Council Member and Residents Raise Concerns Over Rochelle Park Development

In a recent Rochelle Park Town Council meeting, concerns were raised over development projects, especially regarding a mixed-use project at the Garden State Plaza in nearby Paramus. Committeewoman Gail Artola voiced apprehensions about its potential impact on Rochelle Park, particularly in areas like Sparrowbrook, traffic conditions, emergency response, and public transportation. Residents also voiced concerns about other local projects, suggesting the council’s stance on development may be inconsistent. Amidst these larger discussions, other prominent updates included progress on infrastructure improvements and significant commendations for local police officers.

Artola had recently attended a Paramus planning board meeting where she learned about the Garden State Plaza project. During the council meeting, she highlighted potential risks and urged that Rochelle Park’s interests be carefully considered in the project’s development. The Administrator underscored her concerns, suggesting the engagement of engineering professionals to assess potential water runoff implications. Another resident, Joe Scarpa, noted the council’s previous approval of housing projects in Rochelle Park and questioned the potential loss of homes and ratables due to the widening of Rochelle Avenue.

On the infrastructure front, the Administrator updated the council on several improvement projects. He highlighted potential improvements on Lincoln Drive and Chestnut Avenue using the CDBG grant for 2024. These could entail speed calming measures, curbing, and other innovative solutions. There was also mention of a grant for Gertrude Avenue, which would cover over half of the project’s cost. Residents can also look forward to potential street improvements due to the milling and paving work by PSEG.

The local police force received notable commendations. Officers Hassan Shah and Anthony Ferrola completed their one-year probation and were officially designated as permanent officers of the township. Furthermore, Detective Sergeant Jared Shakin received praise from CVS Health for assisting in the identification and prosecution of repeat offenders at the Rochelle Park CVS location.

Additionally, Rochelle Park’s proactive approach to community safety and infrastructure was evident. The acquisition of two Humvees and a high-water vehicle from Neptune City, free of cost to the township, would provide support in flood situations, an issue the town has struggled with. There were also updates on recreational activities, including an announcement of a town-wide garage sale with a record 70 participating houses. Furthermore, the council addressed the issue of the lantern fly, ensuring the community that costs associated with this would be reimbursed through a state grant.

Concerns about municipal finances were evident, with discussions around bond ordinances, potential tax hikes, and inquiries about a particular corporate audit. A community member also suggested fiscal measures like freezing salaries and trimming budgets.

Concluding the meeting, the council announced two introduced ordinances related to street improvements and an amendment of a previous bond ordinance for public improvements.

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