SOD Wages Grass-Roots Campaign Against Development of United Water Property
New Milford residents band together to fight the size and scope of the development of the United Water Property.
The inaugural meeting of New Milford's grass-roots group, Stop Over Development (SOD), was held Monday night at the New Milford Public Library.
SOD is the grass roots brainchild of one woman determined to stop the proposed development of the United Water property by New Milford Development Associates whose managing director is Peter Hekemian, Principal and V.P. of Development for the S. Hekemian Group.
That woman is Miriam Pickett. While attending the last hearing of the Zoning Board on April 19, Pickett noticed a number of people in the audience shaking their heads in disapproval of the development, but no one was talking to each other. She decided that night to get everyone's email in an effort to try and organize residents to band together against the development of the property.
"This development will change the character of New Milford forever," Pickett said. "It will not only affect our quality of life, but it will affect the environment, traffic, and with traffic comes both air and noise pollution."
The application for the preliminary and final site plan approval for the 13-acre United Water property includes:
- 70,500 sq ft supermarket
- 221 residential units with 428-spaced parking garage
- 88 one bedroom apartments; 117 two bedroom apartments; 16 three bedroom apartments
- 4300 sq ft bank
According to Pickett, the inaugural meeting of SOD brought out approximately 30 concerned residents. Pickett said that her main interest was that the meeting be constructive and productive.
The group got to work right away forming committees designed to address every aspect of the developmental process:
- Public Relations Committee will not only be the voice of the group, but it will build the relationship between SOD and the greater community (including surrounding towns) through the dissemination of information.
- Research Committee will gather information on the areas of concern regarding the proposed development in an effort to better inform residents.
- Environmental Committee will study the environmental impact on developing that property since it is located on or near wetlands.
- Finance committee will raise funds should money be needed to fight the proposed development.
- Pounding Pavement Committee will be those people placing flyers in mailboxes to keep residents informed about the proposed development and upcoming meetings.
- Questions Committee will formulate intelligent, cogent questions to be asked of each New Milford Development Associates expert after they give their testimony at Zoning Board meetings.
SOD will also be reaching out to the residents of Oradell because they feel that this proposed development will directly impact their community as well.
"The Oradell community will be profoundly affected by increased traffic, noise and air pollution," Pickett said.
If you are interested in becoming a member of SOD, email Miriam Pickett at firstname.lastname@example.org.