In a recent meeting of the Franklin Lakes Borough Council, community welfare and infrastructure took center stage, with Detective Sergeant Ronald Salzano’s commendation as 2022 Police Officer of the Year highlighting the session. The council also delved into contentious topics, addressing concerns ranging from local gas line projects to the spotted lanternfly problem, ensuring residents’ concerns were met with swift action and clarity.
Detective Salzano, a Franklin Lakes resident, was honored not only for his law enforcement career but also for his valor in saving a suicidal juvenile. A devoted community member and father of four, Salzano has been actively participating in the borough’s recreation program.
The meeting also saw the appointment of Casey Finneran to the Recreation parks, filling a recently vacated position.
The discussion shifted to the ordinance 1911R, which aimed at amending provisions of chapter 300 land use and development in Franklin Lakes, with the establishment of a mixed-use one district being a notable inclusion. However, after a motion was made to table the ordinance, there was no debate, and the council members unanimously voted to table it.
Residents actively participated in the public comment segment. Laurie Burnett sought clarity on tabling procedures, while Michael Gattuso inquired about undisclosed negotiations, hinting at a prior mediation session.
A prominent point of contention emerged when resident Chris Russo brought to light a gas line project causing daily blockages around Lenape and Old Milk. Expressing surprise at the lack of public notification and potential safety hazards, the council was quick to reassure residents. They committed to better communication, indicating that the initiative was most likely a preventive measure.
Additionally, an environmental concern involving the spotted lanternfly was raised. Given the insect’s attraction to the abundant Tree of Heaven in Parsons Pond, the council discussed potential strategies, emphasizing a likely consultation with the town’s tree officer.
The council also discussed the upcoming open space tax referendum. Previous attempts at introducing such a tax had been unsuccessful, but with increased resident involvement, hopes are high. The council’s response indicated a robust plan to leverage various communication channels to educate the public, with a particular emphasis on detailing the reasons for the referendum. Comparisons with neighboring towns, many of whom have already adopted similar measures, were also drawn.
The session concluded with discussions on Ordinance Number 1926, aimed at amending land use concerning properties with swimming pools. The intention behind this was to ensure that homeowners could not exploit legal loopholes for disproportionate property advantages.