The mayor’s appointee on the West New York Planning Board was accused of being the one who introduced a resolution calling for the master plan reexamination this summer during last night’s drama-filled board of commissioners meeting.Â
“What we’d like to know is would you be willing to come to the zoning board meeting, a zoning board meeting, to express what you did the other night at the planning board meeting on Monday night,” began Versailles Apartments resident Rianna Bryceland.
“To remind the zoning board that you agreed what actually should be built on the skyline is something in keeping with the master plan – and I remember you saying a nice house.”
The planning board unanimously voted down a resolution to reexamine the town’s master plan on Monday, as HCV first reported.
The master plan was most recently updated in 2015 and Bryceland, along with many of her neighbors, expressed concern that making adjustments to the plan would pave the way for a 15-story, 109-unit building at 6605-15 Boulevard East.
Mayor Felix Roque was one of many spoke out against the project and/or making changes to the master plan and he doubled down on that stance yesterday.
“That’s an eyesore: when you see a gas station there, that’s an eyesore – you don’t deserve a huge building – and .. I think you used the word nefarious? I love that word because we’re seeing that word here at Town Hall now,” Roque stated.
“Nefarious acts like Mr. Frank [Ferreiro] just said: developers are trying to take over this town. This is a diamond right now. So what are they trying to do? They’re trying to take over the parking authority … why? Because they want to build on top. There’s a lot of nefarious things happening in town: I’m between them and you.”
One of the most contentious issues at Monday’s meeting was who introduced the resolution to reexamine the master plan in the first place.
While that question was never definitely answered at the meeting, Department of Public Affairs Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo eventually cut Roque off since he believed he had since found the answer.
“The mayor has a designee on the board and it was the mayor’s designee who brought that issue forward and requested that the resolution be placed on the agenda for consideration of the other members of the planning board,” Cirillo said.
“So whether his designee’s not speaking to him, isn’t on the same page, is a different story. But I think, personally, that’s very disingenuous from the mayor to be here saying he had no idea about it, nothing to do with it, did not support it, when his own designated member – that he appoints himself – is there acting on behalf of that resolution.”
Roque, and others, questioned where the resolution came from and Planning Board Attorney Robert Ferraro said that one of the board members introduced it, but he couldn’t recall who it was.
This fact certainly wasn’t lost on the mayor, who was quick to fire back at Cirillo.
“If you want to be transparent: when I asked Natalia [Novas] – who works for you by the way and this board goes under you – am I correct? When I asked her, and I asked the board members, even the lawyer, when I asked them, how come that answer didn’t come – are you playing politics now?,” Roque questioned.
“I can’t mess with the transcript mayor: the transcript was there by a court certified reporter that’s sworn to write down, word for word, what’s stated,” Cirillo answered.
“You can say whatever you want to say: I can tell you I’m with them 100 percent, I’ll go to their meetings. The word nefarious is coming out … this is something, right now I’m in shock.”
Cirillo continued to press the issue, asking how the mayor’s appointee could introduce something of that magnitude for apolitical reasons, before Department of Public Safety Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez chimed in.
“If it’s politically motivated, whose politically motivating it? Because I can tell you, I spoke at the meeting before you did, I happen to live in the building and honestly, let’s be honest: the only reason you spoke is because you saw an overwhelming amount of people come out,” Rodriguez exclaimed.
“You saw the writing on the wall and you knew you had to switch off on the other side. Let’s be honest: your designee, Jose Arley Lopez, requested that resolution to be put on and that’s why we’re here talking about this.”
According to the transcript of the August 13th planning board meeting, Lopez, the vice chair of the board who also works as the marketing manager for Roque’s pain relief center, indeed introduced the controversial resolution in question.
Lopez was not present at Monday’s meeting and could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
While Rodriguez accused Roque of instructing Lopez to put up the resolution, the mayor ignored him and continued to voice his support for the residents of the Versailles.
Things got particularly hostile and chaotic at last night’s meeting after Roque was unceremoniously removed from the Department of Public Safety in favor of Rodriguez.