Paterson Council Reschedules Meeting Amid Virtual Participation Concerns

In a recent Paterson City Council meeting, the decision to reschedule was a focal point due to concerns over public participation and notice. The meeting, intended to address several urban development applications including the demolition and construction of a new apartment building, was initially switched to a virtual format. This change prompted discussions among council members about the potential exclusion of interested parties given the last-minute notice and the holy month of Ramadan.

The discussion on whether to proceed with the meeting was sparked by technical difficulties faced by one of the callers, Muhammad M. from 22 Sh Avenue, who expressed frustration with the virtual meeting process. The concerns raised by Muhammad M. led to a broader debate about the fairness and accessibility of the virtual meeting for all potential objectors. This debate was not just a technicality but a matter of ensuring democratic process and public engagement in city governance.

The issue of participation was not taken lightly. Council members deliberated on the best course of action, considering the challenges faced by residents to access the meeting and the importance of public input in the city’s zoning and development decisions. The members acknowledged the significance of the holy month of Ramadan for many Paterson residents, which could limit their ability to attend and participate in the meeting. The intersection of these factors brought to light the need for inclusive and accessible public forums, particularly when development projects are being discussed that would affect the community’s landscape.

The council’s concerns extended to the logistics of the virtual meeting itself. There were issues raised about identifying which objectors were present for which application. This confusion further complicated the meeting’s proceedings and underscored the difficulty of ensuring a transparent and orderly process in a virtual setting.


The decision to reschedule the meeting was ultimately taken with the intent to provide adequate notice to the public and allow for full participation. This resolution came with the acknowledgment of potential costs and fairness to the applicants, who would need to wait longer for a decision on their projects. The council expressed apologies to the public and committed to sending out new notifications once a new meeting date was established.

The meeting’s agenda, which initially included discussions on a new three-story apartment building with 16 residential units, was set aside due to these overriding concerns about public engagement. The council’s decision emphasizes the importance of public involvement in local government decisions, especially when these decisions involve changes to the city’s built environment that will have long-term implications for residents.

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.

Andre Sayegh
City Council Officials:
Michael Jackson, Shahin Khalique, Alex Mendez, Ruby Cotton, Luis Velez, Alaa “Al” Abdelaziz, Maritza Davila, Dr. Lilisa Mimms, MD Forid Uddin

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