In a recent session of the Saddle Brook Town Council, members debated a variety of issues, from expansion plans for cannabis manufacturing establishments to tax rebates for senior citizens. Residents expressed concerns over topics ranging from the barring of the local Police Chief from work, to road safety, to property maintenance.
Nancy Murray, a Saddle Brook resident, emerged as a key voice against the proposed expansion of cannabis manufacturing establishments from 5,000 to 12,500 square feet, insisting that comparing cannabis businesses to other manufacturing ventures is misleading. She advocated for a 1,000 feet separation rule between like businesses to mitigate congestion and suggested that the rule should apply across all types of businesses in the sector: growth, retail, and manufacturing.
A fellow resident, voicing concern over a multitude of topics, criticized an ordinance about homeowners being liable for sidewalk repairs if damaged by trees. This individual also expressed frustration over the status of Chief Cooper, who is currently prevented from returning to work due to political reasons. According to him, this predicament is leading to unnecessary taxpayer expenses. Moreover, he called for a restructuring of the police department’s hierarchy, questioning the necessity of having three captains.
In response to the public’s concerns about Chief Cooper, the Council clarified that it was not their decision to bar him from work, but the decision of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office. They also addressed allegations of restricting public participation, insisting that every resident had the opportunity to express their views.
Amid these discussions, the council highlighted a tax rebate program for homeowners aged 65 and over initiated by the state, encouraging eligible individuals to inquire about requirements and additional information by calling the state’s Regional Information Center.
Three ordinances were also discussed for their second readings. The first addressed an increase in fines for property maintenance violations, the second concerned a “no right turn on red” rule on Mayho Street, and the third stipulated that all property maintenance violations must be resolved before a certificate of occupancy or reoccupancy is issued.
Meanwhile, several road improvement projects were detailed, funded in part by grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation. A 2023 road program is currently receiving bids and is expected to be awarded soon. The council also shared the mixed results of a recent resident survey regarding speed humps on Checkers Avenue and announced ongoing traffic studies on South Broadway.
The council paid tribute to Don Zone, a beloved community member who recently passed away, with many council members sharing their condolences for Mr. Zone’s family. They also emphasized the importance of supporting the First Responders event on August 1st and encouraged community involvement in volunteering at the upcoming picnic.
Council members also debated issues concerning speed bumps, particularly the removal of a speed hump on Liberty Street, which had elicited numerous complaints from residents. While there were differences of opinion on this topic, the council agreed to investigate whether speed bumps were properly installed and considered the possibility of removing them.
Lastly, there were calls for volunteers to fill the vacancies on the town’s Planning Board and Board of Adjustment, stressing their importance. In the spirit of community engagement, the council encouraged interested individuals to step forward and contribute to their town’s future.