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Chicken Law, Dam Decision, New Bakery Top This Week's News

Here's a look at the past week in Westwood, Hillsdale and Washington Township.

Chicken Law Considered For Westwood

Westwood officials are considering creating rules for raising chickens because there are already at least 36 properties in the borough with the birds, Councilman Ray Arroyo said Tuesday.

The borough has received some complaints about properties with chickens, Arroyo said, but the zoning officer has not taken any action because there is currently no law. Mayor John Birkner also said one resident had brought concerns to him that they could attract rodents.

"If we introduce this to the public, I expect some feathers to fly," Arroyo said.

State Board Dismisses United Water Petition For Woodcliff Lake Reservoir

A state board decided Wednesday that it does not have the authority to make a decision requested by United Water on the utility's proposed dam upgrade project for the Woodcliff Lake Reservoir.

United Water filed a petition with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) last year asking the board to find that their plan for the dam — which would approximately double the rate at which water can flow into the Pascack Brook — is "reasonably necessary;" and that local land use ordinances have no authority over the plan.

Hillsdale officials have argued that the plan should be heard by the borough Planning Board because it could affect flooding in the brook.

The BPU dismissed the petition without prejudice this week, declining to rule that they have jurisdiction over the matter.

That does not mean the project has been stopped.

Sarabou Bakery Owner Living 'The American Dream'

Sarabou Bakery, which specializes in French-style breads and pastries, recently opened on Center Avenue in Westwood.

The shop offers pastries, cakes and French and Italian bread made fresh daily. They also have lunch items like soup, salad and sandwiches.

The journey to opening his own shop has been long for baker Aboudacar Kone, who opened it with his wife last month. Kone, who is originally from Ivory Coast and trained as a baker in France, moved to the U.S. 13 years ago to be closer to his sister.

Washington Twp. Police Score Perfect on ACLU Test

The Washington Township Police Departmentwas one of 121 in New Jersey that got a "perfect score" in a recent test from the ACLU.

Volunteers from the ACLU called almost 500 police departments across the state and asked five questions about residents filing complaints against police, according to a report released last week. 

When a volunteer called Washington Township Police, the officer who answered the call answered all the questions correctly, according to the report.

Police Chief Randy Ciocco said that the department has spent a lot of time "to get the whole internal affairs process down pat."

Hillsdale Substation Included in $3.9 Billion PSE&G Infrastructure Upgrade

PSE&G announced a $3.9 billion plan Wednesday which the utility said will "proactively protect and strengthen its electric and gas systems against increasingly frequent severe weather conditions" like Hurricane Sandy.

The upgrades will help make PSE&G's easier to restore after storms cause outages and "modernize" its gas distribution, according to a company press release.

The plan includes an upgrade for the Hillsdale substation on Patterson Street, which flooded during Hurricane Irene.

Proposed CVS Signs To Be Revised

Plans for the proposed CVS on the corner of Pascack Road and Washington Avenue include 15 signs of various sizes, but those plans will be revised by next month, according to signage expert Robert Oelenschlager.

Several Zoning Board members and experts, as well as members of the public, expressed concern with the signs during a hearing Tuesday. Those who spoke were particularly concerned with the size of two proposed monument signs, one of which would include an electronic message board.

Westwood Appoints Two Special Police Officers

Corey Rooney and Michael Agnello have been appointed as special officers in the Westwood Police Department.

Police Chief Frank Regino said he already had many assignments lined up for Rooney and Agnello, including school and court security, parking enforcement and foot patrols, among others.

Society Men is celebrating their seventh anniversary in Westwood next week, according to MaryAlice Farella, the shop's founder.

They also launched a new website Thursday —SocietyMen.com —  in advance of the February 26 anniversary. 

Westwood officials hope to have upgraded 911 system and security equipment in place in theMunicipal Complex within a few months.

The borough Council voted on a pair of ordinances this week appropriating a total of $255,500 for the two projects.

The upgrade will replace existing equipment which has been in use since the Municipal Complex opened in 1994, according to Westwood Police Chief Frank Regino.

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