Hearing tonight on mall dug into North Bergen cliffs

If you’re concerned about the plan to build a strip mall into the side of the Palisades in North Bergen, tonight’s the time to attend a hearing in Jersey City on the plan: The Hudson County Planning Board’s hearing is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in Jersey City.

The board last month tabled consideration of the plan to carve out a chunk of the mountainside across from Palisade General Hospital amid fears from some that it could cause mudslides — or worse.

Paramus-based Avak Properties LLC wants to build a Bank of America, Starbucks and Walgreens along the cliffs across from the hospital north of the car wash on River Road (a county thoroughfare). To do so, it would have to remove 700,000 cubic yards of soil and rock from the base of the cliffs, in chunks climbing more than 100 feet.

The company asked the planning board for a postponement because its attorney couldn’t attend last month’s meeting. The lawyer, Dennis Oury, was North Bergen’s township attorney in the 1980s. He has represented several developers along River Road — and is under federal indictment on charges connected with his interest in a grants consulting firm.

North Bergen has already given the go-ahead on the plan, which still requires county approval.

Residents atop the Palisades fear the development could undermine the structural integrity of Boulevard East. Hudson County’s Division of Planning already has cited mud slides and flooding elsewhere in the area.

Avak needs a variance because the property contains steep slopes that are protected by state and county laws. North Bergen officials have hired Oweis Engineering Inc. to review Avak’s plan.

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