A marathon meeting with “NO’S” from Teaneck Council

With yet another overflow audience and over 50 people addressing the Teaneck Council, often on multiple issues, the meeting ended after midnight. Individuals urged at least five important causes, but the response from Council ranged from only qualified interest to outright disapproval.Deputy Mayor Elie Katz, presiding in the Mayor’s absence, said toward the end, “We don’t necessarily do what is popular or what the room wants, but what is right.” Clearly the “room” with eloquent and passionate individuals did not agree with the Council on “what is right.” Boos were heard throughout evening, with much applause for the speakers, and unhappy murmurings.

  1. Elevation of Denise Belcher from an alternate member of the Planning Board to a full voting member. In spite of over 20 people speaking in support of her, the Council said NO. Instead she was raised from Alternate Level II to level I. Other appointments to the BOA and Planning Board were approved.
  2. Substantial expansion of our tree planting program and creation of an inventory. The Council said NO. Residents pointed out that no trees were planted last year and very few in the recent past. There is $75,000 budgeted for this year but there was the belief of a resident that some of these funds are to be diverted to recreation projects. There are also aging trees in need of removal and no inventory to guide actions.
  3. Raising the the LGBTQ+ Flag now. Council members said NO. Instead they said it’s necessary to establish flag procedures first, and set up an advisory Board, with a flag raising possible at some date in the future. The response left the adherents dismayed. “Just do it” they said. Despite those who said an advisory committee was just a delaying tactic, the Council disagreed.
  4. Our hospital impinging on a residential neighborhood. This group has been protesting for months asking for Council assistance with little success. They presented a letter to Holy Name Hospital with 100 signatures. They got no assurances from the Council.
  5. Feasibility study for increased recreation facilities in Argonne Park. This proposal supported by many met with some interest, but also concerns over costs and funding, leaving the matter for possible review at some point in the future.

In other matters

  • Christopher Connolly was promoted to Lieutenant of our Fire Department.
  • Barbara Davis of the NJ Land Conservancy did an excellent job of presenting the 2019 Open Space & Recreation Program, with suggestions she directed to the Council and the public.
  • The contract of the township’s attorney John Shahadian was renewed.
  • An ordinance was passed on a first reading to create the Pride Awareness Board with further consideration for final passage on August 13.
  • Richard Preiss’ company was “authorized to perform various professional planning services including various redevelopment studies, investigation of areas in need of redevelopment, and preparation of Zoning Ordinance amendments within the Township of Teaneck.”

Because the meeting lasted over four hours, there were so many issues discussed, and so many speakers made excellent, heart-felt points, it is difficult to pick and choose what should be in this post. I would urge you to review the the Agenda Packet here http://teanecktownnj.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=1471&Inline=True and the Video which is at teanecknj.gov where you click on Meetings/Agenda/Minutes and then on Township Council under Meeting Groups.Although people commented at different points, “Good & Welfare” starts on the video at 2 hours 37 minutes. Responses from Council toward the end start with comments first from the attorney at 3 hours 43 minutes. The Open Space & Recreation presentation begins at 24 minutes.

Overflow in the hall

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