Teaneck Town Council Tackles Downtown Revitalization and Cedar Lane Development

In a recent meeting, the Teaneck Town Council grappled with the complex issue of downtown revitalization and the development of Cedar Lane. The council members expressed their frustrations with the lack of progress and engagement from property owners. They also discussed the need for a comprehensive economic strategy, the potential for public-private partnerships, and the necessity of considering examples beyond the local area.

Councilman Mark J. Schwartz led the discussion, voicing his dissatisfaction with the stagnation of Cedar Lane’s redevelopment. He brought to light the hurdles faced in engaging multi-generational property owners in the area, who remain reluctant to sell due to tax implications and are hesitant to kick-off redevelopment efforts. Schwartz’s sentiments were echoed by Zoning Officer Dan Meli who underlined the difficulties of incentivizing property owners to make improvements and the need for parking solutions.

Schwartz also stressed the necessity of consulting the town’s planner and redevelopment attorney to address the decline of Main Street and the downtown area. He emphasized the importance of creating an environment that encourages private investment and suggested utilizing the expertise of the planner and attorney for the same.

The council then compared Teaneck’s situation with Princeton, another college town. Princeton implemented a special improvement district to fund downtown enhancements, managing streetscape improvements, and a public parking garage. This strategy aimed to create a more inviting and pedestrian-friendly environment. The council members weighed the challenges of attracting national franchises and retailers to older buildings in downtown areas, considering the limitations posed by infrastructure and the need for adequate parking.

The topic of structured parking was raised as a crucial element in downtown revitalization, with examples from other municipalities such as Somerville. The potential for short-term tax abatements in rehabilitation areas was also discussed as a possible incentive for property improvements.

In regards to Cedar Lane, Councilman Michael Pagan voiced concerns about the potential impact of certain businesses closing down. The possibility of collaboration with Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) in developing their campus space along the river was highlighted. Mayor Mike Pagan indicated that discussions with FDU were on the horizon. The comparison with Madison, a sister city with an FDU campus, was introduced as a potential reference point for evaluating downtown spaces and retail environments.

The meeting also revealed a range of perspectives on the issues facing Cedar Lane, with some emphasizing the need for better parking and others questioning whether parking was the central issue. There were also concerns about the type and quality of stores on Cedar Lane, the impact of redevelopment on residential areas, and the previous decisions and settlements that could impact future planning.

The council also addressed various concerns about the local community. One resident expressed worries about the high cost of living, stating that it might drive people away. Another resident highlighted the issue of flooding, sharing a personal experience of businesses being affected.

Did we get something wrong? Let us know.
Mike Pagan
City Council Officials:
Michael Pagan, Danielle Gee, Elie Y. Katz, Denise Belcher, Hillary Goldberg, Karen Orgen, Mark J. Schwartz

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