Eye On Riverdale

Welcome to Eye On Riverdale, a website dedicated to providing the citizens of Riverdale, NJ with information on the issues that affect all of us.  Here you will find summaries of Town Council meetings including how council members vote on the resolutions that they are presented with.  As Eye on Riverdale evolves, we hope to also bring you important information about Riverdale School and the State and Federal mandates that can effect our children’s education.

Outside of our town, we will bring you information on happenings at the County and State levels and explain how they effect us; in plain, simple English.  Issues such as Affordable Housing, Taxes, Shared Services, and Town Mergers that can have a great impact on small municipalities such as ours.  Stop back regularly for updates and, please, spread the word.

Affordable Housing: NJ Supreme Court Ruling Defies Logic

By on February 11, 2017

With President Trump’s monopoly on the 24-hour news cycle, it is no wonder why most of us missed the NJ Supreme Court’s ruling on affordable housing on January 18th.

For those who have not been following the fate of the Fair Housing Act of 1985 (FHA) since last year’s demise of NJ’s Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), allow me to bring you up to speed. To do this however, I must first provide a little background.

After 16 years of failed attempts by COAH to implement an affordable housing plan that was satisfactory to both municipalities and special interest groups (Fair Housing Advocates backed by the big Housing Companies), the NJ Supreme Court moved to abolish the ill-fated bureaucracy and take matters into their own hands. This is only fitting since they created the mess in the first place with what has become known as the Mount Laurel Doctrine. This was a series of rulings which many now consider examples of Legislating from the Bench; when a court sets a precedent that is not clearly supported by existing law, forcing the governing body to create new laws to manage the flurry of subsequent lawsuits arising from the court’s decision. You can find a brief history lesson on New Jersey affordable housing right here at COAH & Riverdale.

In taking on the issue of affordable housing, the NJ Supreme Court brought the battle between municipalities and special interest group directly into their courtroom. Each and every municipality had the opportunity to present their plan for affordable housing for approval by the court. Special interest, in turn had the opportunity to challenge each one; and challenge they did. With Riverdale, for example, they presented a figure for new affordable housing that would increase total housing in the Borough by nearly 25%. The fact that there is little if any land available to develop means nothing to them or, apparently, to the Supreme Court. The court has been entertaining outrageous claims by special interest for so long, why stop now?

At the crux of the special interest claims is something that has become known as the “gap period”, the 16 years where COAH was unable to implement guidelines that could dictate affordable housing obligations of individual municipalities. Their claim is that no formula for calculating a municipality’s present and future need can adequately address past need. Sounds logical perhaps on the surface, but if you consider the spirit of the FHA and the Mount Laurel Rulings, it is anything but. The rulings and subsequent law were intended to prohibit municipalities from passing zoning laws that would prevent the people who worked there to “afford” to live there. The amount of affordable housing to be developed in each municipality would be related to the number of low-to-moderate income jobs located within them. In this context, how can “present need” not include “past need”? Are we to build housing “in the past” for people living “in the past” and, if so, would they not be the same people living “in the present”? Believe it or not, the NJ Supreme Court some how did not see the paradox and instead, sided with special interest.

It is important to note that in this latest ruling the high court overturned a decision by a lower court, stating that trial courts need to implement an “expanded definition” of present need. While your at it, why not consider some “alternative facts” when making your rulings.

The reality is, COAH was unable to provide the framework for implementing the FHA because the NJ Supreme Court has never felt that the FHA adequately addressed their intended results of their rulings in the Mount Laurel cases; a clear case of Judicial Activism. What affordable housing advocates want is to leverage the FHA to spread New Jersey low income populations to suburbia; regardless of where they work or if they are employed at all. Clearly poverty, ineffective schools and the lack of employment opportunities in our cities are all real and legitimate issues, but the fact is that the FHA was never intended to address them. Until our Supreme Court acknowledges this, we can expect the endless litigation to continue.

Posted in: COAH & Riverdale

Don’t Forget to Vote!

By on November 7, 2016

Clearly this has been the strangest Presidential race in history. However, the Trump-Clinton Saga is not the only oddity this Election Day, Riverdale has one of it’s own. It seems disgruntled ex-Mayor William Budesheim and one of his cohorts, ex-Councilman

Progress

By on November 5, 2016

A little over 2 years ago, Eye On Riverdale set out on a mission to drive transparency and accountability in our local government.  While we have faced many challenges along the way, we have never strayed from our commitment to

Tilcon Presents at Riverdale Borough Council Meeting

By on November 4, 2016

Leadership at Tilcon came to Riverdale’s October 26th Council Meeting to present their progress in the last year. This was the first of 5 annual reviews that Tilcon voluntarily agreed to participate in at their 6-year license renewal hearing in

Borough Council Candidates Hold Hometown Rally

By on October 29, 2016

The Republican Nominees for Borough Council, Councilman Steve Revis and newcomer Paul Purcell, held a meet-and-greet for Riverdale residents at the Riverdale Community Center on Thursday night. Despite the inclement weather, dozens of residents came out to hear what they

Starting the Right Conversation in America (Editorial)

By on September 28, 2016

Like him or hate him, Donald Trump is putting a spotlight on the failures of the status quo. The most gleaming is the continued degradation of our inner city communities. Democrats claim we need to provide more money for social

Thank you Riverdale

By on July 19, 2016

On this second anniversary of The Eye on Riverdale’s debut, we have reached a milestone with over 500 followers. It may not seem like a big number but it’s quite an accomplishment when you consider Riverdales population, and when you

July 13th 2016; Support Riverdales Finest.

By on July 9, 2016

Come out to the borough council meeting this Wednesday July 13th at 7:30 pm as the Mayor, Council, and Chief of Police honor Sergeant Greg Bogert for his heroic efforts in preventing a troubled man from committing suicide. If you

Investigation of Ethics Violations

By on June 16, 2016

NOTE: Eye on Riverdale is committed to providing accurate information to our readers by attaching the authentic documents related to the content of our articles. These documents are collected by contacting government agencies who are obligated to provide them through

Honoring a Friend

By on May 28, 2016

I was asked by Riverdale resident, friend and neighbor, Tyrone Power, to help honor his friend and fellow veteran. Anthony William Bakogiannis (above left), was a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps.  He was a