New Jersey Park Model Dwellers Respond
Five residents of Carol Lynn Resort in Woodbine, N.J., told freeholders on Tuesday (July 14) of their pending Nov. 1 eviction for six months from places many call year-round home, and have for 30 years.
They asked what the county government could do for them, according to the Cape May Herald.
While the board was sympathetic to the plight of them and other owners at the campground, the best advice that could be offered, "Get a lawyer."
A special evening meeting is scheduled for Thursday, at Woodbine Borough Hall for Carol Lynn Resort residents who seek answers to their pending six-month eviction from their longtime campground home.
Peter Gilson, who regularly attends the board's meetings, and who advocates giving hugs, was himself in need of a friendly embrace.
He was the first of the residents from the campground to address the board.
He said the campground, operated by Woodbine Councilman Anthony Saduk and his wife, Carol Lynn, would be forced to close for six month, making many senior citizens, disabled and low-income people who live there, homeless.
Freeholder Gerald Thornton reassured Gilson that the county Social Services Department would do all within its power to help anyone who found themselves without a home.
Part of the reason for the closure, said Gilson, was that the state deemed their homes, park models, to have insufficient electrical supply.
"That may have been true many years ago, but it is not the case today," Gilson said. "Park models are wired as good as any permanent home."
State officials, he said, "Have not considered the human toll that will be wrought on the citizens of over 30 years. This is the first time the state has found fault," Gilson said.
He cited the "displacement of hundreds of residents who have invested all their life savings in their homes."
Al Ripa, another Carol Lynn Resort resident, and a Belleplain Rescue Squad emergency medical technician, told freeholders there had been only two fires in the campground in 30 years, neither serious.
"Why, all of a sudden are we being kicked out on the street?" Ripa asked.
Ripa told the board he had been in contact with a number of Atlantic County campgrounds, and found none of them knew about any new law, which Carol Lynn Resorts residents were being told they had to obey, and leave by Nov. 1.
On that date, Ripa said, residents were told that the gate would be locked, water turned off, and no residents would be allowed to remain during closure.
Nick Giordano, another Carol Lynn resident, told freeholders all owners at Carol Lynn Resort have signed a 99-year lease that provided they had to be out for 22 days a year.
He said all residents have been paying municipal and school tax, even though no school children are sent to Woodbine Elementary from the campground.
Many of the residents in the resort, he said, had sold their other, larger homes, and downsized into park models at Carol Lynn Resort.
Campground Acts Like Mobile Home Park
Director Daniel Beyel told the residents that Woodbine was the municipal enforcement agent of campground regulations.
"You seem to have a mobile home park, which is not permitted under the campground ordinance," said Beyel.
"You may have signed an agreement, but it's against state law," he added.
Campgrounds, Beyel said, are meant as seasonal places for transient living, not year-round permanent residences.
Beyel said there seemed to be "a special arrangement between the campground and the borough of Woodbine that doesn't agree in full with the N.J. campground code."
"The state is saying those rights you think you received, the landlord may not have been able to offer," Beyel told the residents.