Old Tappan Borough Council Deliberates on Affordable Housing, Tree Preservation, and Public Safety Enhancements

In a recent meeting, the Old Tappan Borough Council addressed a range of issues, with discussions on potential changes to the Council on Affordable Housing (COA) regulations, tree preservation ordinance amendments, and enhancements to emergency services coordination. The Council also discussed the reappointment of the Fire Marshall, the installation of lights at pickleball courts, and plans for the upcoming Town Day event.

The COA updates, specifically Assembly Bill 4 and Senate Bill 50, were at the forefront of the meeting, as they propose substantial changes that could impact small towns like Old Tappan. Councilman Ron Binaghi Jr. voiced concerns about the state’s plan potentially superseding the town’s master plan and the challenges it could pose to local zoning laws. The Council discussed the possible loss of land for development, with attention drawn to the town’s golf course and farm. Binaghi Jr. highlighted the importance of preserving his farm for future generations and the implications of proposed deed restrictions.

A significant portion of the meeting focused on public safety, with Councilman Cort Gwon emphasizing the need for improved communication systems to coordinate the efforts of the police, fire, and EMS during emergency situations. Gwon also reported on the library board meeting, advocating for new programs and initiatives, and discussed staff qualifications. Councilman William Boyce addressed the progress of the veterans committee in planning memorial additions in Oaks Park and shared the police activity report for January 2024, which included patrols, school safety checks, and financial contributions to the municipality.

The Council considered an amendment to ordinance 1248 d24 regarding tree preservation and removal, which Councilman Boyce presented. However, the ordinance was tabled for further discussion with the borough attorney and the environmental commission until the next meeting. Boyce also brought ordinance number 12492 to the table, which sought to amend the LOSAP point system for the fire department by removing the minimum requirement of 10 points for additional training. The council voted in favor of the first reading of this ordinance.

The meeting also touched on recreational updates, with Councilwoman Jin Yhu discussing the planning of the spring sports opening day and potential dates for Town Day, which sparked a debate between Councilwoman Christine Massaro and Councilman Gwon about the most suitable start date for soccer season. Yhu also brought up issues related to the maintenance and repair of the borough’s police vehicles.

Councilman Guy Carnazza provided updates on the installation of lights at the pickleball courts and the completion of electrical upgrades at Stone Point. He also reported on construction activities within the borough.

Councilman Binaghi Jr. reported on his attendance at the Pascack Valley Mayors’ monthly dinner meeting, where budget processes and affordable housing were discussed. The Council then debated the potential for a shared service agreement with Rivervale for EMS services, weighing the benefits and drawbacks of such a collaboration. However, due to conflicting reports about Rivervale’s intentions, the Council decided to seek further clarity before making a decision.

Additionally, the Council expressed appreciation for a letter from a resident thanking the police department for support during a medical emergency and resolved to engage with legislators to advocate for the town’s interests in light of the proposed COA legislation changes.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Thomas Gallagher
City Council Officials:
Ron Binaghi Jr., William Boyce, Guy Carnazza, Cort Gwon, Christine Massaro, Jin Yhu

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