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Town May Ban Personal Trainers From Public Parks

Possible law would disallow businesses from operating on public property, but that may affect travel sports leagues

Personal trainers and other small business owners who operate their businesses in Mahwah parks may soon be out of a workspace. The town council discussed last week a new law that would prohibit residents from conducting for-profit businesses on township property.

According to Business Administrator Brian Campion, the township has received several noise complaints from neighbors of and fields about personal trainers conducting classes at the parks and making a lot of noise, often early in the morning. “We have not received many complaints saying that people operating businesses at the parks are prohibiting others’ enjoyment of the parks, so that seems to be a lesser problem,” he said.

Council members questioned whether or not small businesses, like personal trainers, should be allowed to use public property to make money.  Campion said that currently, the township has “no specific ordinance prohibiting it,” so trainers are not violating any laws by operating at the fields.

While many on the council expressed a feeling that this practice should not be allowed, Councilman Harry Williams asked what the ramifications of a law prohibiting for-profit businesses from operating at parks would be to travel and other sports teams that use the facilities regularly.

“Our parks are constantly used by travel sports teams, and those sports organizations make money,” Williams said. “How can we prohibit personal trainers, but not soccer trainers?”

Other council members brought up concerns about liability in the event that a customer of one of the businesses gets hurt during a session at the park. Campion said the town could be sued in that case, however “anyone who gets injured at a public place could file a suit. That’s not unique to this.”

The council rejected the idea of having business owners lease space at public facilities.

The governing body decided Thursday to seek legal counsel for input on what type of law, if any, would be appropriate to address this issue. It also said it would look to related laws in nearby towns before  making a decision at a future meeting.

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Have a question or a news tip? Email the editor Jessica Mazzola at jessica.mazzola@patch.com. Or, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your email inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Kenny June 13, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Just one more thing…I wish some of you could see what the town really spends money on and some of the poor budgetary decisions that are made. Then, people that are “concerned tax payers” would be less concerned about sports teams and personal trainers and more concerned about real fiscal irresponsibility.
DAWN MARINO June 13, 2012 at 04:43 PM
I agree with Robin. I live close to a field used for all sorts of stuff like this. I think if people using the field have respect for those close by this shouldn't be such an issue.
T-Bird 148 June 13, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Funny ... a year or two ago the Council tried to prevent people with dogs and other animals from using the park ... and that failed miserably! Now they are going to try and limit human use??? And ... it's OK for some of those same residents who live near the parks to use them to park their personal, and sometimes commercial vehicles in the park??? I don't live near the parks, but I have driven past them many times while these training sessions have been going on and I can honestly say I've never heard any noise louder than that of passing vehicles! As long as the trainers are aware that scheduled recreation functions take priority over their business I'm OK with the status quo. Move on ...
Regenbogen June 13, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Who parks their commercial vehicle on the Commodore Perry field? How is this allowed?
Kim June 14, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Seriously??? I work out with trainers at Continental and there are no neighbors other than wildlife and as of yet they haven't complained. The only noise I produce and can hear is the sound of heavy breathing because we're pushing ourselves to become more healthy and fit. Doesn't the town already have laws regarding noise? As far as being respectful, whenever sports groups use the park for training, we have always moved our group to another area of the field and let the kids have their space. I also can't imagine what noise is being made by those who use Commodore Perry. Last I checked, there wasn't a platoon of Marines performing drills. It appears to me as if someone might be a bit jealous of those who have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and started small businesses or maybe it's just someone who believes they are entitled to the fruits of other's labor?!? With regard to the waiver issues...maybe the town is worried about possible lawsuits due to injuries. Does that then mean everyone who sets foot in any park at any time must first sign a waiver for fear of a lawsuit??? Final thought...we really don't need more "Mayor Bloomberg" types of nanny state regulations.
HarveyL June 14, 2012 at 04:19 AM
All great points. We need to find out who has too much time in their hands at the Municipal Building and make sure they retire soon. These idiots don't realize that these small businesses are helping the economy, and more importantly serving our community with their services, and making their services available to us near to where we live. If anybody knows whose bright idea this was PLEASE let us have this person's name. We need to find out exactly what bug this person has up his/her A… and run him/her out of town.
HarveyL June 14, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Levine, Sounds great but guess what, these additional expenses get passed down to us, consumers. Noise? Are you kidding me? How much more noise do they make than other people using the park. What are they using fog horns? Yelling at people? Get real. It's a bunch of BS.
HarveyL June 14, 2012 at 04:29 AM
The park is for the people. Let the people use the park. Where does this stop. So know you will have to start charging our kids for using the park? Let me tell you. If it was not for these one man small businesses bringing my kids to the park, I would not know what the parks look like. These idiots are going to have a Wall Street protest in front of town hall soon. OCCUPY MAHWAH TOWN HALL NOW!!!
HarveyL June 14, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Don't be so concerned Mr. Concerned Tax Payer. I pay taxes and I want the use of these parks to be open to any body that wants to use them with care. I enjoy seeing parks busy with people. It's my tax dollars working for the good of the community and the economy of these small businesses.
HarveyL June 14, 2012 at 04:38 AM
You moved next to a park field and now you want to have the field restricted because people using a field are making too much noise. How about you go to the pharmacy and buy a pair of ear plugs. They work well.
HarveyL June 14, 2012 at 04:41 AM
TO ALL THE PEOPLE: OCCUPY TOWN HALL NOW!!!
Roger Pachiderm June 14, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Next up will be getting rid of the swings and slides at the playground. I am sure those non-tax paying children are bothering the neighbors too.
Kevin June 14, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Kenny you are right. It is amazing what get air time in a town. Looks like its a mall or trainers. A big issue and a small one. All the in between is where the money is lost with nobody paying any attention.
Kevin June 14, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Roger the town may have to evict the wild life because there is no monetary value to the town with them living there.
Hank June 14, 2012 at 02:35 PM
and what about the cars waiting in the parking lot for those noisy Montessori kids at Commadore Perry. Did you know that there are local employees eating at the picnic tables on company time? I complained to the police that I saw some of them sitting there for over 45 minutes! Tax them! Make them get a permit!
Roger Pachiderm June 14, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Hank were you spying without a permit? I am not sure that is acceptable use.
Regenbogen June 14, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I hope the complaining neighbors realize what fools they have made of themselves. Energy generated in a positive direction is much healthier for the mind and body!! Lighten up!!
Sue Reardon June 14, 2012 at 04:13 PM
next thing you know, they'll want to make kids, selling lemonade on the public sidewalk in front of their house, purchase a permit. seriously? How about instead of letting people earn a living by helping people get healthy while charging reasonable rates (which wouldn't be so reasonable if they had to pay for a bldg or a permit), we just join them in a bunch of protests. Every morning. At 6:00am. on the sidewalk in front of your house? we won't make a dime... but it would be legal! c'mon.... enough is enough already!
Hank June 14, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I was not aware I needed a spying permit. Now I just found out spying season does not open until July 1. I screwed up sorry.
Hank June 14, 2012 at 05:44 PM
you hit the nail on the head Sue. The complainers may very well be the trainers who have rented buildings
CaraGia June 14, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Did you check the results of the poll. 39% of people think it's "unfair". You poor, poor babies. Let me let you in on a little secret... LIFE ISN'T FAIR!! I think it's remarkable how small minded and petty some people really are. We're all struggling and have laid out before us, for the most part, many of the same issues on a daily basis. How does it really hurt anyone to utilize a kind, generous and understanding manner with others? Are you losing something by doing so? Probably not and even if you are, things will come back around in your favor later on anyway. Lighten up and move on. I hope the town is taking note of the comments posted here. Brian Campion.....
Andy Schmidt June 14, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Roger, if you park near Grover Cleveland Bridge, you can jog/bike up Bear Swamp "Road" all the way past Bear Swamp Lake up to the pipeline pump station and back. Steady up-hill - nice workout. I agree, the Saddle River Park is great. Would be nice if Mahwah could somehow create a continuous bike/walking path along the Ramapo, or work it out with Ramsey to connect to their little walking path that runs from the center of town to the back of the Interstate shopping center, following the old rail right-of-way.
Regenbogen June 15, 2012 at 01:46 AM
And the ringing of the church bells...that would certainly be a "noise nuisance"!!
Angelwings June 15, 2012 at 03:08 AM
I too am at a loss about the fuss about anyone using our parks and fields. What noise? I have walked CSF when trainers were on the field and have passed Commodore Perry when there was an early morning group of boot campers. And the noise not sure what antenna they are wearing? All I observed was a group of kids or adults having fun and working hard. If our fields are being utilized and folks who don't belong to a gym are out and about breaking a sweat honestly does the Town Council need to get involved? Maybe we need a new Town Council. There may be some seeds of envy here. If you own a gym or your own business and want to have an outdoor boot camp or train youth athletes at one of the fields at a time when Rec or Town sanctioned sports are out of session. Well it is great that you can enjoy the beauty of our town and share it with others. IF you can and want to compensate the town for the use of the fields, donate a few dollars to MMA, CFFA or TMYSB. This is definitely not an issue I think the Town Council should address. There are so many other issues that require your attention.
Hank June 15, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Paramus warned us about physical trainers in parks.
Shari Levitsky June 15, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Who is complaining about the noise? I attend one of these classes, and I can tell you with the utmost certainty, that the child care center across the street from the Commodore Perry field, is by far, way more noisy than any of our classes!! Think about it, 30-40 screaming children vs. 4-5 adult women who can barely catch their breath!!! The noise thing isn't working with me.
Jonathan N. Marcus June 15, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Not having been at the Council meeting when this was discussed, it is possible that I missed some of the facts. Jessica's article notes that there were complaints made about noise at the parks. However, what is not stated was whether those complaints were independently confirmed by township officials. Just because someone complains about something, does not mean that what they are complaining about is actually true. If these "complaints" were not independently verified, then I fail to see why this was even brought before the Council. As many have noted above, it is quite possible that the so-called "complaints" are actually from competing physical fitness business owners who might have a vested interest in getting their competition out of the parks. Thus, I would want to know if anyone from the township was able to verify the noise complaints. If not, then I have to question the motives at play here. If anyone was at the Council meeting when this was discussed, I would love to hear whether this verification was ever discussed.
Regenbogen June 15, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I really don't believe a group of people exercising could cause so much noise that a complaint was filed. Was this basic training maneuvers?
Hank June 15, 2012 at 09:46 PM
i understand live ammo was involved
Hank June 15, 2012 at 10:42 PM
All the trainer has to do is charge $125 for a bottle of water and train his/her friends for free at the park

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