August 20, 2007 Special Regular Meeting - Home

August 20, 2007 Special Regular Meeting

Date: August 20, 2007


Mayor Katz called the Special Regular Meeting of the Teaneck Township Council to order at 7:05 p.m., and asked all those present to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.


Present: C. Feit (arrived at 7:19 p.m.), C. Kates, DM. Parker, C. Honis, C. Gussen, Mayor Katz.

Absent: C. Rudolph.

Also Present: W. Rupp - Ferrara, Turitz, Harraka & Goldberg, Esqs.; H. V. Fall, Municipal Manager; L.    Aportela-Hernandez, Acting Municipal Clerk, J. Beahm - Birdsall Engineering.


Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided by adoption of Resolution #466-06, setting the 2007 meeting dates and Resolution #303-07, amending the 2007 meeting dates, sending a copy to THE RECORD, THE SUBURBANITE, THE BERGEN NEWS/SUN BULLETIN, THE CONNECTION, THE JEWISH STANDARD, SU GUIA, THE COUNTY SEAT and THE COURIER TIMES, filing a copy in the Township Clerk’s Office and posting it on the Municipal Building bulletin board, and the Mayor hereby directs that this statement be included in the minutes.

Mayor Katz explained the purpose of this evening's meeting  was to discuss Teaneck Road in general terms with respect to rezoning the area; not to discuss any specific projects.  He read Mr. Turitz's comments regarding the Council's jurisdiction with respect to zoning ordinances and the role of statutory boards.  He suggested that the Manager moderate the meeting so that the Council could be active participants - Council was in agreement.


Dr. Antonette Bush - resident - thanked Council for conducting this open forum and reported that a community meeting was held on August 16th where there were over 200 residents in attendance and a volunteer subcommittee gathered everyone's ideas.

James Kinloch - reviewed the subcommittee's proposals regarding principal, accessory, conditional and prohibited uses in the North Teaneck Road area, as well as dimensional, density, and other bulk restrictions.  C. Gussen question the difference in the proposed height permitted for residential at 35 feet and commercial/retail at 24 feet.  Mr. Kinloch responded the 11 foot difference is accounting for empty attic space in residential properties and stressed the subcommittee's request to keep commerical/retail establishments at 24 feet in height.

C. Kates asked the residents if they wished to reconfigure the area similar to Palisade Avenue in Englewood since that strip provides walkable access to stores.  Muriel Leconte responded on behalf of the residents, explaining that they are seeking to preserve the suburban look and are avoiding city congestion.

C. Kates questioned if group care housing can be restricted in the area as cited in the recommended proposal.  Mr. Rupp responded that according to the Municipal Land Use Act in a single family zone, group care housing cannot be restricted.  He further advised the residents that Council is legally restricted to speak on general issues.  He elaborated that if a pending application received preliminary site plan and subdivision approval, the law at the time of the decision prevails.  Ms. Beahm explained that if an application has received preliminary approval, it would be grandfathered to prior zoning and if an existing use is nonconforming, it can continue as nonconforming unless there is a change in the use, in which it would then have to comply with any new zoning regulations.

C. Kates reminded the residents that a zoning ordinance can never provide complete protection as an applicant has the right to go before a board for a variance.  Mr. Rupp stated that when the Governing Body renders a use unlawful, when a variance is sought there is an enhanced burden of proof on the applicant.  He also cited equal protection arguments and constitutional issues.

Lorraine Henry - Lerome Place - asked about the conversion of a 1-family to a multi-family dwelling.

Mrs. Fall explained that when the Township receives a complaint of a potential boarding house the Health Department and Building Department are notified.  The inspectors will attempt to gain entry to inspect the premises.  If there is a refusal of entry, the Township will monitor the location as calls for service from Police and Fire will provide the required access.  She said if the Township suspects an unsafe condition, the law permits the Township with methods to gain access.  She stated that the law does not require people to be related to live together; it is up to the resident to report such activity and they can report it directly to her and she will keep the person's identity anonymous.

Gwen Acree asked if there is an ordinance prohibiting the same types of business within an area or if there was a distance spacing requirement.  Mrs. Fall responded that the only proximity restriction in place is in regard to liquor license establishments.

Kingwood Smith asked how can residents prevent the construction of structures that will bring down their property values.  Mrs. Beahm answered that all zoning and planning board applications require a public hearing.  Mr. Rupp reminded the participants that it is not appropriate to discuss a pending application or procedure.  Mayor Katz informed residents they have a right to appeal a board's decision in court.

Sebastian Saden questioned the use of outside consultants and notice of hearings.  Mrs. Fall said the Governing Body seeks input from the Planner, the Township Attorney, the Planning Board/Board of Adjustment Attorney, and board members.

James Kinloch asked if the 200 feet notice requirement can be expanded.  Ms. Beahm responded that the notice requirement is dictated by the Municipal Land Use Law and municipalities cannot exceed state law.  She also explained that application notices must be published in the newspaper.  Mr. Rupp further explained that zoning powers are granted to municipalities by the state and all local zoning and planning boards operate under a controlled sphere of the Municipal Land Use Law.

C. Kates advised the public that the Council cannot become involved in private leasing issues.

Jean Golden - 1485 Endicott Terrace - described the difference between Teaneck Road from the Ridgefield Park border to Route 4 and the northern portion of Teaneck Road to the Bergenfield border.  She requested that Council preserve the low density residential neighborhood and to put smart development on the Route 4 corridor.

Mayor Katz called for a recess at 8:23 p.m.   The meeting resumed at 8:29 p.m.

Audra Jackson - requested Council draft an ordinance based on the community proposal as soon as possible.

James Kinloch - Shepard Avenue - urged residents to attend meetings to preserve the Township and North Teaneck Road.

Howard Hawkins - Irvington Road - spoke about discrimination in the BR zone due to its lack of restrictions and protections.

DM. Parker congratulated Mildred Tucker for mobilizing the residents on issues, thanked the residents for providing a solution to their complaint, and asked about the next step.  Mr. Rupp responded that Council needs to hold a discussion to fashion the ordinance, which will then be drafted.  Once introduced, the ordinance will be sent to the Planning Board for their review.  Then there will be a hearing on the ordinance.  He stated there is a provision in the Master Plan for this area and estimated a 2 month time frame.

Connie Cohen - 71 Englewood Avenue - requested a clarification on the time frame.

Mr. Rupp answered that there is no time frame for Council.  The Planning Board would have 35 days to review the introduced ordinance. 
Barbara Davenport - requested meetings to be held in larger venues.

David Langford - urged Council to move expeditiously.

C. Honis made a motion to close the Good and Welfare portion of the meeting to the public.  Seconded by C. Gussen and carried by the following vote:

In Favor: C. Feit, C. Kates, DM. Parker, C. Honis, C. Gussen, Mayor Katz.

Opposed: None.

Absent: C. Rudolph.


B-R Zoning on North Teaneck Road.

C. Kates questioned the prohibited uses in the proposal, specifically the parking garages.  She understands the safety reason, but cited the parking problems throughout the Township.

Council invited Mr. Kinloch to participate in the discussion.

Mr. Kinloch explained that the residents are concerned about the impact of traffic in the area with a multi-level deck and underground parking.  He said such a structure is not safe in a residential neighborhood, especially given the proximity to the children attending Bryant School.

C. Gussen emphasized the safety need for wireless towers to place 911 calls and for first responder communications.  He does not wish to set up road blocks for these structures due to safety reasons.  Mrs. Fall commented that there is a permitted use for a cell tower on the municipal complex.  Mayor Katz recommended amending the proposal by removing antennas as a prohibited use, but keeping cell towers prohibited in the area.

C. Feit questioned how the subcommittee derived the numbers for the proposed sizes and setbacks.  Mr. Kinloch responded they used the measurements from the single family zone area.  Mrs. Beahm noted that some of the parameters in the proposal were taken from the RM, attached single family, zone.  C. Feit asked if the subcommittee looked at the TH zone.  Mr. Rupp stated that the TH zone is site specific and does not lend itself to other zones.  Mrs. Beahm will compare the characteristics of the TH zone with the proposal.

C. Gussen asked if the proposed principal use of financial institutions would be in conflict with the Master Plan.  Mrs. Beahm responded that there would not be an inconsistency.  The residents of North Teaneck Road expressed their desire to have more banks in this part of town.

Senator Loretta Weinberg stated that it was inappropriate to have tax preparation service properties located on the first floor such as exists on Cedar Lane.  Mrs. Fall explained that these establishments are not considered financial institutions as they sell a service.

DM. Parker was concerned with the prohibition of banks in the area, on the first floor according to the Master Plan since these institutions are needed.  Mrs. Beahm said that Council is under no obligation to adopt every portion of the Master Plan.

Council directed Mr. Rupp to draft an ordinance for Council to review at the September 11, 2007 Workshop Meeting and to highlight any inconsistencies with the Master Plan.

On a motion made, seconded and unanimously carried, the meeting was adjourned at 9:43 p.m.