxbury Public Library on Main Street in Succasunna. It's a fundraiser for the Rotary Club High School Scholarship Fund."Time is running out to the register," warned Roxbury Rotarian Steve Alford on Friday. "Only ten spots ...

ROXBURY, NJ - Let's be frank about it: If you can down a bunch of wieners, you'd be a weenie to pass-up tomorrow's First Ever Roxbury Rotary Club Hot Dog Eating Contest.

The contest, part of Saturday's Olde Suckasunny Day street festival, is scheduled to take place at 12:30 p.m. in front of the Roxbury Public Library on Main Street in Succasunna. It's a fundraiser for the Rotary Club High School Scholarship Fund.

"Time is running out to the register," warned Roxbury Rotarian Steve Alford on Friday. "Only ten spots left."

The plan is to have 20 contestants compete in the gastrointestinal bombardment.

The cost to enter is $50. There will be prizes for first-place, second-place and third-place “for whoever can eat the most hot dogs and buns in ten minutes,” Alford said.

Prospective contestants can Venmo the money - under the business section of Venmo - to [email protected] or sign up and pay at the Rotary’s sausage and pepper booth in front of the library by noon.

Olde Suckasunny Day runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. “It’s a family fun day with food, vendors, baked goods, games, music, a book sale at the library and crafts,” said Rick Lansing, one of the organizers.

There will be music and other artistic performances throughout the day, including – at the Roxbury Public Library - Julia Crafton, The Levins and Zumba with Kelly and – in front of the First Presbyterian Church - The Roxbury High School Marching Gaels Band, Chris Shelley, HeartBeat Dance Center and Slattery Irish Dancers.

"Walking tacos" will be sold in front of the Presbyterian Church and there also will be games for kids including a “Mini Dunk Tank” where participants can take shots at hitting a target and sending Barbie & Ken into the water.

The Friends of the Roxbury Library will hold their book sale outside.

TAPinto Roxbury is a media sponsor for Olde Suckasunny Day.

Don’t miss any Roxbury news! Click here to sign-up for our free daily e-newsletter.

Please “like” and “follow” us on Facebook and check out our Twitter feed.

TAPinto Roxbury is free to read, funded entirely by business advertising.

To get your business in front of thousands of readers in Roxbury and beyond, become a TAPinto sponsor! Call 862-259-2448 or click here.

To send press releases, classified ads, items for the event calendar, “Milestones” announcements, etc., look for the “Submit Content” link on the homepage.

Thank you for reading TAPinto Roxbury!

'Hand up,' not handout: Family welcomed to Roxbury student-built Habitat for Humanity home

ROXBURY — Thousands of volunteer hours and dollars go into every home constructed by Morris Habitat for Humanity.But only one was built by high school students on their own campus before it was transported by truck and crane to its final address.On Wednesday, two Roxbury High School graduates who helped to cons...

ROXBURY — Thousands of volunteer hours and dollars go into every home constructed by Morris Habitat for Humanity.

But only one was built by high school students on their own campus before it was transported by truck and crane to its final address.

On Wednesday, two Roxbury High School graduates who helped to construct the modular home revisited their work — now on a corner lot on Edith Road — along with local officials, neighbors and a small horde of media as the family chosen for the home cut a ceremonial ribbon on the front porch and invited everyone inside.

"It's awesome, only something we would imagine for a little bit in class," said 2022 graduate Elliott Brown. "We could picture it, but seeing it finished, seeing it all done, I can't believe I'm looking at it right now."

Samuel Tadesse and Senait Tessfaye were there in May when the two pieces of their new home were lowered by crane onto a foundation built by Habitat volunteers. The couple, who live in Orange with their three children, ages 10, 7 and 3, emigrated from Ethiopia and married after settling in the United States 13 years ago.

They tried for five years to qualify for a Habitat home. Once accepted into the program, they poured 450 hours of their own sweat equity into the build, just one of many requirements for Habitat families.

"This is not a handout, this is a hand up," said Morris Habitat Director of Family Services Loretta Rivers.

"Thank you God and thank you all for coming to support this family," Senait said. "We are so happy and excited, so grateful for this day."

"The first thing I saw walking down the street were the huge smiles on this family's face," state Sen. Anthony Bucco said while he toured the home. "That says it all about what this project means to the community."

The three-bedroom, two-bath modular ranch was constructed by Frank Caccavale's Structural Design and Fabrication class. Seeking to give his students a unique hands-on learning experience, Caccavale approached Morris Habitat in 2019 about partnering on a home build right at the school.

The class of 2021 got it started. The class of 2022 completed the two separate portions of the home, which were lifted by cranes onto flatbed trucks in May for the 6-mile trip across town.

"I'm humbled and grateful to call this beautiful house a home," Samuel said. "In the current housing market, it was impossible to put a roof over my family."

After its arrival, volunteers completed the work, including landscaping and an outside stairway to the ground-level basement and garage. The family will move their belongings into the home in about two weeks.

"I can tell you I never learned so much in high school," said Corey Smith, who went directly into construction work after graduating in June and hopes to become a crane operator. "I still remember the day we started. To see it now all put together is amazing. It's a beautiful thing to see the family here and know we built a house for them."

More than $100,000 of donated materials went into the build, not including the cost of the land, which was donated by Roxbury.

"It took 50, 100 people, even more, to make all this happen," Caccavale said. "One of the neatest things about this for me is that the family that's moving in here, their kids will eventually come through our high school. So it's very possible and we are hoping they will be in my class in a few years, and they can work on a home for another family."

Judge Set to Hear Roxbury Affordable Housing Agreement

ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury’s plan to meet its affordable housing obligations is slated for review by a judge this week.State Superior Court Judge Michael Gaus, sitting in Newton, is scheduled to preside Friday over the “amended fairness and final compliance hearing.” The 3 p.m. hearing will focus on a settlement reached between Roxbury and the Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC).“The Settlement Agreement fully addresses the existing components of the township’s affordable housing obligations for the ...

ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury’s plan to meet its affordable housing obligations is slated for review by a judge this week.

State Superior Court Judge Michael Gaus, sitting in Newton, is scheduled to preside Friday over the “amended fairness and final compliance hearing.” The 3 p.m. hearing will focus on a settlement reached between Roxbury and the Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC).

“The Settlement Agreement fully addresses the existing components of the township’s affordable housing obligations for the period 1987-2025, including the township’s Present Need Obligation (or rehabilitation obligation) of 26 units, its Prior Round obligation of 255 housing units and its Third-Round new construction obligation of 841 units,” says a public notice announcing the hearing.

It notes that the purpose of the hearing is for Gaus to consider whether the settlement agreement will meet Roxbury’s “obligation to provide a realistic opportunity” to meet its responsibility to satisfy “the regional need for affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households” under state law.

Roxbury and the FSHC agreed that the township’s obligation is to provide the opportunity for 1,122 affordable housing units, many of which have already been created. The latest proposed “round” of affordable housing compliance had Roxbury in need of providing 384 new units.

Roxbury promised to accomplish that “through the adoption of inclusionary zoning” on 11 proposed development sites, including the “Porfido” property on Route 10 in Succasunna. There, it agreed to rezone 10 acres to permit “the development of an assisted living facility of up to 175 units to be constructed with 10% (up to 18) of those units set-aside for recipients of Medicaid waivers,” a plan that has met opposition by those living in the area.

Also drawing some opposition is a plan for a 13,75-acre tract on Hercules Road In Kenvil where rezoning will allow the construction of eight dwelling units per acre with 22 units for affordable housing.

Other sites the town agreed to rezone to enable affordable housing include:

“Blue Vista” – A 59-acre property along Route 206 and Mountain Road in Ledgewood, at Block 9202; Lots 1, 2, and 10, permitting residential at nine units per acre

“Southwinds” – A 14.8-acre property on route 46 in Ledgewood, at Block 9402, Lot 7, permitting residential at 10 dwelling units per acre u/ac and requiring 30 units of affordable housing.

“Woodmont” – A 7.1-acre property on Route 46 in Ledgewood, located at Block 9603, Lots 3 and 4 permitting up to 10 dwelling units per acre and 14 affordable housing units.

“Policastro” - A 29.5-acre property on Berkshire Valley Road, at Block 6802, Lot 9, permitting up to eight dwelling units per acre and 47 affordable housing units. “This site is currently developed with a commercial auto rental and repair facility,” said the notice. “The township shall demonstrate via agreement with the property owner that the existing use on this site will end and that the site will be redeveloped within two years.”

“Kingtown” – About 18 acres off Route 46 in Ledgewood (Block 9302, Lot 4) that will be sold to permit up to 10 dwelling units per acre and 33 affordable housing units. “The township agrees to place the site for sale and actively market the property upon adoption of the zoning ordinance,” says the notice.

“Cheyenne, LLC” – At Block 9301, Lots 1 & 2, this is a 14.5-acre property, a former Exxon station on Route 206 in Ledgewood, that would have up to eight dwelling units per acre and 23 affordable housing units.

“Hercules – Howard Boulevard” – A 24-acre property at Block 8901, Lot 5 (near the Mt. Arlington Road/Howard Boulevard intersection) which would have up to eight dwelling units per acre and 39 affordable housing units.

Members of the Roxbury Township Council have stressed that the township is only obligated to provide conditions, particularly through zoning, that allow developers to build affordable housing. The township is not proposing to build public housing, they note.

To read the notice, click

.

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To get your business in front of thousands of readers in Roxbury and beyond, become a TAPinto sponsor! Call 862-259-2448 or click here.

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Thank you for reading TAPinto Roxbury!

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