Dear Nutley Planning and Zoning Board Members,

I am writing because, as a parent who is involved in the school, I understand the importance of and need to pass the upcoming referendum. It is something for which I am personally advocating. I have seen firsthand the impact that the overcrowding issues has had in our schools. I have been to all the meetings. I've internalized the data. I understand that the overcrowding issue has many factors -- state mandates, full day Kindergarten, special needs programs. However, the increased residential building is also a factor -- an ongoing one -- and one that continues to concern many of us.

As the planning and zoning boards, the decisions as to whether or not to build come from you. I would implore the boards to take a more active role in explaining these decisions so that we, the public, understand why they are being made. Perhaps there are legal reasons that compel the board to approve certain things if it fits within the master plan. Maybe you are approving building with an eye towards an increased need for housing by medical school students. Maybe it's simply a decision based in revenue. I don't know. But I'd like to have confidence that not only are the Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners working together with the knowledge that there is a need for this referendum, but that the Planning and Zoning Boards also understand they are variables in the equation of the school system and this referendum as well. 

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As such, I would like to hear from you directly within the context of a discussion about the referendum. I implore you to appoint a spokesperson to explain the rationale behind the Planning and Zoning Board decisions to the public at large by attending the Sept. 25 Town Hall meeting about the referendum. The public may or may not agree your answers. But, either way, at least we will be all be dealing with facts as opposed to assumptions. 

If the BOE, the BOC, and the Planning and Zoning Boards come together to present a united front that can all speak knowledgeably and with integrity to the decisions that are being made in the town by town officials, then it is my hope that we can move forward in a more fully informed way to make a positive decision about the referendum.

I know first hand that volunteering on a board, almost any kind of board, is often a thankless job, so I would like to express my appreciation for your service and I thank you for taking my comments into consideration.

Best regards,

Christina Surretsky

Editors note: The Nutley Board of Education and Superintendent, Dr. Julie Glazer, announced a Town Hall meeting, focusing on the proposed referendum. The meeting will be held on Monday, September 25. The regularly-scheduled Board of Education meeting will take place in the John H. Walker Middle School (JHWMS) Music Room at 6:30pm and the Town Hall meeting will begin at 7:15pm in the JHWMS auditorium.