Howell officials still seeking to assist residents in Pineview Estates

HOWELL – Township Council members are continuing to try and address the concerns of Pineview Estates residents who have issues with a retaining wall and flooding in their development.

On Aug. 13, 2018, emergency services personnel responded to more than 50 incidents during a six-hour period as a severe rain storm flooded and damaged areas of Howell. Officials said 7 inches of rain fell in a two-hour period.

Pineview Estates was hit especially hard by the storm, with many homes sustaining significant damage. In the months following the storm, residents asked municipal officials for assistance.

Council members passed a resolution waiving local construction permit fees for residents who had to make repairs to their homes. They said state officials indicated that certain permit fees would be waived.

Residents of Pineview Estates attended the May 7 council meeting, during which Township Attorney Joseph Clark provided an update regarding the issue.

Until several years ago, Pineview Estates was part of neighboring Wall Township in an area of that community largely removed from the remainder of the municipality. In an agreement between the two towns, Howell officials agreed to make the development part of Howell.

“We are looking at every angle. We just received documentation from Wall Township about the retaining wall this morning. We will sit down and meet with outside counsel (on May 8) to go over our options with regard to not only the retaining wall, but also the detention basin,” Clark said.

Councilman Thomas Russo asked if officials from the two towns could meet and Clark said he would try to set up a meeting.

“We have requested meetings with (Wall Township). It is my understanding Wall Township has taken action on a maintenance bond with regard to the retaining wall,” Clark said.

During the meeting, council members awarded a $14,500 contract to T&M Associates for professional consulting and engineering services related to the Pineview Estates.

Following the meeting, Clark elaborated on the situation.

“Last year, we had residents here who were concerned about the flooding. There are also issues with a retaining wall. The residents came out to voice their concern about that.

“We sent a tort claim notice to Wall Township basically putting them on notice we may sue. We had to wait six months before we could file a lawsuit and the six months just expired.

“We are trying to meet with representatives of Wall Township to discuss our options and whether or not there is something we could all do together short of litigation,” Clark said.