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Residents Hire Attorney to Oppose Daly Field Development

Attorney Joel Rosen spoke at Monday's Planning Board meeting on the group's behalf

A group of Fair Lawn residents calling themselves "Neighbors to Save Daly Field," have retained a land-use attorney to help make their case against the and the Hayward properties along Plaza Road.

"We think we've been successful in getting some points across," said Michael Roney, one of the group's leaders who has spoken previously at planning board hearings on the development, "but we feel that, they have attorneys, they have experts. It only helps our cause if we also rely on professionals to state our case."

Roney said it was the group's intention to ensure that the controversial development is exhaustively vetted, so as to protect the health and welfare of Fair Lawn residents.

"From my perspective, it's not something that the majority of people of Fair Lawn want," he said. "It's something that was forced upon us, so we're here to do whatever is necessary to make sure that, to the greatest extent possible, the people of Fair Lawn are protected from this development, however that may turn out."

Attorney Joel M. Rosen, based in Bloomfield, made his first appearance on the group's behalf at . He spoke three times following the developer's testimony, asking a variety of questions that ranged from the development's fire apparatus accessibility to its estimated build year.

Rosen said he had heard of the development prior to being retained by the group but acknolwedged that he was still getting caught up on its history.

"I'm getting educated very, very quickly," he said.

Monthly planning board hearings on the proposed Landmark development, which began in March, will continue next month, on August 13, with the discussion of environmental issues associated with the project.

Neighbors to Save Daly Field is collecting donations and posting updates at www.yourneighbors.org and www.savedalyfield.com.

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Have the T-shirt July 10, 2012 at 09:31 PM
"He spoke three times during the public comment. " Zak, that was cross examination of applicant's witness, not public comment. "Public comment" is a statutory right that does not come up until applicant, town and objectors have completed presenting testimony. In public comment, anyone w/n 200 feet goes first as the law recognizes their proximity as a thing thjat matters when objecting, then others can speak. Folks can say whatever the want about the application in public comment time. What is going that you reported is only opening the cross examination process up to the public. Questions only, not the public's commen, opinion or testimony. We all go last, unless you hire counsel which under procedural rules makes one an "objector" in the land use process rules rather than just a "member of the public." Glad to see an objector's counsel involved, from the little bit I saw no one is making sure there is a record from the objector's perspective. Contrary to popular belief, that is not the board or its attorneys legal duty. On any appeal, no new evidence comes up. You get one shot to make a record, and the judge has little room to ignore "facts" in the record that the board "accepts" as facts in the final Resolution. Facts about saftey and such: who did the board believe? Applicant's engineers, objectors engineers, or Joe Shmoe ranting opinion on his soap box during public comment.
Have the T-shirt July 10, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Remeber, Walter, the board attorney and board members have a legal duty to be objective to the application, not help the public when an unpopular application comes along. If a member of the public wants an advocate for their position to make a record and balance the scales, they need counsel and probably thier own experts to have any real impact on the outcome of the application.
Tommy P July 10, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Because of some stupid laws we have in this state, the builders remedy basically means the project will be build almost exactly as proposed. The judge is under no obligation to follow the zoning laws or consider any facts.
* July 10, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Walter Apparently the lack of pictures in the story confused you
Have the T-shirt July 10, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Well Tommy P, you are just plain wrong. Site Plan power under state law is not in any way as limited as you believe it and claim it to be here so loudly. Even in consideration of the builder's remedy, you are just wrong. I've read the opinion, and I know the law. I've represented planning boards, zoning boards, applicants and objectors. You are just plain wrong in that very, very simplistic opinion, sir. The town can still blow it if the board members are as dense as you on this point. Perhaps that is why the regular people in the audience need an attorney after all.
Deleted because of harassment July 10, 2012 at 11:35 PM
The way the meeting was handled last night, with Peter directing the public's right to question the witnesses, talking over them often and preventing them from presenting the conditions in their questions, made it clear (to me) that there is considerable pressure to "handle" the public's aspect of the presentation. The fact that all of the materials in the presentation by the Architect were placed in the front of both sides of the room where they were not visible by most of the audience was another aspect that made the hearing questionable. You can not present exhibits in a hearing in such a way as to conceal them from open inspection at the time of the hearing - and it was never made clear to the public that they had the right to ask to review the exhibits at any point. Several of us took notes, including me, on aspects of the presentation last night - and I was glad to see Mr. Rosen ask his questions after the Chairman tried to deny him the right to speak, and then to demand he disclose who his clients are, only to be told by Mr. Trawinski that he had additional rights as an attorney to ask them, and to decide when to disclose his clients when he wants to. Nothing like openly trying to intimidate both an attorney and members of the public by implication that they are at the mercy of a big developer's bankroll for legal fees.
Julia Enerson July 11, 2012 at 12:08 AM
"Roney said it was the group's intention to ensure that the controversial development is exhaustively vetted, so as to protect the health and welfare of Fair Lawn residents." I certainly hope so THIS time. Everytime this "group" did something (and I believe it's another incarnation of CCRF), it was at the expense of many people who didn't want to pay for their indignation. Show me the 501C statements now.
Julia Enerson July 11, 2012 at 12:12 AM
I don't understand this either, Stuart. I would proudly sign my name to anything I believed in.
Walter Weglein July 11, 2012 at 12:15 AM
It would be nice if the CHAIRMAN explained his position regarding all this...
Julia Enerson July 11, 2012 at 12:25 AM
That would be unethical and assumes bias, Walter. One doesn't ask a judge to ask - or explain - his/her position in a case.
Have the T-shirt July 11, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Deleted, All application materials (required plans etc) must be available for inspection by the public at the board offices ten days prior to the hearing, look up the initial notice in the paper or mailed to you if you live wn 200 ft. Or any planning board notice in the paper, they all have the same required language in the required public notice. Oversize exhibits can be an exception but still must be made available to interested members of the public and objector's counsel outside the hearings on reasonable notice. The file is a public record, the fact that it is a big room and you were in the back raises no issues, you can see it if you really feel compelled before or after the meeting. You could politely ask to walk up and see it while you ask the witness that used it questions. And yes, objector's counsel and clients are entitled to the same time and other courtesies as the applicant and that corporation's counsel. It is different than members of the public, having counsel makes it an adversarial legal procedure. It is a game changer. As someone said, the board sits like a judge, the decider of the facts that the decision is founded on.
Ally Shuster Shea July 11, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Lets hope the Planning Chairman Peter Kortright votes the right way and hopefully his boss the Bergen County Adminstrator Trewinski doesnt cut his salary in the County Government. Not that Trewiski would ever do that and of course there is no conflict that Kortright also reports to the Fair Lawn Mayor.- who also reports to the County Adminstrator.
Deleted because of harassment July 11, 2012 at 02:06 AM
I was NOT in the back of the room. I was just about in the center - one or two seats from the exact center. The exhibits were placed facing the board and at a sharp angle to the audience on one side, and almost parallel to the audience on the other side of the room, so only those seated in the first or second row would have had a clear view. I understand how the matter of counsel changes things, but it does not give anyone a free pass to ask counsel to breach his privilleged relationship with someone, even in front of a planning board.
Deleted because of harassment July 11, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Does Peter still work for the BCEDC?
Bruce Knuckle July 11, 2012 at 02:30 AM
@Walter , his position was pretty much defined in Deleted's post prior to yours. Instead of asking questions just to be heard, provide something of substance. If you decide to continue your posts as you have been, please change your name to simpleton....everyone will still know its you.
* July 11, 2012 at 02:51 AM
These hearings are a sham!?
Zak Koeske July 11, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Thank you for the clarification
Have the T-shirt July 11, 2012 at 10:19 AM
The "right way" for any board member to vote under the oaths they took is to apply the facts they deem true from all the testimony and exhibits to the law - when all testimony is over and not in advance. Just like a judge. In this instance, they will be dealing with the imposition of "reasonable conditions" to mitigate adverse impacts on the town for the approval. While they can't monkey with the # of affordable units, there is not much else they can't do if the facts that empower their options exist and are properly presented on the record at the hearings. For example re the site distance issues, if experts that testified have differing views (applicant, town's or objectors) they choose which one they believe (and should say so on the record when they vote), and no judge can alter that fact as a basis of a decision if the board lawyer writes the resolution properly as to such details.
Walter Weglein July 11, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Cortright has REPEATEDLY said the line of sight on Plaza Road issue is under the control and is the responsiblity of of the borough traffic department, not the Planning Board.
Have the T-shirt July 11, 2012 at 11:48 AM
As I didn't hear exactly what he said I can't be certain, however I suspect his exact words in the transcript (nothing else matters here) were far more nuanced, Walter. There are both separate and overlapping duties and powers in that area between those departments and others, as well as the ultimate developer's agreement with the town council that can impact such issues as well.
Chris Antonelli July 11, 2012 at 01:34 PM
I'd sign it. We have enough damn housing in Fair Lawn.
Chris Antonelli July 11, 2012 at 01:36 PM
The town blew it a long time ago, Mr. Shirt.
Have the T-shirt July 11, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Chris, this pooch was screwed by the town govt and an entire cast of extras for a long, long time now. On all sides of the issues. That does not mean there are not important details, many of them small ones for those beyond the 200ft lines but huge issues for those immediately around the place. The fact that the town's representatives and pocket book are, for lack of better words, worn out about this application that those details may not get the light of day they deserve. The effort and energy to get professional engineering and safety opinions in the record on the little tiny engineering and aesthetic details on this property is only fair and proper. From my experience in the past 20 years on and against the boards and various councils in this town, FL does not do it's people justice in this area. hard as it tries. There is still much that matters to be blown, or not. It's good that some folks are trying to make the system work better. This is where the energy (and objector's budget) should have been planned to be spent long ago. As I said, "blown" all around; but it is not over yet.
Stuart Pace July 11, 2012 at 06:55 PM
more importantly, there is an unleashed dog on private property? They should be fined. ;)
Chris Antonelli July 11, 2012 at 07:39 PM
The boro had a golden opportunity to claim eminent domain and turn it into a nice recreation facility. What happens in the end is what we'll have. As long as the money being spent on these details regarding traffic and the like is coming out of the Radburn and developers pockets and not Fair Lawn's. As for the residents in this article that are fighting the development, I can only hope they're successful.
Kathy Moore July 15, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Mr. Rosen clearly stated at Monday's planning board who is clients are. The quote below should explain a thing or two to you. From my perspective, it's not something that the majority of people of Fair Lawn want," he said. "It's something that was forced upon us, so we're here to do whatever is necessary to make sure that, to the greatest extent possible, the people of Fair Lawn are protected from this development, however that may turn out."
The Most Interesting Man in the World August 07, 2012 at 01:26 PM
These hearings are all for naught, this is a done deal that already had its day in court and was decided in the developer's favor because they are simply using the property for the zoned use. In fact, the developer is is making the property less dense than permitted by the judge and the specifications merely have to minimally comply to standards. Hiring an attorney at this point is just a waste of money, just ask him what he thinks he can really change and see what he says. Now that he has been educated and if he is honest he will say the truth, which is nothing. The public has a right to speak, but it is just too late to affect real change. At the next Planning Board hearing, just simply ask the Board members do they have the power to overrule the judge's decision and stop the development from happening, which they will answer "no." Then ask what aspects of this development can be changed and see what they say. Maybe they will tell you something that you may care about like the bushes in the landscaping or grade of construction materials, but that is about it for public input for change. I'm not saying this is just or serves the interest of the residents, but this is the reality.
The Most Interesting Man in the World August 08, 2012 at 02:31 PM
A real judge in a real court has already ordered that the developer can build. His vote counts. Therefore, the Planning Board is not voting "like a judge" on the subject of will it be built as that matter has been decided. The meat has been served by a real judge, they only get to vote on the crumbs. On Monday, please indulge me and just ask the Board Chairman if they have the authority to stop Daly Field from being developed by Landmark. Once you and everyone else in the room hears the word "no" come out of his mouth and Zak prints n Patch, that will end all the speculation and verbal flatulence being aired here on what is going to happen. Since this is the only real subject everyone cares about, the only question remaining is will the new attorney continue to give the objectors false hope and the billable hours that go along with that or what I think, which is that the objectors want to only invest in stopping the development and not how high the bushes will be, they will pull the plug on funding Attorney Rosen.
Julia Enerson August 09, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Reality? Whenever this group "hires" a lawyer, there's some cost involved to every Fair Lawn taxpayer and Radburn resident. The time to affect real change was in front of their face years ago. Instead, you just have another legacy of failure.
The Most Interesting Man in the World August 09, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I guess it does cost all FL residents in legal fees because the FL paid attorney is paid to respond to legal inquisitions. That is what I said above, the time for change was years ago, that is why it is pointless and a further waste of money to hire a lawyer to further perpetuate the inevitable. Developing Daly Field for its zoned use is legal, can't stop it. This was unpopular, so the politicans of the day stonewalled the developer and developer sued and won. The Borough Attorney advised to appeal and lost all the appeals, maybe 5 or so, taking years and paying him handsomely for it. Thousands and thousands of dollars just handed over. Meanwhile the attorney knows you can't win because the simple fact is the developer is developing Daly Field for its zoned use. However the politicians of the day got their chance to run away from this unpopular development and the borough attorney was happy to advise the council to appeal and give himself more money. If this situation is not bad enough paying all these legal fees, the judge sees this as harrassment over all the appeals and hands over a developer's remedy. This gives the developer a huge advantage in shaping the development and minimizes the FL Planning Board influence. FLPB represents the interest of the residents. So not only did FL taxpayers pay the most you could possibly pay for bad legal advice, we get the worst possible outcome.

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