Public Gets To Question United Water Property Development Plan Tonight
Hearing picks up with public questioning of expert's testimony on flooding and drainage systems included in site plan to alleviate flooding.
Tuesday night's meeting of the Zoning Board will allow the public to ask questions of New Milford Redevelopment Associates' expert Michael Dipple, an engineer and principal of L2A Land Design in Englewood, who spent much of his four hours of testimony at the April 19 meeting alleviating concerns regarding flooding.
New Milford Redevelopment Associates (NMRA), a company headed by Peter Hekemian, V.P. of Development for the S. Hekemian Group, is seeking preliminary and final site plan approval for the 13-acre United Water property.
The application 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
Despite the hours of testimony thus far, the crux of NMRA's argument is cited in their letter dated Jan. 3, 2012 that accompanied the filing of the site plans with the the borough's zoning official. In that letter, Andy DelVecchio, an attorney with the Montvale law firm Beattie Padovano who is representing the interests of NMRA, wrote, "While the proposed development is consistent with your Master Plan, the proposed use and density are not currently permitted in the Residential A Zone."
DelVecchio is citing the Borough's 2004 Master Plan that explicitly deems the property "currently underutilized" and recommends mixed-use development. (See pages 56 and 57.) Any Zoning Board of Adjustment application must refer to the borough's Master Plan recommendations.
If the application of NMRA is denied by the Zoning Board the developer can go before the Mayor and Council to ask for a zoning change from its current residential status to mixed-use and cite the 2004 Master Plan as being on their side.
Although NMRA's site plans fit in with the recommendation of the 2004 Master Plan, the property was never re-zoned to include mixed-use development. Therefore, any development that is not singe-family residential needs variances and variances fall under the purview of the Zoning Board which is why DelVecchio requested an immediate denial from the borough's zoning official in his January letter. With the zoning official's denial, the hearing could proceed without delay to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment is primarily responsible for the granting of variances from zoning regulations on proposed projects. For example, if that new kitchen you want to build causes your building to exceed the maximum coverage requirement, you would go to your zoning board. If the deck you want to add juts into the side yard space, you would go to the zoning board to seek permission to vary from the regulation. If, as in the case of NMRA, you want to build a mixed-use complex in a residential zone, the Zoning Board of Adjustment is the board who can approve variances.
Also on the agenda, Fresh & Fancy Farms is seeking variances allowing relocation of an existing greenhouse, construction of a new greenhouse, construction of a 36' x 60' barn, permission to pave a portion of the property between Stockton Street and the existing house and barn and installation of a 12 foot high, 6' x 6' double sided sign facing River Road.
Additionally, Sanzari's New Bridge Inn wants to expand and is seeking variances for use, impervious lot coverage, front and side yard setbacks, parking and signs.
For those who missed the inaugural meeting of the newly formed grassroots group SOD, "Stop Over Development," they are scheduled to make their first united appearance at tonight's hearing.