Kronick is concerned about the ongoing construction of the Church Hill Estates luxury housing development on the North Bergen/Edgewater border. More specifically, he's worried about the permanent wire mesh fencing that has been placed upon the majestic cliffs of the Palisades, to stop rocks from tumbling to the development below.
"When is it that enough is enough?" Kronick said. "I feel so passionate about the Palisades. It took 10,000 years for nature to create the Palisades, and now man gets to destroy it in a matter of months. We have such a unique view of the Palisades south of the George Washington Bridge and it should be viewed as a landmark."
Added Kronick, "But to see all this development and to see the Palisades with this steel mesh on it, it's really disheartening. It's changing the colorization of the Palisades and its endangering the animal life, tree life, wildlife. The whole thing is a mess."
Janod Contractors, which prides itself on being the premier specialist in rock stabilization, has been hired by the Church Hill Estates developers to install the wire mesh to the Palisades that will provide permanent safety for the housing development below.
Janod has done similar rock stabilization projects along the Palisades, including an extensive project in Weehawken that was done in order to safely build the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail tracks through the township.
Janod employs a combination of innovative mechanized equipment and highly trained rock remediation technicians who have an intimate knowledge of geology and influence of climatic conditions on exposed rock structures.
"What we're putting there will eventually be a vinyl-coated mesh," said Daniel Journeaux, the owner of Janod Contractors, based in Champaign, N.Y. "The reason for the mesh is to protect the area prior to construction. We had to set up the fence to catch small rocks."
Journeaux doesn't think that the magnificence of the Palisades has been compromised by his protective mesh.
"Just because something has been there for 10,000 years doesn't bean that it's there forever," Journeaux said. "It's a misconception. Rocks fall all the time. People figure that it's been there forever, that there would never be a problem. But the rock does deteriorate over time. We're there to provide safety and we can contain the rock in that netting."
'There is room for plant life' Journeaux said that the upper portions of the Palisades were not touched at all in the development process, that perhaps the base of the long-standing rock was dug into to build the complex.
Kronick expressed concern that all of the plant life would die because of the mesh.
Journeaux disputed that.
"Whatever was growing there before will grow back," Journeaux said. "There is room for plant life growth."
"They said that it's going to grow through the crevasses," Kronick said. "I don't think it will happen."
North Bergen Zoning Board chairman Anthony Vanieri said that the township went over every piece of the development plan at Church Hill Estates before giving approval.
"I believe that some of these people want us to protect the beauty of the Palisades rather than protect the structures being built," Vanieri said. "But we have to make sure that the area is protected from falling stones. They're also trying not to carve into the stone and we're not allowing blasting into the stone. The netting is the best thing to protect the buildings."
So the wire mesh protection is being installed - and it's permanent, unlike the nets that were used in Weehawken for the construction of the Light Rail. These structures will remain in the Palisades for eternity.
"The Palisades is one of our last remaining natural beauties and we should be working to preserve them," Kronick said. "We're starting a precedent here. My concern is that it won't stop until they're totally gone. It's not like North Bergen has a lot of natural beauty left. The Palisades bring so much beauty and bring so much pleasure to so many people. It's really unfortunate."
Louise Taylor, the chairperson of the Hudson-Meadowlands Group of the Sierra Club of New Jersey, is also concerned.
"Our goal is to save the rest of the Palisades," Taylor said. "We're going to try to prevent further development. It should be saved as a national landmark. Right now, it's a permanent defacing of a natural treasure."
Much like the mesh netting that was placed near the adjacent Bergen Ridge complex, it will remain for some time.
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or email@example.com