FAIR LAWN - Neighbors, angry about blocked driveways and dangerous conditions on a local street, are blaming a nearby business.
Jack Daniels Motors, 29 South Broadway, is drawing anger from residents on Blue Hill Avenue, Sunderland Drive and Romana Drive who claim the car dealership, which sells both used and new cars, is running its business in front of their homes.
Approximately 20 residents appeared before the Borough Council on June 13 to voice their concerns.
"We see people running around the streets during the day," Karen Casamento, a Romana Drive resident, said. "It seems as though they're bringing cars to show people and then returning the cars to our street all day."
Dennis Hickey, a Sunderland Drive resident, brought photos to show the council, confirming cars parked in front of driveways and on both sides of Blue Hill Avenue, making it one car wide instead of two cars wide.
"This all started one year ago when the employees were no longer allowed to park in the lot," Hickey said. "Now we have 18-21 cars daily parked on our streets that weren't there before.
"It's more than a nuisance, it's a hazard," he said.
Hickey said on June 3, there was a gas leak in one of the neighbor's house and the fire chief had to park in someone's driveway because there was no room to park in the street.
"The minibus can't make a turn because there are so many cars," he said. "A fire truck couldn't either."
"If we have company, we have to go out and save spots with our own cars so our company can park when they come to visit," he said.
"We're here to ask you to figure out how to resolve this," Hickey said, indicating why about 20 residents were at the work session.
"We're very concerned," Mayor John Cosgrove said.
Pat Bellardino, a Sunderland Drive resident, called the situation "a disaster."
"The UPS and mail trucks can't get over to our street," he said. "Something is going to happen there, I hate to say that but that's how it is."
Bellardino said Jack Daniels has "pushed their people to the street," because they cannot park in the lot that sells predominantly used cars.
Robert Etchells, a Sunderland Drive resident, said he has lived there for 40 years and has not seen anything like this.
"The business is in a B2 zone," he said. "They're not supposed to encroach on off street parking."
Etchells said there are 62 used cars in the lot and 35 employees that work there.
Borough Council attorney Ronald Mondello said if there is language in the Planning Board agreement that the business is not allowed to encroach on residential parking, then the business must abide by that agreement.
Dan DeRubeis, a Sunderland resident, said he fears for his grandchildren.
"I'm afraid to let them go outside to cross the street," he said. "Even if they look both ways, they're poking out between two cars because they can't see over them, that's dangerous."
"I think they're parking some of their lot cars on our street," Casamento said. "They had the Kia plates on them. Our landscaper services four houses on our street and had no place to park so he could do the service."
"It's very different if they're parking their cars that are for sale on the street," Mondello said.
Six more residents said they were concerned about the safety, as well, and pointed out there is speeding they witness regularly.
Fair Lawn Police Chief Glen Cauwels said he has spoken to the manager at Jack Daniels said there had been an agreement with the furniture store owner, but when that adjacent lot owner changed hands, the agreement disappeared.
"Whatever we do there affects you, too," the Chief said, referring to changing parking restrictions in the area.
The Borough Council is the only body that can make parking changes via ordinance.
"But employees from Jack Daniels have just as much right to park on those streets as you do," Cauwels said.
"Let's start by looking at the ordinance," Mayor Cosgrove said.
An attempt to reach Jack Daniels Motors attorney, Stuart Liebman, for comment was unsuccessful.