In a series of animated debates, the Tenafly Borough Council recently convened to address a multitude of issues facing the borough, from pickleball court renovations and affordable housing concerns to zoning ordinances and potential green initiatives.
The most heated discussions hinged on housing density in the borough. The council expressed concerns about single-family homes being converted into multi-family residences, potentially straining the borough’s resources and disrupting community character. “If we don’t actually act…we are exceeding I think what was intended and we are almost flipping every single house. To a two-family house in those zones,” said one council member, stressing the need for preventive measures to curtail unregulated growth.
Simultaneously, the council deliberated over zoning bulk standards, with calls for clearer definitions of mixed-use zoning requirements. The discussions suggested potential zoning amendments to establish a minimum percentage for either residential or business spaces in mixed-use zones.
A major area of contention involved the relationship between the Council, the Zoning Board, and the Planning Board in managing development. Council members argued for increased collaboration and communication among these entities, acknowledging the need for a joint meeting between the Planning Board and the Board of Adjustment.
The council also expressed concerns about ordinance violations and their enforcement. They pointed out incidents where applicants deviated from approved plans without facing significant penalties. They agreed that continuous dialogue on these issues is crucial, which reflects the importance of the matter to the borough.
Meanwhile, the council explored options for introducing pickleball courts within the borough. One council member expressed interest in considering the old skate park as a possible location, despite potential complications with existing lighting and the inherent nature of pickleball as a rotating pick-up game. The council also discussed renovating an existing warehouse at 101 to 103 North Summit to accommodate pickleball courts. The proposal, however, awaits the planning board’s approval on parking variances.
In a transition from zoning and housing, the council agreed on a resolution permitting alcohol consumption during an upcoming event at the Tenafly Nature Center, ordinarily prohibited in borough parks and buildings. They also touched upon the addition of a new fully electric vehicle to the borough’s fleet for use by the fire prevention department.
Looking forward, the council plans to follow up on several grant applications. They aim to focus on three programs: Safe Streets to Transit, the Bikeways Ramp Program, and Safe Streets and Roads for all. Moreover, they expressed intentions of tackling the management of the spotted lantern fly issue at a community level, exploring natural, non-chemical measures to combat the pest.
The council concluded the meeting discussing the renewal of liquor licenses and the management of investment visas, amidst talk of a legislative bill potentially aiding in permitting. The bill, however, faces opposition from restaurant lobbyists and unions. The council also mentioned the timeline for a library roof replacement and the installation of improved audio-video equipment for improved meeting experiences.