Wyckoff Town Council Clashes With Sewer Authority

In a recent Wyckoff Town Council meeting, the public saw evidence of local government in action as various topics were discussed, ranging from infrastructure improvements and health insurance increases to zoning changes and a major sewer project.

Council members Rudy Boonstra, Scott Fisher, Peter Melchionne, Timothy Shanley, and Mayor Thomas Madigan seemed to be especially focused on the infrastructural improvements, particularly regarding water and sewage systems.

One of the most engaging debates centered around a proposed sewer project on Hartung and Wyckoff Avenues. The project aims to provide direct sewage access to almost 60 homes and indirect access to over 200 homes in the Hartung development and White Hawk Knolls areas. “It’s in everyone’s benefit,” asserted Council Member Boonstra. However, the Northwest Bergen Sewer Authority operating committee rejected the proposal due to concerns about a ‘disconnected interceptor.’ The authority does not own part of the line on Wyckoff Ave.

Despite this setback, the council demonstrated tenacity and commitment to keeping the project alive. Boonstra asked if the sewer committee would have the opportunity to discuss the project directly with the Sewer Authority commissioners. “We’re doing our best to try to bridge all the parties involved. It’s a great opportunity for everybody to work collaboratively, cooperatively,” added Mayor Madigan, underscoring the sense of urgency surrounding the project.

In other matters of note, the State Health Benefits Commission announced a 7.4% increase for health insurance in 2024, a substantial rise after a 21% increase in the previous year. The council voiced its concerns about this escalation, attributing it to years of zero percent increases that should have ideally been between three and four percent according to actuaries.

The meeting also saw the council affirming the prohibition on short-term rentals via Airbnb, VRBO, and Swimply, specifying that rentals must be for no less than 31 days and individual rooms cannot be rented. The council has been in contact with these major vendors and expects them to comply with local regulations.

Additionally, the council saw a change in the legal team, with Rob Landell moving on to become a judge, and Ari Bernstein stepping in as the acting Township Attorney.

In discussions related to potential zoning changes, the council expressed apprehensions about the Cigna property in Franklin Lakes and the resulting increase in truck traffic and potential for chemical warehouses that could affect Wyckoff adversely.

Finally, on a more optimistic note, the council discussed several community events and initiatives, including an Art and Music Appreciation Block Party, a cornhole fundraiser, a Hackensack Medevac helicopter landing at Pullis Field, and a 5K run fundraising event, exemplifying the active, vibrant community spirit of Wyckoff.

A previous version of this article contained incorrect spellings of individuals’ names.

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