In a recent meeting of the Rutherford Borough Council, the hot button issue of noise disturbances due to frequent airplane overflights took center stage, bringing residents and council members together in a united front. This concern, voiced strongly by resident Lois De Tomaso, comes amidst the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) open public comment period on its noise measurement policy, which many argue fails to depict the true nature of the noise experience.
The gathering, which took place on September 11, 2023, at the police headquarters, saw De Tomaso urging the council to leverage this public comment window, which remains open till September 29, to advocate for a more precise noise measurement method that considers both the decibel level and frequency of the noise. The resident even brought a drafted letter to leave with the council to assist in this matter.
Council members and Mayor Frank Nunziato echoed De Tomaso’s concerns, sharing a mutual interest in addressing the noise disturbances more accurately and discussing ongoing interactions with FAA and other experts on this issue. Mayor Nunziato recognized a professional pilot’s assistance in understanding the matter more thoroughly and noted a scheduled meeting the next day to further strategize and consolidate support from other local officials in a concerted approach against the FAA’s current noise measurement policy.
Apart from this main issue, the Borough Engineer’s report, presented by a individual named Brian, was scrutinized, highlighting the successful completion of summer projects including a newly striped crosswalk at Pierrepont School and the commencement of the 2023 road program which has faced delays due to an extended Department of Transportation review process. The council also moved several resolutions involving liquor licenses, open container permits, and various community grants and contracts without much debate.
The council recognized the individuals and groups who contributed to the 9/11 ceremony conducted earlier that day to commemorate the lives lost from Rutherford in the tragic event, acknowledging the continuous pain harbored by many residents. Council President expressed gratitude towards various individuals and groups by name, marking an emotional and respectful remembrance of the day.
Later, special thanks were extended to the Rutherford Civil Rights Commission, especially acknowledging Mark Ten and Paul Frazier for orchestrating the Multicultural Festival, despite the inclement weather. The work of the Department of Public Works (DPW) under Chris Seidler was also praised for their support during the festival.
The meeting also saw an affectionate goodbye to Maureen Begley, who announced her retirement effective January 1, 2024, following an outstanding 30-year tenure in the recreation department. The council members shared personal stories, highlighting Begley’s irreplaceable role in the community and her straightforward guidance that will be much missed.
As the council navigated through legislative matters, ordinances concerning handicapped parking spaces and vacant property registrations were discussed, followed by unanimous approval in the first reading stage. The session also announced upcoming events including the eagerly awaited Porch Fest slated for November 4th, encouraging residents to mark their calendars.
Towards the end, two ordinances focusing on amending parking regulations near schools and establishing a handicapped parking space faced no opposition and were passed in their second reading, following which the floor was opened for public comments, receiving no feedback.