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Twp. of Washington Mayor ,”It infuriates me that people in remote reaches of government have the authority to usurp well established local zoning laws”

the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Twp. of Washington NJ, Township Mayor Peter Calamari lets his feelings be known on a long Facebook post . Calamari  commented on the recent Twp. of Washington Swim Club sale to the high density “Affordable Housing”  project know as Franklin Court going up on  Van Emburgh Avenue near the Ridgewood border .

“Good afternoon, I would like to address a few topics based around the Franklin Court/Swim Club stories published in the Pascack Press this weekend.
Regarding Franklin Court. I did welcome them during the Mayors Annual Breakfast meeting of 2020. The project was already approved via our most recent Fair Share Housing agreement and as such they will be held to all applicable land use laws consistent with a Fair Share Housing project. In welcoming them I was only attempting to establish a positive working relationship. I did also mention the potential burdens including financial that projects which are forced upon all NJ municipalities will put on our local school systems. It infuriates me that people in remote reaches of government have the authority to usurp well established local zoning laws in communities they are not familiar with and have never even visited. One of my many motivations for becoming mayor is to retain and preserve the single family residential quality of life we enjoy here!
Regarding the Swim Club. I clearly did not place the BLAME for the vote at the feet of Councilmen Cascio and DeSena. I said I was told by some of the club officers that it was a DECIDING FACTOR for them. There is a big difference between that statement and blaming them. To give the reader the full picture, I also summarized how each Council member voted both times the vote took place that week.
Councilman DeSena is quoted as saying “turnout was low and that the administration’s lack of vision for a pool operation beyond two years, including its lack of interest in a feasibility study, were reason members voted not to entrust the club to the township”. This statement is not consistent with the facts as I know them. During the negotiations I was told the members first priority was to make certain that a purchaser would try to make the pool a viable use for the property. That is why the two years would have been part of the township’s purchase agreement. I am very concerned whether the contract purchaser has made the same or longer arrangement in their agreement. It’s also worth noting that numerous times I made it clear that if the town pool could not be made at least expense neutral at the end of that time we would have to reevaluate it as we would be spending taxpayer money to make up any shortfalls.
Finally, on this topic, I find it notable that Councilman DeSena would say anything about the two years, as he wanted us to purchase the property without any swim club contingency at all. He is again quoted later in the article stating “DeSena said he would vote for the club’s acquisition if the agreement stipulated that the pool would be immediately shut down…”. As I have said many times in the past, I was told by the board that any offer made without a stipulation to continue the operation of the pool would be unacceptable. And again, the last statement of the article states he was “contemplating all my pros and cons going through my head. [I’m] really not in favor of running the pool but if that’s what it’s got to be for two years, I’ll vote yes. With all of that said and the fact that he changed his vote, I stated on my Facebook page “Councilman Desena then voted yes but made it clear he did NOT support any efforts to make a town pool viable. It showed a lack of commitment to the terms of the purchase and the vision that so many of our residents and constituents expressed and shared.” I did and still do believe that is an accurate statement.
Next the article states “Mr. Mayor, you are a liar. That would be my quote” DeSena concluded. I saw Councilman DeSena at the Township 3/4 Girls Falcons softball championship game vs. River Edge (I’m happy to report they won with a final score of 8–5). When we met he asked how things were going, to which I responded they were going good except for seeing he was quoted as calling me a liar. He immediately denied that he called me a liar. Being called a liar is a significant accusation. I know that if someone attributed that quote to me, I would be livid and do all I could to correct it! I would therefore respectfully request Mr. Desena or the Pascack Press publicly and enthusiastically clarify or retract that accusation.
In closing, I want to take this opportunity again to thank everyone for taking the time to read this and for your support. I have never and will never lie to you about anything. It is just not who I am. Once again, I became mayor to do all I can to make the town I love and and believe in, the best town it can be. Our residents deserve that level of honesty and integrity and I want to provide that to you. Your support and the work we do together to achieve that goal means everything to me.
Mayor Peter Calamari
August 1, 2021″


2 thoughts on “Twp. of Washington Mayor ,”It infuriates me that people in remote reaches of government have the authority to usurp well established local zoning laws”

  1. Keep voting in the Socialists….

    You get what you deserve… and EVENTUALLY they will get around to you and yours.

  2. Thank you Mayor Calamari for continuing to put Washington Township residents first and inspiring our surrounding Bergen County Municipalities to do the same! It was disheartening to learn we lost the swim club land – no matter the outcome, we wish the land rightfully belonged to the township whereas now the future is uncertain.

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