East Rutherford Moves Forward on Affordable Housing Amid Pushback

During a recent meeting, the East Rutherford Borough Council advanced a series of transformative initiatives aimed at addressing zoning and land use, bolstering infrastructure, and reinforcing community development programs. The decisions reached have the potential to usher in profound changes for East Rutherford’s residents.

One significant point of discussion during the meeting centered on Ordinance 2023-15, which pertains to amendments in the land use and zoning ordinance, particularly concerning affordable housing overlay zones. Residents voiced concerns over these amendments, most notably with the development of the Star Glo property and the inclusion of the CVS property within the overlay zone.

Debra S., a resident, raised concerns about the potential implications of the new ordinance on the development of the Star Glo property. In another instance, James Reiss, owner of the CVS property, expressed apprehension about his property’s inclusion in the overlay zone and the potential threat of a takeover through eminent domain. In response to these concerns, Attorney Salerno clarified that the ordinance pertains to the broader framework of overlay zones and does not dictate the development of individual properties. He also assured that the borough cannot seize properties through eminent domain.

The council further addressed infrastructure improvements by adopting two bond ordinances. Bond Ordinance 2023-12 allocated $1.81 million for various public improvements, including equipment and machinery acquisitions and vehicle procurement. Additionally, Bond Ordinance 2023-13, pertaining to the 2023 Road Improvement Program, approved a budget of $2 million. These ordinances highlight a robust commitment to enhancing the borough’s infrastructure.

On the fiscal front, the council established the estimated tax levy for 2023 at $44,607,717.50, with a rate of $1.634. They provided a thorough breakdown of the levy, indicating a commitment to financial transparency.

In an effort to strengthen community development, the council approved resolutions for renewing East Rutherford’s participation in the Bergen County Community Development Program for the fiscal years 2024, 2025, and 2026. This program includes federal funds potentially available under several acts like the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, emphasizing East Rutherford’s continued involvement in these urban county entitlement programs.

Other community-centered decisions included authorizing the local fire department’s participation in the Bergen County Fire Mutual Aid Plan, fostering mutual aid assistance to other municipalities and entities.

While the decisions reached carry potential for considerable positive changes, it’s evident that the council will also need to carefully manage community concerns, particularly those relating to zoning and land use changes, to ensure a positive impact for all East Rutherford residents.

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