Why re-codification of the Teaneck Code is important

At some point in the past, the township passed a rule to prohibit businesses from operating on the first floor of buildings.  Not only could they not operate, say, in a basement — but they had to be seen from the street.

Maybe this provision made sense at some point in time.  It has become pointless today. 

Whether or not it made sense when the provision was last tinkered with (in 1951) is debatable, but it appears that I’m not the first person to think this is pointless and counter-productive.  Teaneck also considered it pointless in 1973.

That’s the year that the Teaneck Council passed ordinance 1568, which reads in relevant part:

Section 3. That Sec. 5-14 entitled “Buildings to be open to public view” and Sec. 5-15 entitled “Business to be conducted at street level; exception as to bowling alleys” of said Chapter 5 entitled “Amusements” be deleted in their entirety“. (emphasis added)

You may recall that section of our code, from a recently filed lawsuit against the Township — by our Senate representative, Loretta Weinberg.

Nearly the entire basis of the Senator’s lawsuit stems from enforcement of Section 5-14 of our code.  A provision that was removed from the code, when the Township adopted Ordinance 1568 on August 7, 1973.

How did this happen?

After an ordinance is passed, it goes through a process to amend the actual code.  It appears as if the clerk at the time, properly submitted the ordinance.  That submission did in fact update the definitions of Chapter 5, section 1 and it removed Section 5-15, which currently reads: 

Sec. 5-15 Repealed by Ordinance No. 1568, ยง 3.

But, for some reason, section 5-14 was not removed.  So it sat.  

A former member of council asked the question of me on Facebook:

Perhaps a prior council (like the one then Councilwoman Loretta Weinberg or this individual sat on) should have ensured that previous codifications were correct.  But, alas, it appears that did not happen.

Codes are important.  They are the rules we go by and residents cannot be expected to live according to them, if they can’t even know what they are.  Re-codification is an important and necessary process. 

So now, in 2018, a 45 year old mistake will be rectified.  It should have been done sooner — and every council should have paid closer attention to this issue. 

Ironically, one of the many who never paid attention is the person that brought suit using a non-existent basis of law.

Well, at least that won’t be an issue going forward.