Barnegat Township officials plan to file a lawsuit this week to stop the managers of the Johnson's Pit area - Barnegat Holdings LLC - from storing what some in the township have reported as "thousands of cars" that were damaged during Sandy.
"We've been authorized to start a lawsuit in Superior Court," Township Attorney Jerry Dasti said at the committee meeting on Monday night. "Hopefully Superior Court in Toms River has a little more muscle with them than our code enforcement officer."
Charles Horner, an assistant executive director at the Pinelands Commission wrote a letter to owners of the Barnegat property, last Friday, noting that storing the vehicles there is not permitted because it is considered Pinelands Forested Area. Further, the letter notes, storing the vehicles there constitutes a commercial use, and requires permission from Barnegat, the DEP, and the Pinelands Commission.
Township Committee members said at the meeting that the owners did not secure any approval before using the site to store the damaged vehicles.
Mayor Al Cirulli cited the letter from the Pinelands Commission, and expressed frustration with the situation.
"We will do everything short of breaking the law to stop this immediately," Cirulli said.
Barnegat resident Toni Carrea said at the committee meeting that she personally witnessed vehicles being brought to the site on trucks, and she urged the committee to post police near the property road to deter the owners from continuing the practice.