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Messages - Rob Gartner

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Hackensack Discussion / Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« on: August 19, 2013, 11:28:16 PM »

I guess we will know pretty soon.  I hope the city's attorney made a stronger argument than it sounded in this article.

Fate of rejected Hackensack medical building plan in judge's hands
Monday August 19, 2013, 4:24 PM
The Record

HACKENSACK — The fate of a 19-story medical building proposal that was unanimously rejected by the city’s zoning board is now in the hands of a judge.

Oral arguments that began on Friday concluded Monday morning with just an hour of rebuttals by attorneys.

Judge Alexander H. Carver, III will make a decision by Aug. 30, his expected retirement date.

The Hackensack Zoning Board of Adjustment denied the application in January 2012, saying it would bring traffic and parking problems to the residential area around the site at Prospect and Summit avenues. Residents packed hearings, held protests and hired attorneys to oppose the medical center.

Joseph L. Basralian, the attorney representing Bergen Passaic Long-Term Acute Care Hospital, argued that the facility would benefit the growing population of aging adults in Bergen County more than it would inconvenience its neighbors; the center’s clients typically stay 25 days and would not add to traffic problems, and that the height of the building was comparable to those within the same zone.

The project would require the demolition of two homes to make way for 10 floors of patient rooms, a dialysis center and an adult medical day-care center for up to 180 adults.

Demand for dialysis centers has been rising about 5 percent per year, Basralian said, and six other centers in Bergen County are already operating near capacity.

Laura Kirsch, an attorney for the city’s zoning board, said the major issues that drove the board to vote down the project were parking, traffic and safety issues. Prospect and Summit avenues already experience traffic problems and back ups.

She expressed concern about 30 dump trucks of soil leaving the site per day over 10 months of construction and the impact that would have on the water table for neighboring properties. Kirsch said there were issues with site lines and an inability for cars and trucks to maneuver safely at the driveways. “There’s no continuous path,” she said.

Liquid oxygen tanks being trucked on and off the site could also exacerbate the problem. “You have the potential for a serious accident,” Kirsch said. “If a vehicle hits a truck carrying oxygen, we could lose Prospect Avenue.”

Basralian declined to comment after the hearing.

The lawsuit says that the city and zoning board engaged in a political scheme to deny the applicant a fair and impartial review.

Carver, during the hearing, asked Kirsch how she felt about candidates for mayor and council speaking out publicly at the beginning of the application. Kirsch said the officials spoke as any other citizen would have the right to.

But Carver said if they had come as private citizens, they wouldn’t have spoken at the beginning of the application and “set the tone.”

LTACH also claims in its lawsuit that the board allowed an objecting attorney to harass the property owner, applied different standards for its own experts and created a conflict of interest with the applicant’s engineering consultant by engaging and interviewing the consultant — forcing the applicant to switch professionals in the middle of the process. The company also said the hearing process was delayed and costly, noting there were 23 meetings, of which 20 were special meetings at a cost of $3,000 each to be paid by the applicant to the city.


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Hackensack Discussion / Re: Teterboro Airport
« on: June 02, 2005, 04:21:57 PM »
As usual, Dr. Bruno makes some outstanding points.  There are two points I would like to follow up on.  Both of these points are based on conversations I have had with Port Authority and FAA officials over the last few years.  First, only departing flights are subject to noise restrictions.  Arriving flights (like the ones over the hospital) are not subject to regulations and can never be cited for violation.  Second, FAA internal systems did not, at the time the ILS was approved, account for changes in elevation of the surrounding area when laying out flight paths.  The heights of flight paths were only measured relative to ground level at the runway not relative to buildings the planes would fly over.  The change in elevation between the airport and Hackensack and the height of buildings were simply not figured into the analysis.   I was told that this was going to be corrected in later versions of their analysis but that was too late for ILS 19.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: City Council Election (Updated 5/28/05)
« on: May 31, 2005, 03:02:07 PM »
If this election had been close then I could understand Mr. Coles position.  But the fact is that he missed getting elected by almost 500 votes (a substantial margin when less than 5,000 votes were cast).  Despite each voter having 5 chances to choose Mr. Coles, only 42% of voters selected his name.  I think the voters in Hackensack made it clear that they did not find him to be an attractive candidate for the City Council.  The new City Council should look outside the candidates the voters have already rejected to fill the last slot.

Hackensack Discussion / Re: Teterboro Airport
« on: May 24, 2005, 11:17:17 AM »
At what level of use should Teterboro be “grandfathered”?  The traffic at Teterboro was mostly smaller prop planes twenty years ago.  Now it is much larger jets.  The only reason the Boeing Business Jet (at over 100,000 pounds) was stopped was because local citizen groups fought it.  Boeing will be back to fight that battle again.  Much of the noise problem in Hackensack is due to the installation of an ILS on runway 19.  That just happened in the last 10 years.  Should that be grandfathered too?  Where does the growth of this airport end? 

Yes, there are larger planes flying into Newark but commercial aviation is at least regulated.  Airport security has been dramatically increased over the last few years at the bigger airports.  Teterboro was largely exempt from those requirements.  It wasn’t a Newark Airport flight that ran into a building on Route 46.  It wasn’t a Newark Airport flight that crashed in the backyard of a Hasbrouck Heights home a few years back.  It wasn’t pilots from Newark getting warned by the FAA for not following the correct flight paths recently.  Those planes flying a few hundred feet above Hackensack Medical Center aren’t going to Newark.  On a broader scale, it wasn’t a commercial airliner causing an evacuation of the White House a few weeks back.

As far as fees go, until recently, even Teterboro’s own website advertised their low cost as a reason to use the airport.  Obviously, that was dropped once they started getting criticism.

The airport, in my opinion, has grown well beyond an acceptable level given its location.  The noise, pollution and risk of an accident places an unfair burden on the surrounding communities.  The Port Authority and the FAA have simply not demonstrated the ability or desire to mitigate the impact on local residents.  Growth should not only be stopped.  Traffic should be reduced.

Hackensack Discussion / Joe DeFalco
« on: May 10, 2005, 10:43:02 PM »
My wife and I didn’t grow up in Hackensack so we didn’t know him as long as many others but Joe made us feel very much at home.  Despite his business schedule, he always had time to talk, ask about our children and humor us with a story.  He made us feel like great lifelong friends.  We appreciate the time we knew Joe but only wish it had been for a lot more years.

I first met Joe playing golf a few years back.  Since he didn’t seem to be playing well that day, I make some encouraging remarks along the way (“Don’t worry.  You’ll get the next one).  Not really knowing him, I was trying to be friendly.  His play never seemed to bother him, he just kept on smiling.  Halfway through the round (I assume to take the pressure off me), he finally laughed and told the truth: “What do you mean get better?  This is the way I always play.”  Much to my embarrassment, he loved to repeat that story.

I think Joe would have made a great mayor.  I am sorry he will not get the chance.  He clearly loved the city and its people.  Judging from the reaction I saw from many students, teachers and parents today, the feeling was clearly mutual.  Joe was as good an ambassador as the schools and the city could have asked for.

Our condolences go out to his family and friends.   Thanks, Joe, for being a friend.  We will miss you.

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