BOROUGH OF HASBROUCK HEIGHTS

M I N U T E S

September 26, 2000

 
A Regular Meeting of the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights was held on Tuesday, September 26, 2000 at 7:30 p.m. at the V.F.W., 531 Veterans Place, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.

Mayor Torre stated that the meeting complied with the Sunshine Law, adequate notice of this meeting having been made to all members of the Council by personal service on December 28, 1999 and transmitted to The Observer, The Record and The Herald News on December 28, 1999.

ROLL CALL: Present: Mayor William J. Torre, Councilman Andrew Link, Councilman Herbert D. Heeren, Councilman Justin DiPisa, Councilwoman Marlene Verrastro, Councilman John Wassberg

Absent: Councilman Garrett R. Pepe

 

SALUTE TO THE FLAG AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Mayor Torre led in the Salute to the Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance

 

COMMUNICATIONS: Thank you letter from Leisure Club for 50th Anniversary Proclamation

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: None

 

PETITIONS: None

 

BILLS:

BE IT RESOLVED that the claims and accounts amounting to $665,254.75 specified in the schedule hereto annexed, having been examined and approved by the Finance Commissioner, or his Deputy, be paid and that warrants be issued therefore.

Signed Andrew Link III
Commissioner of Finance

On motion by Councilman DiPisa, seconded by Councilwoman Verrastro, and unanimously carried, the foregoing Resolution was adopted.

 

REPORTS:

FINANCE, STREETS AND TRANSPORTATION:

Under Streets, Councilman Link reported that leaf pick up will be starting Oct. 22. Leaves may be raked into the street by the curb or placed in paper sacks for collection. Paper sacks are not supplied at this time. The Boulevard from Route 46 overpass to the border of Hackensack will have parking hash marks installed along the roadway to the curb line. In November all of Wood Street, Cleveland from Boulevard to Terrace, Kipp from Boulevard to Woodside will be repaved, with gutter line profiling of all streets and resurfacing with 1 inch of bituminous concrete surface pavement mix #5. The Public Works has taken title to a new Vector positive sewer cleaning truck replacing an old Aqua Tech. The DPW has given $500 to Lincoln and Euclid schools each for educational program emphasizing issues of the environmental and recycling, conservation and natural resources, made available through the Municipal Recycling Assistance Program grant. Under Finance, a report will be made at the first meeting in October.

 

POLICE:

Councilman Heeren reported that schools are open and drivers are asked to slow down and cooperate with the pick up and drop off zones to be respected and work with the school crossing guards. For pedestrians, there are hash marks across the Boulevard for crossing at certain corners, and please do not jay walk if at all possible. He commented on small scooters, and that they can be dangerous, especially the motorized ones. Children should wear helmets. During August there were 1,136 requests for Police Department services., 164 9-1-1 calls, Wood-Ridge 60 calls, Teterboro, 40 calls, and 31 from other towns.

 

FIRE & RECREATION:

Councilman DiPisa deferred his report.

 

LAND USE AND WELFARE:

Councilwoman Verrastro deferred her report.

 

HEALTH & PARKS:

Councilman Wassberg reported that Town Day was a huge success and a good time was had by all. The DPW served 1,500 hot dogs and collected $533 for the D.A.R.E. Program. He personally thanked the DPW, Police Fire, Recreation, Friends of the Library, all Parent Associations, Civic and Service Organizations, the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department, the Bergen County Weights and Measures, Tiger Schulmann’s Karate and the Men’s Association for donating the pony rides for the children.

 

MAYOR’S REPORT

Mayor Torre said he would defer his report also, but wanted to echo acknowledgment of the organizations just mentioned with particular attention to the DPW who put a lot of work into Town Day and to all the organizations who participated. He continued it was a great success and a great tribute to the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

CONSENT AGENDA:
141. Authorizing Calendar Raffle License for Corpus Christi Home School Association


RESOLUTIONS:

142. Authorizing Redemption of Premium for Tax Sale Certificate #97-5 for Block 108, Lot 49

143. Authorizing Redemption of Tax Sale Certificates #96-08 and #2000-11 for Block 180, Lot 21

144. Authorizing Support of Philip W. Engle as Manager of Teterboro Airport

145. Endorsing CD Application #1 - Barrier Free Senior Citizen Center

On Resolution No. 144, Mayor Torre interjected that this resolution is in support of longtime friend of Hasbrouck Heights, manager of Teterboro Airport, who kept good communication going with the Borough, and he felt it would be a great loss.

On a motion by Councilman Link, seconded by Councilwoman Verrastro, and unanimously accepted, the foregoing Resolutions were approved. (Copies attached)



MISCELLANEOUS FROM PUBLIC

Nancy Mangeri, 46 Henry St., asked about the fence at the end of Henry Street, and that she is two houses away from the fence. She greatly opposed the fence and felt it was a waste of money. Mayor Torre said representatives from the block had come to the Mayor and Council as they were in fear of their homes and personal property with all those passing by, but Ms. Mangeri felt they were opposed to the children.

Councilman DiPisa said the council had been told that a poll had been taken on the block. If the majority of the residents do not want a fence, the council should be told.

No action had been taken as yet. She asked the cost and was told approximately $500, the height and was told 5 feet.

Suzanne White, Henry St., who lives between the Boulevard and Oak Grove, questioned those who walk down Henry and Oak Grove to get to Passaic. She asked what about her part of the block, she also has children. She felt there would be more injuries from children hopping the five foot fence, she thought the ability to cut through was an extra bonus for living on Henry St. The mayor asked that she get together with Ms. Mangeri.



PUBLIC FORUM

OPENING ADDRESS AND INTRODUCTION OF ADMINISTRATOR AND
ARCHITECT

Mayor Torre introduced the program beginning with Anthony Iovino, architect and planner, background of the claim by Michael Kronyak, a member of the Building Committee, Justin DiPisa, and a question and answer period. He asked if anyone had not received a newsletter, there were extra copies on the table by the door. He himself had gone to the post office to make sure it was mailed properly. He also informed everyone that the mail carriers would be coming back to Hasbrouck Heights, sorting their mail there as well, and felt it was good news.

He commended Kronyak on starting to document everything the day after the fire and keeping on top of everything from day one and the Building Committee, including himself, had been meeting constantly regarding the insurance claim and needs analysis.



PRESENTATION

He introduced Kronyak who began by enumerating what he would be discussing: the history of the events, pictures showing the extent of the damage, the insurance process and the options for rebuilding. Pictures depicted the night of the fire, at the point when the cupola went down, the firemen fighting the fire on the ground, the strong winds reportedly 30 miles per hour, and that no one was hurt thankfully. The next set of pictures showed the building from the courtyard, showing the council chambers, with no attic or roof left on the center section. A crane was brought in to remove the debris, the roof, what could be salvaged, saved. The next picture showed what had been the west wing, looking over the council chambers, completely destroyed. One day after the fire preliminary provisions up and running. The Franklin Gym was used as a temporary quarters for administration, showing tables to the left hooked up to phones so by Monday morning every office was up and functioning at a minimum level. On the floor were papers drying, which were checks and vouchers that had already been printed for a meeting, so that two days later there could be a council meeting. Another picture showed the trailer used as a temporary police quarters. The next series of pictures showed the temporary quarters, Administration on the Boulevard, Police Department which is a series of four trailers; Kundert Volvo which housed the Fire Department, and the Masonic Lodge, where council, court, planning and zoning meetings are held.

He gave a little detail on the insurance claim. The Borough belongs to a joint insurance fund of about 40 towns where resources are pooled together to get the highest level of coverage at the most cost effect and favorable rates. The fire was more than covered by the total assets and protection of this fund. First coverage was looked at and what the cost of the building was previously to the fire. Next was the building code upgrades which had to be built into the claim. Next was the temporary headquarters, expenses, etc. The range for all this section was about $4.5 million.  Relocations expenses are about $1.25 million which have yet to be settled.

Assessment of the building damage was next with the insurance providing an appraiser/builder who would give a cost estimate which would be reviewed, we asked Iovino and a series of architects/engineers to look at the building for code upgrades. They required additional court space, the basement could not be used for handicap reasons, site requirements as a sally port for the Police Dept. This was added up and sent to the insurance company. Property loss was evaluated. Temporary relocation expenses had to be done immediately which have now totaled $610,000. The next picture was a quick site view of the old building, with the Imken wing which was not damaged, except for smoke and debris and is now being used to house two fire vehicles. It could be repairable depending on what is done with the rest of the building. The Structural engineer would not certify that the rest of the building was safe. A needs analysis was done which showed the 20,500 square feet of the old building, including the basement which could not be used, with the code upgrades, an increase of 8,000 square feet, about 40%, would be needed and was required space.

The settlement on the claim was $4.507 million. The fact that it didn’t fit on the Hamilton Avenue site did not affect what the settlement would be. Everything in the building was valuable, freeze drying costs amounted to about $90,000, which were absorbed by insurance.

Anthony Iovino continued that the existing Hamilton Avenue site would not fit all that was needed. Other options around town were looked into. A set of criteria was established: compliance with zoning and the master plan; central location for minimum response time; ease of emergency vehicle access; ease of access by car, public transportation and pedestrian use; availability of parking; the appropriateness of the site as a municipal center; availability and potential cost of the site. Mayor Torre interjected that this set of criteria was most important. Iovino continued that Hamilton was looked at first, relative to zoning, it is not a commercial area; next the proposed site for the Library/Senior Center as property was already owned; the old South Bergen Hospital, with letters sent to HUMC, which was not for sale voluntarily and could not be condemned; the Volvo dealership along Terrace Avenue, which is slightly smaller than Hamilton Avenue; a number of others, the VFW, American Legion, O’Shea’s Florist, Sylvester’s Restaurant, property across the high school, along Terrace and the Wood-Ridge border. The two most workable were Hamilton and Central Avenue. The Library/Senior Center would remain intact on Central, and the Fire Department would stay on Hamilton. Design A was presented about a month ago, about 38,000 sq. ft. containing the Police, Court, Administration, Library/Senior Center and about 119 off street parking spaces. There were a number of good comments: increased vehicular traffic along the side streets; condemnation vs. voluntary sales; police and court in the same building as Library/Senior Center; property values and quality of life; and loss of ratables. He continued that the response was a Modified Plan A with the building remaining the same, Central having a cul de sac, minimizing traffic, eliminating the ingress/egress on Madison,maintaining all parking on streets, a separate parking for Police, changing parking to diagonal, and minimizing the view to the residential area with increased landscaping buffers, this was most cost effective way to provide solution, meets all criteria, allows for reuse of existing Imken Wing, parking, convenience and compliance with zoning. Negative attributes were condemnation process, possible impact and size of building and loss of ratables.

Design B, Iovino continued, puts the public safety building on Hamilton, with Fire, Police and Court, a Paramedics bay, with 45 parking spaces; and on Central, Library/Senior Center and Administration. Mayor Torre interjected that "Administration" is dog licenses, Board of Health, Tax Office, Recreation, Building, Welfare, and Borough Clerk. In the Hamilton Avenue Municipal Building square feet was approximately 6,000 square feet including the council chambers. Proposed is 8,000 square feet. Iovino continued all properties needed would be voluntary sales, the plaza on the north end minimizes interference with the residence behind it and aesthetically a good transition from the north end of town to the tighter commercial area, that both Plan A and B intent on the Boulevard was to reinforce the commercial business district.

Councilman DiPisa reported first on the positive attributes, that a lot of ideas were assimilated, Plan B scaled back the size of the building. The only addition to the original Library/Senior Center was Administration. The cul de sac would be kept, the park like setting on Madison, increased landscaping, part of property is already owned. Negative attributes with two buildings everything would be double, the Imken Wing could not be used, decentralization of borough functions, shared talents of employees, does not meet all criteria, cost would be approximately $500,000 more.

Mayor Torre said that under both plans a community room and basement are proposed. Closets could be made available to organizations for storage for meetings. He asked that the future needs be kept in mind.

Kronyak reported that Plan B: building on Boulevard would provide 15,000 square feet for the Library, 4,000 for Senior Center, 8,000 for Administration. Hamilton Avenue would provide 6,750 for Police, 3,300 for Court, 9,950 for Fire. The estimated cost of Design A Modified subtotal of $9.7 million includes construction of everything $6 million, site work, 1.5 million and land acquisition 2.2 million which is based on assessed values, which should be adequate to cover fair market values. Less cost offsets of insurance and grants $5.275 million, bondable costs would be $4.425 million. Design B: Construction $6.725 million, site work 1.8 million, land acquisition 1.7 million for a sub total of 10.225 million, less cost offsets of insurance and grants, 5.275 million for a net bondable cost of 4.950 million. For 4.425 million would mean an increase in the first year of $87.75 on average house of $195,000. For 4.950 million, the increase would be $99.50 the first year.


PUBLIC COMMENT:

Assemblywoman Rose Heck, 501 Collins Ave., reported on a number of bills being worked on, namely the School Constructions Bill which could make the Hasbrouck Heights school construction eligible for up to 40% of the costs. Dr. Richard Stepura, Superintendent of Schools has completed Phase I and II. The $45 million Library grants bill will probably grant some dollars to Hasbrouck Heights. The $10 million per year for 10 years Historical Preservation grant may give some added dollars. A number of grants are being worked on. Receiving $50,000 for the park, $50,000 for the Athletic Field, $54,000 for radios, and this year $255,000. For 2001 filing will be made for more money for the municipal complex and other projects.

Ron Ellis, 107 Paterson Ave., complimented the Mayor and Council and staff on their efforts. He asked if the Franklin Gym and basketball court and adjacent property had been considered for Administration, leaving Library/Senior Center on Boulevard and taking less costly ratables. Mayor Torre said the BOE property has been requested and are waiting for a response, with Councilman DiPisa reiterating that the Gym is not being used to its potential.

Jerry McDowell, 348 Harrison Ave. recommended the Grand Union in Wood-Ridge for the Municipal Complex. Mayor Torre said he had spoken with the Wood-Ridge mayor, said the assessment is in excess of $4 million, is in Wood-Ridge and not centrally located. McDowell continued that all departments including Fire could be housed there, there is plenty of parking and Hamilton could be sold off. Councilman DiPisa said there would be so many complications and concern for escalating labor and materials costs make it prohibitive. McDowell asked if other sites to decentralize Administration were considered, keeping it where it is, a third floor on Hamilton, down to the DPW. Mayor Torre said the existing site was considered, the DPW is away from the community, numerous rodents and varmints, not really ideal. He deferred to Kronyak and who said the Grand Union assessment is over $4.8 million, hugely expensive, a good portion of traffic is walking to Administration, the existing site even added to would be too small and since Administration is a service to the town should be made available to residents. McDowell asked why did our forefathers decided not to put the Municipal Complex on the Boulevard, instead on Hamilton. He was told the town has changed a lot, and the Mayor heard Turk Eckert say it was put there as the highest point of town. McDowell continued with the question of consolidation, as right now the town has very little in terms of buildings, would this be considered. DiPisa said we’re at the crossroads right now, with all the new school additions, and should not have to look to other towns to help us.

Tony Walsh, 154 Division Ave., has any of the properties on Route 17 been looked at. Iovino said yes, even at Teterboro for the Fire Department, and looked at response time, and wanted to keep the services central to the town.

Anthony Sterlacci, 62 Madison Ave., asked if the building would be intrusive on Hamilton Avenue, and was told that it could not be built on the original site. He continued that would it be better to have more traffic in the school zones? He was told that Administration would not have a great impact on traffic. Sterlacci questioned peak times.

Susan Fulton, 242 Paterson Ave., commented if the cul de sac would be fenced off and felt the green area would be wrecked by foot traffic. Iovino said the sidewalks on either side would take care of that. She asked if Plan B existing bays could not be accommodated by that plan and was told in order to take the U shaped building away, it would be necessary to take it away most likely to house six pieces of apparatus.  She said could the building be built two stories down and was asked for occupied space or parking and said it was immaterial and was told the fire trucks and police vehicles need to be ground level. The only offices would be court and fire and she said she was talking for Administration offices, if the people in the White House could work in those conditions. She felt houses were important to the community and should not be taken away.

Ron Kistner, 75 Oak Grove Ave., asked if the gas station by Longworth considered as a location for Plan B and was told it was too small, plus it had environmental problems.

Elizabeth Moser, 104 Burton Ave., asked if there was a mandate on how many parking spaces there had to be or could they be cut down. Iovino said the number of spaces offered enough on- site parking to avoid a burden on side streets, that these spaces were for the Library/Senior Center rather than for Administration.

Joann Serraino, 204 Harrison Ave., commended the plans, has a slight problem with the cul de sac regarding traffic flow and favored Plan B and said she hoped it went forward.

Paul Scrudato, 259 Central Ave., a resident 45 years, commended the Mayor and Council for Monday’s meeting and how it was conducted. When the Library/Senior Center was first introduced, he said he thought it was a great idea and was very happy about it. After the fire, when the town hall was proposed, he said there was a lot of unhappiness among residents. He recommended rebuilding on Hamilton Avenue, even if it means only building for today, and going ahead with the Library/Senior Center on the Boulevard. He also questioned the tax increase for this proposed building and was against parking lots and in favor of parking on the street.

Joanne Gristina, 246 Central Ave., likes Plan B though it does impact on her street and asked for a building start date and was told approximately eight or nine months.

Alphonso Albunia, 56 Washington Pl., asked for the cost per square foot of the Administration, Library/Senior Center Plan B, and was told approximately $115/sq. ft, and $40 per basement sq. ft. He felt Plan A and Plan B were both invasive on traffic on the Boulevard and recommended purchasing a separate building on the Boulevard for the 8,000 square feet for Administration. Mayor Torre referred to previous comments that with the Administration, 2,000 square feet would be a council chamber, there are only 12 employees and traffic would be at a minimum. Albunia continued that it should be in another building on the Boulevard with parking in the back, such as the World Savings Bank. The question was asked by Kronyak if having Administration on the Boulevard now has caused any traffic increase. The Mayor referred anyone who wished to, to visit Kronyak and he would explain the program further.

Kronyak commented on the fact that though we were getting 4.5 million in insurance money, the building should be rebuilt for today. There will be a raise in ratables at this time to offset the additional funds needed to rebuild.

Nancy Mangieri, 46 Henry St., with Plan B, could Administration stay where they are with purchasing additional property next to it. He was told that building was rented.

Joseph Marino, 150 Madison Ave., referred to the property where the Masonic Hall and Summit Bank are located, he was told accessibility could hold this up and property quickly obtained was necessary. He asked if the high school library could be expanded to house the town library as well. He was told by Iovino that not one town in New Jersey has their public library in the school library and Marino said let us be the one in the state. Mayor Torre said it could present a security problem. Marino asked about expanding the existing library and was told this had been looked into and was not feasible. He asked about the size of offices, and was told Administration departments need separate space, minimum standard, plus bathrooms, council chambers, and was told that in 50 years Administration has only increased by 2,000 square feet. Marino said you don’t need a big building for part time employees andwas told none of the Mayor and Council has offices. He referred back to Masonic/Bank property and was again told we did not own that property, a fraternal order can not be condemned and Summit is one of the highest ratables on the Boulevard and looked to property already owned, as well as willing sellers of property.

Lou Mujica, 23 Madison Ave., agreed with Plans A and Modified A, if you want to centralize everything. Looking at traffic, Police on the Boulevard will slow down traffic. Location is right in the center of town.

Tom Rubino, 155 Lincoln Ave., agreed with Modified Plan A, looking at trends of municipal government can see it shift from decentralization of services in the 1960s to centralization in the 1990s addressed by Modified Plan A clearly satisfies those needs, creates clear traffic patterns. Plan B means taking down an existing building, rebuild at a cost of over $600,000 which would increase taxes. As a fireman, 15 parking spaces are not enough.

Suzann Mujica, 23 Madison Ave., also commended all for their hard work and good plans on the table, and wanted to know who makes the final decision and was told this would be voted on at a public meeting.

Donna Wipper, 231 Madison Ave., objected to all the parking spaces, how the parking lots would look, and the cul de sac, and was told when the Library/Senior Center was first proposed 21 spaces was considered not enough, and a right of first refusal from the adjacent property was discussed for additional parking, that the parking would be as unobtrusive as possible and all zoning would be complied with. She felt the parking did not fit in with the housing. She was told parking lots probably would not be built until end of the project. She asked if a full traffic needs study could be done by October and it was reiterated that Administration does not create a traffic flow problem. The only time might be one when the Seniors hold their general meeting, or if a council meeting generated it. She also repeated the BOE should be approached and wanted to know when a final decision would be voted on, and also said a Plan C is needed. She was told Hamilton Avenue will be revisited again.  She said people are in a uproar and with the Election coming you are going to see a high Democrat turnout.

Nancy Marino, 150 Madison Ave., asked if plans were available before Aug. 8, and was told that they were available only two weeks before that meeting. Discussion regarded height on Hamilton Ave., keep what is there. She also would like to see a Plan C, mentioning Bill O’Shea, and was told it was not centrally located, problems with ingress/egress, did not follow the criteria, and proper planning was a major criteria. She hoped the tenants in the apartment building would be attended to, and if an outside assessor should be consulted on the whole complex. She felt a lot was being put on this end of the Boulevard. Councilman DiPisa entertained the idea of holding a Cottage Party to allow a smaller group of people and ideas to be presented and was told it would be a good idea.

William F. Ketter, 163 Hamilton Ave., also felt a Plan C was necessary and what could be done on Hamilton Ave.

ADJOURN:

There being no further business to come before the Mayor and Council, the public portion of the meeting was adjourned.

I, ROSE MARIE SEES, 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 September 26, 2000.

Rose Marie Sees
Borough Clerk

 

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