Despite complaints, New Jersey mayor refuses to move RV illegally parked on sidewalk

LINDENWOLD, New Jersey -- Residents in one New Jersey neighborhood are fed up with a giant 30-foot RV illegally parked on their road, but they're not getting much help from township officials because the vehicle's owner is the mayor.

Lindenwold Mayor Richard Roach says the vehicle is legally parked on the sidewalk, but an investigation by sister station WPVI in Philadelphia found the law says otherwise.

Residents on Chestnut Avenue, including Jane King and Danielle Boychuck, are tired of looking at the RV parked over the curb and in the middle of the sidewalk.

"He has been a great mayor, but he has an RV that's been parked on the street that is a complete eyesore," King said.

Boychuk says she complained to Mayor Roach when he first parked the RV on the street in front of her house in October.

"I have a daughter and she can't get by it on the sidewalk," Boychuck said. "He said that I could contact the township, and they weren't going to do anything about it because of who he is. I was actually, like, shocked. My jaw dropped."

Boychuck says after getting nowhere with the mayor, she contacted police and code enforcement. She said Roach then moved the RV off the street and onto the sidewalk, though two tires remain on the roadway.

"It's upsetting, it's really upsetting," she said. "Yeah, because I feel like they are supposed to protect us and be there."

We tried to get comment from the mayor, who told us the RV was legally parked and shut the door. A few minutes later, police responded.

We told the responding officer that there's a feeling with some residents that they are being bullied and that the mayor can do whatever he wants.

The officer told us, "I'll check the code and let you know."

Lindenwold police called us a short time later and said the RV was legally parked on the sidewalk. Police said there is no Lindenwold ordinance that made it illegal. But we found otherwise.

"The statute is pretty clear," attorney Kenneth Vercammen said. "39:4-138 sets forth where you are not permitted to park, and one of those is a sidewalk."

Vercammen said state law says you can't park on a sidewalk unless there is a local ordinance explicitly saying it's legal to do so. Not only that, he called the mayor's action not very neighborly.

"The simple thing that the mayor needs to do is move the vehicle and make arrangements to have it parked where those type of vehicles are permitted," Vercammen said.

So what can Boychuck and other residents do? Vercammen says they may be able to get the RV moved if they file a complaint with the municipal court.

"I used to have a camper and I wasn't allowed to park it," King said. "I had to take it to Chatsworth to park it."

For now, it appears Mayor Roach, police and the borough officials are not going to do anything about it. Boychuck said she is not optimistic.

"I have a feeling it's just going to sit there and never going to go anywhere," she said.

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