MANALAPAN — Township officials want the state to shut a residential facility that they describe as a den of crime and foul conditions — and are balking at state inspectors' assertions that the facility has cleaned up its act.

Mayor Susan Cohen and other municipal officials wrote a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy outlining what they said are problems at the Manalapan Manor (formerly Marianne Manor), a residential care facility on Route 33.

About 50 residents live at the facility, according to the letter.

Citing police records, officials said officers have been called to the facility 339 times between July and the beginning of November for calls dealing with missing people, disorderly conduct and theft.

The letter also says that police have been called to a nearby Wawa and Walgreens 125 times in the past year for issues created by Manor residents.

The mayor said many of the toilets at the facility are inoperable and cause sewage to back up. She said that there is also an infestation of cockroaches, bedbugs and flies and insufficient supplies of  food.

"The resources being wasted on this failing facility are often too much to quantify, as it is a constant cause for concern on so many levels. No human being should have to live like that," Cohen wrote.

Among the problems alleged by Cohen, Police Chief Michael Fountain Cohen, Deputy Mayor Jack McNaboe, Committeewoman Mary Ann Musich and Township Administrator Tara L. Lovrich:

  • Three residents have been killed by motor vehicles in front of the building in 2014, 2015 and 2016 as they walked along Route 33.
  • A resident was found dead in the facility in 2012, and one of the secondary causes listed on the death certificate was malnutrition.
  • A resident was found dead due to a heroin overdose in the facility in 2016.
  • A resident committed suicide on June 13, 2019

Cohen is also concerned about the facility being located on a busy highway with no sidewalks and fears similar incidents in the future.

"The only option the township believes is viable now is for this facility to be closed. The deplorable conditions for the residents of Manalapan Manor and the safety of our residents is paramount," the letter says.

Gina Trish, spokeswoman for the Department of Community Affairs, told New Jersey 101.5 that "an unannounced evaluation" was conducted at the facility on Nov. 7 after the Department of Community Affairs, which licenses health care facilities, received Cohen's letter.

"The Bureau Evaluator determined that Manalapan Manor was in compliance with the Standards for Licensure of Residential Health Care Facilities (RHCF)(N.J.A.C.5:27a-1 et seq). Since the site visit in 2018, the licensee has abated all cited deficiencies," Trish said in an email, which included 11 photos taken during the visit. The photos show clean floors, bathroom, bedrooms and common areas.

Cohen said she was unaware of the Nov. 7 evaluation and was seeing pictures of the visit for the first time when some were shared by New Jersey 101.5.

"If the place looked like that, that would be great. Unfortunately, that is not what the place looks like. The place looks like that when they know someone is coming," Cohen said.

"There is no way that facility looks like that. We have police there all the time. We have residents of the township that go in there all the time. That's a great looking place that doesn't exist. It exists maybe for the day they know someone's coming."

The DCA did not immediately return a question seeing reaction to Cohen's statements.

The owner of the facility could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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