Because retail development on Chestnut Ridge Road has emerged as one of the main issues in town today, we thought it would be informative for residents to know a little of its history, what has recently evolved, and the current status.
Ever since our town developed a Master Plan, we always took for granted that the Tice and Van Riper farm stands would be mainstays in the community. It was only natural, therefore, that in all the periodic updates of town plans, that we continued to allow retail on both sides of Chestnut Ridge Road. However, that notion changed suddenly in 1994 when Van Riper sold his property for an A&P mega-store development. The town quickly realized it was necessary to re-assess potential land developments and re-define ordinances to protect the character of the town. As a result, we worked on a strategy to limit retail expansion.
The town proceeded in that direction. After careful analysis by the Planning Board, our Professional Planner and Board Attorney, a recommendation to amend the Master Plan was submitted to the Town Council to re-zone for limited retail in 1995. The Planning Board was to develop more details for the re-zoning in 1996, but delayed action as an accommodation to the landowner. Indeed, it was delayed three times, each in anticipation of getting a detailed proposal from the landowner. The proposals were still not forthcoming as of June 1997, the end of the third extension.
The town residents, however, had enough and voiced their strong opposition at the June Board meeting which was one of the largest public hearings this town has ever had. The message from the residents was loud and clear -- LIMIT RETAIL DEVELOPMENT!!
The GOP majority on the Council took the initiative and forced the issue. Overcoming strong Democratic opposition, they passed a draft ordinance to limit the retail and forwarded it to the Planning Board for comments. Fighting to the end, Council Democrats vehemently protested. They did their best to delay any change to the ordinances until the landowner made his proposal so the ordinance could then be cast in his favor. (Who do they represent?)
On September 15, there was a final public hearing on the ordinance. And, incredibly, there was another stall tactic by the opponents. Once again, the GOP majority took the responsibility, voted and passed the ordinance. Noteworthy is that the Democrats chose not to vote for the ordinance. But the issue has finally been resolved, -retail will be limited. Thanks to all the residents who attended the meetings and expressed their comments and concerns.
We present this story not only for its importance to our residents, but also because it demonstrates certain weaknesses in the leadership style of the Democrats. Clearly, they don't understand the will of the residents. In their many attempts to placate everyone, they satisfy no one. All too frequently, they talk about how hard they work, but working hard on the wrong thing is the wrong way to run Woodcliff Lake.
It is because of GOP leadership on the Council that we were able to pass this retail limiting ordinance. On November 4, deciding to continue GOP leadership is in your hands. We have considerable confidence in our candidates, Andre DiMino and Paul Camella. They know the town and they know the residents. In combination, they have over 25 years of Woodcliff Lake experience in working and demonstrating results oriented leadership. The GOP recognizes that residents moved into our town because of its character, charm and quality of life. And that is what our candidates are committed to preserve.
In a detailed statement, noting there was less than three years in which to prepare, Council President Andre' Di Mino presented to the Mayor and Council at a June public meeting a sweeping program for the future which he dubbed "Woodcliff Lake Project 2000 - Our Town in the Next Millennium."
Di Mino noted that costs should be carefully measured, and he invited every member of the governing body to participate in recommending "new and better ways to improve safety and the quality of life in the borough - the major goal of the project."
Joined by his fellow Republican council members Joseph Cappello, Jeff Klein and Sal Princiotto, the group presented a comprehensive agenda for the areas they believe will shape the future of Woodcliff Lake in the next millennium:
After the presentation, Mr. Di Mino made a motion that the borough immediately begin "Woodcliff Lake Project 2000 - to prepare Our Town for the Next Millennium." The motion was adopted and the course for Woodcliff Lake's future was set by the sweeping initiatives proposed by the Republican members on Woodcliff Lake's Council.
Mr. Di Mino is looking for input from residents on the initiatives in Woodcliff Lake Project 2000. He is also interested in hearing from residents who might like to be involved in some of the projects under consideration. He can be reached at 391-5810.
Democratic campaign literature could be on its way that will be filled with half truths, innuendoes and blatant lies.
This warning is based on past history and should not be taken lightly. It could come from anywhere but its origin is usually one or all of the following:
The timing of these pieces is usually less than a week before the election and affords little or no time for a response. The pieces or in some cases the newspaper ads are paid for by the individuals but do not appear on the democrats campaign financial report as a "contribution in kind." This may be in keeping with the Democratic National Committees policy on soft money. We should say the Gazette found no China connection.
Now that the summer is over and the campaigns get into full swing you may see personal attacks on individuals and in some cases their business'. If it happens don't be shocked. It won't be the first time.
The Gazette has been in touch with the Republican Campaign Committee and were assured that they will stick with the issues and our source tells us there are plenty of these. They plan to support most of the issues with quotes from public records to allow the voters the opportunity to verify the information.
** The Gazette has published this notice as a public service.
Every time we turn around we see another letter to the editor, publication in community life or a personal letter from Mayor Josephine Higgins touting her accomplishments, taking credit for the work of others and telling us how hard she works for us. Let's review some of the facts:
With all of this hard work by the Mayor resulting in such inefficiencies and cost over runs, we must ask Please Mayor - do us a favor - Stop Working So Hard. We can't afford it.
The flashing blue light means more than a special at Kmart. They're going to get an ambulance to respond to a medical emergency or to the firehouse to man a piece of fire equipment to respond to a fire or a serious motor vehicle accident.
We are fortunate in Woodcliff Lake to have so many dedicated volunteers, but we need more.
While you're thinking about it, why not pick up your phone and volunteer now. To join one of our New Jersey's best volunteer fire departments, call 391-9566 and ask for Jeff Schuster. You will be trained at the fire academy before being called on the scene.
Like the fire department, the Triboro Ambulance Corp serving Park Ridge, Montvale and Woodcliff Lake is an all volunteer service. Anyone who has ever had need of their service will vouch for their high quality professional care. You don't need any prior medical experience. You'll be trained in many of the Lifesaving Techniques and first aid. You're never too young or too old to serve. Give them a helping hand. Volunteer today by calling 307-1201 and talking to Anne Glickstein.