Shadow Lawn Voted Down.. 4 to 1


What what???

Yup, Yup its true,

Nolan –  Yes
Redmond – “I may be quiet but I listen to you” – NO
Ryan – “I heard your security concerns” – NO
Francy – “I’m going to reiterate my last vote” – NO
Becky – “I don’t know why you think I’m not approachable” – NO

Social Media – 1Highlands Council – 0

Good job peeps, way to band together and stay united!!  – When we speak as a group we CAN accomplish things.. 🙂

51 thoughts on “Shadow Lawn Voted Down.. 4 to 1

  1. rockemsockem

    Right On…. so proud of everyone. Nolan is big problem, I was watching him closely and could see he was not seriously listening as he blatantly does not respect the residents of Highlands at all! I think being called out on site plans being done deal was a key turning point. Great job guys!!!!

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  2. Barbara Iannucci

    After hearing all the informed and well grounded comments spoken by taxpayers at the past council meetings I think it’s time social media begins a campaign for a ‘write in vote’ at the next election. Or better yet get someone on the ballot if that’s possible. It doesn’t have to be for mayor … A non-partisan council member would provide the beginning of change that Highlands needs.

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  3. NJ01

    Thank you highlandsblog, blog posters, attendees and speakers at last night’s meeting. United We Stand! Time to revv up the social media and get the old guard out – especially the Planning Board who consistently voted yes on this project without due diligence. Can we trust them to ‘plan’ future sites in our town?

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    1. PrayingMantis

      Only the Mayor’s position is up for election in November. the members of the Planning Board are appointed by the Mayor. So in November the people of Highlands need to unite around a candidate other than Nolan November as well. Right now the best hope to unseat Nolan is a Democrat – Becky Kane. She came through for the residents of Highlands (shout out to Kevin, Tara, and Chris as well). The monthly meeting of Highlands Democrats is this evening at the VFW (7:30pm). Stop in, have a beer, cup of coffee and hear what they have to say. The Democrats could use a little new blood as well!

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    2. highlandsblog Post author

      The non-partisan referendum is on the ballot in November, so when that’s voted through (Vote Yes People), there will no longer be Democrats or Republicans in Highlands and it will force an election next May of 2 other council members.

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    3. PrayingMantis

      Right you are and the non-partisan thing may well be past be referendum but until then we have the grand old party – Nolan, and the Democrats – Tara, Kevin, Chris, and Becky.

      One note several people suggested that the high rise zoning should be put to a referendum. Referendums can not be used for zoning questions. The Municipal Land Use Law spells out the process for zoning and zoning ordinances are expressly excluded from the non-partisan referendum based decision making.

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    4. highlandsblog Post author

      Regarding putting the issue to referendum, I think it was suggested more tongue in cheek facetiously as to call Nolan out on his “everyone he talked to was for it.”

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  4. Highlands Non-Partisan

    With the husband of the HBP president on the planning board what do you expect? And the special committee that looked into rezoning and suggestions for the council had all but 1 or 2 business owners on it, one being from Doris and Ed’s…. conflict of interest?

    I think Barbara is right, WE NEED A WRITE IN VOTE FOR MAYOR!
    Both candidates have their own special interest groups that they placate to. Small town politics fueled by egos and perceived power.

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  5. NoLongerNew

    Thank you to everyone that spoke at all the various meetings, spoke to the council individually and sent in emails. I’m so happy to see that the council actually listens even if it does take a little longer than we would like.

    Maybe NOW we can finally focus on fixing the down town. Let’s hold Mayor Nolan to his campaign slogan for the next couple of months: Rebuilding Highlands Together.

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  6. Duncan McLeod

    While everyone is celebrating and patting themselves on their backs about what a great job they did shouting the council down on this vote I want you all to consider the following………

    If you pay property taxes in this town, and own property all you did is cut your own throats! Do the math people will you? We just lost major ratables in the form of major restaurants, and numerous residences, with more to come Im sure. Now add to that the fact that things become more expensive every year.

    So the basic math is, less money coming in, Vs. more money that needs to go out. So, where do you think the shortfall of income needed is going to come from. Yep. thats right, the taxes are going to have to go up and go up big time they will.

    The arguements against the shadowlawn project are short sighted, and lets face it, are a one issue deal that is being drummed to death by people living at the base of the hill. I can understand their concerns. However, as has been pointed out on this very blog mudslides and hill collapses have been going on for centuries. So, stopping this project is not going to stop that.

    The only possible beneficial result of all this is that the state may have to intervene and force the town to consolidate or be taken over by another town when the taxes spike up to double of what they are now or more and people start screaming!

    Even if the non partisan referendum passes in November, which I hope it will, the same probems will face new people if they are elected.

    The question remains no matter how you cut it and its irrefutable. Where is the money going to come from to pay the towns bills if not by tax increases. And Im sure that the same people that were against the shadow lawn project will be screaming about that, when they themselves are helping to cause the problem.

    Oh, and one more point. Before anyone wants to jump on Nolan for his vote. At least he voted for what he though was right, during and election year, knowing the opposition. If you dont think that the votes of the democrats werent politically motivated, then think again!

    Those people that voted “no” know damn well that the town needs ratables to survive independently, and what they did last night was just pandering and playing politics. So, while many here are celebrating, leaders that are swayed by mob mentality and not whats in the best interests of the town, are no leaders at all.

    The only way I see out of the towns financial woes now, is consolidation as no developer is going to want to go anywhere near Higlands with this kind of mob mentality, and a totally limp wristed governing body!

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    1. NoLongerNew

      There is more than one way to skin a cat, and you can raise ratables without a high rise.

      Here’s a radical idea: focus on rebuilding the down town. Focus on code enforcement so the town doesn’t look like it’s festering. Bring in developers for the down town. Be more business friendly to the local artisans and craftsmen that are already here.

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    2. Buster

      First place code enforcement should visit is Nolan’s property, nothing has been done since the storm and the property is all overgrown. Have not seen a single thing done all summer. So many of us have worked so hard to clean up our neighborhood and we have to look at that dump everyday!!

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    3. NoLongerNew

      Oh, and let’s remember that those ratables Nolan was pushing for won’t be seen for at least 10 years. How does that help cover the revenue the town is losing NOW?

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    4. highlandsblog Post author

      Well you’ve been wrong before.. IMO, We need to be chasing commercial ratables instead of expecting high density residential is going to pull us through hard financial times.

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    5. rockemsockem

      Funny how people say that residents need to get involved to make a difference and not politicians fault. Well damned if you do damned if you don’t. Nobody ignorant on this blog and know that they were ALL exposed regarding “done deal” the difference being some recognize they are wrong where Nolan simply doesn’t care and thinks he is above it all.

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  7. Duncan McLeod

    Ok boys and girls…………maybe you guys just dont get it. So ill make it simple.

    1) Developers wont come to a town when its made this hard for them to build. Towns that pull this kind of monkey business get a reputation and Highlands already has it.

    2) I guess its “logical” to shoot down efforts at development, whose revenue wont be seen for years because why??? We arent going to need it then? Ridiculous!

    3) The downtown and business district has never been, nor ever will be a priority for the democrats on council that everyone is celebrating here! Remember they are the ones that voted the HBP out of existence, only to bring it back, when doing what it did would have caused them more work than they wanted to do!!!

    These same democrats have been in control of the council for a decade now, and how much code enforcement or redevelopment efforts have you seen from these people? None!

    4) OK all you rocket scientists, where is the money to run the town going to come from?

    5) I guess having a high density slum is much better than a high density up scale high rise and new develpment. Not to mention all the infrastructure improvements the developer was going to make as a result of the development.

    6) Ill be wrong when Im proven wrong. Which wont be as the town will soon not be able to pay its bills due to loss of ratables and nothing to replace the lost income. So, I hope skyrocketing taxes is something everyone will enjoy.

    7) Leaving the only option which will be town bankruptcy, leaving us at the mercy of the state who will have to intervene, when the situaion becomes untenable.

    Does anyone doubt the math when it comes to the town not being able to be self sufficient. Its just a matter of dollars and cents, and shouldnt be a matter of passions and personal interests!

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    1. Stacy

      What’s your proof that the amount of local taxes are going to go up more than what is allowed by law? It’s not 100% of MY property tax bill that’s going to go up… so even if they are allowed to raise it by 5% how is that skyrocketing? Is your tax bill different than everyone else’s in town? Did you appeal your assessment for this year ? If you did you probably would have gotten a nice reduction like I did… which just means that mine might go up but not as much as you are claiming.

      Also, Shadowlawn still has that small issue of contamination to deal with so even if this nightmare of an ordinance had been passed and even if a bank loaned the money to build on it, who would move into a building that’s built on top of who knows what?

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  8. NJ01

    Anyone know what’s happening with the mobile homes being removed next to the old marina? Who owns that land? What’s happening to its residents? Heard years ago, it was a ‘done deal’ too with KHov wanting to build a residential highrise there. Anyone know if Council is reconsidering rezoning that land, either for residential or commercial use? And is the marina privately owned by a different or same individual? No one seems to know.

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  9. Duncan McLeod

    Once again, the passions and opinions need to be left to the side. Its a matter of dollars and cents. If there is a shortfall in revenue, which there is certain to be, a massive increase in taxes will occur. The council has been told that at this point the loss in revenue is something like 8 percent, and may go as high as 30% or more after people walk away from houses and foreclosures take place. The CFO of the town has infomed the council that unless there is a major surve in revenue in the next two years the town will be in major financial trouble.

    So, my next question is this. Did anyone ask the “heroes” that voted against Shadowlawn last night what their plan was for increasing the towns revenue to make up for the last in ratables in the wake of Sandy? What is there plan? Do they have one? Does anybody posting here know?

    Becuase is the answer is “no” then where is the leadership???? After they shot down the Shadowlawn thing, the responsible thing for the democratic majority on council to do was to acknowledge the town is in major financial trouble, and then to present “their” plan for fixing the problem. Sure, its easy to shoot down someone elses plan, and even if it wasnt the most popular at least it was a “plan”.

    People here can say, “lets do this, and lets do that”, but unless you are at that council table you are basically nobody. And if the non partisan referendum passes in Nov. The people running if they get elected better have a plan. Its easy to shoot things down, now making things work………thats hard!

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    1. NoLongerNew

      Yes, there is currently a shortfall in revenue. The town couldn’t possibly move any slower in getting the downtown back. I thought we’d be farther along than we are.

      However, if you want us to believe Nolan, which story should we believe? That we have a devastating loss in ratables or that the town is 85% back as stated in the NJ.com article about Clam Fest? A 15% loss in ratables as of August isn’t so bad. People keep moving back and since then we’ve had at least two more bars open up in town, so that number is getting smaller. It might not be as fast as we’d like to see, but it’s quicker than that high rise.

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    2. highlandsblog Post author

      Yeah, I don’t think the opposition cared enough to show up.. So that would make us the vocal “majority”.. You need to be in to win it and *YOU”RE* the one that says you have to be involved.. We took your advice and got involved.. If you disagree with our opinion. That’s your right. But I’m going to use your own words, “Stand up and get involved and don’t just type words behind the laptop screen” – otherwise – quit your bitchin’

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  10. Lucille Kane

    Mr. McLeod said “……if you don’t think that the votes of the Democrats weren’t politically motivated, then think again.”

    I thought they voted after due consideration, use of logic and reason and according to the residents wishes. Isn’t that exactly what they were elected to do? Guess in politics you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

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  11. Duncan McLeod

    IF you pay any attention to what the “quotes” were that are listed here of the council people that voted this down, it is obvious they were swayed by the mob, rather than by reason and logic. Also, I think it is absolute arrogance for a small group of people to presume that they are speaking on behalf of an entire town. But I guess according to the logic being floated here the residents are all 20 of them!

    But fine, they voted it down. So, did they put forth any plan as to what they are going to do to solve the problem of lost ratables and taxes. Im betting they didnt!

    And regardless of what anyone says the law limits the town to charge for taxes, where do you think the money is going to come from to pay the bills? Donations from concerend adjacent towns? The Easter Bunny? Santa Claus?

    So, now that “Le Resistance” has gotten their way, how are these problems going to be solved? Just askin…………………

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    1. rockemsockem

      Seems so odd to me that you are so insulting towards people that truly want to see this town recover and move in a direction thats benefits all. You need to change your name to Duncan Downer. it’s no wonder you were unable to get anything done in this town cause your know it all attitude is just as bad as Nolan’s.

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    2. NJ01

      I think he is the mayor in disguise, using a pen name. Notice the similarities? Forgets his own quotes, makes contradictory statements, bad salesmanship, sways whichever way the wind blows, arrogant, thinks he is above everyone else… Hmmm…

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  12. Duncan McLeod

    Highlandsblog,
    I dont mind being quoted, but I have to protest being misquoted as you did here. I have been involved, for a very very long time, fighting the good fight for more years than most. Unfortuneately most of those efforts were in vain, due to the Good old boy network always rearing its ugly head. And unfortunately most of them just happen to be local democrats. Thats just a fact.

    So, it will be nice for some new people to be involved and see how far they get. Im totally in support of new blood, and the non partisan change in our town government. Now the empasis should be on launching a campaign so that people will vote for it. I can guarantee that there will be an anti-non partisan effort by those that want to maintain the status quo.

    Once that fight is won, I might want to get out the pom poms and scream and shout. But until then…………. its just talk.

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    1. Lucille Kane

      I truly don’t understand Mr. McLeod’s point of view. I don’t know if he attended the meeting or not. All I know, from watching the video, is that I heard no one speak in favor of the high rise other than Mayor Nolan. Perhaps they thought the chickens were already counted and in the hen house.

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    2. NoLongerNew

      You didn’t address my question before. Which Frank Nolan should we believe? The one that says we have a devastating loss of ratables or the one quoted on NJ.com right before Clam Fest that the town was 85% back? Because a 15% loss in ratables, which is shrinking slowly but surely, doesn’t seem so bad.

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    3. Not Just A Resident

      Maybe Frank is relying on both the lawyers – which would explain why the two completely opposing views on one topic 🙂 Are we paying for both of them? If so, perhaps their salaries should cancel each other out and we should get both opinions for free!

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    4. NJ01

      So, communication is so bad, the two lawyers obviously never discussed the case with each other. WOW. Perhaps, they never got past their initial high-five & the greeting, “It’s a done deal.”

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  13. Duncan McLeod

    Many of us expect the town council to make decisions based on the best interests of the town and not based on mobs that come to council meetings to shout things down! If this is going to be how the counci makes decisions, then we are in big big trouble,and certainly nothing will get done. Also, if this is how the council makes decisions, then they have no balls whatsoever and are useless as leaders.

    So, if this is going to be the “procedure” and how to get decisions on council to go the way you think they should, I guess we all should be assembling mobs of our own to sway the council’s opinion one way or the other.

    While it is true that the council has the duty to listen to, and take into consideration the opinions of the public, Im sure they knew what the arguements against Shadowlawn were well before the last council meeting.

    In fact, their minds should have been made well before the council meeting, based on “facts” as to what was the best decision for the town, and not based on emotions, popularity, or how many people show up at a meeting to shout something down.

    See this kind of mentality is a two way street. if this is how easy it is to sway the council, then there will be decisions made in the future under the same conditions that many here will not be so pleased with.

    So, while the back slapping and exhaultation continues here…………. its really a sad commentary on the weakness and lack of intestional fortitude of members of the governing body!

    Also, Although Im not a big fan of Mayor Nolan, He should have credit for at least having the balls to vote for what he thought was right. Since the mayor votes last, he obviously saw how things were going to go, and could have made the politically expedient move and also vote “no” on Shadowlawn. He obviously wasnt swayed by mob mentality.

    After all, what is being “celebrated” here is the delusion that the “people” won the day and the arguement. What really happend is that council members caved to political pressure and wanting to be popular. How do we know this? Because they should have figured out what was best for the town well in advance of the last council meeting. What are we supposed to believe, that they waited to the last minute to make up their minds? If thats true, the what a bad way to lead!!!

    If they had made up their minds prior to the meeting, then regardless of what was said by anyone at the meeting, they would have voted they way they did. So, everybody just keep on congratulating each other and slapping those backs!

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    1. rockemsockem

      Nolan went first. If you want to refer to thoughtful, smart public comments as a mob you don’t understand the word democracy!

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    2. NJ01

      Obviously only Nolan had made up his mind a long time ago, when secret deals were made between him, the PB, seller and developer. Arrogant Nolan was the first to go ‘Yes’ at voting time and read out a canned statement. If you have attended any of the PB meetings, you will know the definition of ‘mob’. They are the ones seated behind the table, banging their gavel and yelling “We can’t answer that,” to every question that is raised by the audience. Have you even bothered to attend any of these meetings? It’s obvious from your rants that you didn’t sit through the Sept. 18 Council meeting, nor did you attend the litigation case against the highrise that went on for over two years. I wish the audience could, (as you are suggesting,) just snap their fingers and make the Council ‘sway’ in their direction. But it doesn’t work that way. For once, the Council made a wise decision… perhaps because they are now free to think on their own without feeling pressured by a nmayor who is on his way out. Puh..leeez!

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  14. Duncan McLeod

    Once again, im just so happy people are pleased with how this vote went. So, that from now on Highlands will be known as the town that doesnt want to improve itself and is hostile to developers or anyone looking to make the town better.

    From what I have heard, at least 2 members of the governing body were “scared” off by threats that they would be sued or personally mentioned in a lawsuit if they voted for the Shadowlawn project. Now, this isnt good decision making, its running scared, and having no balls! So, appaerently Nolan wasnt the only one that thought the project should go forward. So, it looks like covering ones ass and being scared off by threats of phantom litigation was what ultimately turned the day.

    Once again, this is not the way good decision making is supposed to happen. Either it was a good idea, or a bad idea. The next time I want something to go a certain way, Im just going to go to a council meeting and threaten to sue! It seems that is the magic word!

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    1. NoLongerNew

      If they did nothing wrong, then why are they scared?

      And would you please answer my question: Which Nolan do we believe? The one that says we have a devastating loss of ratables or the one from NJ.com right before Clam Fest that the town is 85% back? Which, by the way, since then at least 2 more businesses have opened since (Claddagh and Havana) and two more will be opening (pancake house and psychic/live coach).

      Which is it? Hmm?

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  15. Duncan McLeod

    PS
    One more point. Rockensockem.
    I fully understand the word “Democracy”. What you obviously dont understand is that we dont live in a Democracy, but we live in a Republic. In a Republic we elect officials that are supposed to represent the best interests of everyone, not just those that show up to council meetings. Most people for various reasons dont have the time to show up to council meetings. In fact, I have found from experience that the ones that do show up always have an axe to grind, and usually do not represent the will of the majority. Most times the exact opposite it true.

    I would challenge anyone that was anti shadowlawn project to provide any factual evidence whatsoever that their position was that of the majority of the town. My point is simply that our officials should be making the best decisions for everyone and not be easily swayed by those that are most vocal, and threats of lawsuits.

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    1. highlandsblog Post author

      What you are unwilling to acknowledge is that *maybe* the majority of people didn’t want the high rise. Just because *you* wanted it, doesn’t mean everybody else wanted it. The majority of people didn’t want it for very different reasons. a) some just don’t want any development – I will agree with you there is a small group out there that fit into this bucket, b) some were worried about the slope stability – weren’t against development, just certain types of development c) some just didn’t want Highlands to turn into Ft Lee – again didn’t have to keep it a mobile home park, but didn’t want a high rise d) some had issues with this being spot zoning and just wanted development that fit into the current master plan. So all the different groups that didn’t want it for very different reasons outnumbered the group that did want the high rise. Here’s the other side of the coin, when a developer does move forward with something that isn’t a hi-rise, he’s not going to get that much resistance, and the tides of support will shift back to the land *does* need to be developed.

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  16. Duncan McLeod

    In reality there is, as we all now a “special interest” group that lets face it would be against any building above them on the hill. I predict that if something else is proposed there will still be opposition to it.

    As for the whole high rise thing, it has been going on for years and years now. Every time something like this happens it further deepens the towns reputation for being hostile to develpment of the town. And people will just take their money elsewhere.

    So, now once again we get to keep the lovely ghetto trailer park on prime real estate that the rest of the tax base subsidizes due to it not bringing in its potential for taxes.

    Thats fine! I really dont have a dog in this fight, like some many others. It is what it is. I just hope everyone likes paying ever higher taxes. I guess everyone has the money to burn. Because unless the sea retreats back a half mile and makes room for highlands to build a new shopping center or Walmart, previously used property is going to have to be redeveloped.

    Or………….not…………. personally while this is a blow to the town remaining and independent borough, I think its great if it brings us closer to being taken over by another town. So Vive Le Resistance!!!! 🙂

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