Tenafly Council Tackles Stormwater Challenges and Tree Preservation

In a recent meeting of the Tenafly Borough Council, stormwater management emerged as a central concern, with Mayor Mark Zinna emphasizing the need for regional collaboration. The condition and protection of the town’s older trees were also at the forefront of discussions, with a proposal introduced for “landmark trees.” Among other key topics were the construction and building developments around town and the acknowledgment of Hispanic Heritage Month.

As Tenafly grapples with water challenges, Councilwoman Lauren Dayton’s absence due to home flooding highlighted the issue’s immediacy. Mayor Zinna stressed that enhancing Tenafly’s storm drains would be ineffective unless neighboring towns like Englewood adopted similar measures. Discussions revolved around the creation of a regional stormwater utility, potentially funded by fees from building developers, to address water flow challenges in a unified manner. The “blue acres” initiative, where consistently flooding properties could be acquired using state funding and repurposed as natural floodwater accumulation zones, was also proposed as a solution.

On the environmental front, Councilwoman Dayton championed the preservation of Tenafly’s older trees, particularly those surpassing current width regulations. In an effort to protect these natural assets, the council debated potential changes to the tree ordinance. Council members suggested stricter penalties for unauthorized tree removals and even proposed barring violating contractors from future projects. Councilman Jeff Grossman introduced the “landmark trees” idea, emphasizing the importance of preserving trees that are rare, old, or have unique features.

Building and construction developments also took center stage. Concerns were raised regarding construction activities at the former Friendly’s location on 114 County Road and the old Mercedes showroom on County Road. The implications of adding floors to buildings and the resulting changes to light and air quality for nearby residences were discussed in depth.

Traffic safety, especially at the dean East Clinton intersection, was revisited with an emphasis on prompt decision-making regarding engineering solutions and potential funding. Councilwoman Dayton also spoke on challenges with hybrid meetings and condemned an incident of illegal dumping at the Nature Center.

Hispanic Heritage Month was acknowledged with a proclamation, emphasizing Tenafly’s growing Hispanic population and celebrating various Latin American countries’ independence.

Additionally, sports facilities’ conditions, particularly plumbing issues, were addressed. The council assured the community of improvements, referencing a long-awaited lighting project and discussing an affordable housing plan scheduled for a public hearing later this month.

Finally, the success of the community compost pilot program was celebrated, marking the collection of 300 pounds of food scraps from around 50 families in just one week.

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