On January 29, 2023, I wrote to the Teaneck Council regarding the survey related to re-zoning for Cannabis licensing.
To date I have received back a single response:
Thank you for your email.
Hillary Goldberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I would have hoped for a more informative, transparent response indicating the sub-committee would review my email and respond as I know a number of people expressed similar concerns.
I hope that is forthcoming. If so, I will update the post here.
Fmr Mayor, Jim Dunleavy
Email to Council:
Thank you for following through on holding the Cannabis Forum that the last Council scheduled. I’m sure many got good information from it.
In October 2020, the Al Ummah Community Center (also known as AUCC) commenced a lawsuit against the Township, the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Building Department officials, and others.
This week, Judge Kevin McNulty dismissed the amended complaint (without prejudice) largely for the reasons I outlined back in October 2020.
Teaneck was represented by Thomas B. Hanrahan of Hanrahan Pack, LLC.
What was the suit about?
UPDATE (11/20/22): Plaintiffs filed another amended complaint on Friday, 11/18. It will take a little while to evaluate the new / changing claims)
As per Plaintiffs:
“This case is about religious liberties and the discriminatory and unequal practices of the Teaneck, its employees, and its Zoning Board of Adjustments… Despite years and thousands of dollars spent to appease the Defendants’ unlawful and discriminatory requirements, Defendants continue to act in violation of the Constitutions of the United States and New Jersey, as well as the Federal law explicitly prohibiting religious discrimination by discriminating against the Plaintiffs and imposing an unlawful burden on the practice of their faith.”
– Page 2 of amended complaint (Introduction)
Did the town discriminate against AUCC? Or was something else going on?
As it turned out, Judge McNulty said the case was more about the difficulties of land use and getting projects through boards.
“AUCC’s frustration is palpable. It emphasizes in the amended complaint that it has been “going through this process for years with no end in sight.” (Compl. ¶213.) Adding insult to injury, the ZBA has demanded that AUCC put up more money to fund its continued application process. (Id. ¶162.) The delay and AUCC’s frustration, however, are hardly unique in the annals of local land use regulation, and the process does seem to be at least potentially moving ahead, on a revised legal basis.”
– Opinion at page 14
Let’s run through the opinion: Continue reading “AUCC Lawsuit Update: Dismissed”
Teaneck is a well-run town!
But don’t take our word for it! There’s independent proof.
Every year, independent auditors review our municipal financial records and processes and Moody’s rates us for bonding.
Moody’s rated Teaneck with the second highest rating “Aa2”
Here’s the bottom line on our deficiencies:
At this evening’s council meeting, we will vote on ordinance 21-2022:
ADOPTING A REVISION AND CODIFICATION OF THE ORDINANCES OF THE TOWNSHIP OF TEANECK
When the Township Council passes a law, we do so by ordinance. Each ordinance lasts until it is removed.
That creates problems, such as when the State makes an update that pre-empts a local law.
Sometimes this type of State Law rule change is benign: A Teaneck-specific hands-free car phone use ordinance was passed decades ago. When the State of NJ passed a similar State statute, it nullified ours, but because it was duplicative, nothing much changed as far as practice went (other than police citing a different rule when issuing a summons).
Sometimes, this type of State Law rule change is not benign: A resident called me a few years back because their neighbor had a pool without a fence and our code mandated fences around all pools — and they feared the worst for their kids and others. Except, it turns out that NJ adopted Continue reading “Re-Codification of the Teaneck Code: August 30, 2022”
If you have ever gone to look in Section 36 (Prohibited Parking) of our code, to see what parking regulations are on a particular block, you probably needed patience and possibly, luck.
Let’s face it — our code wasn’t written for convenience or you, as the end-user (subject to its strictures).
Has anyone in the history of time ever wondered where you are prohibited from parking except for 8am to 6pm excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays (Sec. 36-17), as distinct from where you are prohibited during those hours except (only) Sundays and Holidays (Sec. 36-16)?
If so, now you know. But seriously… who thought this was the best way to make a code?
A User-Friendly Approach
It took the better part of two years to update our code, as decades of Council changes were never appropriately updated in a cohesive manner. But we are now at a point, where you can know what the Township Ordinances that apply to you, actually say.
So, without changing ANY regulations, I’ve drafted an ordinance that makes a relevant part of the code user-friendly. My proposed ordinance, which can be found in our agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting, combines Sections 36-13 through 36-20.5.
These changes let anyone see, at a glance:
- each street
- in alphabetical order, along with
- the applicable parking regulation
The section on the right, below is what I’ll be pitching to Council to adopt on Tuesday.
And if these are well received, I plan on doing more of them. What sections would you like to have me handle first?
Have suggestions? Email me
(Residents (and others) should be able to glance at the ordinance sections and see what is relevant to them) Continue reading “User-Friendly Ordinances: Let’s Focus on Making Government Easier to Figure Out”
Remarks for Veterans Day, 11/11/21
Keith Kaplan, Councilman
Without veterans, without the service to a cause larger than yourselves, many of us simply would not be here today. That service, right here in NJ, earned my grandfather his citizenship — and on behalf of the Township Council and the Township of Teaneck, I want to wish everyone a happy Veterans Day and thank you for your service.
We owe our veterans a profound debt. Not merely for service, but for what that service has meant foto us all.
The history of any town is the history of its people. And veterans have always been an integral part of what has made Teaneck what we are. Even before we had our own name, our sons and daughters sacrificed for our freedoms in the 22nd infantry of Bergen County during the Civil War.
Last year, I focused on this day, at this time – and how it was inextricably linked to WWI and the Armistice signed to end the fighting for that “War to End all Wars”. In many ways, we still mirror that time, including a world struck with a global pandemic.
Just as we are meeting here today, Judge A. Demorest Del Mar spoke here in 1938. Del Mar was a lieutenant in the Navy during WWI and he said to those assembled: “We fought to retain that which we value above all earthly things – liberty. We will fight again and again to preserve it if necessary.”
Unfortunately, those words would become true too soon.
Today, I wanted to take a little time to talk about Teaneck’s WWII veterans and specifically the way Teaneck was molded by their service. Continue reading “Kaplan: Remarks on Veterans Day, 11am, 11/11/2021”
In his post on Planning Board Application 2021-19, Bill Orr says that “the proposal was to build one residence on the left and another on the right of the historic home”.
Is that true?
I say it is not.
Orr claims to be “reporting local news” and information for residents. He goes as far as to say I am “rarely a reliable source of information“.
So what is a member of the public supposed to do when we claim diametrically opposite views on a situation?
Ask for evidence and review it critically.
Continue reading “Sources Matter: Demand Evidence and Question Everything”
We are living in dangerous times. Attacks are happening around our Country.
It is repugnant to find out that such HATE is now home here in Teaneck!
Now, there’s also a claim that the raising of the flag is what brings antisemitism into acceptability?
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc is a logical fallacy. Continue reading “Statement from Keith Kaplan: Silence is not an option — It wasn’t the flag”
Statement from Deputy Mayor Schwartz and Councilmembers Kaplan & Orgen:
Due to the overwhelming number of emails, we cannot respond to everyone individually at this time. We want to thank you for your correspondence and the many valid points you and others have shared.
Requests for assembly concerning the right to protest (e.g. in public rights of way) generally receive automatic approvals in accordance with general freedom of assembly laws. Our police chief, attorney, and outside expert counsel have approved this permit with our Township Manager. The manager has the ultimate say, not the Council. Continue reading “Statement regarding planned protests [Schwartz, Kaplan & Orgen]”
How does Teaneck compare to surrounding areas in terms of bonding?
In the State of New Jersey, municipalities may bond up to the debt limit1, which is 3.5% of the equalized valuation2 of taxable real estate.
In plain English: each town adds up the value of all their land, buildings, etc… averaged over the last three years. The limit they can bond is 3.5% of that number. And since the amount each town can bond is relative to their individual valuations, you get a metric that can be compared.
The annual debt statement, allows you to compare neighboring municipalities’ percentage of authorized debt, against each other.
(The data below are pulled from the authorized debt statements submitted to the State)
Here’s how Teaneck looks, based on the submitted annual debt statements from Bergenfield, Bogota, Englewood, Hackensack and New Milford
Each link below will bring you to the Annual Debt Statement, filed under oath with the State of New Jersey.
- 40A:2-6. Debt limitation
No bond ordinance shall be finally adopted if it appears from the supplemental debt statement required by this chapter that the percentage of net debt as stated therein
pursuant to 40A:2-42 exceeds 2.00%, in the case of a county, or 3 1/2%, in the case of a municipality.
- 40A:2-41. Contents of annual debt statement
The annual debt statement shall be in the form prescribed by the director and shall set forth as
to the local unit:
a. Gross debt;
c. Net debt;
d. The equalized valuations of the taxable real estate, together with improvements, for
the last 3 preceding fiscal years, and the average thereof;
e. Net debt expressed as a percentage of such average of equalized valuations; and
f. Any other information or detail required by law or by the director. The amount of any item which is indefinite or unascertainable may be estimated.
L.1960, c. 169, s. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1962. Amended by L.1964, c. 72, s. 5.