Pick Up the Garbage, Not the Pace

The Suburban Trends gleefully announced that “the redevelopment of the [Pompton Lakes] commercial district has come another step closer to reality.  The Business Improvement District (BID) is in the process of soliciting proposals from professional planners that would be in charge of designing a Redevelopment Plan for the west side of Wanaque Avenue, which is the side along the Wanaque River.”

“The BID was established by the governing body several years ago to improve the appearance of the commercial districts and make the more appealing to business owners, shoppers, and to those driving through the area.”

Before it was renamed, BID was known as Smart Growth – and, of course, we all know that means Agenda 21.  The goal of the plan, published in the pages of the Suburban Trends, was to narrow Wanaque Avenue, which would essentially eliminate street-side parking, and build four-story apartment buildings on both sides of the avenue.  The elimination of parking and the narrowing of the streets would make Wanaque a very dangerous street on which to drive.

Now, it seems, the planners have scaled back their plans, and intend to only build on the west side of Wanaque Avenue.  The hitch in those plans is that the Wanaque River backs those properties all along Wanaque Avenue, right out to the Hamburg Turnpike.

“At the June 26 meeting of the Borough Council, Councilwoman Terri Reicher explained that the overall goal behind BID is to make the commercial districts into a source of revenue-producing tax ratables for the borough,” the Trends reports.  “In in addition to the Redevelopment Plan, the BID will have a marketing study completed on the commercial districts.”

“’We need a marketing study to give us an idea of what types of units can be built, how many, and what the price point of the units are,” said BID Executive Director Michael Fabrizio. 

“In 2009, the governing body adopted an ordinance that turned the commercial districts along Wanaque Avenue, Ringwood Avenue, Cannonball Road, and Hamburg Turnpike into a Redevelopment Zone.”  The commercial zoning ordinance would allow businesses to open.  It would also allow the development of medium- and high-density affordable housing.

At the Pompton Lakes Shopping Center, the store where Blockbuster Video used to be has been vacant for years.  Other, smaller shops have opened and closed.  Many business owners complain about Pompton Lakes’ high taxes. 

Pompton Lakes’ neighbor, Wanaque, underwent a similar “Redevelopment.”  They boast of a huge affordable housing complex.  Wanaque’s streets, especially Ringwood Avenue, are a river of trash and litter.  Convenience stores attract the kind of customers who think it’s “convenient” to simply throw their litter on the ground.

There are two kinds of litter:  car litter and pedestrian litter.  The car litter is what you find in the convenience store, fast food restaurant, and supermarket parking lots.  The pedestrian litter is what you find along the road, sometimes left out in the open – soda and beer cans, fast food bags, and even left-over fast food.  Pedestrian litter is what you find stuffed under bushes and underbrush.  You can also find both pedestrian and car litter – usually from a fast food restaurant – thrown onto the properties of homeowners along these main drags.

Wanaque is filthy.  That’s what you get when you accept Affordable Housing grants and their tenants:  a mountain of money and a mountain of garbage.  Such population density puts a strain on all the public services – police, fire, ambulance, and waste management.  Wanaque has only its small stores to depend upon for tax revenue – and the federal government, which pays the towns to take in the indigent.  What the town doesn’t count on is the high cost of supporting these people in terms of welfare and other social services.

Pompton Lakes isn’t there – yet.   But as the Trends notes, it’s on its way.  Bloomingdale is about the find out.  Butler, one suspects, has known for years.  Pompton Lakes tries to stay clean.  Its garbage cans are mostly filled to the brim until the DPW can come around to empty them.  Yet the sidewalks would and will be a mess if someone doesn’t clean up the litter that is left on the ground, which I see every day on my walk.  The railroad tracks are especially attractive to the low-lifes who guzzle themselves into oblivion.  The local Wendy’s is a popular littering site for teenagers and other losers who can’t seem to get their garbage into the cans that are everywhere.

If Pompton Lakes wants to make itself “attractive,” attracting more low-life litterers isn’t the way to do it.  It’s not just the fault of those who litter, or the business owners who do their best to keep their establishments presentable.  Wendy’s, in particular, is very conscientious about their public appearance.  Their staff washes the sidewalk every morning and pick up the garbage their customers have left behind.

It’s hard for a small town to compete with the big box stores on the highway (Route 23).  Many of those stores have shut their doors, however, thanks to Obama’s “solutions” to the economic downturn.   The business owners hope that by attracting more residents, they’ll attract more business.

That depends on who the residents are.  Some residents are attractive; others simply attract flies.  It’s every resident’s duty to help keep the town clean if Pompton Lakes is to avoid becoming Wanaque or a suburban version of Detroit.  If you see the garbage pick it up.  Pompton Lakes residents pay high property taxes to support their teachers and teachers’ pensions.  These are the teachers who teach the children catchy slogans and draw cute cartoons about saving the planet.

Yet they and their parents think nothing of walking over or past discarded bottles and cans, fast food and gum wrappers.  You want to save the planet?  Start by saving your town, and picking up the stray newspapers.  Instead of selling cookies and candy, why don’t the Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops hike around Pompton Lakes and clean it up?

Scout troops in other towns in The Trends area could do the same.  Don’t talk about saving the planet when you knowingly walk right over a discarded water bottle.   Put your environmental idealism where your mouth is.

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Published in: on August 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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