At Valley & Bloom, residents say trash corridors are due to new ‘amenities’


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Garbage lines up in a hallway at the Valley & Bloom apartment complex. (SHORT GUARANTEES FROM CHRISTEN STEVENSON)

By JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
[email protected]

What management has described as “invaluable and time-saving” equipment for residents has turned into a deplorable situation at Valley & Bloom’s luxury apartments, residents say.

At the end of November, the real estate company LCOR, which manages the building, announced that residents would benefit from a new valet parking service so that they did not have to transport their waste to the trash can on their floor, according to the reports. messages residents shared with Montclair Local. . Instead, residents were given 13-gallon black bins to place outside their doors during certain hours, and valet parking would pick up the contents.

There were, however, a few caveats: the ferry could only be left in front of the door from Sunday to Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. could face a fine or removal from the bin, depending on notifications sent to residents.

And the service is mandatory, at $ 25 per month on top of the $ 500 per year in development fees residents already pay, according to text messages sent to residents by management.

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Emily Copeland, LCOR Senior Vice President, told the Montclair Local that the service is in addition to the standard garbage chutes available on every floor of our building.

“By offering our residents the option of leaving waste and recycling right outside their doorstep, this adds an invaluable and time-saving option for them and our staff,” she said.

Garbage lines up in a hallway at the Valley & Bloom apartment complex. (SHORT GUARANTEES FROM CHRISTEN STEVENSON)

At first, management told residents that the bins would remain open for those who could not make the two-hour deadline or for those going on vacation, according to the texts sent to residents. But later, management sent a text saying they would close the trash cans on December 3.

Within days, garbage in the hallways began to pile up, with residents missing the two-hour time window due to work engagements, commuting or being out for dinner, said resident Christen Stevenson.

She said some residents would take out their trash at 6 p.m., only to find that the valet had already passed their areas or floors. Overflowing trash and bagged bottles started seeping into the carpet and hallways smelled awful, she said, saying other residents. Recyclable boxes lined the corridors. The loading dock was filled with bags as residents attempted to dispose of their trash on their own, Stevenson said.

“I don’t want to bring any guests. I’m embarrassed, ”Stevenson said.

Residents who signed up for a janitorial building with garbage service didn’t think it would end in the hallway, said Dani Powell, who has started a petition against the service and a private Facebook page in support of residents. .

Residents have become “desperate,” said Powell. Shopping carts full of trash bags appear on the floor and people throw trash in stairwells, she said.

Tenants took to their community’s Facebook page to voice their concerns, posting text messages from management in response to their frustrations. The petition launched by Powell was signed by 99 tenants on December 19. They say it’s to protest a convenience they never wanted.

Residents have filed complaints with the township fire code officials, the township health department and the New Jersey Bureau of Housing Inspection.



State administrative code, says trash and rubbish cannot be dumped on stairs or fire escapes or in common hallways in multi-family units, but Powell said a code enforcement officer told him after an inspection surprise on December 1 that the township should adopt regulations to enforce this. The Montclair local has messaged the municipal communications department asking for clarification on this point and information on the inspection and residents’ complaints, and is awaiting a response.

On December 15, the New Jersey Bureau of Housing Inspection inspected the building, but all receptacles and trash had been removed by management, Powell said. In a text sent to residents wondering where their trash cans went on December 14, management said the service remained but the trash cans had been removed to prevent them from entering the hallways, and residents could ask for them. again. A text from management to residents said the state found no issues with the inspection.

An email sent to the New Jersey Bureau of Housing Inspection on December 16 from the Montclair local has yet to be resent.

Powell said she had not heard from the township health department after filing a complaint when she discovered feces in a box set aside for garbage collection.

But Copeland said the service provider “is in constant contact with state and local fire departments, and valet parking is safe and approved.”

On December 13, a meeting was held with 50 tenants who came forward to tell LCOR management and valet parking that they were against adopting the service.

According to Powell, residents at the meeting learned that the reason for the change was that the trash cans were becoming unsightly because residents weren’t using the trash or it was getting clogged, and tenants were not putting their recycling in the garbage. appropriate garbage cans.

“They took this problem from a very small area and it’s now down the hall,” Powell said.

Residents left the meeting thinking management believed they “were going to have to live with this,” Powell said.

Since the visit to the New Jersey Bureau of Housing Inspection, management has now changed valet parking from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the bin doors will remain unlocked.

Copeland said the doors to the trash cans were initially locked as part of the new program and to encourage the use of valet trash cans.

“Based on the feedback from residents, we have reopened the trash cans and they will remain open,” she said.

Times were also changed after feedback from residents, Copeland said.

“We find that this hour works best for most of our residents, but when residents can’t meet the time slot, they can just take the waste to the garbage chutes themselves,” Copeland told Montclair Local.

But Stevenson said she dropped off her trash within two hours of leaving for an event in Montclair on December 15, and when she returned at 9.45 p.m., her trash was confiscated because she didn’t have it. not brought. back to his apartment.

“I pay $ 2,400 a month to live here. I shouldn’t be stressed out for basic service, ”she said.

Copeland said the trash cans are the same as others used nationwide, “because the average apartment resident produces less than one bag of trash per night.”

According to residents’ leases, garbage removal is included in their utilities and hallways should be free of garbage and other personal effects. Residents cannot decline the amenity fee “because the service is not optional,” Copeland said.

Other amenities – porter service, personal concierge and room attendants – were phased out during this year, several residents said at Montclair Local or posted online. One resident wrote on a Google review that management has removed the “luxury” that this self-proclaimed “luxury” apartment building once had.

“You solved a problem I didn’t have,” wrote a resident of the Facebook community group.

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