Proposed Hackensack Sober Living Home Prompts Concerns, Questions, and Hopes

At the latest Hackensack City Council session, debate centered on a proposed Cooperative Sober Living Residence (CSLR) at 125 Willow Avenue. Residents expressed apprehensions about the facility’s management and safety, noting it had been previously fined for operating without a proper license.

CSLRs provide a residential setting for individuals in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. They aim to create a supportive environment where residents can help each other maintain sobriety.

Throughout the meeting, attendees and council members highlighted the benefits of CSLRs: They offer a safe space for individuals recovering from addiction, providing a transitional environment for them to regain their independence and reintegrate into society. CSLRs can help reduce relapse rates by surrounding residents with peers who understand and support their journey to sobriety. Furthermore, CSLRs can have potential positive economic impact on the community by reducing costs related to addiction treatment and criminal justice.

Still, several residents at the meeting expressed their discomfort with the proposed CSLR.

Christina Bauer, a local resident, took the lead in voicing concerns, arguing that the operators of the proposed CSLR demonstrated deceitfulness in their initial dealings. “A safe house is only as safe and secure as the people running it,” she stated.

Responding to Bauer, the city attorney clarified the unique nature of CSLR applications. Approval falls under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), and not local land use boards. The attorney also expressed concerns about the property’s past activities and the late notification given to the city, emphasizing the importance of CSLRs operating transparently and responsibly. “I’m personally offended that they were not truthful with us when we came to them in good faith trying to find out what was happening,” the attorney said

A long-term Hackensack resident echoed concerns about communication and the establishment of the facility. He pointed out practical issues like parking, referencing an 18-passenger van frequently obstructing Willow Street.

Another concerned resident voiced safety apprehensions, drawing from past experiences in Brooklyn, New York. He questioned the assurances of safety, considering the planned ten-women residency of the CSLR. The council assured residents they were awaiting the DCA’s decision and that they’d ensure any genuine concerns are addressed. Members also confirmed bedrooms in basements are illegal and that they would be monitoring the operation of the CSLR to ensure compliance with local regulations.

Steve Greco raised questions about the Certificate of Occupancy (COE), suggesting a possible breach if the number of residents increased from five or fewer to six or more. A council member explained the typical COE process but no conclusions were drawn regarding violations.

Several other residents questioned the true motives behind the sober house, with some speculating it might be more profit-driven than genuinely humanitarian. In his public comments, resident Edward Moran requested increased city oversight in light of the property’s previous unlicensed operations. The city attorney reassured residents, saying that while constrained by state regulations, the council was doing its utmost to address concerns.

The council emphasized the community’s right to voice concerns and encouraged residents to report any issues to the DCA, Senator Gordon Johnson, and Congressman Gottheimer.

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.
Not avaliable:

City Council Officials:

Receive debriefs about local meetings in your inbox weekly:

Trending meetings
across the country:

Meeting Date
Filter by bodytypes
Agricultural Advisory Committee
Airport Advisory Board
Art and Culture Board
Beach Committee
Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Board of Elections
Board of Health
Borough Council
Building Committee
Cannabis Control Board
Cemetery Commission
Charter Revision Commission
Child and Family Services Board
City Council
City Identity Committee
Code Enforcement Board
College Board of Trustees
Community Appearance Board
Community Preservation Committee
Community Redevelopment Agency
County Council
Disability Advisory Committee
Economic Development Board
Elderly Affairs Board
Electric Advisory Board
Environmental Commission
Financial Oversight Board
Historic Preservation Commission
Housing Authority
Human Relations Committee
Insurance Fund
Land Use Board
Library Board
Licensing Board
Mental Health Commission
Municipal Alliance
Open Space Commission
Oversight and Review Committee
Parking Authority
Parks and Gardens Commission
Parks Commission
Pension Board
Planning Board
Police Review Board
Property Assessment Board
Public Safety Committee
Recreation Commission
Redevelopment Agency
Rent Control Board
Rent Leveling Board
School Board
Sewerage Authority
Shade Tree Commission
Special Magistrate
Taxation & Revenue Advisory Committee
Tourism Board
Trails Committee
Transportation Board
Utility Board
Value Adjustment Board
Veterans Committee
Water Control Board
Women's Advisory Committee
Youth Advisory Committee
Zoning Board
Filter by County
FL
Bay County
Bradford County
Brevard County
Broward County
Clay County
Duval County
Escambia County
Gulf County
Hendry County
Highlands County
Hillsborough County
Indian River County
Lake County
Lee County
Leon County
Levy County
Liberty County
Manatee County
Marion County
Martin County
Miami-Dade County
Monroe County
Okaloosa County
Orange County
Osceola County
Palm Beach County
Pasco County
Pinellas County
Polk County
Putnam County
Santa Rosa County
Sarasota County
Seminole County
St. Johns County
Taylor County
Volusia County
Walton County
MA
Barnstable County
Berkshire County
Bristol County
Essex County
Franklin County
Hampden County
Hampshire County
Middlesex County
Norfolk County
Plymouth County
Suffolk County
Worcester County
NJ
Atlantic County
Bergen County
Burlington County
Camden County
Cape May County
Cumberland County
Essex County
Gloucester County
Hudson County
Hunterdon County
Mercer County
Middlesex County
Monmouth County
Morris County
Ocean County
Passaic County
Somerset County
Sussex County
Union County
Warren County
Filter by sourcetypes
Minutes
Recording