Teaneck, NJ, Ditches Self-Storage Plan, Pursues Historic Designation for Greenbelt

Update 7/12/17 – The measure to rezone a portion of the Route 4 greenbelt to allow a self-storage development is off the table after Teaneck officials learned the wooded lot is protected under the New Jersey Green Acres program and can’t be sold. Instead of voting on the rezoning plan last week, the town council took the first steps to have the greenbelt strip designated as a historic district, according to the source.

Update 7/12/17 – The measure to rezone a portion of the Route 4 greenbelt to allow a self-storage development is off the table after Teaneck officials learned the wooded lot is protected under the New Jersey Green Acres program and can’t be sold. Instead of voting on the rezoning plan last week, the town council took the first steps to have the greenbelt strip designated as a historic district, according to the source.

Though Teaneck officials are still waiting for the results from a formal title search, the Green Acres designation effectively prevents the town from pursuing the storage project. “That title report has not come back, but we did get a letter from Green Acres with a deed that showed a cloud on the title, to say the least, that we will not be able to have a viable zoning ordinance or any kind of thing that could be built on there that would bring value to Teaneck,” Hameeduddin said during the meeting. “Pretty much, it’s dead in the water at this point.”

The rezoning faced stiff opposition from residents. David Scharf, who lives in the neighborhood near the site of the proposed self-storage facility, presented the council with a petition with nearly 800 signatures in support of protecting the greenbelt and a historic designation, the source reported.

The council agreed to eventually allow a third lane on either side of Route 4, before passing a resolution to preserve the greenbelt and pursue listing it on the New Jersey and national historic registers.


7/3/17 – Officials in Teaneck, N.J., are discussing a measure that would rezone a portion of State Route 4 to allow development, including a proposed self-storage facility. Though a 2.5-mile stretch of the highway has historically been preserved as a greenbelt with parks and open spaces, the township is considering development as a way to generate additional tax revenue and provide relief to homeowners, according to the source.

The planning board was scheduled to review the rezoning issue yesterday, which would affect a section along the eastbound lanes of the highway and allow a self-storage project on the site of an existing law office, the source reported. The site is adjacent to wooded property owned by the township.

The measure potentially faces pushback from residents who consider the largely undeveloped area historically significant. “We don’t want development, and we certainly don’t want a self-storage facility,” said Marie Warnke, chair of the Teaneck Greenbelt Committee, a community organization.

State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a Teaneck resident, wants town officials to tread gingerly. “The greenbelt existed in Teaneck long before I moved here in 1964. It was held sacrosanct then, and I dare say it is still held sacrosanct now,” she told the source. “It has served a unique purpose in terms of the message it sends about what kind of community we are, its historical value and its environmental value. If that’s going to be changed in any way, we need a very public and robust discussion.”

Town planner Richard Preiss has estimated the self-storage facility would generate about $300,000 a year in taxes compared to $20,000 generated by the law office. “I’ve been a supporter of the greenbelt for years,” said Elie Katz, deputy mayor. “But right now, my concern is more for the Teaneck residents being able to continue to afford to live here.”

Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin noted that the law-office site isn’t listed on the Teaneck Recreation Open Space Inventory, which allowed it to be developed. Much of the land on either side of the highway is also owned by the board of education, the source reported.

Sources:

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