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Letter to the Editor: For the Kids

Former Council President and current member of SOD reminds New Milford that the fight against development is for the kids.

FOR THE KIDS! 

The rallying cry "FOR THE KIDS" has motivated New Milford residents to seemingly do the impossible and make it routine.

Thirty years ago, when we moved into town, I was so impressed with the sense of community that I felt here in New Milford, it was palpable. You felt it everywhere--a feeling of place, a feeling of being part of something much bigger than just yourself.

When my children started to participate in Little League,soft ball, Junior Football, cheerleading, it was bigger than life. Men and woman volunteers, from all backgrounds, all ages, some home grown, others from different times and places, all coming together for the kids.   

Just take a moment and think about what it takes to organize all the activities, maintain the fields, equipment, raise money for uniforms; it's a daunting task but New Milford's volunteers can do it in a heartbeat. 

Now there exists the greatest threat to our "KIDS," in my opinion, in the 30 years that I have lived here--the proposed development of the United Water property directly across the street from the High School. 

The 13-acre property has been the subject of a Board of Adjustment application for the past year. An out-of-town developer is proposing to build a 70,500 sq. ft. regional shopping center with a bank, an apartment building and seemingly 500 parking spaces on the environmentally sensitive property that has never had any development built upon it. In fact, it may be unsuitable for development due to the past history as a dumping ground for United Water's waste products, heavy metals and sludge. 

A small group of residents started to attend zoning board meetings and quickly realized that this a very serious issue for this town. High priced lawyers, engineers, planners, tax and traffic experts all making their appearance before the board, extolling the benefits of this development. 

The small group of residents banded together and SOD (Stop Over Development) was formed. We attend meetings, challenge every word of testimony, argue against the assertions by the developer that this will not adversely effect the quality of life in this town.   

SOD STRONGLY DISAGREES, as do many residents (and our growing members attest to that fact), just having a very successful fund raiser. We are raising money to hire a lawyer, planner, what ever it will take to defeat this proposal. 

SOD, unfortunately, is the only group that is taking this issue head on. The Mayor and Council took a passive role until SOD called their actions into question. Instead of helping, the Mayor and Council was actually encouraging this development as some relief to our tax burden and an increase in tax ratable's. How misguided.

SOD,  however resourceful, can't do all the heavy lifting. SOD cannot wait a moment longer for the Board of Education, the PTA, parents of high school students and the students themselves to attend the meetings.   

The High School stands the most too lose if this development is approved. Just think about the ramifications. Two to three years of noisy and disruptive construction, the dust, dirt and construction equipment in and out. When completed, 35 to 50 delivery trucks a day, all driving past the school, past students walking to and from class, hundreds of cars a day putting students in danger. 

Let us not forget the lost opportunity to purchase this property, relocate the track and the football field out of the flood waters and  give our students the recreational programs that they deserve. If we defeat this development we can find the money, somehow, someway to keep this open space part of our open space.

Come to the Board of Adjustment meeting on February 28 at 7:30 pm! Remember, this time it really is "FOR THE KIDS!" 

Michael J. Gadaleta 

SOD member; former New Milford Councilman 1999-2004; Council President 2003-2004

robin commerford February 22, 2013 at 03:38 AM
I didn't know her husband and the woman I am thinking of is a terrific person, does have a number of children and is a dog lover. Oh well, Alzheimer's sucks. And yes, living well is the best revenge and desserts rock!
Mizz Flanagan February 22, 2013 at 06:02 AM
OMG, yes there is always that one friggin irritating person you just want to say...when I read his post I just think "Forgive him Lord for he knows not what he does"...eg like show up at the senior center to help make signs for the SOD march to borough hall but then calls the same organization names, wants to have these incognito references where only certain people who know what he is talking about are supossed to be insulted, these rest of us are like"can we just stick to the issue at hand"!!!!! Really annoying and an unnecessary distraction, who thinks he is always "outing" someone but in the end just comes across as a mean spirited person. Anyway back at the ranch....GO SOD!!!!!
Ulises February 22, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Adam, the Riverkeeper wrote on his newsletter, to his member donors, that the reason the developers included 221 apartment was because of SOD. SOD was formed months after that proposal was first submitted to the Planning & Zoning Boards, so he lied. We asked to meet with him to set the record straight and he refused. Then he spoke to the Patch and we couldn't hold back. If you were wrongly accused of being the cause of something or lied about wouldn't you be angry? And, he totally flipped on the issue because he offered the town over a $1M as a down payment to purchase the property and the Mayor told former Councilman Berner, "no" (but the mayor has no recollection of this and said so on the record at a M&C meeting when Berner stated, mayor I told you...). On the same donor's newsletter he then defended the mayor for publicly being for the development??? It makes no sense and he's infuriated many environmental groups over this too. Knowing all this, the false accusations about SOD, refusing to meet with SOD and flipping on the issue, many were angry. Adam, I sincerely ask you, wouldn't you call someone out for distorting the truth about you?
Cranky Fake February 22, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Ulises, save your breath, it is not worth the effort. Adam claims to be an attorney that lives near the river and whose house was flooded previously. He is for the lowering of the reservoirs as a storm approaches (potentially hurting the majority of people if the rain does not come), but in favor of this development next to the river that floods his and his neighbor’s homes? He calls the united water property a sludge pit and defends the “creeper”. Does he not realize that whatever is left on that site, once disturbed, as well as what drips from the cars in its parking lots, and spews from the trucks that make 50 plus deliveries a day and whatever oozes from the garbage containers, will be absorbed bythe students in the HS and will run downstream and into the beloved river that the "creeper" has raised millions of dollars from, in the name of conservation? Then Adam goes after one of his own, another attorney, has he no shame? Probably just jealous that he did not get the “cushy gig” with the town. He is for gun control (keeps the lawyers busy) and voted for the field of dreams (not in his backyard), but represents the “silent majority in town”, psst. Adam the majority voted the FOD down, I guess you don’t really know what the majority wants do you? Adam if this thing gets built It would be ironic and fitting if your house is excoriated every time it rains, Get your facts straight or please remain silent. Hi Molly

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