Teaneck Council: angry, eloquent & insistent residents speak up

With an almost full house on Tuesday at the council meeting, residents were worried, insistent, eloquent, polite and demanding. They all received loud applauses seldom heard in council chambers. Resident Teresa Evans speaking to the council encapsulated the concerns, “You need to consult the people you are serving much more than you are doing. We need your help.”

They expressed their pointed concerns over:

  • A failure to follow the township’s development masterplan; 
  • Proposals for development of buildings in north-east Teaneck without data on the possible impacts (policing, schools, sewage, parking, density, congestion, etc) they would have on the area;  
  • An  excessive number of variances being granted with particular concern over a developer’s request for 12 variances at 100 State St.; 
  • Holy Name Hospital’s seemingly predatory efforts to purchase adjacent homes and turn them into parking lots or even future medical facilities in a long-established residential area; 
  • The $1.8 million expensive construction of a pavilion where only a few bathrooms are needed; 
  • Failure to incorporate into the budget sufficient reserves and instead to issue bonds increasing our long-term debt substantially;
  • Although 46 near-by towns have joined in protest against the gas-fired plant in the Meadowlands, the council has yet to act, and is just kicking the can down the road;
  • The mayor’s interest in moving toward county-wide school districts;  
  • Insufficient staffing at the Senior Center and poor/delayed maintenance on its building; 
  • Insufficient policing in an area with a drug problem where residents from a neighboring town use up many of the available parking places;
  • Council minutes not being available within ten days after the meeting;
  • A plan to purchase a long-vacant burned-out home at 1208 1084 Queen Anne Road and turn it into open space with no specific plan for its use.

Councilman Pruitt sought a comprehensive impact study of development in the north-east area which the audience enthusiastically supported. Some 11 residents spoke out in favor of this study. However, the Mayor decided to pass the task on to an individual who works closely with the council and is not considered by many as independent.

A North-East view from the corner where the high-density 100 State Street building is proposed. Is this area soon to become “City Teaneck” rather than “Residential Teaneck.”?

Linda De Carlo Burns mentioned that at the last meeting a council member said he appoints people to the land-use boards who think like he (the councilman) does, so “What I want to know is what are you thinking? What is your vision?  Does it align with our masterplan? The current development seems unbalanced and comprises mainly high density residential proposals in the northeast. Teaneck has communicated to developers that the township is pro-development, but the developers have interpreted that to mean that our zoning restrictions are meaningless. You have zero credibility, chasing unicorns – revenue –  without considering impact expenses.”

Among the nine residents concerned with Holy Name Hospital, one termed it an “invasion” of the neighborhood, buying homes on Grange Road. “We have been asking council members what is going on and we have been getting wishy-wast responses. The town is working with the hospital not the neighbors. We want to be involved in the process and not be provided later with a fait accompli. Another resident said she was threatened by a developer who told her that if she did not sell her house it would be surrounded by parking lots and lose its value. Another resident pointed out that the masterplan called for a buffer area which is not being enforced.

A view of the sprawling Holy Name Hospital (left) impinging on the residential neighborhood.

The meeting Agenda Outline, Packet, and video are here. The next two council meetings are a budget meeting on March 14 at 7:00 PM, and a regular meeting on March 26 at 2:00 PM.

Comments (6)

  1. Tom Abbott

    The Mayor’s statement questioning the NJ Senate Majority leader’s plan to move toward county wide school districts is well outside the jurisdiction of municipal government. However, more important perhaps it that it is not part of Sweeney’s plan which he has been promoting as the “Path to Progress”.

    Reply
  2. Art Vatsky

    Having been at the meeting, yours is a very complete report. The township seems to have a lot of “clutter” regarding these issues.
    Regarding minutes, the township can see how other towns handle processing their minutes. Regarding the field house, where are the reports that justify such a large expenditure? Regarding Teaneck Rd., Dr. Henry Pruitt, he is exactly right. The lack of maintenance at the Rodda Center is a problem that did not have to be but it seems to be Teaneck’s policy to let our properties degrade in place. Art Vatsky

    Reply
  3. Steve Savitz

    Deputy Mayor Katz, “the” real estate developer on the Council chose not to address any of the citizens concerns or questions raised during good and welfare on development. He also did not comment on Councilman Pruitts proposal for a comprehensive impact analysis for the northeast. Their was no vote taken to approve or reject Councilman Pruitts specific impact analysis proposal. The Mayor’s handoff to the interim Township Manager will delay this process given the lack of urgency shown by most of the Council. I remain sceptical that a majority of council members will vote for or carry out any comprehensive impact analysis. I hope I am wrong.

    Reply
  4. Mark Schwartz

    a few errors that should be updated. 1- the burned out house was in country club on alpine lane belonging to Joan Davis’s estate. 2- The house the council wants to buy to attach to the rodda enter is not burned out and is at 1084 Queen Ann. 3-the neighbor to the hospital said the hospital threatened the homeowner regarding a parking lot, not a developer (home since sold). 4- the pic above is of 140 State Street looking at 1475 Palisades ave. 140 was approved years ago but not being developed. 100 State Street is 400 feet and two lots down to the east.

    Reply
    1. Bill Orr (Post author)

      Thank you for your comments. I wanted to take a picture of the house but could not find it. No wonder. The neighbor did say she was threatened regardless of the ultimate disposition. The picture as mentioned was taken at the corner, and yes 100 State Street is further inward.

      Reply
  5. Paula Rogovin

    The council did pass a resolution opposing the Meadowlands Power Plant.

    Reply

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