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The Top Issues of 2013

Here's a look at big news items coming up this year in Westwood, Hillsdale and Washington Township.

With 2012 finished and 2013 just starting, we wanted to take a look at some of the big stories coming up this year.

Woodcliff Lake Dam Upgrade

The Department of Environmental Protection is requiring United Water to strengthen the dam at the Woodcliff Lake Reservoir to be able to withstand stronger storms by increasing the maximum potential discharge rate. Water from the reservoir flows into the Pascack Brook, which flooded homes four times in 2011.

United Water's plan was already approved by the DEP, and now they are seeking approval from the Board of Public Utilities. Hillsdale officials, and a group of residents, are seeking to have the borough's planning board review the plan because of flooding in the Pascack Brook.

HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley

The former Pascack Valley Hospital, now called HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley, is scheduled to open this year. State officials approved a plan for 128 beds at the facility last spring and a court upheld the decision last month, despite appeals from the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood and Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.

State Assemblyman Robert Schroeder

Robert Schroeder, who represents a portion of Bergen and Passaic Counties in the New Jersey State Assembly, was charged and indicted for financial crimes in 2012. He may face a trial this year. Numerous lawsuits have also been filed against him.

Schroeder's seat, and every seat in the assembly, will be up for election in 2013.

Westwood Regional Schools Superintendent

Superintendent Geoffrey Zoeller has been publicly criticized for taking home a generator and truck for Hurricane Sandy, then leaving them there while away on vacation. The school board appointed Acting Superintendent Rory McCourt to lead the district for the remainder of the year while they decide what to do about Zoeller.

Even if the board finds that Zoeller acted appropriately, things in the district will not be the same. Many residents used the occassion to air other grievances with Zoeller, and the Westwood Education Association held a vote of 222-19 in having "no confidence" in Zoeller, according to union President Barry Albert.

Hillsdale Sober Living Home

Hundreds of Hillsdale residents have signed a petition opposing a proposed sober living home on Magnolia Avenue. Much of the residents' concern is that the home for former addicts is located just a few doors away from George G. White Middle School. The Hillsdale Planning Board is expected to begin hearing an application for the home this month or next month.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

STRESSED January 01, 2013 at 01:54 PM
How could they even be allowed to increase the discharge rate when the Brook can"t even handle what comes out now. Someone please explain. They also need to do something downstream for the Brook to handle this increase or things will be worse for residents. Are our elected officals doing something about this or is just another wait and see game. These flooded residents need answers before this work begins.
STRESSED January 01, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Jim What happen to my comment?
Jim Leggate (Editor) January 01, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Sorry about the delay. We've had some problems with a prolific spammer, so I had to turn on comment moderation.

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