Rochelle Park Town Council Grapples with Mayor’s Conduct and Corporate Influence on Redevelopment

The recent Rochelle Park Town Council meeting proved eventful, as allegations of misconduct directed at Mayor Perrin Mosca shared center stage with residents’ concerns over corporate influence on township redevelopment. A motion to remove the mayor was proposed amid controversial instances of his offensive and inappropriate behavior.

Engineer Bruce Rockwell outlined the status of several ongoing township projects, including the Rochelle Avenue and Railroad Avenue Intersection Improvement project and the Matthew Field ADA Bleacher Improvement project, among others. He also mentioned pending projects and the acquisition of grants.

The council’s agenda was thick with issues. A major contention centered around Mayor Mosca, who was accused of aggressive, threatening, and inappropriate conduct during a closed session meeting. His behavior, which allegedly included defamatory statements towards other council members, was condemned as falling short of the expected standards of an elected official. This resulted in a proposal to remove him from his position as Mayor.

The Council’s discussion extended to concerns about possible corporate interference in township planning and redevelopment. Public questions were raised over a report on two homes owned by a corporation called Telfa, stirring worries about corporations manipulating the council into rezoning properties for their own gain. The council clarified its autonomous power, stating, “it’s the Township’s ability and it’s their Authority and prerogative whether to do it or not, not a corporation.”

A variety of community projects and improvements, as well as their financing, were discussed. Amid deliberation on the town’s ongoing infrastructure developments, concerns were raised about a local building that floods frequently. The council assured that the proposed redevelopment plan was an essential safety measure, despite the building’s potential demolition for a new Town Hall.

The Rochelle Avenue project’s ties to local traffic issues sparked disagreement. Public sentiment was split on whether the project would exacerbate existing Route 17 traffic bottlenecks, and concerns were voiced about the project’s financial feasibility and its potential impact on residents.

Other concerns included issues regarding elevator inspections, property taxes, a recent flooding emergency, and the potential reintroduction of residential recycling. A lead grant application, required by the state of New Jersey, was also on the agenda, and the council expressed relief that the town’s low lead levels would only require visual inspections. The hiring of new police officers was met with approval, with commendations on the quality of the candidates.

The council marked several national and community events, such as Flag Day, the U.S. Army’s 248th birthday, a successful Memorial Day event, a nationwide food drive, and the upcoming summer concert. The recognition of a resident’s achievement as an Eagle Scout brought a positive close to the public session.

Despite the meeting’s contentious issues, residents applauded the council for taking a stand on recent issues, signaling potential progress in the council’s dynamics. The Council closed the public session to discuss matters of litigation, negotiations, and attorney-client privileges privately, confirming that no formal action would follow.

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