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North Bergen nixes proposed parking rules for Aschoff Place during snowstorms

The move followed residents changing their minds and opposing the measure

Resident Madeline Torraco questioned if the ordinance would affect parking spaces for elderly neighbors at a previous meeting. Photo by Daniel Israel.

North Bergen has let die an ordinance that would have prohibited parking on a portion of Aschoff Place during a snowstorm.

The ordinance would have temporarily prohibited 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 was 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 have been allowed to park on a portion of Aschoff Place. Parking would have been prohibited on the southernmost 25 feet of the street, on both sides.

The parking prohibition would have remained in effect until after the snow has ceased and until the snow on the street has been removed or disappeared so that parking would have not interfered with traffic flow. Any violation of the ordinance would have been 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 have been required to pay the costs of removal, towing and storage before getting their ride back. If convicted, the fine for violations would have not exceeded $200.

Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners introduced the ordinance back at the board’s Oct. 26 meeting. However, the board postponed adoption of the ordinance at its Nov. 9 meeting after a resident on the street raised questions about the measure.

The board again postponed the ordinance at its Nov. 22 meeting as the township was working out with residents what needs to be done. But at its Dec. 7 meeting, the Board of Commissioners let the ordinance die.

According to Township Attorney Tom Kobin, the ordinance was on hold as the township worked out what residents wanted. However, now it appears they don’t want anything done at all.

“The next item on the agenda is an ordinance dealing with no parking on Aschoff Place when there’s snow accumulation,” Kobin said. “This kind of got bounced around with the Police Department, the DPW and the neighbors down there. Initially they wanted this order in place, but now they don’t want it. So I would just ask that this not be moved and voted upon and then it’s going to die.”

After neighborhood consultation with the Police Department and Department of Public Works, the residents decided against the ordinance. Kobin said now the board can let the measure die by not voting on it.

“We’ve been carrying it to see what the neighborhood wants to do down there, but we can just let it die,” Kobin concluded.

Concerns over handicapped space and other on-street parking

Resident Madeline Torraco lives on Aschoff Place. At the Nov. 9 meeting, she said the ordinance was a result of a salt truck backing into her parked vehicle on the street.

While Torraco thought the ordinance would apply to the middle space at the end of the dead-end 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, and questioned if that would remain.

Another normal parking space on the street is also utilized frequently by an elderly resident. That space would also be affected by the ordinance, both of which Torraco sought to prevent. She asked if the space that’s in front of the other house can remain as a regular parking space.

Kobin said at the Nov. 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, but deferred on taking a final vote on the matter until the next meeting on Nov. 22.

At that meeting, the board still did not have all the facts. Kobin explained the situation in response to a question by Sacco.

According to Kobin, the township was still sorting out what exactly the residents on the street wanted. He said that it may end up being nothing, but the Police Department was still sorting that out.

Kobin said there was a Traffic Advisory Board meeting following that board meeting where the township plans to sort out the matter. After 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.

As such, Kobin recommended the ordinance be postponed to Dec. 7. The board voted unanimously to do so, pushing off the final vote again.

And in December, the ordinance died without controversy. The situation was a rare occurrence to begin with, given that few residents ever address the board regarding ordinances. Even fewer residents ever vocalize in opposition to what the township is doing, except for those who were against North Bergen’s plans for the 46th Street Field improvements. But even then, they did not get what they want, as residents of Aschoff Place did here.

The next meeting of the Board of Commissioners is on Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. in the municipal chambers at Town Hall at 4233 Kennedy Blvd. For more information, go to northbergen.org.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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