The Washington Township Swim & Recreation Club could face fines from the town if they don't remove commercial vehicles parked on their property or seek a variance from the township zoning board.
The club has allowed some bond-holding members and businesses they bartered for services with to park their vehicles in their lot, according to Christine Murphy, co-president of the club.
Allowing their landscaper and others to park in the lot has been necessary for the club to get by, according to Murphy. They have been facing financial difficulties for the past 10 years, she said.
"We are not sure how we're going to survive," Murphy said.
The practice has drawn complaints from some neighbors, according to township administrator Catherine Navarro-Steinel. The township sent the club a cease and desist letter in response to the complaints after officials found items stored there included Dumpsters and roll-offs, she said.
The complaints included an allegation that the site was being used as a transfer station, a place where a trash truck dumps its load into containers for later removal, according to Navarro-Steinel. If that's true, the club could face even greater fines from the state, she said.
"It puts the swim club into great danger of the DEP," Navarro-Steinel said.
Murphy said they weren't always sure what went on because the seasonal nature of the club meant they weren't there all the time.
Council members agreed to give the club an extension, which will also give township officials more time to investigate.
"We're not here to be the Gestapo, to go out and pick on everybody," Councilman Joe D'Urso said.
Murphy also said they had already addressed one complaint from neighbors, that their landscapers were coming too early in the morning.
"We have tried to work very hard with the neighbors," she said.