NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—When residents bought their townhouse condominiums in the relatively new Fulton Square community in New Brunswick’s 2nd Ward, they were told they were buying in a gated community.
But the gates installed by developer Edgewood Properties proved to be insufficient. They broke easily and were rarely functional or effective, according to residents.
The gates became a flashpoint for controversy when Richard Chang, a 40-year-old contractor, was shot and killed by a stray bullet in his home at 316 Birch Court during the afternoon of May 4.
Since then, new gates that are stronger and larger have been installed, but to this day they remain unlocked and wide open six weeks after Chang was killed.
Approximately a year and a half ago, the condo association hired Midlantic Property Management to manage the community.
Jim Polos, an elected Middlesex County Freeholder who owns and runs Midlantic told a crowded room of about 50 residents, “As of Monday [May 21], the gates will be locked,” at a May 16 meeting of the homeowner’s association.
“There was a problem with those gates from the beginning. They were poorly done by the developer,” Polos said.
NewBrunswickToday.com was the only outlet to cover that meeting, where a board member forceably removed the author of this article about 90 minutes into the meeting, and later called the police on him.
The new gates are “a much heavier-duty, commercial-grade system” that uses magnetic locks and will have sixteen high-resolution cameras pointed at them, according to Polos remarks at the meeting. But it’s unlikely they will do much good if they continue to remain unlocked and wide open.
A sign was erected alerting residents that the gates would be locked on May 23, but they have still yet to be locked. The sign has since been taken down.
Past delays were attributed by Polos to the city’s permitting process and hiring a contractor to install the gates. Now that the new gates have been installed, the only obstacle to closing them seems to be that residents need to sign up to pick up their “key fobs” required for access.
However, a worker with BH Security was seen working on the Commercial Avenue gate earlier today.
Visitors, including taxis and deliveries are expected to use the Commercial Avenue gate exclusively which has a call box to reach residents. Residents may use the gates at Remsen or Commercial Avenues to enter and exit the 209-unit community.
Polos responded to a phone call from NewBrunswickToday.com weeks ago but said he was “not at liberty to comment,” and referred all questions to the homeowner’s association’s board.
Although Polos said he could not give out the contact information for the board members, he agreed to pass along NewBrunswickToday.com’s request for an interview over a week ago.
No members of the board have contacted NewBrunswickToday.com.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.