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Town Council Votes 4-2 In Favor Of Crossroads Rezoning Ordinances

Following a long public hearing, the council voted after midnight to approve the three ordinances attached to the Crossroads rezoning.

With about 250 concerned citizens in attendance at Thursday night's town council meeting, the council approved the three controversial ordinances that would rezone the International Crossroads property to be the site of a shopping center.

Though originally the second item on the Council’s agenda, it was moved to open the public hearing on the topic of the three ordinances first. 

A motion was made for a non-binding referendum on this issue.   A discussion ensued between Council President Roth and township attorney Bottinelli about a provision in NJ statutes that forbids such a referendum.

It was clarified that a non-binding referendum was allowable.  However, with a split vote of 3-3, the motion was defeated. 

Attorney James Jaworski, representing the developers, presented an overview of the plan.  He reiterated how the ordinances offered the “kinds of things you don’t see in traditional ordinances.”  He was followed by Dan Disario, who spoke about the traffic study. 

After their presentation, township planner Joseph Burgis spoke about his role in helping to craft the ordinances, as well as the planning board’s take on the matter.

The meeting was then open to the public.  Council President Roth requested that citizens limited their comments to 2 minutes, and allotted two hours, rather than the normal 30 minutes, for the public to speak. 

Mike Richards, who had attended many previous meetings on this subject, began.  He pointed out topics that would be repeated over and over again throughout the night, including “noise generated by trucks, decrease in home values,” and traffic concerns.

High School student Graham Starr brought up a few of the other major issues that would dominate the conversations, such as environmental concerns, water pollution and run-off from the site if it were developed into the Ramapo River.

Mahwah was not the only community represented.  Citizens from the neighboring towns of Ramapo and Suffern in Rockland County spoke during the public portion of the hearing.

By 11 p.m., 30 speakers had voiced their opinions.  But the line to stand before the mic and the town council was still stretching towards the back of the hall.

Fears and concerns about pollution, property value decreases, more traffic, water quality, and the safety of the children of Mahwah dominated the majority of the public speakers’ points. 

A large number of high school students were present at the meeting, some out of concern for the future of Mahwah and these ordinances, while some were sophomores from Yvonne Beatrice’s honors history class, and were present for class credit.

As of 11:35 p.m., the 43rd and final speaker addressed the town council.

Council President Roth called for a motion to approve the first of the ordinances, 1684, entitled “Crossroads Town Center Overlay Zone.”

There was a public outcry over this, but each member of the council made a statement prior to the vote.  More than once members of the audience shouted out and disrupted them.

Councilman Williams moved the approval.  He, Councilmen Larson, Alderisio and Roth voted in favor, while Councilwoman DiGiulio and Councilman Spiech voted against it.  The motion passed, 4-2.

Outcries from across the audience were heard, and repeated shouts of “you’re disrupting our lives” and “you aren’t representing us” and “see you in November” carried across the room.

After restoring order in the room, Roth called for a motion to approve Ordinance 1686, entitled “Shopping Center Private Security Requirements”.  He reopened the floor to the public, requesting all comments at that time be in relation to this ordinance alone. 

While more than 10 people again spoke, they mostly expressed their anger and disappointment in the council’s decision to approve Ordinance 1684.

The vote on Ordinance 1686 was approved 4-2.

Finally, Roth called for a motion to vote on the last ordinance, 1687, entitled “Transportation Improvement District.”  Once more, this was approved by the council 4-2.

The anger on behalf of those who were in attendance was expressed often throughout the votes, disrupting the process multiple times.  The final ordinance’s approval took place just before 12:30 a.m. Friday morning.  The ordinances move on to the Planning Board.

walter stanton April 01, 2011 at 02:50 PM
The action of the town council is despicable ,we will need help to save our town. We now need to call the EPA ,the environmental originations ,the federal highway commission ,the historical society ,anyone who has the means and smarts to help with this fight .The town council has shown it works for the developer not the voters and cannot be trusted with our wellfare.Shame on them ,shame on the Mahwah town council. Go to YouTube and search "Mahwah crossroads “and watch the proceedings there.
John Camlic April 01, 2011 at 04:59 PM
There were a lot more than 250 residents there. I started counting the chairs, and lost count after 350. They were all filled, and there were at least another hundred people standing along the walls. The real number of people in attendance was more like 400 to 500. Why was there no non-binding referendum? Simple.. because the council doesn't care what their constituents think. They're the "Good Ole' Boy" group in the Rootin' Tootin' Town of Mahwah. Yes, it's become just as bad as the wild, wild, west. One resident asked if there was anybody who was in favor of the mall, and not a single person raised their hand. The residents of Mahwah made it clear they don't want the mall, but the majority of the council seems to be drunk with power, and turned a deaf ear on the so called public "hearing." We weren't "heard," we were "ignored."
Christy April 01, 2011 at 05:36 PM
Shame on every one of you. In the future, how will any of you attend "happenings" in Mahwah and actually believe we think you give a damn about this community? Just wondering...
Mary K. Sullivan April 01, 2011 at 08:32 PM
Excuse me, but over 400 people were in the room. I know this for a fact because DPW set up 400 chairs. And standing-room-only happened. In all fairness, I think you should correct this statement.
Christy April 01, 2011 at 09:53 PM
BRW-I was speaking of the 4 who voted "yes" to the mall. Shame on them...
Tom Seilet April 01, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Way to act....Everyone wants the rules to work when they only work for them......ONLY 400 OF THE 27,000 residents showed up and only apprx. 40 spoke out........40 !!!......How dare any of you complain because democracy didnt work for YOU !!!! SHAME ON YOU........SHAME SHAME SHAME>......anyone who acted like an animal last night....AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.........should learn some manners....You whackos fought the pilot program too....and now look......you probably even get gas there....To call the council members crooks......and degrade them......SHAME SHAME SHAME.....Democracy and our government worked last night......for the people......just not for you..........Its funny...you had one guy up there speaking about being honest, and doing the right thing.......ask him how many residents of THIS TOWN that he stole from and left them in shambles.........and you call the council members crooks !!! Laughable......and thats what it is !!!
Average Joe April 02, 2011 at 02:44 AM
I am so angry! Life is not fair! I hate myself and take it out on my town council! Loud noises!
Mahwah Citizen April 02, 2011 at 02:51 AM
IF I SCREAM LOUDLY PEOPLE WILL LISTEN TO ME
robert April 02, 2011 at 11:02 AM
THANK YOU JOHN AND LISA,I/WE APPRECIATE YOUR LISTENING TO US,BY THE WAY OUR NEW MAYOR WAS AWFULLY QUIET,MAYBE HE IS A LITTLE WORRIED ABOUT NOVEMBER
Peter Creedy April 02, 2011 at 03:18 PM
Thanks for your input V. You may now return to your duties overthrowing the British Parliament while wearing your Guy Fawkes mask. Mahwah is truly blessed to have been graced with your presence.
Dorothy April 03, 2011 at 02:56 PM
stopmahwahmall.com did a great job in getting the Mahwah citizens involved in the March 31st meeting. The 4-2 vote in favor of the mall will adversely change the unique character of Mahwah, and I believe it is not in the best interest of Mahwah citizens. Did anyone see Sunday edition of The Record reporting on the erosion of Oakland property backing up to the Ramapo River? What will the Department of Environmental Protection do to protect Mahwah's river banks?
John Camlic April 03, 2011 at 03:33 PM
Don't worry, Dorothy, this fight is FAR from over. The residents will not let the town council get away with this.
Mahwah Citizen April 04, 2011 at 12:35 AM
IM MAD AS HELL AND IM NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE
robert April 05, 2011 at 11:16 AM
IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT THE MAYOR CAN VETO THE ACTION TAKEN BY OUR COUNCIL CONCERNING THE CROSSROADS,LETS SEE WHAT HAPPENS,I BELIEVE HE, THE MAYOR HAS TWO WEEKS TO DO SO.
John Mosbey April 05, 2011 at 06:09 PM
Wow! With Kidd endorsing DaPuzzo, what a change of fate. Does not surprise me, he's not changing his mind now, he is to deep into the deal. next you will see the Coming Soon sign at the Crossroads
Allan Kidd April 05, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Mr. Mosbey- What deal am I deep into? I'd REALLY like to know. However, if you knew me, you would know that Mr. DaPuzzo and I RARELY agree on anything. If it came down to a Mayoral race between Gas-Pump Willy LaForet and Mr. DaPuzzo, I would indeed support Mr. DaPuzzo. Running Mahwah is a little more complex than pumping gas and renting a gas station from Sunoco. And, in my opinion, Mr. DaPuzzo's skill-set far surpasses that of Gas-Pump Willy LaForet's. In any event, Mr. Mosbey, if you would like me to clarify any positions for you, please give me a call. I will gladly speak with you.
John Mosbey April 05, 2011 at 10:25 PM
So having your wife get paid 60K for a Twp recreation position is Complex? No it's more of the same, you have picked a winner for the Dapuzzo team, not for the community at large. It sure deserves a closer look.
Allan Kidd April 05, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Mr. Mosbey- You are SO right with regard to things NEEDING a closer look. There are a whole lot of them, trust me! One of my favorite things was to harp about the League of Municipalities Convention. As we are so "rich", Mahwah sends its honchos to the Borgata Hotel, on the taxpayer's dime, and our people are wined and dined by our contractors! I went there once and the event made me so sick. From that point forward, I repeatedly objected to the town spending so much on such a waste of taxpayer's money. That objection never went far! As things are, I do not think that anybody is willing to make a stand and do anything about the waste. After all, the Council just voted to raise taxes by an additional 2% to increase the reserve (fun money) so they can spend it! They like spending other peoples' money! It's fun for them! Keep up the good work, Mr. Mosbey, and feel free to give me a call.
V April 14, 2011 at 03:31 AM
You obviously don't know what you're talking about, Mr. Seilet. Besides the fact that your comment is incoherent and riddled with mechanical errors, do you realize that NO ONE was there last night who was in favor of the mall? The council wasn't listening to the people of Mahwah. It didn't work out for the majority of Mahwah. I think people are making too big a deal of the mall, but it's obvious that most people don't want it. There were only four people at that meeting last night who were in favor of the mall. I don't think I need to say who they are. The mall isn't the end of the world, but they should've listened to their people.
V April 14, 2011 at 03:32 AM
I WISH V came to Mahwah.... And your last name is Creedy. Hah. :P

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