The council meeting reopened residents’ discontent over our development masterplan implementation and more specifically plans for 100 State Street. The Board of Adjustment and the Planning Board members are unelected and independent members but are appointed by the council. Councilwoman Rice encapsulated the concerns by asking, “Are we appointing these members because we think they will vote as we wish or are they representing what the township might want?”
Have you ever tried to make a snake swallow a too-large blob of a tasteless something? The poor snake will first resist your effort, then it may be able to swallow it, but there will be pain. The snake will be unhappy and mad and it may then bite you. Citizens felt the township is trying to foist a too-large structure onto 100 State Street. The dilapidated structure there is pictured above and a broader view of the property appears below.
The Board of Adjustment on February 21 heard the applicant proposal for 12 variances for 100 State Street. The existing lot is .79 acres whereas the minimum required area is 1.5 acres. Its proposed setback to the front and to the back is less than the minimum required. Its required density is a maximum of 9 units permitted per acre, but the proposal is 68 units for less than one acre.
COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
- Lillian Lewis pointed out that in Teaneck’s masterplan the goal is to “preserve the existing character of low density in residential neighborhoods. I disapprove of these variances and urge the public: please come out on April 4 to the Board of Adjustment meeting at the Rodda Center.”
- Alan Sohn, former council member, stated bluntly that “The assumption that our land-use boards are apolitical is a joke. That’s not how they function.” He cited numerous examples where the boards are not following the masterplan, including 100 State Street, and using 93% of Open Space funds for recreation and only 7% for open space. He ended quoting from the Masterplan, “All change is not bad and all growth is not good.” “It’s critical that we have diverse representation on these boards and that we not undermine the masterplan, which is what we have been doing.”
- Cheryl Hall expressed concerns over the proposal for the development plan for new DPW site on Teaneck Road.
- Juanita Brown asked, “What’s the point of having a masterplan if we are not going to follow it? If you appoint me to to a board, I know you would expect me to do what you want. That’s a conflict of interest.”
- Steve Savitz commented on the recent Development Forum, where he said many questions were not answered or ignored. He asked for a followup meeting with the council. He pointed out that the presentation offered potential revenue for specific projects but no hint of likely costs or impacts.
- Chuck Powers indicated there have been various revisions of the objectives and goals of the masterplan but they are not all available on the website. “The people on these boards must affirm that what they propose is consistent with the masterplan not with what they or council members may want.”
COUNCIL MEMBER COMMENTS
- Councilman Dr. Pruitt who has run for office several times said he always does so with the interest of the entire town. “I’m concerned that people want to place people on boards because they think they will do as we want. I want these board members to look at 100 State Street, the two other projects there, and others in development in our township to protect us from builders who are trying to make as much money as they can with the footprint of the building on site.”
- Councilman Kaplan replied he thought all council members sitting here are not without having the interests of the entire township at heart. “That being said we do have differences on what is good and what is bad.”
- Councilwoman Rice on the same subject said, “Since we are not the decider on these issues it’s important that we get accurate minutes and agenda from these boards so that we can at least make sure that we are informed as to what is going on.”
- Councilman Schwartz, himself a developer, defended the 100 State Street plan regarding its proposed density indicating there are other high structures in the area. He said, “If that is not the perfect place for density in Teaneck I don’t know what is. We are in dire need of new modern apartments.”
The Bill List items were passed. The noise ordinance for garbage collectors was tabled for further research. The other ordinances were duly introduced.
There was a Moment of Silence for the late-departed well-known stateswoman and Teaneck resident Genevieve Maiberger.
The lone absentee from the meeting was Mayor Hameedduddin who has been absent 7 of the last 14 meetings.
For further information on the Council Agenda, Outline and video go here.