Cupon’s Column: What is it and Why Is It Catching on in Rockland and Beyond?

CUPON is the acronym for Citizens United to Protect Our Neighborhoods. CUPON is an all-volunteer, non-political, nonprofit grassroots organization. The mission of CUPON is:
• Ensure local elected governing bodies and their Land Use board members’ decisions safeguard
the health and safety of all our citizens and first responders;
• Ensure that Land Use laws as set forth by local, state, and federal governments are followed;
• Oppose land-use variances that adversely affect our very diverse communities.
• to work with appropriate authorities to locate illegal housing and related land-use activities.
CUPON seeks to unite all people of goodwill – irrespective of race, religion, political affiliation, or socioeconomic status who wish to see their neighborhoods protected from illegal and overpopulated housing, abusive rental housing, and over development. We respect the fact that some neighborhoods have unique characteristics. We encourage diverse groups to coexist in harmony and mutual respect within all communities. We believe it is best to engage in respectful dialogue with developers, residents, and local officials when proposed land use variances cause concern to residents. We implore local governments to protect residents’ property and
community character over the financial ambitions of developers.
CUPON currently has 15 chapters in Rockland and Orange counties in NY and Bergen and Ocean Counties in NJ. There are additional communities that have expressed interest in establishing a CUPON. Our umbrella organization, CUPON Inc. governs recruiting CUPONs, education, and training of affiliate organizations. It also sets the mission and code of conduct that ALL CUPON affiliates MUST abide by.
Each affiliate operates independently but uses CUPON Inc. as a consulting resource. To become a CUPON affiliate, any interested town/village/area leaders along with the residents are evaluated as to their land-use concerns and need for oversight in their community, as well as the community’s attitude toward other people and groups. This evaluation process includes a questionnaire, phone conversations, and a meeting with interested residents. The residents also evaluate us at the meeting. The meeting is the vehicle where CUPON’s organizational requirements are articulated. It is clearly stated that our ONLY focus is improper or questionable Land Use activity. The method of evaluating proposed land use variances is discussed in-depth, along with the criticality of cooperation and relationship building with all concerned. We discuss these topics in conjunction with our principles of operation, which includes preserving our reputation that is built on:
▪ Integrity
▪ Inclusiveness
▪ Fairness
▪ Dignity and respect

We impress upon all potential new organizations and their members our Basic Code of Conduct. Every CUPON group, and associated individuals, must conduct themselves according to our code of conduct whenever their actions or communications are related to CUPON, or risk being expelled from CUPON. Land Use differences are often tense situations for those involved.  CUPON encourages focus on factual data, versus an approach that involves accusations, frustration, or resentment. CUPON cannot control what people not associated with a CUPON may say about us. We encourage anyone concerned about CUPON’s motives and/or negative comments published about CUPON to contact us for accurate information about CUPON. Mainly, we rely on our past reputation and available documentation on our website at: cuponrockland.org/ for non-CUPON members to learn what we are about.