Superior Court Judge Foster dismissed Lakewood’s motion to evict the homeless from Tent City on Cedar Bridge Road this morning.
Spectators filled Courtroom 3. About 60 people were in the court room and an addition dozen or more spilled into the hallway. There were also several journalists representing television, radio, Internet and print.
So far the story has appeared on WOBM, Channel 12, the APP.com website, and Patch. Link to the Asbury Park Press: http://on.app.com/zZiOHL . Link to the Patch article: http://bit.ly/z5cyCA . Link to the WOBM story: http://bit.ly/wkMklc .
From my perspective:
Lakewood’s attorney tried to link the Tent City issue with the Occupy movement. He also implied that the homeless were trying to take possession of the property but Judge Foster was not having any of that.
The judge said Tent City residents were trying to create a plan to provide better housing for themselves and were using Tent City as temporary step in that plan.
The judge also said there is a government responsibility to provide shelter and he was not prepared to pursue that during today’s hearing.
Lakewood and Tent City both agree that it has taken too long to resolve the problem.
"Enough," they both said at seperate times during the hearing.
Lakewood has felt people have been there too long, though when asked they were uncertain how long people lived there, said their attorney. Jeff Wild said it has taken Lakewood and Ocean County too long to resolve the problem.
“What’s the remedy,” the judge asked?
“When Lakewood does what’s required,” replied Wild. “We also say enough.”
In denying Lakewood’s motion for an orderly eviction, Judge Foster added he wants to hold a hearing on the issue and told attorneys to contact his clerk to set up a time for that hearing.
There has already been movement by the parties to mediate the issue. According to Wild the attorneys are searching for a mediator.