A march in protest of the proposed development of the United Water property is being organized by SOD (Stop Over Development) for Monday, September 24 at 6 p.m. prior to the Mayor and Council meeting.
SOD presented the Mayor and Council with a petition containing 1100 signatures during their September 10 work session. It was during that work session that Mayor Ann Subrizi informed the council that a phone call placed to Peter Hekemian, the developer currently in contract with United Water to purchase the 13-acre property, revealed that if the council rezones the United Water property, the original offer he made to the town in April of 2011 is still on the table.
The original offer that Hekemian made to the Mayor and Council and presented to the residents of New Milford in April 2011 included a 145-space parking lot for use by the borough and school district, and a graded field that could be developed into a soccer field, as well as a new ShopRite, a family restaurant, bank and 10,000 square feet of commercial space for local merchants.
The application currently being heard by the planning board calls for a 70,500 sq. ft. supermarket, a 4300 sq. ft. bank and 221 four-story unit housing complex, with 40 units set aside to satisfy New Milford's COAH requirements, a 428-space multi-level parking garage and a pool.
SOD organized in opposition to the size and scope of this proposed development because it is adjacent to areas that have suffered three major floods and to the High School. Also, SOD believes that if approved, the development will introduce dangerous levels of traffic to a residential area and the apartment component will strain the already overburdened school system.
Also at the September 10 work session, Councilwoman Hedy Grant put forth a motion to appoint a special counsel to investigate the failure of the Mayor and Council to purchase the United Water property or take any further action regarding it. That motion failed, but the motion put forth by Councilman Diego Robalino to consider rezoning the United Water property and having the borough planner craft a rezoning ordinance passed with Councilwoman Randi Duffie's consenting vote.
Marchers will assemble on the corner of River Road and Cecchino Drive at 5:30 p.m. As the march progresses south on River Road, SOD members will meet other groups of marchers along the way and all will arrive at the New Milford Borough Hall between 6pm and 6:30 pm. Marchers will be carrying signs.
Following the march, SOD will attend the Mayor and Council meeting at 7 p.m.
To contact SOD, email at Sodnow@yahoo.com.
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