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Letter To The Editor: Seniors 'Not Convinced' By Crossroads Mall Traffic Study

Senior Citizen Current Events Discussion Group also raises concerns about fire and police response to the proposed development

The following letter is from a member of the Mahwah Senior Citizen Current Events Discussion Group, which meets once a week at the . The group, which started in 2011, is moderated by Ramapo College Professor Phil McLewin. According to Dale Swisher, who wrote this letter to the editor, "People are supposed to bring in a newspaper article or something they'd like to discuss.  We go around the room and each person with an article summarizes it, and the floor is open to discussion.

We have talked about all kinds of things, such as the NYPD spying on mosques in NJ, the homeless man who was evicted from the motel, the local man cutting down trees from his neighbor's yard. One of the members said she would only bring in good news, so she brings positive items about the schools, or the Girl Scouts or the group of Mahwah residents who helped out after the flood. There is a lot of talk about the proposed mall, and the possible problems thereof.

It's a good group and we're getting to know each other, and one hopes, like each other. I started in August and am very glad I did."

Dear Editor:

The Mahwah Current Events Discussion Group was very pleased to welcome Mayor Bill Laforet to [one of our March sessions], held at the .

Our group had lots of questions about issues facing Mahwah at this time, but we particularly wanted an update on the status of the . Many of our concerns were discussed, including traffic control, security, fire safety, and the effects of the law suits facing the town.

We understand that there are areas still open for negotiation, and that the town's environmental committee is actively researching best-case solutions for flooding, water run-off, and air quality. Police Chief Batelli has told the mayor that there is no need for the town to hire additional police, as the mall will have ample security. 

The mall will be located at the intersection of Routes 17 and 287, and members of our group are not convinced that the is accurate. Traffic problems, such as access for fire, police, or ambulances, still concern us.

Our meeting was productive and informative. We want to thank the Mayor for taking the time to meet with us and listen to our concerns. We appreciate his cooperation and are confident this open communication will continue.

Sincerely,

Dale Swisher

Mahwah, NJ

Also signed by many members of the Current Events Discussion Group

Joey Bourgholtzer April 05, 2012 at 03:57 PM
It is good to see the Current Events Group asking questions and voicing concerns about Crossroads mall issues and that Mayor Laforet met with the group for discussion. I was surprised, however, to read that the mayor told the group "there is no need to hire additional police, as the mall will have ample security." Mall Ord. #1686 specifies "No security officer shall have any police power, responsibility or authority within the township." It requires mall security to notify Mahwah police if something is "believed to require police assistance or a violation is suspected." So yes, Mahwah police will be responding to all "suspicious activity" because security is required to call them. Questions were rampant when it was originally stated that no police were needed: Was it possible that a Paramus Park-sized mall required not a single officer? Why were 3-4 officers required (per developer's attorney Jaworski) when the mall was proposed in 2007 with retail of only 400,000 sf, and not a single one needed now for 600,000 sf of retail? (Councilman and former Police Chief Sam Alderisio agreed at the time that three officers would be "adequate.") Why did the developer agree to build and maintain an emergency substation then, but not now? Following huge outcry after the no-police-required statement, it has been conceded in public meetings that two officers would probably be needed. Now we're back to none? (continues...)
Joey Bourgholtzer April 05, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Mahwah is being led down the garden path and this is but one example. What happens when we find we need those officers, after all? When tax revenue doesn't meet expectations because such glossed-over items as police (+benefits, +pensions) weren't factored in? What happens when the developer's traffic fund falls short or the owner appeals his tax assessment because the mall doesn't get fully built or rented? The tax projections are based on a fully built, fully rented mall, years away at best and questionable even then (just look around). Just a sampling of the many questions that remain.

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