Thursday May 23rd, 2019 we purchased 384 Main Street, Mine Hill, New Jersey. The property was listed as a mixed use property, connected to sewer and including “vacant lot in rear”. We spent a lot of money having the property surveyed and checked for environmental issues and abandoned tanks or anything else of concern. All scans were performed on lot 9 as that was actually the property for sale. We also discovered through the township that the lot was zoned commercial (not mixed use) but that we could apply for a zoning change due to the fact that an apartment was already in place before the zoning changed.
When it came to finalize the sale we noticed that the lot in the back was not included and in fact owned by a completely different person. We deemed this as not important as we thought it was not necessary to own a vacant lot in the back of the property.
We proceeded with lawyers, engineers and architects to have everything in place for our zoning meeting. After a lot of time and money spent we went to the meeting to discover that the property is not connected to sewer. As we had already had an engineer survey the property we were very confused. No septic system was found on the property.
After much searching the township health department was able to locate an incomplete septic system application from 1984. From what we can gather, in 1984 the septic system was built on the vacant lot which is no longer a part of the property. This means that at some point, the property was allowed to be subdivided from it’s septic system effectively rendering each property useless.
The story continues.
A small corner of our lot is in Roxbury township and the nearest sewer to connect to is in Roxbury Township. Although the township has been quite willing to draw from our escrow account to check on whether or not they approve of the proposed building improvements, they have not been willing to discuss connecting to their sewer. We have scheduled meetings with the town engineer and even had the mayor of Mine Hill in contact to try and resolve what is an utterly ridiculous problem caused many years ago by people no longer around.
As we stand now the Mayor of Mine Hill has been telling us each week that an attorney will have an agreement between Roxbury and MIne Hill for us to connect to the sewer.
We are incurring a lot of costs waiting on this issue to be resolved. Right now, the property is an abandoned building, a building that we would like to renovate which will increase appeal and value to the surrounding area. Our proposed renovation includes turning an old run down tavern into a coffee and juice bar, yoga studio and sober safe wellness center.
We see 2 possible solutions to this problem.
- The two townships stop wasting time and formalize an agreement for us to connect to Roxbury sewer.
- The township, knowing that it was their mistake in the first place, completes the foreclosure on the lot where our septic is located and signs the property over to us so that we can have a working septic for the property.