9/10/2007

Carteret couple fears loss: New Brunswick NJ Home News Tribune, 8/25/07

By Ritu Jha

Parvista Kumar works as a cashier at the local Shop-Rite, and her husband is a cook at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The couple worked hard to accumulate enough money to realize the American dream.

They bought a house in the borough for $169,000 in 2003. But for the past two years the Kumars have lost their peace of mind, fearing that the borough will take their home through the eminent domain.

The house they bought is located in the Chrome section of the borough and is in the redevelopment zone.

"I can't sleep at night," said Parvista Kumar, who lives at 53 Essex St.

Her worries began in 2005 when the family received the first letter from the borough telling them that their house would be taken for redevelopement. The borough offered them $159,000, which the Kumars said was not enough.

"We wanted them to pay us more," said Parvista Kumar, adding there was no place she could go, no house she could buy with that money.

She said she received no more correspondence until last month when she received a notice that she'd have to appear in court on Oct. 9.

"I knew they would ask us to leave someday," Kumar said.

Kumar, who moved to the borough from Corona, Queens, N.Y., has four children: Yogesh, 12, Priya, 10, and twins Tarun and Tarish, 9.

She agrees that her house needs work. She said she has spent $10,000 on maintenance but has refrained from doing more because she thought the money would be wasted if her house was taken.

But Robert J. Bergen, borough law director, said the borough is working on a lower Roosevelt redevelopment project. "We are not proceeding in that (Kumar's) property."

Bergen said the couple does not have to appear in court. He said they received the letter because of an administrative error, and they will be notified of that.

"She does not want to voluntarily sell the property, so we do not need her property. Also her property lies in the outskirts of the area selected for redevelopment, so we were able to redesign the project," Bergen said.

But Kumar remains uncertain.

"I do not believe they have changed their mind," she said. "I have yet received no letter from them."

She still fears that the borough officials will reach out to her again, after completing the current redevelopment project.

"I know for a time being they have said no," Kumar said. "If not today, tommorrow they will ask us to vacate."


New Brunswick NJ Home News Tribune: http://www.thnt.com