Flood Area Law Violation, Girl's Death, Taxes Top This Week's News
Here's a look at the past week in Westwood, Hillsdale and Washington Township.
The owner of a Washington Township property being considered for use as a CVS violated New Jersey's Flood Hazard Area Control Act, according to officials from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
In a February 4 letter to 660 Pascack Realty, LLC, the owner of the properties, Bureau of Coastal and Land Use Compliance and Enforcement Regional Supervisor Armand Perez wrote that the violations included the removal of vegetation, placement of fill and construction of a retaining wall.
Elizabeth Fasciano, the 7-year-old Westwood girl who residents had rallied to support, died Sunday, according to her obituary.
Elizabeth was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was 13 months old and underwent numerous treatments during her life.
The assessed value of Westwood has dropped by about $17 million this year because of tax appeals, a decrease in taxable properties and the former Pascack Valley Hospital remaining closed, auditor Gary Vinci said at a recent borough council meeting.
The drop in value from about $1,730,000,000 to $1,713,000,000 could mean a $28 tax increase for the average borough homeowner to compensate for the loss of ratables, according to Vinci. All properties in Westwood are included in the assessed value.
The Hillsdale Council introduced a tentative $12.56 million budget during their meeting Tuesday night.
If approved, the budget includes a 1.9 percent tax levy increase, which would mean a $57 increase in taxes for the average borough home assessed at $469,400. The tentative local and regional school district budgets would raise taxes by an additional $226 for that same home.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is requiring United Water to start work to upgrade the dam at the Woodcliff Lake Reservoir "as soon as possible" in a letter dated March 1.
The DEP is requiring United Water to approximately double the rate at which water can flow out of the reservoir so that the dam would not break in a 1,000-year storm.
United Water has until April 1 to submit a schedule for the project.
Steven Goudsmith, a company rep, told Patch that the schedule is still being developed.
The average Hillsdale homeowner could see a school tax increase of more than $200 next year.
The proposed $48 million Pascack Valley Regional Schools budget would include increases for average homeowners in Hillsdale, River Vale and Montvale, according to Business Administrator Yas Usami. The average Woodcliff Lake homeowner would see a decrease.
In Hillsdale, that means an increase of $127 for a property assessed at $549,000. The Hillsdale K-8 district's budget would cause an additional increase of $99 for that same property, for a total increase of $226 in school taxes next year if both budgets are approved by the county and the respective school boards.
United Water is seeking approval from the state for an 18 percent rate increase, the company said.
The company said it needs $30 million generated by the higher fees to pay for infrastructure upgrades and other expenses.
A permanent memorial to Joan D'Alessandro, the 7-year-old Hillsdale girl who was murdered in 1973, will be built in front of the Hillsdale train station.
Joan's mother, Rosemarie D'Alessandro, previously asked the borough Council if they could put the "white butterfly garden" in Veteran's Park. Officials said they were open to the idea, but Mayor Max Arnowitz said some vets he had spoken to were opposed to including it in the park.
Since then, officials met with D'Alessandro and they agreed to the new location in front of the train station.
Less than a century ago, Hillsdale was a town with shootings, arsons and bank robberies.
That history has now been preserved in a new book by Hillsdale Police Sgt. Sean Smith. The book, The History of the Hillsdale Police Department 1898-1979 features historic photos, newspaper articles and other accounts of goings-on in the borough.
A truck spilled cement as it climbed the steep hill on Wearimus Road in Washington Township Monday morning.
The truck drove off, leaving the cement on the road. Township Police said it was likely the driver didn't realize the spill had occured.
Police diverted traffic through Hillsdale while a crew from the DPW cleaned up the mess.