West New York Mayor Roque talks responsible development

Decries circumventing due process

Mayor Roque discussed maintaining the master plan.
Mayor Roque discussed maintaining the master plan.

Development in West New York has been a major concern for residents in recent years, but peaked this year with developer Novus Landmarks proposing a 15-story high-rise apartment building at 6605-15 Kennedy Blvd. East.

Transparency and procedure

A measure to re-examine the city’s master plan to make room for the unprecedentedly large complex was first introduced this summer. West New York Mayor Felix Roque held a heated conversation during the most recent Board of Commissioners meeting on Nov. 28. An attempt to find out which planning board official introduced the measure earlier in the year resulted in “he said/she said,” Roque reported. “That conversation reminded me of the ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’ monkeys.”

Roque said that elected officials owe it to residents to be transparent and follow due process.

“We re-examine the master plan every 10 years, and there are procedures in place to protect the character of West New York,” he said. “I feel sorry for the developers who invested money into this plan.” But he said that no one should circumvent due process.

“there are procedures in place to protect the character of West New York.”–West New York Mayor felix roque

–West New York Mayor

Quality of life

The planning board voted down a resolution to re-examine the master plan during its Nov. 26 meeting after an outcry from local residents during the public hearing.

“I’m in full support of development, but it needs to be done in a responsible, regulated way,” Roque said. “Trying to push for this re-examination was something I’d describe as nefarious, and it doesn’t reflect the best interests of our residents.”

Roque said that he held a meeting at Rumba Cubana restaurant in town to get more feedback on the issue.

“From what I heard that night, what this all comes down to is that all of our residents are in agreement that the quality of life in town is most important,” Roque said. “If developers impact the character of our neighborhoods, it’s residents who are left to deal with the real, long-term consequences.”

Roque said that his investment in protecting the character and quality of life of West New York will be a large component of his 2019 re-election platform.

Mike Montemarano can be reached at mmontemarano@hudsonreporter.com