North Bergen has again postponed action on an ordinance that would prohibit parking on a portion of Aschoff Place during a snowstorm.
The ordinance would temporarily prohibit parking on a portion of a street when it snows. According to the ordinance, due to the configuration of certain streets in the Township of North Bergen, there is a need to prohibit parking during times when there is an accumulation of snow in order to allow plows to effectively operate.
Under the ordinance, whenever snow has fallen and accumulated enough to cover the street, no vehicle would be allowed to park on a portion of Aschoff Place. Parking would be prohibited on the southernmost 25 feet of the street, on both sides.
The parking prohibition would remain in effect until after the snow has ceased and until the snow on the street has been removed or disappeared so that parking would not interfere with traffic flow. Any violation of the ordinance would be deemed a nuisance and danger to the safe and proper regulation of traffic, and would allow any police officer to provide for the removal of the vehicle.
The owner or lessee of the vehicles would be required to pay the costs of removal, towing, and storage before getting their ride back. If convicted, the fine for violations would not exceed $200.
Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners made the decision not to adopt the ordinance again at its November 22 meeting. This came after the board first postponed adoption of the ordinance at its November 9 meeting after a resident on the street raised questions about the measure. The ordinance was introduced back at the board’s October 26 meeting.
Concerns over handicapped space and other on-street parking
Resident Madeline Torraco lives on Aschoff Place. At the November 9 meeting, she said the ordinance was a result of a salt truck backing into her parked vehicle on the dead end street.
While she thought the ordinance would apply to one part of the street, she was alarmed when it covered both sides. She said the other side of the street across from her home has a parking space reserved for a handicapped person.
“Our thought was that at the dead end, the middle space was going to be the only one that was going to be impacted by this ordinance,” Torraco said. “But based on this ordinance, I see that it’s both sides of the street on the southern end. Our neighbor has a handicapped space on one of the sides. I just want to double check if that space will be okay for her to continue parking in when it snows, even though this ordinance would be passed.”
Another normal parking space on the street is also utilized frequently by an elderly resident. That space would also be affected by the ordinance.
Torraco asked if the space that’s in front of the other house can remain as a regular parking space.
Township Attorney Tom Kobin said at the November 9 meeting that he did not have all the information on what would be impacted by the 25 foot parking prohibition on the southern end of the street. He suggested adjourning the public hearing but holding off on any vote until the next meeting until further discussions can be had with the Police Department.
Kobin told Torraco to leave her information so the township can get in touch with her further on the matter. Sacco echoed that since the accident with her vehicle was the crux of the ordinance, to get in touch with the township about it.
The board closed the public hearing. However, they deferred on taking a final vote on the matter until next meeting on November 22.
Township still waiting for more information to adopt measure
At that meeting, the board still did not have all the facts. Kobin explained the situation in response to a question by Sacco.
“The next ordinance that we have on was this ordinance that banned parking on Aschoff Place during snow,” Kobin said on November 22. “Madeline Torraco spoke at the last meeting, so we’re still trying to sort out exactly what the people on the street want to have happen over there. It may be nothing, it may be something, but the Police Department is still sorting that out.”
Kobin said there is an upcoming Traffic Advisory Board meeting where the township plans to sort out the matter. Following that, then the Board of Commissioners will have a better idea of what residents want to do and may be able to adopt the ordinance.
“Right now, what I would ask is if we just do a motion adjourning consideration of this ordinance until the next meeting, December 7,” Kobin said. “We already had the hearing. We may have to amend it, but let’s just carry it to the next meeting. I told Madeline that’s what we’re going to do.”
That ordinance will be up for a hearing and a vote, and the other ordinance will be up for just a vote, both at the next meeting of the Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, December 7 at 1 p.m. in the municipal chambers at Town Hall at 4233 Kennedy Boulevard. For more information, go to northbergen.org.
Additionally, the board adopted an ordinance that adds a stop sign at the intersection of 78th Street and Park Avenue, which has been deemed to be of particular hazard. The new sign will go on Park Avenue facing southbound traffic.
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