Pompton Lakes Council Tackles Tree Ordinance and Redevelopment Issues

In a recent Pompton Lakes Borough Council meeting, several issues were at the forefront, including the implementation of a statewide tree ordinance and the complex debate surrounding the Redevelopment agency. The council addressed the state-mandated tree removal and replacement ordinance, which extends to private property and requires a Forester to oversee the process. They also grappled with the residency requirements for the Redevelopment agency members, discussing the possibility of amending the ordinance to enforce residency as a condition for membership.

The council’s discussion on the tree ordinance was extensive, focusing on the implications of the new policy that mandates the regulation of tree removal on private properties. The ordinance includes a fee structure for tree replacement, ranging from $50 to $200 depending on tree size, which raised concerns about the financial burden on property owners. The potential costs for hiring a Forester, estimated between $30,000 to $50,000 annually, were also a point of contention. Further information on the fee structure and Forester expenses was sought for a draft to be reviewed at the next workshop.

Another issue was the debate over the Redevelopment agency’s residency requirement. The council considered amending the ordinance to necessitate residency for agency members. The council was divided on whether to impose a blanket residency requirement for all boards and committees or to allow exceptions for highly qualified individuals. They also discussed the appointment of a new chairperson within the agency and the residency implications for this role.

Moreover, the council explored the broader question of a non-resident board member’s role in decision-making for significant projects, including interaction with developers. Concerns were raised about the possibility of a quorum of council members inadvertently being present at agency meetings, which could constitute a breach of the act. The council addressed the need to adhere to regulations regarding text messaging and emailing, emphasizing the prohibition of group discussions on borough affairs outside of public meetings.

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During the meeting, the council also recognized the service of first responders, noting Congressman Pascrell’s allocation of $238,000 for the fire department’s safety equipment and a possible $500,000 grant for the library. Concerns about the Greenway wall’s reinforcement to prevent erosion were expressed, and updates on the progress of the Civic Center, Jo Grill project, and the Greenway were provided.

In addition, the council approved a carnival license application for the Pompton Lakes Elks and the Pompton Lakes Prevention Coalition Walk For Hope, emphasizing mental health awareness. The council also highlighted an open position on the Library Board, inviting particularly teachers to apply. Maintenance, streetscape issues, and a FEMA application for elevating homes in the floodway were discussed, along with an acknowledgment of the upcoming retirement of the Municipal Utilities Authority’s executive director.

Lastly, the council addressed the public’s concerns about flooding and garbage management in the downtown area, disclosing plans to send a letter to the commissioner and to collaborate with other mayors on flood-related matters. The Flood Advisory Board’s ongoing work and the effort to involve residents in the process were also noted.

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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.

Mayor:
Michael Serra
City Council Officials:
Erik DeLine, Ek Venin, Jennifer Polidori, Maria Kent, Bobby Cruz, Lisa Kihlberg

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