In its promotion of Teaneck, the township says, “Within our borders, you will find … unsurpassed parks and natural areas.” Years ago Teaneck deeded an undeveloped section of Overpeck Park, Area 2, to the county to be used for parkland. (See photo above.) Some eight months ago the county set up a plan for much-needed remediation and restoration of Area 2. However, the county also proposed to place an animatronic dinosaur exhibit – cheesy, overpriced and of little educational value – and add some 400 parking lots there. Leonia and Ridgefield Park have already expressed their opposition to the plan, but so far the Teaneck Council has not.
After months of protests, at the meeting Ron Schwartz, Vice Chair of the Teaneck Democratic Municipal Committee, urged the council to pass a resolution against the plan. He pointed out that the TDMC in October had expressed its opposition in a written letter to County Executive Jim Tedesco. Other residents spoke out forcefully against the county proposal, including Jonathan Ross who said we must protect this sensitive wetland important for wildlife, runoff, and flood protection. Art Vatsky pointed out it would be needed in future years as sea levels rise.
Council members Gervonn Romney Rice expressed support for the resolution and Mark Schwartz showed admiration for large parks in nearby towns. Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameedudin then decided a letter will be sent to the county inviting appropriate officials to present to the council at the next meeting what their intentions are for the park. We already know what the county proposes, as we have seen a contract with the Field Station Dinosaur company which includes the lease and fees it would have to pay to the county. No resolution on the matter was passed or even introduced.
Suez Water Company in a recent sampling found elevated levels of lead in a percentage of homes tested in Bergen and Hudson Counties. As result council members issued a resolution for the company to commit to an aggressive replacement program for all lead service lines they own. Suez customers can find out if they are served by a lead line by checking their online account at mysuezwater.com/njwq. Because customers may have lead pipes or connectors from the service line into their homes, residents were advised to have their lead level checked. For more information on what happened, how Suez can help you, and what you can do right now, go here.
There were updates indicating that these projects – Rodda Center roof/lights, township building, and Teaneck streetscape – were moving forward. The Senior Citizens Advisory Board wants a forum in April or May. There was a workshop in October to better understand seniors’ walkability needs, benefits, barriers and strategies to enhance walking. Go toward the end of the Agenda Package here for more information. The Youth Advisory Board recently held a meeting.
In other public testimony Dr. Chuck Powers distributed a letter to the council charging that “It needs to remedy its flawed redevelopment site designation process and proceed lawfully.” You can read What in the world is going on with the discredited Redevelopment Concept? here. The council lawyer contended that in regard to the resolution process, the coucil has been acting lawfully. Another concern of Dr. Powers and Alan Sohn dealt with the unexpected high costs in the construction of Votee Field house. You can read more about this here.
Two important council events are scheduled and open to the public. Let your voice be heard. One of the the most consequential responsibilities of the council is to develop and set a budget. The first Budget Meeting is on February 14 at 7:00 PM in council chambers. Equally important is the plan for future development in the township. A forum will be held on February 19 at the public library starting at 6:00 PM.
The Agenda Outline, Agenda Packet, and Video of the full open meeting are here.