Some residents of a Bergen County community say they are concerned about plans to move a Department of Public Works facility to an empty restaurant in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
The location is a former Charlie Brown restaurant located near the Washington Township and Paramus border. Locals say they are already unhappy with the number of trucks, the traffic and the smells invading the area.
“You hear the noises, the trucks, everything. I think it’s bad. And the stench,” says Melissa Salgado, of Paramus
But for some residents, the real stench follows the way Washington Township does business.
“I just feel like it’s been a little sneaky all the way,” says Jessica Salgado.
Residents say the city bought the property with the intention of making it a DPW, but word then spread.
“It literally didn’t make sense,” says Washington Township’s Bill McAuliffe.
With residents growing increasingly angry, the city backtracked and offered another option: move the police station there. Officials have called additional meetings to try to calm residents down.
“It was pretty obvious at that meeting that it was almost to the point that the DPW had already been voted on in their minds,” says Paul Imbarrato, who has lived in the township for about 30 years.
But the Washington Township Council President says no decision has been made.
“Options are still pending,” said board chairman Desserie Morgan.
Mayor Peter Calamari says the city has nothing to hide. But he wouldn’t agree to be interviewed on camera. Another council member heard some News 12 questions and shouted “fake news”.
“If it’s a police department or a police department, I’d rather take a police department,” says Jessica Salgado.
“People just say listen this is not the right decision and please reconsider,” McAuliffe says.
A Montessori school thought it had made a deal for the location and allegedly accused the city of intruding.
Mayor Calamari did not comment on the school issue. For the city to withdraw from the agreement, it would have to be done within a month.