Restored to life
An interesting feature in this past Sunday's Record covered the remarkable resurgence of the Hackensack River. There is no doubt that the return of wildlife and recreational opportunities to the river is potentially a great boon for the residents of the region. But a clean and attractive river winding its way through our town isn't only desirable for the hikers, fishermen, photographers, birdwatchers, or boaters among us. It also represents a potential source of revenue for the town that cannot be ignored. That is why it is unlikely that the relatively brief debates that have taken place in recent months over the future of Teaneck's riverfront are the last we'll have.
While the Master Plan recommends that "Township commit to maintaining all existing zoning along the waterfront," no such commitment seems to have been made. Sure, back in January, Councilman Rudolph's dramatic excision of a section of the Birdsall report urging the creation of a "Waterfront Redevelopment Area" seemed to close the book on rezoning for the time being. But what happens when a developer shows up with a proposal in hand to transform several parcels of riverfront property into a significant ratable for the town? Up to now, there were few economic considerations involved in decisions to set aside areas adjacent to the river for recreation or environmental purposes. Now that the river is on the rebound, towns such as Teaneck would have to make a conscious choice to forfeit the potential benefits of exploiting a newly restored natural resource in order to preserve the status quo. Will they do so?