Polizzi Talks About His Letter to the Zoning Board, BOE's Position on Development
Superintendent Polizzi talks to Patch about his appearance before the Zoning Board, the letter he submitted to the Board, and the BOE's position on the development of the United Water property.
Superintendent Michael Polizzi wants to make one thing very clear. The Board of Education has been involved in the potential development of the United Water property before the plans were even filed.
"What we have not been involved with to date, is attending the Zoning Board meetings regarding the development," he said.
According to Polizzi, he and the Board of Education (BOE) do not believe that the property should be left completely undeveloped.
Although they adamantly oppose any residential building, Polizzi said, "A certain degree of development would be good for the community, and what's good for the community is good for the schools."
Polizzi said that the intent of his letter, that was supported by the BOE, was to make the Zoning Board aware of the school district's concerns over the development of the property.
"The letter simply outlined what those concerns are," Polizzi said.
According to Polizzi, the letter addressed four concerns. The first is that neither he nor the BOE are in favor of any type of residential development being built on that property. Polizzi believes that although residential housing brings in ratables, they are 'negative ratables' because ultimately the cost of providing services to those new residents will outweigh the ratables coming in.
Stressing that the school district was already overcrowded, he said, "The long term financial picture is that residential housing ultimately brings children."
"The last thing that community members want is to withstand another referendum for school construction so that additional classroom space can be built to accommodate additional students," Polizzi said.
The second concern the letter addressed was traffic flow. Stating that the area is already heavily trafficked, and that as recently as last spring a high school student was seriously injured when hit by a car on River Road, Polizzi is very concerned about how the additional traffic, along with the widening of River Road, will affect the high school.
"I consider the safety of the students of the utmost importance," Polizzi said.
He also wants to know if any high school property will be taken in the widening of River Road. A question he asked the Zoning Board Tuesday night, but an answer, over the objection by Hekemian's attorney Andy DelVecchio, he did not receive.
Polizzi said that included in the letter is the BOE's belief that the parcel of land where Hekemian originally had slated a field remains an ideal location for a field.
"By asking them to consider a field, we feel that this is an opportunity for a good neighbor concept where the developer can dedicate, donate, or possibly consider a long-term lease of $1 per year for use of a large enough parcel of land to get our fields out of the flood zone," Polizzi said.
Lastly, Polizzi said that the BOE would like the opportunity to have a seat at the table with the developer and be a part of the conversation.
"Why now?" Polizzi asked rhetorically. "Why not now?"
Polizzi said that after almost two years of publicly talking about the development of that property, nothing has been set and the plans seem to be still changing.