Do Not Disturb: How to read an ordinance

In the State of New Jersey, Municipal governments are given powers from the State legislature.  If we are not specifically given a power, we can’t legislate it.

Of course, the State can also yank back powers and if the State lege chooses to act differently than a municipality, the local ordinance is superseded and can no longer be enforced.  An example of this could be seen in Teaneck’s “hands free phone ordinance” or the “requirement for fences for certain above ground pools”.  No matter how wonderful the local population may find the rule, once the State acts in a specific area, the local rules fall.

The question recently came up about whether or not the local “noise” ordinance is enforceable here in Teaneck.

I think this is a good opportunity to share with the public how I look at questions like this, so you can see how the process works out.

First and foremost — what is the ordinance? Continue reading “Do Not Disturb: How to read an ordinance”

Save the Date: Teaneck Council Reorganization on July 1, 2020

On Wednesday, July 1st, 2020 at 6:00 pm, the Teaneck Council will hold the semi-annual reorganization meeting at the Teaneck Town Hall.
(Agenda available here: Reorganization Agenda)
We will be swearing in Mark Schwartz, Karen Orgen & Mike Pagan.

In addition, Council will elect the Mayor & Deputy Mayors, among others.

For those that may not be familiar with the way the Teaneck Council operates, I’d like to offer some additional information:

How does our system work?
Teaneck utilizes the Council-Manager form of Government under the Faulkner Act.  What that means in practice is that residents choose their council-members “at-large” (i.e. you vote for everyone, as opposed to a ward system like neighboring Englewood) and the Council as a body, once elected and seated, chooses a mayor from among the council-members (as opposed to municipalities where the Mayor runs separately). Continue reading “Save the Date: Teaneck Council Reorganization on July 1, 2020”

[UPDATE] Above Ground Pool Information [update #1]

As I mentioned in the previous post, many residents have requested information about above-ground pools in light of COVID-19 altering summer plans.

In the past few weeks, I had meetings with the manager, the zoning subcommittee, the building department supervisor and code officials.

Note that fence and setback requirements represent serious and potentially deadly safety issues.  While a permit is not required, you must comply with them.

Here’s the latest:

Temporary Pools (no standing water)

  • No permits will be required for temporary pools that will be emptied at the end of each day.

(However, they must still comply with regulations., including fence and setback requirements. — see below) Continue reading “[UPDATE] Above Ground Pool Information [update #1]”

Administrative Order 2020-15 [Libraries and more]

Good news for readers!  Administrative Order 2020-15 now allows for library book pickup (curbside).
The following is merely an excerpt of what is found in the order.  Please review the actual order below for all legal requirements.


  • All outdoor spaces may reopen
  • All municipal, County, State public libraries and all libraries at public and private colleges / universities are permitted to reopen (subject to requirements)
    • Curbside pickup / drop-off
    • Transactions handled in advance by phone / email
    • Employees will bring materials out
  • (read AO 2020-15 for complete list)

Continue reading “Administrative Order 2020-15 [Libraries and more]”

Executive Order 154: Personal Care Services

Below, are the new guidelines on the reopening of personal care services, which in general includes cosmetology shops, barber shops, beauty salons, hair braiding shops, nail salons, electrology facilities, certain spas, massage parlors, tanning salons, and tattoo parlors.

Effective at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, June 22, 2020, the following types of stores are permitted to reopen to the public provided that the facility complies with standards issues by the Dvisiion of Sonsumer Affaris and DOH, as laid out in the order:

  1. cosmetology shops
  2. barber shops
  3. beauty salons
  4. hair braiding shops
  5. nail salons
  6. electrology facilities
  7. spas, including day spas and medical spas, at which solely elective and cosmetic medical procedures are performed
  8. massage parlors
  9. tanning salons,
  10. and tattoo parlors

As always, please please read these carefully and reach out to the appropriate experts, with any questions.
Continue reading “Executive Order 154: Personal Care Services”

What would you prefer: Concrete vs Blacktop?

Some roads in town are concrete.  Others are blacktop.  Every now and then, you’ll find one that’s still gravel.

What gives?

The History of Road Surfacing in Teaneck

The difference in pricing and the durability of the materials are significant factors in how we chose to surface roadways.  Concrete road surfaces can last nearly 100 years, while blacktop may need to be milled and re-paved every few decades.

How did they choose?

If you had your choice (but had to pay for it), what would you choose?  Would the amount of time you were planning to live on your street be a factor?

Believe it or not, that was the case. The passage below is from May 5, 1936: Continue reading “What would you prefer: Concrete vs Blacktop?”

Vote By Mail — How Did it Work? What Can Be Fixed?

The Covid-19 Pandemic has upended many of the ways we conduct our lives.  In the May municipal elections, polls were replaced with envelopes.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts, not all envelopes were given the same treatment.

Worse, still, it’s impossible to know how many envelopes did not arrive.  It’s not as if you can just count what didn’t show up.

In an effort to find out what worked and what didn’t, I requested information from the Bergen County Board of Elections, as to what ballots arrived and what didn’t. The staff and administration at the BOE have been helpful and worked hard to help explain the system.  They expressed a profound amount of concern for ensuring the system runs as smooth as possible and that every vote is counted.  They do a tremendous amount of work under very strict rules and tight time-frames.

Changes in the systems created issues

It seems that NJ has a new interface between two independent systems, which created some hiccups in reporting and coordination.  The County Board of Elections system feeds information into the State Voter Registration System (SVRS).  I spoke with the head of the County system as well as the head of the State system.  That integration, to put it mildly, is not seamless.

Areas for focus:

Two problematic areas which require more review are:

  1. Ballots which disappeared
  2. Ballots which were rejected

How many ballots disappeared?

Continue reading “Vote By Mail — How Did it Work? What Can Be Fixed?”

Message from Police Chief O’Reilly

A Message from Police Chief Glenn M. O’Reilly and the Men and Women of the Teaneck Police Department.

The images of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis are deeply disturbing.  We as a Department and individually as human beings are horrified by the footage of Mr. Floyd’s death at the hands of someone sworn to uphold the law and serve a community.

As the township manager expressed, there is NO PLACE FOR BIGOTRY AND HATE IN TEANECK, or anywhere else in our society. There is NO PLACE anywhere to abuse another human being.

Law Enforcement in New Jersey is committed to a criminal justice system that is fair, transparent, and free of bias. The Attorney General has rolled out a sweeping set of statewide policy reforms, known as the Excellence in Policing Initiative, to promote the culture of professionalism, accountability, and transparency that are hallmarks of New Jersey’s best law enforcement agencies.

The men and women of the Teaneck Police Department are committed to serving our community, our partners, with fairness, sincerity, dignity and respect.

We condemn such actions when an officer uses violent force against civilians without justification.  They are wrong. They do a disservice to the vast majority of law enforcement officers committed to upholding the highest standards of the profession.

We cannot tolerate those who stain the profession and promote hate and distrust amongst our communities. We stand with our community, other law enforcement officials, public officials and peaceful protestors across the country to make clear that abusive police practices will not be tolerated anywhere.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family of George Floyd and the citizens of Minnesota during this difficult time.


Pursuant to the authority vested in me under the Council-Manager Plan, N.J.S.A. 40:69A81, et. seq., and Chapter 29, Section 7 of the Code of the Township of Teaneck, I issue the following Executive Order:

WHEREAS, in consultation with and at the recommendation of, Township of Teaneck Health Officer Ken Katter and OEM Director Larry Robertson.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Dean B. Kazinci, as Township Manager, do hereby order and direct that:

  1. The Phelps Park Dog Park shall open to the public on Saturday, June 6, 2020 with strict adherence to social distancing guidelines. The following rules are in place:
    a. All users of the dog park shall practice social distancing of at least six or more feet.
    b. Open daily from 7 AM to 7 PM.
    c. Limited to 2 dogs per visitor.
    d. Limited to 6 visitors in the large dog run, and 3 visitors in the small dog run at any given time.
    e. All visitors must maintain enough control over their pets via voice control to comply with social distancing guidelines.
    f. Dog park amenities, including shared water dishes, toys, and other materials, should not be used by dogs or handled by visitors.
    g. Visitors must wear a mask or face covering in the dog park when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health.
    h. Personal hand sanitizers should be used following any touching of gate or other items within dog park.
  2. This Order shall take effect beginning 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, 2020, and shall remain in effect until such time as it is determined by me that an emergency no longer exists.
  3. This Executive Order may be supplemented or amended as the COVID-19 health emergency continues in order to effectuate its purpose and terms set forth herein.
  4. A copy of this Executive Order shall be immediately transmitted to the Council of the Township of Teaneck.

Dean B. Kazinci
Township Manager
Dated: June 2, 2020
Continue reading “TOWNSHIP OF TEANECK EXECUTIVE ORDER T2020-05 (Dog Parks)”