Town seeks money to improve softball field

Introduces anti-Airbnb ordinance, rewards best Xmas houses in township

The North Bergen Board of Commissioners passed a resolution on Wednesday asking the state of New Jersey to chip in $1.2 million for the township’s proposed 64th Street Softball Field Improvement Project. The town’s taxpayers would pay the remaining $401,910 if the state agrees.
“It would be a complete renovation of the field, including an artificial turf.” -Chris Pianese
Officials say the upgrades are badly needed at the field, which dates from the 1950s, mainly because it floods during the rain and needs artificial turf.
“It would be a complete renovation of the field, including an artificial turf,” said Chris Pianese, the town’s administrator. “That would be the big upgrade, because of the use of that field, oftentimes, there’s drainage issues, and there’s limited use, just because of bad weather. With synthetic turf, you avoid all that.”
The funds would also upgrade the bathrooms, concession stand, and press box, all of which will be handicap accessible, according to Commissioner Hugo Cabrera, who oversees North Bergen’s recreation program.
Cabrera said the field needs artificial turf because, “During the softball season, we could have maybe four or five games going on in one night. [If] you get a little bit of rain, all bets are off. When you have artificial turf, you could get rain, it stops raining within 15 minutes, you’re on the field and you’re playing like nothing.”
The field’s poor drainage can be so severe that one day of rain can push the entire season back, Cabrera said. He noted that the township does maintain the field well, “but it just holds too much water.”

Short-term rental issues

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The board also introduced an ordinance to limit short-term rentals (like those on in certain types of residential properties. The proposed ordinance listed several exceptions, including owner-occupied properties, and will be up for a vote at a future meeting.
Town Attorney Thomas Robin said there could be noise violations, parking issues, and overcrowding from people occupying rentals for fewer than 30 days.
The ordinance comes months after the commissioners first evaluated such limits. In December 2015, neighboring Union City passed legislation banning locals from renting out their properties for less than 31 days. The ordinance would allow exceptions for owner-occupied buildings that follow certain criteria. These include:
-The building having at least one off street parking space available for every two apartment units in the building.
-No more than two documented police reports of excessive noise, disturbances of the peace, disorderly persons, or vandalism within the previous two-year period, related to, or arising from the short-term rental of a property at the building in question.
-The unit housing the short-term rental has been registered with the North Bergen Building Department prior to rentals.
In the meantime, Airbnb, the popular online short-term rental network, continues listing rentals in the area.

Parking changes

The commissioners also passed a previously introduced ordinance establishing parking spaces for handicapped residents on Columbia Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Second Avenue, and 72nd Street.


Residents win awards for best Christmas decorations

At Wednesday’s commissioners meeting, officials also gave out awards for the best Xmas house decorations to three winning families.
Winners included Matos and Judy Julio; Claudia and Luis Rico; and Millie Vega, her daughter Keimily Alicia, and partner Carlos Alicia. They not only received plaques for their designs, but a $500 cash reward. Judges selected each house, and then notified the winners at their homes.
“It feels very, very exciting,” Luis Rico said about winning the award. “I’ve been making these decorations for 20 years. This was the first time they recognized that.”
“I’m so happy, because he’s been making those decorations for a long time,” added wife Claudia. “They recognized a good job.”

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