Shadow Lawn Hi Rise Being Voted on By Highlands Council Sept 18

Highlands Council Letter
Letter that went out to residents 200 ft from Shadow Lawn

During last week’s council meeting the original high rise zoning ordinance 0-13-16 was defeated. The agenda indicated the public hearing and adoption for the new ordinance 0-13-25 was set for Oct 16th.  There were only minor differences between the two ordinances, most notably around set backs and a clarification on height.  (Although, the lawyer did state that in his opinion, the new ordinance was only 10% the same –  you can hear him by ff the streamed meeting 1.27 – 1.33)

Home owners that are within 200 feet in proximate to Shadow Lawn subsequently  received letters indicating the hearing and adoption is actually September 18th.

If you wish to voice your dissent for the Hi-rise as well the unethical behavior of the council you can cut & paste the following into an email or letter:



Mayor Nolan:

Councilwoman Ryan:

Councilman Francy:

Concilwoman Kane:

Councilman Redmond

Carolyn Cummins Borough Clerk

Subject: Ordinance 0-13-25

I am a tax payer in Highlands.   I am writing to ask you to vote NO  Wednesday Sept 18th on 0-13-25 which amends the zoning on the Shadow Lawn property via ordinance as opposed to through variance.

I am opposed to this ordinance amendment for the following reasons:

  •  Financial analysis indicates that the financial burden this residential development puts on the borough far outweighs the marginal tax benefits
  •  Slump Block issues put that development as well as the surrounding community at risk of mud slide
  •  Environmental and ecological considerations have not been adequately addressed /mitigated
  •  Traffic impacts have not been addressed
  •  Other impacts on infrastructure (including but not limited to sewer) have not been properly researched, documented, and made available
  •  It is in violation of the current Master Plan
  •  The multiple attempts to spot zone this property exposes the borough to costly litigation 
  • The ordinance process has been pushed through without consideration and acknowledgement the majority of Highlands does NOT want it.

For the above reasons, this amendment is NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF OUR BOROUGH.

I would like to further remind all the council, that you work for US, the residents and tax payers of Highlands.

I urge you to vote NO on the subject Ordinance at the next meeting.





  1. I as well as many other tax payers in the town hope that this passes and that the project finally gets underway! Although the opposition is very vocal indeed, I believe it is indeed the minority. I think the majority of people feel that the property needs to be developed and finally ge rid of the ghetto that has been masquarading as a so called trailer park for far too long now!

    Talk about a drain on the town? Talk about the loss of tax revenue due to a slum being on prime real estate! Or how about the drug, domestic violence and other things that the police constantly have to respond to there. Or, how about the fact in such a small area there have been tons of kids living many times several to one trailer putting a strain on the school tax which is over 50% of the tax bill!!!

    Although I do sympathise with the people living at the base of the hill, just because there has been landslides and erosion does not mean that is the property owner of shadow lawns fault. The people that decided to live there perhaps should have researched the areas geology etc. before deciding to purchase property there. Certainly we have seen that there are records regarding the geologic activitiy in the area.

    The bottom line is that the town needs to evolve, be developed to its fullest potential, and the villagers with pitchforks need to just understand that. In the end this is just another example of obvious NIMBY (not in my back yard) mentality.

    I mean it would be like me being shocked that my home floods during storms because I decided to live next to the sea!


    • Your error in thinking is that the opposition *wants* the property *not* to be developed. Although there is a small minority that doesn’t want to be developed at all, the larger crowd *wants* it to be developed. (responsibly), meaning anything besides a hi-rise to ensure as much slope stability as possible. When you add the 2 groups together, we out number the small majority that a hi-rise just because.


    • First of all Mr. McLeod I live on the high end of the mobile Pk. I am a senior and have lived here for 12 years. I do not consider living in the ghetto! If you would take a left into the park the small area here is very nice. Not a piece of trash!No DRUGS! Know if you want to talk drugs & guns take a look around where you are. You can not be to fast to judge people for where they live. A lot of us take pride in our mobiles.What about people decent people who live here? What happens to them? But of cause what do you care where considered the SLUMS in the GHETTO. Open your eyes a bit and maybe your HEART!


    • Development is not the issue here, it is safe development from both people above and below hill. A lot of people from Eastpoint are also very concerned. Duncan you need to actually listen to what people have been saying on this blog as they are legitimate concerns. EVERYONE has a vested interest in this town doing well but just jumping through hoops for the first person that throws money your way isn’t always the right or smart answer. I also believe that what ever is build should take into consideration the people who will be displaced. They are people also and deserve to be considered in all of this. I’m personally getting tired of the most fortunate screwing the less fortunate. There should be a certain amount of units allotted for the decent people that are being thrown to the curb who can not afford whatever will be built. It seems to me a its a lot of you scratch my back……there will be plenty of money shared behind closed doors that this town may never see on this deal no doubt. Your putting way too much trust in a Mayor to do the right thing that doesn’t have his own house in order .


    • You know what Duncan If I remember correctly which I could be wrong but you have big issues with certain dumpy business owner in town. Maybe we should fill in and build a high rise there as that is also prime real estate. Wonder how you would feel about that not in my backyard?
      Honestly, not trying to be rude but everything is relative.


    • The slump-blocking issue alone should be enough to kill the hi-rise plan. No civil engineer in his/her right mind would seriously propose constructing a 20,000 ton high-rise on what is essentially a mound of clay that has a known history of slumping.

      There’s a big difference between some condos and a high-rise building that has a lot of weight concentrated on a relatively small footprint.


  2. First of all there is a saying that goes, opinions are like *holes, everybody has one. Nothing could be more true in the case of shadowlawn. Everyone seems to be an engineer. Everyone seems to be an expert geologist. Everyone seems to be an expert in construction. And it goes on an on. These are usually the same “experts” that love to roar and howl at issues like this, but never seem to serve on a board or run for office themselves.

    Does anyone really think that engineers and geo experts would put their licenses on the line to say that a site is stable enough for construction when it isnt and also risk getting sued? Not to mention the firms they work for. Unless we are now going to allege pay offs as well.
    Second, the shadowlawn site, is unsightly, underdeveloped, and has been a meca for crime. The statistics of the town bear that out. Not to mention being a fire hazard having that many substandard housing units that close to each other. In short, the term ghetto does apply and the whole place devalues the town just as the paradise site also does.

    By facts presented on this very blog, erosion, and land slides from time to time have been happenening as a natural process for centuries. Additionally building on the hill has been happening for over 100 years now. But no facts about how this building has slowed or hastened the hills collapse has been presented. With this kind of logic building on every hill in America should immediately be halted along with any buildings along their bases.

    The time for people to get so involved in what was happening with the town, and to advocate for responsible development was years ago. But I can personally attest to the fact that no matter how much you begged for people to get involved, serve on boards, run for office etc etc etc. Noone seemed to care, noone seemed to have the time to get involved.

    So, now when we have disasters like Sandy, when plans go forward that people dont agree with, or something else major goes on, people wake up and want to start screaming. The time to get involved is before, not after these things happen. This is really the lesson to be learned here.

    The truth is that virtually anything put at shadowlawn is better than what is there now, and it should have been redeveloped years ago. Opps! Wait! The villagers with pitchforks stopped that too, while advancing no ideas of their own, just stop it at all costs!!!

    Also, Im sure that many of these people would be totally incensed is anyone dared to tell them what they could do or not do on their properties and repeatedly sued them over it. Just imagine the legal bills the guy trying to get rid of the shadowlawn ghetto has incurred! Not to menion repeated fees and other costs. Does that sound fair to the property owner?


    • Honestly its people that only see Black or White holding town back, never thinking out of the box. Seems like other towns have managed to do that and even when came to flood control which nobody has issues with nothing is done right. Seems to me issue is not residents but officials with lack of real vision of a sustainable future. Nobody has heard from engineers or geo experts because its all being done behind residents backs. Ever where there was a slide there is development and extra weight above I assume they had same argument you gave and who now is stuck with issues?


  3. Rockemsockem,

    Oh I beg to seriously differ sir, its all about the residents when it comes to lack of vision and future and all that good stuff. Who do you think elected all these fine officials sir? They didnt elect themselves! And I can tell you very very relaibably when people have attempted to get new people involved and put new names on the ballot for election, they were faced with abject apathy by the good people and voters of the town. Nobody wants to get involved, but everyone wants to bitch! Which gets you where? Anyone………..anyone……..??? No place! So, if anyone is doing anything behind anyones back, its no wonder when the good people of the town elected the same old people to run things! So, one must assume people just are loving things going on behind their backs and the way things are handled. Isnt that how our whole democratic system is supposed to work.

    I say if things are totaly Fed up, then dont blame the officials. If they have a lack of vision, people must like that because they elected them, and in many cases elected them several times. I remember quite recently a very lovely pair of sufficticants of this lovely town were not only elected, but re elected twice after that, with nothing more than a lovely diploma from Henry Hudson High School, no real leadership experience, no real intelligence or vision, and surprise they accomplished virtually nothing in 9 years in office!!!

    So, whos fault is that. These people dont elect themselves. So, if people dont like whats going on they are just going to have to get off their hagen das eatin, American Idol watchin, apathetic little butts, get involved and do something about it! Arent they?

    To a certain groups credit in town, they are doing just that. And we will see if in November the people of the town have the good sense to vote for a non partisan system of government. But if the past proves anything, then I woudnt go holding your breath.

    See, Mr. Rockemsockem, I have no problems thinking out of the box, because I stay informed, have been involved, and tried to make a difference in this little town. The problem was simply nobody gave a flying crap! And now here we are.

    I dont blame the politicians, I dont blame the officials, I dont blame nature, or God, or anyone else. Its the peoples fault for being so damn apathetic, and uninformed for such a long time! And thats just the plain truth!

    PS I believe the development on the hill, if the information I have heard is correct, will be removing more weight in earth, than the buildings to be constructed, thus reducing the weight placed on the hill. If you have any “facts” that dispute this, I would like to hear them!


    • Well that was then and this is now! We can dwell on past or try to move forward in a positive direction. Sandy brought the depth of ineptness and cronyism to the forefront which in turn brought a group of people together who are smart have vision and are trying to change business as usual. You can keep talking about the past but simply not helpful …your choice to be part of solution or rehash old baggage.. As for development yes lets see the facts cause there are none including your information.


    • It’s difficult to get involved when the council meets behind closed doors every Friday between January & July to brainstorm ways to increase ratables. That is according to the mayor at the July 3rd emergency council meeting to shove this through. Am I the ONLY ONE that finds it oddly convenient that the only idea those five people came up with was to rezone Shadow Lawn for ONE SPECIFIC use? It’s not mixed use, it’s not commercial, it’s not hotel. It’s specifically for the high rise that the buyer wants to build.

      The council will tell you that there is no buyer or that they don’t know of a buyer, but back in August at the council meeting the current owner was telling everyone that would listen that he had a buyer lined up. All he needed was to get the property rezoned and he could sell for a higher price.

      We have now had TWO houses collapse in town. Contrary to what the mayor said in the news, the house on 2nd street was NOT “being raised.” It was already up, on lally columns, and the council did NOTHING when our concerns about its stability was brought to their attention at the last council meeting. And you want us to trust them to approve development that’s appropriate for the steep slope? I’m not that crazy or trusting.

      And if you claim that the development would not compromise the stability of the hill, then why should we have to research the instability before buying up or down slope? You can’t have it both ways.


  4. I think someone is pretty damn desperate to try to get this passed now before the election. Why do you suppose that is? Even “if” a high rise were the best idea in the world, it still takes years to complete so how on earth is this going to “save” the town? There’s also that little thing called tax abatement so exactly how is this high rise going to bring in a penny more than what was brought in this year?

    The mayor has made it clear that he does not care one iota what anyone else thinks. He feels empowered to make decisions that benefit HIM and he will never change. The only thing he “got” was sending his children to the public school in Highlands was not the best path to a good education so they go to the private school in Atlantic Highlands.


  5. Stacy,

    Thank you for helping to prove my point. Mr Rockem doest think bringing up the past is of any value. Well, Mr. Nolan had a pretty interesting past personally and politically before being elected as Mayor, but still was elected. The people ignored he was allegedly fired from his last job for stealing, ignored that fact that he couldnt handle his own finances when his house went into forclosure. The populace ignored the fact that even many in his own party shunned him due to his tendancy to give lip service to get people off of his back, and then do what he wants anyways. Are we learning anything here Mr. Rockem? Is it then any surprise that Mr. Nolan will just do whatever he wants to, as this has been his record all along. But lets just ignore that because its the “past” and there is no value in reviewing that is there? Ugh!

    So, now we are saddled with those lovely town officials that everyone elected. But the populace like many here do not take responsibility for the apathy of themselves and their neighbors. Just light those torches, cause its someone elses fault!

    See, Mr. Rockem, as the saying goes, those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Whether it is world history or local. So, stay comfortable in your ignorance of how we got where were are now if you want, and thus you have learned nothing.

    So, this year we have the choice between a mayor with a record of lying, giving lip service, and doing whatever he wants. Or a woman who does exactly the same, violating the law of what is acceptable to do on council, and selflessly promoting the interests of the HFD over the taxpayers no matter what the issue or cost.

    So, we get crappy choices once again, because no one got involved. Except for the intrepid folks that hit the streets getting petitions signed to change our form of government to non partisan. An effort I totally applaud and hope succeeds. But we will see if the people will even come out and support that little bit of common sense.

    So, until something big changes big time, we are saddled with the decisons made by those who were elected by the few, the proud, the apathetic!


    • Dude you don’t even make sense. Mayor untrustworthy past and get what he wants but you support the ordinance he is shoving down your throat? You are enabling him! You learn from history? Well history shows that slump block is real and where there has been development on hill and mature trees removed there have been slides.
      @Katie Kay is right and that was my point exactly stop with the pissing matches and lets move FORWARD in POSITIVE way.
      For the record I was one of those people out getting petitions signed to help affect change. Done with this exchange!


  6. per the Mayor on 9/12/13 he stated without this oridinance there wouold be a 30% tax increase to Highlands taxpayers. The ordinance is not the problem … the problem is group think without education and due diligence by both those in leadership and taxpayers …. Shame on all of us.


  7. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get on the same page and MOVE FORWARD. Instead of bickering about who did or said what before. People… we need to think of what’s best for the top of the hill and under the hill ..we have a lot of smart people here who need to come together . just saying….


  8. Its not a matter of bickering, its learning from the past and realizing how we got in the messes we are in in the first place. Its always easy to blame elected officials and town officials and the like. But in the end the people get the governent they deserve which is the real lesson here. And since there are obviously people out there that dont understand that concept, it obviously needs to be repeatedly stated. Good governement is a participation sport, not a spectator one! Just sayin………………. 🙂


    • We cannot force anyone to live in the same reality we do nor can we tell them what their perception should be. I am not interested in airing personal problems that anyone has on a blog, at least not anything that is not a matter of public record.
      The lis pendens has been on the record for YEARS now. If the mayor chooses to do what others have done and walk away from it, that’s his decision and won’t affect me, but making a decision that very few agree with sure does.


  9. Duncan, get your facts straight. Your rants & the new ordinance — neither make any sense. You want a highrise that will provide no new taxes due to tax abatement and cause major landslides around a hill with a history of slumps and mudslides? Why the rush? So politicians can collect the payoff? Your so called ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking is going to make this town bankrupt. By the way, if you think the current mobile park is a black mark, wait till you see the highrise turned into low income rentals due to ‘not enough sales’, where fire trucks cannot even get in. We don’t need experts, we need common sense.


    • Like I said before, we are not living in a ghetto or are we slums. There is a lot of people here who takes care of there mobile, not like a .lot of slums downtown just take a look around! What happens to the decent people & seniors that live here though you probably don”t care because you live in a high class town with drugs & guns.


  10. OK give up! You win! Then you rocket scientists should run for office yourself then instead of just talking about this stuff, you will be in the deivers seat when it comes to what happens and doesnt happen. That is my ultimate solution.

    And the trailer park ghettos are more than a black mark on the town, they are a total drain and a terrible use of prime real estate.


    • You have a cold heart & no consideration of other people but yourself. I believe the more I reply to your cold remarks the bigger of a man you feel so I”ll close with this! Have a nice life. Oh and by the way watch that black mark down there with all the newspaper arrests on DRUGS,GUNS,ROBBERIES, Oh did I forget to mention the RAPISTS you have in your great DOWNTOWN! Have a nice life!


  11. WHERE is the PUBLIC notice for this? It’s not on the town web site and the number is inconsistent with how they normally label it.


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