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    Easement Rights

    Notice Regarding Easement Rights and Annual Charges
    Affecting Property Owners at Upper Greenwood Lake, West Milford Township


    Ladies and Gentlemen:

    We write on behalf of Upper Greenwood Lake Property Owners Association to acquaint you with the status of residential easements for recreational use of the waters of Upper Greenwood Lake and the surrounding park areas. There have been misunderstandings which have led to disputes between buyers and sellers and there are likely to be more in the future based upon the vigorous efforts now employed by the Association to collect annual easement charges against all property owners enjoying such easements.

    The Association owns the Lake and the Park areas in question. All residential properties on maps of Upper Greenwood Lake own recreational easements for the Lake, and access easements over the Parklands, by virtue of their deeds relating back to the Mirror Holding Company and its affiliates, the original developers. Owners of properties in the Mt. Laurel Lake Estates development acquired similar easements by virtue of a blanket conveyance from Mt. Laurel Lake Estates in 1961, recorded in Book C75 of Deeds for Passaic County at page 426, etc.

    The Association pays taxes on its Lake and Park properties, and also pays for certain insurance, dam maintenance, weed control expenses, costs of security patrols and miscellaneous administration costs. It has devised a procedure to pass the expenses it incurs on such easement properties on an annual basis to all the owners of such easements. The Superior Court of New Jersey has recognized the propriety of doing so in the 1978 case of Island Improvement Association of Upper Greenwood Lake v. Ford et al, reported as 155 N.J. Super. 571 (App. Div. 1978)

    In 1988 the Association obtained a judgment in the Superior Court of New Jersey declaring all owners of improved and unimproved property in the Upper Greenwood Lake and Mt. Laurel areas are obligated to contribute their fair share of the repair and maintenance costs of the easement to use Upper Greenwood Lake for bathing, boating and fishing as is determined annually by the Upper Greenwood Lake Property Owners Association. The case was initiated by the Association in an effort to defray the cost of maintaining Upper Greenwood Lake. For your reference, the judgment was recorded as a deed in the Passiac County Register’s Office on February 13, 1990 in Book C126 of Deeds at page 223. The request for contributions began in 1984 and continues to date.

    The procedure involves a proposed budget for maintenance of the lake, which typically includes insurance, taxes, weed control, security, dam repair and miscellaneous administrative costs. The budget is presented at a public meeting and voted. The approved budget is divided by the number of improved and unimproved properties and an easement amount for the succeeding year is determined. The 2010 budget was presented and voted on November 2011 and the individual contribution for each property owner was set at $194.07. Easement bills are typically mailed out at the beginning of the year and a finance charge accrues for accounts remaining unpaid after March 1st.

    If you are involved or assisting in the purchase or sale of any property in the Upper Greenwood Lake or Mt. Laurel Lake area of Hewitt, West Milford Township, New Jersey, we recommend you advise all interested parties that an easement charge may be outstanding on the property. The amount of the charge, depending on whether anything was paid from 1984 through the present, can be determined by contacting the Upper Greenwood Lake Property Owners Association at (973) 853-4262 and providing the current property owner’s name, and tax block and lot number. The Association endeavors to provide up-to-date information on the amount due for each property so the same may be paid and satisfied when properties are sold or refinanced. The Association also employs a collection attorney who is in the process of enforcing the collection of back easement charges and obtaining judgments against property owners who have not paid their easement charges.

    If you would like more information regarding the easement budget or collection procedure, you may contact the Upper Greenwood Lake Property Owners Association at P.O. Box 457, Hewitt, New Jersey 07421.





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