Robalino Addresses Hekemian's Revised Plans For United Water Property
With Hekemian's revised plans, Robalino says that its time for the entire town to come together and embrace the idea to re-zone the property.
By Diego Robalino
With regards to the new plan proposed by Hekemian for the United Water property, it is clear that they are trying to work with the residents of New Milford in addressing our major concerns. Of course not every issue can be satisfactory for those in opposition, but the will of the developer is clear in trying to compromise. Compromise, meaning a settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions, is a word that naysayers will chose not to accept. Not to say that they would be wrong in doing so, but it does help to come to the bargaining table with an open mind. Is this new proposal the best plan for the property? Definitely not! Is it the best concept for New Milford under present conditions? That is precisely the question that needs to be addressed.
Burdening the town with an eight million dollar price tag would have almost doubled the borough’s debt of nine million. Even after recouping monies from grants, at best we’ll still be stuck with four million dollars to pay before we can even talk about investing even more taxpayer dollars for whatever we want to build there. So purchasing the property was something that was not a possibility. So where does this leave us? First, we must accept the fact that this new proposal has addressed many of our concerns. However, before being approved by the BOA, it will require many further concessions by the developer, as this plan is far from acceptable.
But if the plans are ultimately denied locally, the county court will most likely approve the application. Especially now, based on the fact that the developers have clearly demonstrated that they have been proactive in working with residents’ concerns. Still, 24 residential units, is 24 too many in my book. So this is where I make my pitch: Now is the time for the entire town to come together and embrace the idea to re-zone the property. Instead of the 24 apartments, we could have our multipurpose field in its place, on land deeded by the developer. Hekemian has confirmed that if we were to re-zone, the original concept presented almost 20 months ago would still be an option. We cannot waste any more time, the longer this is dragged through meeting after meeting, the less likely we will have this window. Let’s enter the New Year with a solid plan to move forward!
The current Shop Rite is old and inadequate for our growing community, we will all enjoy a new Shop Rite, and yes, there are many, many in New Milford who want it. The majority doesn’t care one way or another; they are just too busy with their own day to day. As you know, the DEO Middle School field had a negative response in this past November’s referendum, not because people were opposed to the idea necessarily, but rather opposed to the location or opposed to the cost. Our kids have proven time and again that they are well deserving of it. Two Jr. Football Super Bowl championship years back to back, the High School in the State’s final once again and the Girl’s Soccer team's superb achievement among others! Imagine the possibilities…………..
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