M I N U T E S
January 13, 1998
A Regular Meeting of the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights was held on January 13, 1998 at 8:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 248 Hamilton Avenue, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.
Mayor Torre stated that the meeting complied with the Sunshine Law, due notice having been made to all members of the Council by personal service on January 1, 1998 and transmitted to The Observer, The Record and the Herald News on January 2, 1998.
ROLL CALL: Present: Mayor William J. Torre, Councilman Andrew Link III, Councilman Herbert D. Heeren, Councilman Justin A. DiPisa, Councilman Garrett R. Pepe, Councilwoman Marlene Verrastro, Councilman John Wassberg
SALUTE TO FLAG: Mayor Torre led in the Salute to the Flag.
BE IT RESOLVED that the claims and accounts amounting to $1,283,065.60 specified in the schedule, having been examined and approved by the Finance Commissioner, or his Deputy, be paid and that warrants be issued therefor.
Signed Andrew Link, III/Commissioner of Finance
On motion by Councilwoman Verrastro, seconded by Councilman Pepe, and unanimously carried, the foregoing Resolution was adopted.
15. Appointment of Representatives to North Jersey Intergovernmental Insurance Fund
16. Payment of Fees to State - Construction Fees
17. Payment of Fees to State - Marriage Licenses
18. Authorizing Bond Anticipation Notes
19. Granting of Bingo License - Corpus Christi Church
On motion by Councilman DiPisa, seconded by Councilman Pepe, and unanimously carried, the foregoing Resolutions were adopted. (Resolutions attached)
ORDINANCE(S) FOR INTRODUCTION:
ORDINANCE NO. 1805:
BE IT RESOLVED that an Ordinance entitled "AN ORDINANCE SUPPLEMENTING CHAPTER 275 ENTITLED "ZONING" OF THE CODE OF THE BOROUGH OF HASBROUCK HEIGHTS TO ESTABLISH A COMMERCIAL PARKING FACILITY TRUST FUND AND TO REQUIRE THE PAYMENT THEREIN OF A SUM IN LIEU OF REQUIRED PARKING IN CONNECTION WITH ANY VARIANCE OR WAIVER SOUGHT AS TO THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF PARKING PLACES FOR ANY NON-RESIDENTIAL PREMISES LOCATED IN THE BOROUGH, AND FURTHER REPEALING ORDINANCE NO. 1779 BEING PARAGRAPH D OF SECTION 275-26 OF THE CODE WHICH WAS ADOPTED ON FEBRUARY 11, 1997" introduced this date be and the same is hereby passed on first reading and the Borough Clerk be directed to advertise notice of public hearing on said Ordinance to be held at the regular meeting of the Borough Council on February 10, 1998 at 8:00 p.m.
ORDINANCE NO. 1808:
BE IT RESOLVED that an Ordinance entitled "AN ORDINANCE TO AUTHORIZE THE SALE PURSUANT TO N.J.S.A. 40A:12-13 OF LANDS AND PREMISES APPEARING ON THE CURRENT ASSESSMENT MAP OF THE BOROUGH OF HASBROUCK HEIGHTS AS A PORTION OF LOT 3 IN BLOCK 33 BEING 50 FEET BY APPROXIMATELY 11.6 FEET AS CREATED BY A SUBDIVISION GRANTED BY THE PLANNING BOARD OF THE BOROUGH OF HASBROUCK HEIGHTS ON MAY 2, 1997" introduced this date be and the same is hereby passed on first reading and the Borough Clerk be directed to advertise notice of public hearing on said Ordinance to be held at the regular meeting of the Borough Council on January 27, 1998 at 8:00 p.m.
On motion by Councilman Link, seconded by Councilman Wassberg, and unanimously carried, the foregoing Ordinances for Introduction were adopted.
ORDINANCE(S) ON PUBLIC HEARING: None
MISCELLANEOUS FROM PUBLIC:
Mayor Torre said that he was aware many residents were present tonight in reference to a community home being established on 21 Garrison Ave. He said the Governing Body is also concerned and has many unanswered questions. The Borough Attorney contacted the organization in charge of the community home and asked them to be present at tonight's meeting, but they were unable to attend. It is anticipated that they will be present at the next meeting. He said the organization is under no legal obligation to explain what will take place at this home, but he felt it is owed to the community.
Borough Attorney Ralph Chandless came forward and explained that state law provides that community residences shall be treated by local zoning laws as single family residences if they accommodate no more than six residents. He said he spoke with a representative from Devereux, the owner of the premises, who said the facility is planned for three or four middle aged women who are developmentally disabled to reside in the home. They will reside there with at least one attendant at all times. There will be a garaged minivan on the premises. There are no plans to expand the driveway or garage. These women will go to work at a vocational center in Hackensack five days a week. It will be a permanent residence for these women. If one woman was to leave, she would be replaced by a person of the same sex and age group. The house will be maintained by local contractors, i.e. landscaper. Both the physical premises and its operation will have to be approved by the State Dept. of Health and Human Services, Div. of Developmentally Disabled, which approval is presently being sought and anticipated.
Mayor Torre opened the meeting to the public for anyone wishing to speak.
Lewis Cole, 28 Garrison Ave., came forward as a spokesperson for a group of residents living in the vicinity of the community residence and requested the Governing Body stop the establishment of the community home as they felt Hasbrouck Heights is not the proper setting for it. He wanted to know what type of disabilities these women have.
Nancy May, formerly at 46 Garrison Ave., came forward and said she was a former employee of the Div. of Developmentally Disabilities and explained the process of establishing a community home and the choosing of those individuals who will live there. She was concerned if the clients that will live in the home are community appropriate as there are many different types of developmentally disabled individuals.
Mr. Cole again came forward and requested the Governing Body place an injunction on the certificate of occupancy until the intended use of the property is fully explained by the buyer. He asked if the organizations background has been checked and if there are any pending legal issues. He said he saw an ad in the paper hiring supervisors for these homes for approximately $7.00 to $9.00 per hour and he was concerned that the supervisors would not have good qualifications. He questioned if Devereux will get a tax exemption as they are a nonprofit organization. He was concerned that the property value of their homes will not go up in the future.
Vinnie Risalvato, 451 Madison Ave., came forward and said there are many unknown facts about the Devereux Foundation. He said he is concerned about the children of the Borough if the type of residents of the group home were to change in the future. He was concerned with a revolving door effect, whereas the clients change often and don't live in the establishment for long periods of time. He asked the Governing Body to investigate Devereux and their intentions.
George Shihanian, 59 Garrison Ave., came forward and said that the developmentally disabled is a small part of Devereux's clients. They have other clients with serious emotional disturbances, behavior disorders, multiple diagnosis, physical or sexual abuse, etc. and he was concerned that the clients might change and be emotionally dangerous. He mentioned the location of the site is close to Borough schools and athletic fields. He was also concerned with the effect it may have on their property values.
Mr. Chandless asked the residents to be aware that the statute which this facility falls under provides for only the developmentally disabled. Ms. May said that most of the developmentally disabled clients she saw were also physically aggressive or criminal offenders. She said the State, and not Devereux, has the final say on who will live in the home. Mr. Chandless said the site could only be used for the developmentally disabled, a community shelter for victims of domestic violence or a community residence for persons with head injuries. He said that under the statute, there should be some permanency of residents living in the house.
Gerald McDowell, 348 Harrison Ave., came forward and commented how there are rumors about this home floating around town which can twists things and upset residents, therefore it would be a good idea to have Devereux come to a meeting and explain what exactly will take place. Mayor Torre said that it is the Governing Body's intention.
Mayor Torre asked Mr. Chandless if there is any way to hold up on the issuance of any new permits to be issued until Devereux comes forward and answers their questions. Mr. Chandless said he anticipates they will be at the next meeting. He said final inspections have not been done and he would indicate that they not be done until such time as Devereux gives a presentation. The Governing Body agreed. Mayor Torre asked Mr. Chandless the consequences of revoking a certificate of occupancy given to a single family home. Mr. Chandless said he has witnessed this through other municipalities. You cannot discriminate under zoning based on disability. The last effort made by a neighboring municipality brought about an injunction against the municipality. The property owner would be entitled to legal fees and can be entitled to some very substantial damages.
Ms. May said she believed Devereux could not come before the Governing Body first and let them know about the purchase of the home and its purpose as it would be a form of discrimination then and they have to protect their clients.
Harold Jacobus, 420 LaSalle Ave., came forward representing the Lions Club and asked if any decision had been made in reference to possible improvements to Woodland Park. Mayor Torre said it was discussed last year and the Council could not agree on what course of action to take, if any, therefore it will be up to the Council if they wish to discuss it again.
There being no one else wishing to speak, Mayor Torre closed the meeting to the public.
RECESS FOR CAUCUS:
Mayor Torre announced the Governing Body will now recess for Caucus.
There being no further business to come before the Mayor and Council, the meeting was adjourned.
I, BARBARA MALDONADO, Borough Clerk of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights, do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes are to the best of my knowledge a true account of the Regular Meeting held on January 13, 1998.
Barbara Maldonado, RMC