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Messages - ericmartindale

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Hackensack Discussion / Re: Coles Brook Flood Commission
« on: Yesterday at 09:51:51 AM »
I investigated Staib Park yesterday for flood control potential.

A paved area used decades ago for basketball and ice hockey could be excavated to approximately the level of Coles Brook and allowed to flood and hold storm water during storms. That's about an acre, and it will go a long way towards reducing flooding along the entire brook.

The pavement is nothing but urban blight; we could do without it.

A single 20 foot wide entrance to Coles Brook would allow flood waters in. Two entrances is no good, because it would take over the water flow, and leave the existing stream channel dry.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Coles Brook Flood Commission
« on: April 19, 2018, 11:50:11 PM »
I believe there is room for a large flood retention basin to be created along Coles Brook between the Summit Manor apartments near Beech Street and the adjacent apartments in Maywood.  The buildings are over 200 feet apart. Each could have a fenced setback of 15 feet. That would leave 170 of width for flood retention. This open area is bisected by the Lodi spur railroad, so there could be 2 basins, one on each side of the tracks.

This would help reduce the amount of water in Coles Brook downstream, and could be slowly released over 24 hours.

This is just one potential flood retention possibility.

Hackensack Discussion / Coles Brook Flood Commission
« on: April 18, 2018, 08:05:30 AM »
I am proposing that Hackensack, Maywood, Paramus, and River Edge create a Coles Brook Flood Commission to identify ways to reduce flooding in the Coles Brook / Van Saun Creek drainage basin. The amount of flooding and damage that occurs to the Johnson Ave area of Hackensack demands this. 

1. Other areas are hit as well.  I live in the last house on Woodland Avenue in Maywood, along the brook, and Coles Brook rose into my yard and driveway, and I got 2" of water in my basement and garage. My wife and I scrambed to move boxes and anything that could be damaged.  I drove around and took pictures during the peak water level, and I identified that a narrowing of the stream channel at Elm Ave / Stelling Ave is the cause of the Coles Brook impounding onto Maywood homeowners property in my area. Part of the problem is a raised mound between the end of Elm Ave and the brook, which could be easily removed by the City of Hackensack with a backhoe, in a few hours, at extremely low cost. However, that's not the only problem. the new house on Elm Ave has a retaining wall along the brook, which is causing the water to be a few inches higher, and that few inches is into my basement. The homeowner on the Maywood side is equally guilty. He has encroached onto a Maywood-owned flood prevention lot and he built a retaining wall. There are areas along the brook that the stream channel can be made much wider, including along Borg's Woods, and that will also make the water level drop. I can identify areas where this can be done without damaging the ecology. NOBODY should be allowed to have retaining walls along the brook to narrow the stream channel.  Fortunately, Borg's Woods itself retains water during storms, and that means less water in Coles Brook during storm events.

2. The construction of Lowes in Paramus was allowed without any water impounding area to allow water to impound before it reaches the brook. Ironically, this was proposed on the original site plan, and somehow with the intervention of Maywood and Hackensack city attorney's to help preserve a "green" setback, the flood retention basin was removed. Rick Salkin was heavily involved, but unsure if he is responsible for the site plan change. What's needed there is an impounding area IN PARAMUS that will collect water from the paved parking lots and access roads, and hold it and allow it to drain slowly FOR 24 HOURS, into Coles Brook. So the water impounding area will be very deep or even overflowing during the height of the storm, and then empty 24 hours later, so no need to worry about mosquito issues. This is done by creating a dam on the impound (not on the brook), and the dam has a slit an inch or two wide from top to base, and the slit will spew water from the impound.  There's plenty of land there to do this. Yes, some trees will be lost.

3. Van Saun Creek is the major tributary of Coles Brook, and it could be 3 or 4 times the drainage area and volume of Coles Brook. You can see this at the intersection of the two stream along South Lake Drive, Hackensack, a few blocks west of Main Street. From a pure hydrological sense, Coles Brook upstream of the stream merger is the real tributary. The main channel is Van Saun Creek. This is abundantly obvious upon site inspection. There are areas along Van Saun Creek where water could also be impounded as I suggested for Lowe's.  Including inside Van Saun Park, and behind the stores along Route 4 west. Most of the solutions needed for the entire drainage basin are in Paramus and River Edge.

4. Excavate the whole area where the creeks merge and create a large basin. Where there are now stream banks and dirt, there could be a basin holding water when it rises. I am not suggesting building any kind of dam (there are some loose rocks there now that is sort of a dam), but simply to have a LOWER AREA where water will collect. Excavating it out means there will be air where there is now a lot of dirt and soil, and it can fill with water. Basically there would be a permanent pond there, and a very low area all along the pond that can fill with floodwaters.  And that mean less water on Johnson Ave, and in the Grand Manor Condominiums, and that whole area.

If there is any interest, I am more than willing to volunteer to represent Maywood, and to help scope out what is needed for the entire project. I know this hydrology stuff, this is perfect for me.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Schools/Immigration Status Policy
« on: March 29, 2018, 06:01:42 PM »
Those are interesting ethnic stats. I think the 2020 census will be the high-water mark for Latino's in Hackensack, and afterwards the percentage will go down. I am sure this prediction will surprise a lot of readers.   Two forces are coming into play (1) the next wave of immigrants is already on a major increase, which are Asians and Muslims, especially India, but also the Phillipines and Korea. Hackensack already has a majority-Asian neighborhood, which is between Essex and Beech Streets, and from the Maywood border to Summit Ave. The percent Asian is on the increase on Prospect and Overlook Avenues, and will probably be a major component in the new downtown development. (2) There will be some gentrification with all the development in and around the downtown, and the percent White moving into those buildings will be higher than the city as a whole.  As this trend takes place, many of the one and two-family residential areas will continue to increase in Latino population for at least the next 20 years.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Kazimir's Pets closing
« on: March 25, 2018, 07:35:02 AM »
At one time, they were the largest pet store around. 

There's more to the story. 68 years ago they were in the middle of the most fashionable multi-unit neighborhood in Bergen County. All of those nearby apartments were new, and filled with tenants with much higher income.  It was comparable to what Prospect Avenue is today.  Anderson Street was a very desirable business district to visit, for those from out of town. And that is certainly not the case any more. The lure of the entire neighborhood is just gone. The apartments are old and outdated, with old kitchens and bathrooms, old floor plans, old electrical, no parking. One building had a major fire, and 1/4 of it was demolished. There's no way they can compete with Prospect Ave or other 'luxury' apartment buildings in other towns.

I think if Kazimer's Pets were in downtown Ridgewood, they would have survived. It's more than just chain stores and internet. 

And what really killed Anderson Street was the drive by the City of Hackensack to get rid of the antique shops, which peeked in number in the early to mid 1970's, I believe. At one point there were 17 of them, and they drew customers from other Counties and even New York. Somehow the city fathers thought if those "damn" antique shops were eliminated, higher quality stores would come in.  Well, other stores came in, and they weren't higher quality at all.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: My favorite paper is not having a good day
« on: March 17, 2018, 08:35:48 PM »
I have some pity for The Record, believe it or not. In order to have the level of copy-proofing that we saw as children and young adults, they would have to hire many more people, and that would not be economical.  And these days, it's barely economical to run a newspaper at all, and they are folding one by one as readers gravitate towards other news sources, especially online sources.  At least we have them as a news source, and at least they are no longer in Hackensack meddling with local matters.

Egan has good advice for Trump.  I can't imagine it being tougher for Kim Jung Il to have to face off with Donald Trump.  Trump will be tough, he will sell Democracy, he will sell peace.  He will wield the carrot and stick.  I have high hopes that real progress will be attained.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Summit & Hamilton Construction
« on: March 03, 2018, 05:56:22 AM »
nearby house on Hamilton Place, same estate division

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Summit & Hamilton Construction
« on: March 01, 2018, 12:16:35 PM »
I also proposed an R40 zone to replace R2, but I couldn't get it passed.  It would have continued to allow 2-family houses on a 50 x 100 lot, but only side-by-side duplex houses. It would not allow new construction or conversions from 1 to 2-family with one unit on the first floor and one on the second floor. The intent was to increase owner-occupany, and there was a clause that the 2-family units must be separately-deeded. R40 would have also allowed a single-family house on a 40 x 100 lot.  And for both single-family and two-family, it would have allowed slightly more lot coverage, which is needed for quality construction. Otherwise, rooms would be a lot smaller, and the houses would sell for so much less that it would not be economical to build. And that is the status quo.

The result of R40 not passing is that NOT MUCH one and two-family construction has occured in the R2 zone, which is large areas of the First Ward, plus the Carver Park area. Builders could go for variances, but that's always a gamble.

I believe the R40 proposal is still relevant, and it could still be passed.  I still have all my files on that.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Summit & Hamilton Construction
« on: March 01, 2018, 12:11:37 PM »
Another very similar house is under construction around the corner on Hamilton Place.  The estate at the SW corner of Summit & Hamilton was subdivided. That large estate, along with the adjacent house on the corner of Passaic Street, had been held for DECADES by investors hoping for zoning changes to build something more. 

Now that threat is completely eliminated by the subdivision of the larger estate.

In 2005, I wrote new zoning code for Summit Ave and vicinity.  The R1 zone definition (75 x 100, 7500 square feet) was eliminated, and replaced with R100, R75, and R60.  This site is in R75, which still means 75 x 100, but with 10,000 square feet lot size.  The new house around the corner went from R1A (50 x 100, 5000 square feet) to R75 as well.  Most of the remaining R1A zone was renamed R50, and it means the same thing.

Hackensack Discussion / Summit & Hamilton Construction
« on: March 01, 2018, 12:02:15 PM »
There is new construction on Summit Ave near Hamilton Place.  Attempting to download a photo, it's not easy.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: School Board may build new school
« on: February 27, 2018, 03:41:49 AM »
There needs to be an elementary school EAST of Railroad Ave, and somewhere between Anderson and Essex Streets. That will be "local" for all the new construction on Main and State Streets. Just look at a map of where the schools are, and you'll see a big void that needs to be filled. Hackensack is beyond the point of erecting additions to the existing elementary schools.

The only options are (a) stop new construction, and (b) build a new school.  I don't see (a) as a viable option.

If someone has access to the school district map, please post it.

And then everyone can all see how crazy the district lines are for 3 of the elementary schools. The Fairmount, Nellie K. Parker, and Fanny Hiller districts each reach deep into the heart of Hackensack, and into the downtown area. This means that families who will be living in the vicinity of Union, State, Main, and River Streets have to send their elementary students to a school 1 to 1.75 miles away, whether it's Fairmount, Nellie k. Parker, or Fanny Hillers. Only the Jackson Ave school has sensible district lines.

The city is trying to create a sense of community for the downtown and surrounding blocks, but wants to continue to divide that area between three elementary school districts AND then make parents transport their kids to 3 distant schools literally across town. You see the problem. Although all the existing elementary schools are all in stellar suburban neighborhoods, I'm quite sure that all the new families living downtown would much rather have a BRAND NEW elementary school in their own neighborhood.  And I have a hunch that it will be the highest performing elementary school in the city, with all the new relatively high income families moving into the downtown and surrounding streets.  And since all of Hackensack is now thoroughly mixed between Black and Latino, and there's very few White families sending to any of the elementary schools (I think all are 10% or less White, and if someone has this data, please post), this redistricting can be done in 2018 without raising any issues of racial segregation.  Although there is the possibility that a new downtown school might have a tad higher White and Asian populations than the others. Depending on the level of gentrification coming.


Hackensack Discussion / Re: Hackensack River Eco-tourism
« on: February 25, 2018, 03:23:52 AM »
For those who don't know, the Teaneck Greenway advisory board has been corrupted.  There are two homeowners along the Greenway who firmly and absolutely do not want the greenway coming through their property. So they got seats on the Board with the intent of making sure that no steps are taken to advance the project in any significant way. The worst of the offenders lives between the Indian burial ground near Pomander Walk and Terheune Park. And most ironically, the homes there sit very far from the river and on a high bluff. It would be no great loss to the properties if a 30-foot wide pubic access corridor was established along the river.  Good chance this misspelled woman's name is one of the two selfish rotten riverfront homeowners who control the direction of that Board. And the rest of the Board just follows their lead. 

But the real shame on this is the Teaneck Mayor and Council for allowing that type of corruption to happen.

At 211 Main, the city should not have let the developer destroy the tall arched window over the entry door.  From the photo, looks like it's getting sealed up.  They said the architectural integrity of the building would be preserved.  That evidently was a LIE.  Trust nobody, folks.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Woo-Hoo! We're #162!!
« on: February 07, 2018, 04:51:04 PM »
The list is somewhat deceptive because it strongly penalizes towns with large retail developments.  For instance, Paramus scored worse than Irvington.  Now, if anyone actually believes that Irvington is a quieter and safer town than Paramus, you've got rocks in your head.

Wayne and Eatontown also have abysmal scores, and both have major malls.  Hackensack would actually score higher, if not for our heavy retail.

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