As a resident of North Bergen who lives near the proposed Riverview site on river road, I have strong feelings about building three apartment towers and parking for hundreds of cars. My concerns include quality of life, the environment and the issue of new ratables.
One of the most appealing aspects of living here is being able to see the Hudson River while walking and driving around the area. Watching the boats go up and down the river, seeing flocks of birds use the flyway, seeing the skyline light up at night, all make this a very special place. These views grace the public with beauty. All of it should not be in private hands. Whereas in New York City an active street life enhances the lifestyle of the residents, this is absent from a plan that is based on a car culture combined with a dense, urban population. As a lifestyle, it becomes the worst of both worlds. The quality of our lives has become ever more eroded with the sharp increase of traffic on River Road. Emergency vehicles, too, face increasing congestion. When road work needs to be done, gridlock has become the norm.
An increase in air pollution is inevitable with the increase of cars, as clean public transportation has not been built into the infrastructure along River Road. Also inevitable is an increase in flooding when you take a porous surface like grass and cover it with asphalts.
The articles claims that new ratables will result from more development. It does not address the increases in police, fire, sewage, roadways, education and everything else that an exploding population requires.
Research shows clearly that property values increase when homes are near open space. Apartments with views charge more; homes near parks are more marketable. In degrading the environment with buildings and traffic, not providing clean public transportation, not building an active street life, we permanently reverse the appeal of this area. New ratables cannot make up for that.
The article also states that an acre and a half park is planned on the river side between North Bergen and Guttenberg. Given the population, I think this is insufficient. The six acres of the Riverview site should, in my opinion, be bought back from the developer to serve as a passive park, with trees, perhaps a small fishing pier, a place for flocks of birds to rest and feed. I have attended planning board meetings where developers ask for variances to our town regulations in order to build overblown structures. After years of listening to their reasons, nothing has convinced me that destroying more nature in this area is anything but a triumph of greed over beauty and common sense.