TEANECK, N.J. -- The Teaneck Mayor and Council voted 4-2 tonight to rezone the large and crucial tract of land at 1775 Windsor Road, said to be the second or third most valuable tract of land in the township.
Voting for the ordinance to rezone the area from commercial to residential were Deputy Mayor Elie Y. Katz and councilmembers Henry Pruitt, Mohammed Hameeduddin, and Mark Schwartz.
Mayor Lizette Parker and Councilman Jason Castle were opposed. Councilman Alan Sohn didn't attend.
The vote followed a marathon public session, with sentiment on both sides. Those who favored the change support more diverse land use and income-producing ratables. Those opposed say the site is too close to railroad tracks that frequently carry cars containing oil and other flammable chemicals that could cause a disaster.
Katz told Daily Voice after the meeting the zoning change represents a change in attitude for Teaneck, and is “an open sign for developers that Teaneck wants proposals for areas in need of development.” Although acknowledging that the zoning change on Windsor Road “could spill over,” he said every area has to be evaluated independently and he’s not ready to say this change will signal similar development in other parts of the township.
Parker said she was voting against the ordinance because she thinks the language about affordable housing needs to be stronger, and she is also concerned about proposals that affect unions. The tract is stipulated to be developed at least 10 percent for affordable housing, or a number of units to be designated by the township.
Castle said he is not in favor of Avalon Bay, the company that has a contract to purchase the property, building on that site although he “welcomes them elsewhere” in Teaneck.
Charelle Wilson Hanley, a resident, worried about fire danger, saying, “I’m reading an article about Edgewater’s fire,” and called the proposal a “tinderbox”.
“You are going to create so much destruction that you cannot guarantee it won’t happen.”
Lawrence Elie Borger, conversely, said “Many can’t afford their homes in retirement. Teaneck is becoming unaffordable. We need tax relief. That is the real and present crisis.”