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RiverDell Issues in 2013

Looking ahead at what each borough will face in the upcoming year

River Dell will be facing a variety of issues in 2013 ranging from what to do with older buildings to the resurrection of certain ordinances and a new budget year.

Blauvelt Mansion Foreclosure Sale

After being rescheduled three times, the historic Mansion's foreclosure sale is now expected to be resolved on Jan. 4, 2pm at the Bergen County Sheriff's Office in Hackensack.

January's sale includes the $3.7 million mortgage, owned by Valley National Bank, and a $700,000 mortgage which is held by First Choice Bank.

Land Use Board Merger in Oradell

At some point in 2013, Oradell will again take up the possibility of combining its Zoning Board of Adjustment and Planning Board into a merged land use board. 

One of the main reasons previously cited by Councilman Edward Pfleging towards merging the two boards has been a lack of applications before the Zoning Board over the past two years. While 2008 was a busy year for the Board as it held numerous special meetings for the Walgreens and CareOne applications, the last "major" application before the board was Habitat for Humanity's affordable housing plans.

American Legion Building

River Edge officials opted to delay discussing and voting on a funding ordinance until after the November election for the proposed demolition of the American Legion building on Continental Avenue.

The borough had decided in late August along party lines to move forward with the removal of the Dutch-Colonial building that is plagued with flooding and mold issues. Prior to that, River Edge received a 329-page document by Brinkerhoof Environmental Services providing an inconclusive report for the River Edge American Legion Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment, which could not prove the existence of an underground oil tank on site along with any use of lead paint or asbestos inside the building. 

Proposed Park Avenue Duplexes

Throughout autumn, members of the River Edge Council and Planning Board debated the benefits of allowing a zoning change ordinance to proceed which would allow duplexes on Park Avenue. The governing body unanimously agreed to abandon the proposal until 2013.

Housing developer Joseph Caleca was initially approved to construct a pair of single-family homes on Park Avenue but following the borough's recent reassessment found himself facing the prospect of building houses that he would be unable to sell afterwards. The recent assessment for two newly constructed single family homes on Park Avenue, priced at $650,000 would come in hand with a $20,000 tax bill.

Cell Tower Ordinance in Oradell

The possible placement of a new Verizon cell phone tower to be placed in Memorial Woods will again be taken up in the New Year as Oradell continues to institute an ordinance limiting where cell towers could be placed in the borough.

The council approved a resolution in February 2011 to explore bringing an additional cell tower to the borough and an ordinance was introduced in October 2011 but later abandoned over residents concerns.

Decision on Regional Funding Fight

After several years of legal wrangling and a failed public referendum, the River Dell Regional Funding fight has moved one step closer to a final resolution following two days of testimony in July before Administrative Law Judge Leslie Z. Celentano in Newark. 

Oradell has argued over the years, that the current formula, based on each borough's equalized taxes, is unfair as taxpayers are subsidizing the costs for River Edge students. Oradell has proposed switching to an 80-20 mix formula of equalized taxes and a per-pupil charge to be implemented over a four-year span.

Oradell Orders Reassessment

Following in the footsteps of neighboring municipalities like River Edge, Cresskill and Dumont, the borough of Oradell has ordered a reassessment to stave off more tax appeals .

Beginning in July and August, Appraisal Systems will start to deliniate the various neighborhoods and visit any homes. The entire reassessment is expected to be completed by January.

Sidewalk Repairs in River Edge

River Edge and New Milford may enter into a shared agreement in 2013 for cost estimates and potentially construction work on sidewalk slabs that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Currently the borough has an ordinance in place stipulating that homeowners are responsible for covering the costs to replace sidewalk slabs. But officials found itself at odds with the administration as much of the damage was caused by borough shade trees.

According to DPW Superintendent John Lynch, there are approximately 38 slabs that need to be reset and an additional 40 for reconstruction. New Milford has an estimated 66 slabs that need to be replaced with the potential cost of $150 per 4-by-5 slab.

REPD Faces Heavy Retirement

With the addition of patrol officers  and Vincent Ariano to the roster, the River Edge Police Department boasts a 22-member compliment but the department's recruitment efforts are expected to carry into the new year as River Edge faces the prospects of seven officers reaching retirement age in 2013. According to Police Chief Thomas Cariddi, at least two officers have indicated they will retire at that point.

River Edge Roof Replacements

At some point, River Edge will have to choose between repairing the DPW roof or the Library roof as estimates for both projects exceeded the alotted funding.

The leaky River Edge Library roof would need to be completed replaced for an estimated $250,000 pricetag - twice the amount that the borough set aside in the capital budget. Architect Peter Pulice stated that the single-ply rubber membrane is failing and is no longer a viable option for repair and would need to be replaced completely. Additionally, roof cores that were taken revealed that at least 50% or more of the roof has insufficient insulation and he recommended that during the roof replacement the borough also install proper insulation.

He also estimated that the corroded Dept. of Public Works roof could . Pulice recommended that the current steel roof be covered over by a heavy gage aluminum version along with applying rigid insulation to resolve the water infiltration and corrosion issues that have taken place over the years. 

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