TEANECK, N.J. -- Teaneck mayor and council are set to vote Tuesday, Dec. 15 on rezoning for “the second or third” most valuable piece of property in the township.
That’s how Deputy Mayor Elie Y. Katz characterized the Windsor Road property where the World of Wings butterfly museum currently sits. The property is under a sale contract and the purchaser is expected to ask for approval to build 240 AvalonBay-style apartments.
The 7 p.m. meeting will be held in Teaneck High School to accommodate what’s expected to be a large turnout. Sentiment is high — both for and against the apartments, Katz told Daily Voice.
“Some people are against building anything anywhere, but others think taxes are just too high,” said Katz, acknowledging that proposed rezoning is a largely revenue-driven decision. He also said there are fears the property could be purchased by a non-profit group and taken off the tax rolls.
Mayor Lizette Parker could not be reached for comment.
The property is currently zoned for commercial use and was formerly home to Givaudan, the largest fragrance manufacturer in the world.
Chuck Powers — a local activist who runs the Bergen Grassroots organization — doesn’t believe the site is suitable for dwellings, especially not “apartments targeted to older people and very young people.”
It’s adjacent to the CSX railroad tracks, where he said “almost all shipments of flammable materials are done at night.”
In case of an accident — such as an explosion — Powers says “it would be nearly impossible to evacuate everyone in that building in time.” He also believes Teaneck would be liable for any injuries or losses because they're forewarned of the danger.
There has already been an incident when a CSX shipment leaked and — although it was harmless — it could just as easily be something that could cause a fire or explosion, Powers said. There have been several similiar accidents around the country, he said.
Powers opined that Teaneck should move the township recycling center to the property. It’s currently sited along the Hackensack River where it's leaching hazardous waste, he said.
According to the Hackensack Riverkeeper, Powers said, the entire river from the Oradell Dam to Newark Bay is about to be designated a Superfund cleanup site.
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