The controversial proposed Appleview condo development in North Bergen, near the Guttenberg border, elicited some comments from residents at Monday’s Guttenberg Town Council meeting.
The proposed 59-unit development is to be built near a Transco high-pressure natural gas line. Residents have been coming to the North Bergen Planning Board hearings to protest for more than a year.
Guttenberg residents Jeremy Raben and his wife Siat Ng addressed their concerns at the Guttenberg Town Council meeting on Monday, Jan. 28, because the council was considering granting developer Carmelo Spoleti an easement to build part of the project.
Raben and his wife Ng have attended Appleview hearings since the very beginning.
"We understand that Appleview has presented the excess easement agreement to the township to seek approval," said Ng. "We want to find out where it is in the process of review. As you know, this has been an ongoing fight for us, for our safety, because this is a project that's proposed next to a gas pipeline."
Raben suggested that fatalities that could occur if the pipeline ruptured due to development.
"Essentially almost a third of Guttenberg would be destroyed almost immediately and the rest would have to be evacuated,” said Raben. “Obviously we hope that would never happen, but we certainly hope that we could be safe."
“Safety should be the first priority, not the second.” – Jeremy Raben
Drasheff responded to the couple's safety concerns of Appleview.
"We have just received the proposed easement agreement [a day or two ago]," said Drasheff. "We are also concerned about safety and obviously there's a big portion of our population in the vicinity of the pipeline. We will be looking at the easement [to determine if] it meets our needs here in Guttenberg."
An easement agreement will give Transco the right to access the property from the Guttenberg side in the likely case that they need to reach their gas pipeline.
Since Guttenberg and North Bergen share an engineer, Drasheff said the township may consult with a second engineer they retain for second opinions, Remington & Vernick from Haddonfield.
Drasheff said the easement may be discussed at the next caucus meeting, which takes place the second Monday of the month.
Appleview attorney Carmine Alampi was reached by phone for a comment on the easement.
“I’m [asking for] an easement for the township of Guttenberg, township of North Bergen, and Transco,” said Alampi. “All want to have access to the different infrastructure.”
On the agenda
An ordinance was reintroduced about taxi cab price limits. Owners or drivers of cabs can add surcharges for tolls and gasoline, within reason. The in-town rate for six blocks or less is $4.50 while the maximum charge for 70 to 80 blocks is $13.
The out-of-town rates vary, Secaucus rates have a maximum of $20 while a charge to go to JFK Airport has a max of $70.
An ordinance was introduced for $120,000 for improvements to be made to 68th Street. Grants have come from the federal government. The total cost of the project will be $370,000.
The North Bergen Free Public Library was awarded a contract to provide library services to the town of Guttenberg, with a 4 percent increase this year from 2012.
Vanessa Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org