Impact of Hekemian Development on Community
SOD examines Hekemian engineer on noise pollution and flooding; Oradell and Bergenfield residents turn out in support.
Michael Dipple, Hekemian's engineering expert and principal of L2A Land Design in Englewood, returned to answer questions that centered on noise pollution and flooding posed by members of New Milford SOD (Stop Over Development) and residents of Bergenfield and Oradell.
SOD Environmental Chair, John Rutledge, questioned Dipple about the level of noise that the construction site will generate over the course of the approximately two years the project will take to complete. Specifically, Rutledge wanted to know what the effect of the noise would be on the high school students who will be seated only 80 feet away from the residential portion of the development.
Dipple said that although the sequence of construction has not been planned as of yet, the noise would be "typical construction noise that will be confined to the site."
"It's not a quantifiable question, but I don't think anyone will be displaced," Dipple said.
When questioned by SOD Executive Director, Miriam Pickett, about whether the noise of the proposed 70,500 sq. ft. supermarket's compactors will adhere to the municipal noise ordinance (no machinery before 7am and after 10pm) Dipple said that the trash compactors may run before 7 am and after 10 pm, but it would comply with the state standards for noise.
Dipple clarified that the compactors are fully enclosed and that the trash goes in from inside the store where it's compacted and picked up by a truck that carts it away.
A large part of the questioning was reserved for flooding. When questioned by SOD members Anna Leone and Ulises Cabrera about the validity of relying on a DEP flood map from 1980, Dipple responded that the 1980 map is the state regulatory map and the one that he is required to use in determining his calculations.
"If a state map is available we are required to use it," Dipple said.
Repeatedly throughout the questioning, Dipple stated that he relied on the 1980 state map because that is the one he is beholden to use until the state updates it. When asked what his position was on whether the flooding has had an impact on the property when developed, he responded, "There are strict rules about developing on the 'flood fringe' and that is why a flood hazard area permit must be obtained."
He further explained that under New Jersey state law, if there is any physical disturbance to any area near the flood zone the developer is subject to regulations and needs a flood hazard area permit, before construction can proceed.
Dipple said the site is engineered for a 100 year storm event, meaning that the site is designed to handle 8.3 inches of water in a 24-hour period.
Responding to concerns residents had regarding flooding, Dipple answered that although he agrees that over the course of years overdevelopment may have played a part in exacerbating flooding in residential areas, it is his position that the adoption of the storm water management rule in 2004 has served not only to educate people about the effects of development in flood prone areas, but also enacted stringent laws designed to establish control on how development occurs in these areas.
Columbia Street resident Sharon Hillmer questioned Dipple as to whether the water detention drains will increase the amount of runoff into the river. Dipple responded that the storm water management rules allow for no increase in the amount of runoff from the site because the state requires him to lower it.
Dipple added that the site must comply with sewage plans for sanitary and storm water drainage determined by the borough of New Milford and the Bergen County Utilities Authority as well as the state.
Attorney for the applicant, Antimo DelVecchio requested that in addition to the August 23 special meeting, the board consider adding a second special meeting in August devoted solely to the hearing of the United Water property development. DelVecchio said that the pace of the hearing has been idled by the amount and length of questioning by the public.
The board agreed to take it under consideration, but made no determination as of the adjournment of the meeting.
The next regular meeting of the Zoning Board will be held on Tuesday, August 14 at 7:30 pm in the council chambers of Borough Hall.