Dear Howell Township,

This is a request for public records made under OPRA and the common law right of access. Please acknowledge receipt of this message.

Records requested:

1) Logs containing the following metadata for all emails SENT by Code Inspector John Aguiar since he began his employment with the township: "sender,"
"recipient(s)," "date/time," and "subject."

2) Logs containing the following metadata for all emails RECEIVED by
Code Inspector John Aguiar since he began his employment with the township: "sender,"
"recipient(s), "date/time," and "subject."

3) A copy of all Zoning Violation letters sent by the Department of Community Development & Land Use from January 1, 2018 through September 30, 2018.

4) A copy of all summons issued by the Department of Community Development & Land Use from January 1, 2018 through September 30, 2018.

Thank you,

Julian Leone

Donna Belton, Howell Township

Your request was received and we will respond within 7 business days.

Thank you.
Donna

show quoted sections

Donna Belton, Howell Township

Good Morning Mr. Leone,

 

I just want to inform you that we need a 7 business day extension to have
your OPRA completed.  We will have the request to you by October 23^rd.

 

Thank you.

 

Regards,

 

Donna Belton

Administrative Assistant

Clerk’s Office

4567 Route 9 North

Howell, NJ 07731

732-938-4500, ext. 2000

[email address]

 

NOTICE OF CONFIDENTIALITY
This message, including any prior messages and attachments, may contain
advisory, consultative and/or deliberative material, confidential
information or privileged communications of the Township of Howell. Access
to this message by anyone other than the sender and the intended
recipient(s) is unauthorized. If you are not the intended recipient of
this message, any disclosure, copying, distribution or action taken or not
taken in reliance on it, without the expressed written consent of the
Township, is prohibited. If you have received this message in error, you
should not save, scan, transmit, print, use or disseminate this message or
any information contained in this message in any way and you should
promptly delete or destroy this message and all copies of it. Please
notify the sender by return e-mail if you have received this message in
error.

Donna Belton, Howell Township

1 Attachment

Good Morning,

 

Attached please find the response to your OPRA. 

 

Thank you and have a good day.

 

Regards,

 

Donna Belton

Administrative Assistant

Clerk’s Office

4567 Route 9 North

Howell, NJ 07731

732-938-4500, ext. 2000

[email address]

 

NOTICE OF CONFIDENTIALITY
This message, including any prior messages and attachments, may contain
advisory, consultative and/or deliberative material, confidential
information or privileged communications of the Township of Howell. Access
to this message by anyone other than the sender and the intended
recipient(s) is unauthorized. If you are not the intended recipient of
this message, any disclosure, copying, distribution or action taken or not
taken in reliance on it, without the expressed written consent of the
Township, is prohibited. If you have received this message in error, you
should not save, scan, transmit, print, use or disseminate this message or
any information contained in this message in any way and you should
promptly delete or destroy this message and all copies of it. Please
notify the sender by return e-mail if you have received this message in
error.

Dear Ms. Belton,

Thank you for your timely response to my previous OPRA request. While I am awaiting the Township’s decision on my conservation easement issue, I am also preparing for a potential appeal and therefore am unable to hold my request in abeyance at this time. I believe your response to be a constructive denial of my original OPRA request and will be filing a complaint with the Government Records Council (“GRC”) if we are unable to resolve this issue. Please be reminded that a determination by the GRC that you are knowingly and willfully in violation of OPRA will result in fines.

In an effort to clarify my request and provide possible alternatives which would be not be as burdensome on your office, please see my OPRA request revision below. If you are unclear about any of the information being requested you are able to seek further clarification under OPRA. Please refrain from denying any portions of this request without requesting clarification first.

ITEMS 1 AND 2

In my first and second request I asked for logs of email sent or received by inspector Aguiar during his time of employment. In your response you state that my request “does not identify specific government records” and is therefore invalid and denied. You confirm, however, that there are at least 7,100 email that are potentially responsive to my request. I find this to be inconsistent and the first example of why I believe you are willfully violating the provisions of OPRA.

That said, I can see how you might be unwilling to provide access to all email for inspector Aguiar and will modify my request below. In an attempt to rectify any chance that my request is broad and unclear, please disregard items 1 and 2 of my previous request and please provide a digital copy of any and all e-mail sent or received by inspector John Aguiar regarding zoning violations from January 1, 2017 to October 15, 2018.

Also, please note that electronic records must be provided free of charge as per N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5.b.

ITEMS 3 AND 4

In my third and fourth requests I ask for copies of violations and summons that are issued by the Department of Community Development & Land Use. In your response you arrive at a laundry list of “Special Service Charges” that amount to $3,935.18 for 1,454 relevant documents. That works out to just over $2.70 per document requested. I believe this to be a means of restricting my access to this public information and an second example of why your office is willfully violating the provisions of OPRA.

Let’s review the relevant standards and figure out a way to accomplish this production without undue burden on your office. N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5.c states that special service charges for “extraordinary” requests must be reasonable and based on actual direct cost. The regulatory guidance allows for this type of charge when accommodating the request involves extraordinary expenditure of time and effort. You imply by your list of charges that the request would require an extraordinary expenditure of time and effort to accomodate.

Let’s assume for a purposes of this response that this is true. In an effort to reduce your extraordinary expenditure of time, please disregard items 3 and 4 of my previous request and please provide a digital copy of any and all information available in your “online program” for all 977 violations and all 477 summons that were issued by the Department of Community Development & Land Use from January 1, 2018 through September 30, 2018.

Again, please note that electronic records must be provided free of charge as per N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5.b.

The above modifications should significantly reduce the burden on your office and allow for the information requested to be delivered quickly.

With respect to your charge for redaction, I do not believe that the records requested will contain any privileged or confidential information that requires redaction. Please remember that property ownership records are a matter of public record and are also available from your tax assessors office and as such, disclosure thereof would not violate the citizen's reasonable expectation of privacy. Under the regulatory guidance only personally identifying information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, unlisted telephone numbers and drivers license numbers are subject to redaction. I do not see why your Department of Community Development & Land Use would even have access to that type of information.

With respect to your charge for supervisory oversight, I do believe that oversight is within the normal course of business for your department and not an allowable charge under OPRA. Please take a minute to review the amount of property taxes that I pay to Howell Township every year and assume that a portion of that is meant for the supervisors that work in your office to actually do some work.

If you continue to deny my request for information I will have no choice but to file a complaint with the GRC. I remind you that if the Council determines that you unreasonably denied my access to this public information the Council will impose penalties and that if i prevail in my challenge i will be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees under N.J.S.A. 47:1A-6.

I look forward to your response and would encourage you to offer any suggestions should my request be unduly burdensome.

Thank you!

Dear Donna Belton,

Did you receive my response to your latest reply? If not, I can resubmit.

Yours sincerely,

Julian

Donna Belton, Howell Township

I will be out of the office October 26th  returning NOvember 5th.   If you
need immediate assistance please contact  Angela ext 2152 or Maria ext.
2241

NOTICE OF CONFIDENTIALITY
This message, including any prior messages and attachments, may contain
advisory, consultative and/or deliberative material, confidential
information or privileged communications of the Township of Howell. Access
to this message by anyone other than the sender and the intended
recipient(s) is unauthorized. If you are not the intended recipient of
this message, any disclosure, copying, distribution or action taken or not
taken in reliance on it, without the expressed written consent of the
Township, is prohibited. If you have received this message in error, you
should not save, scan, transmit, print, use or disseminate this message or
any information contained in this message in any way and you should
promptly delete or destroy this message and all copies of it. Please
notify the sender by return e-mail if you have received this message in
error.