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Who Says Looks Don’t Count?

Environmental Commission recognizes best-maintained commercial properties in West Caldwell.

West Caldwell’s Environmental Commission gave a green thumbs up to five township businesses the commission thinks are looking good.

The Beautification Awards were presented during the gazebo concert in Crane Park last Thursday to  and  on Bloomfield Avenue, Crane’s Mill on Passaic Avenue,  on York Avenue and Community Education Centers on Fairfield Place.

Councilman Joseph Cecere, a member of the Environmental Commission, said the goal is to recognize the property's overall appearance.

But it’s not just what you see from the street that counts. Cecere said members of the commission drive through parking lots and make sure garbage areas are neat and that shrubs are maintained, and also looks to see if flowers are planted.

The councilman said the awards were given out for many years and were reinstated in 2004, when he became a commissioner. The presentation was moved from council meetings to the gazebo so that more people would be present for it.

When the Planning Board receives an application, the Environmental Commission is brought in to look over the landscape plans. The Commission reviews what type and size of plants are being proposed and whether they are deer-resistant. They may also consider whether enough of a buffer is being created if a business is located in a residential neighborhood.

“Basically, how it’s going to enhance the community,” Cecere said.

Cecere said he considers a bad example of landscaping and property maintenance to be the  on Passaic Avenue. He said it was the first plan he looked at as Chairman of the Environmental Commission and he wishes he had been more diligent.

Directly across the street from Walgreen's is what he considers to be one of the best maintained commercial properties in the township, T.D. Bank. The bank has won the commission’s award numerous times.

The Commission tries to recognize different businesses each year, but Crane's Mill and the Original Pancake House are both past winners. on Bloomfield Avenue was recognized several years ago after it redid its façade.

Joe Pepe, head waiter at P.F. Market, said owner Michael Karamanis takes a lot of pride in his business.

"He's quite fanatical about the appearance of the building," Pepe said. "It was an honor for him to receive the award."

Cecere said the commission is considering adding an additional award to recognize a company that’s environmentally friendly.

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