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Robalino Addresses Hekemian's Revised Plans For United Water Property

With Hekemian's revised plans, Robalino says that its time for the entire town to come together and embrace the idea to re-zone the property.

By Diego Robalino

With regards to the new plan proposed by Hekemian for the United Water property, it is clear that they are trying to work with the residents of New Milford in addressing our major concerns. Of course not every issue can be satisfactory for those in opposition, but the will of the developer is clear in trying to compromise. Compromise, meaning a settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions, is a word that naysayers will chose not to accept. Not to say that they would be wrong in doing so, but it does help to come to the bargaining table with an open mind. Is this new proposal the best plan for the property? Definitely not!  Is it the best concept for New Milford under present conditions?  That is precisely the question that needs to be addressed.

Burdening the town with an eight million dollar price tag would have almost doubled the borough’s debt of nine million. Even after recouping monies from grants, at best we’ll still be stuck with four million dollars to pay before we can even talk about investing even more taxpayer dollars for whatever we want to build there. So purchasing the property was something that was not a possibility. So where does this leave us?  First, we must accept the fact that this new proposal has addressed many of our concerns. However, before being approved by the BOA, it will require many further concessions by the developer, as this plan is far from acceptable.

But if the plans are ultimately denied locally, the county court will most likely approve the application. Especially now, based on the fact that the developers have clearly demonstrated that they have been proactive in working with residents’ concerns. Still, 24 residential units, is 24 too many in my book. So this is where I make my pitch: Now is the time for the entire town to come together and embrace the idea to re-zone the property.  Instead of the 24 apartments, we could have our multipurpose field in its place, on land deeded by the developer. Hekemian has confirmed that if we were to re-zone, the original concept presented almost 20 months ago would still be an option. We cannot waste any more time, the longer this is dragged through meeting after meeting, the less likely we will have this window. Let’s enter the New Year with a solid plan to move forward!

The current Shop Rite is old and inadequate for our growing community, we will all enjoy a new Shop Rite, and yes, there are many, many in New Milford who want it. The majority doesn’t care one way or another; they are just too busy with their own day to day. As you know, the DEO Middle School field had a negative response in this past November’s referendum, not because people were opposed to the idea necessarily, but rather opposed to the location or opposed to the cost. Our kids have proven time and again that they are well deserving of it. Two Jr. Football Super Bowl championship years back to back, the High School in the State’s final once again and the Girl’s Soccer team's superb achievement among others! Imagine the possibilities…………..

Comments are welcome. First names (only) or pseudonyms need not reply.

Diego Robalino

Councilman

scooby doo December 09, 2012 at 06:17 PM
ok, if everyone else is going to chime in without giving a real name then i will too. I didn't grow up here but I want open space. If inserra wants to move his store to another town, let him. I think somebody else said he could go to the old huffman koos lot. I'm more ok with that than letting him ruin NM. And there's plenty of room for a DECENT supermarket, just not for a megasupermarket. Who needs it anyway? If you want to be able to sell your house someday, what do you think the new homeowners will look for? A megasupermarket (right next to the high school) or open space which might become fields someday? Ummmmm, I think they want the fields. and ya know, when people are looking for houses, they don't look only at the taxes. They look to see what they're getting.
ConnieMcKnight December 10, 2012 at 01:25 AM
After a great deal of reading, may I ask what is the SOD official demand of the property?
Lori Barton December 10, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Go to sodnow.org to read SOD's mission statement and to learn more.
TommyIce December 10, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Just wait JD. After this is built and then the boro purchases the old ShopRite location, tears it down and rebuilds the New Milford Emergency Municipal Complex and fills it with additional police and brand new fire trucks, your taxes will rise. Count me as one who will NOT complain if Inserra leaves New Milford.

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