SOD Plans Protest March For Monday

SOD marching down River Road in protest of the planned development of United Water property.

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.

Click here for more information on SOD.

To contact SOD, email at Sodnow@yahoo.com.


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Michelle September 24, 2012 at 05:42 PM
As for selfish, are you saying also that half the Council is selfish? Councilman Ashley, Councilwoman Grant and Council President Howard Berner who are all against this development and have publicly made their positions known? Also our Zoning Board Chairman who recused himself because he is aware of the potential harm this development will be to our environment? Your comments against Ulises are also off base. He’s consistent in his message, and if ever any of us change our positions, it’s because we have been enlightened. Don’t be angry. Come to the meeting and tell them how you feel. You have a right to be heard just as much as we do. And Mark G., where there is a will, there is a way.
Ulises September 24, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Mr. Cooper, SOD and the Field of Dreams are two separate groups and many in town think we're the same group. So there are some SOD members for and some against the proposal made by the Field of Dreams. Two separate groups, with different missions. Mark G, in your vision, by buying up those homes, we permanently lose tax revenues of $200-400K each year but we still have a mega ShopRite Strip Mall with another bank and we would have knocked down about 300 mature trees so we can all see the big ShopRite sign (not to mention all the through streets traffic this will create, which means more future road repairs, resulting in a tax depletion of all the revenue this eyesore strip mall will produce). I don’t know where the environmental group pulls their funds from but when we sat with them, gave them $7.5M price tag they said it’s doable if the M&C is willing to keep this as Open Space, which Colucci, Robalino and Subrizi don’t want. Rather than giving a chance for this last possible shot of hope, they’re rushing to side with all these outside companies (Inserra, United Water, & Hekeminian) by changing the zoning, which in turn will change this town forever (What's the rush???). I hope they change their minds and if they don’t, I hope many realize the big misstate these officials made.
Mary McElroy September 24, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Ulises, I know you were not able to attend the presentation by Boswell last week but there was a very complete overview of the proposed layout for the field at DEO & in addition to costs being covered, the full layout was reviewed as well as drainage, lighting, & proposed additional parking. A number of questions were asked by those both pro & con. I don't think it would ever make sense for this field to be sod, whether it were by the HS or MS -the turf field allows for multi-use play & only a turf field will 'dramatically increase drainage' in this case at the MS as per Mr. Boswell. A turf field meets the needs of the town in terms of multi-sport, relieves over-crowding & solves flooding/poor drainage issues. Another benefit of turf is the elimination of our geese problem. Mr. Boswell said $3 million was the correct range-based upon his experience and bids currently out with other towns. We have also applied for grants but will not know until next year what, if anything, will be available to us. I hope he comes back & makes a presentation to the M&C & that you & others are able to attend &get the correct info. because only then will you know what you are voting on. Like many of us, I'm opposed to the UW property being rezoned & I'm not sure what will ever happen there, but I don't think the answers are not coming anytime soon. Right now, we have a referendum that if passed, would allow us to have the money to build a new field.
Ulises September 24, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Hi Mary, thank you for the clarification. My main point was to let everyone know SOD and the Field of Dreams are two separate groups. A lot of people in town don't realize this.
Rosemary Fuhrman September 24, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Well, a guess we had a miracle. So many concerned citizens showed up, it was heartwarming.


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