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A Look Ahead at the Top Issues of 2013

Here's a look at big news items coming up this year in New Milford

With 2012 finished and 2013 just starting, we wanted to take a look at some of the big stories coming up this year.

United Water Property Revised Site Plans

As expected, the potential development of the United Water Property by the S. Hekemian Group will top the better part of this year's agenda in New Milford.

We last left off with Hekemian making substantial changes the site plan. The proposed changes include a severely reduced amount of residential units -- from 221 to 24. A flood storage basin has been placed where the bulk of the housing units were originally proposed fronting Cecchino Drive. This area marks the space Hekemian offered to give New Milford as a field during their April 2011 presentation at New Milford High School.

Hekemian is also removing the four-story 428 parking garage and replacing it with 54 perimeter parking spaces.

Do Proposed Changes to Site Plan Constitute New Application?

Near the close of December's Zoning Board meeting, Marc
Leibman, the attorney representing Councilman Austin Ashley against Hekemian's development of the United Water property, said that because the changes in Hekemian's recently revised site plan application are 'substantial,' he was requesting that the Zoning Board toss the current application before them and require Hekemian to submit a new one.

Based on the information that Hekemian submitted with the revisions, or lack thereof, Zoning Board attorney, Scott Sproviero, said that the board needs more information in order to make a determination and requested that attorneys for Hekemian submit a paper by Dec. 28, summarizing the scope of the proposed changes and a synopsis of why the revised site plan should not be considered a new application.

The next meeting of the Zoning Board is on Tuesday, January 8 at 7:30 pm in the council chambers of Borough Hall.

Marlene Casey to Appear Before Mayor and Council to Discuss Grants

Because there has been much confusion regarding what New Milford's grant writer, Marlene Casey, has said was available in grant money at the time that the town had the opportunity to purchase the United Water property, she will be appearing at the January meeting of the Mayor and Council to make her "official comment."

According to the March 14, 2011 council meeting minutes, when asked by Councilman Howard Berner if grants were available through Open Space to purchase the United Water property, Casey said that it is possible to purchase the property in stages with grant money, but it would require a "leap of faith" to bond and pay it back over three years with grant money.

In December, Casey told Patch that she did not want to make any comment about anything she reportedly said to SOD regarding the United Water property. Her reason being that "not one person" she has spoken to "got it right."

Changes to Come with New Democratic Majority on Council

With the election of Michael Putrino, and re-election of Austin Ashley, there is a shift in power on the council from Republican majority to Democrat majority. As with any shift in the political structure of a governing body, there are bound to be at least some changes in appointments.

Borough Attorney Mark Madaio will be replaced with a new borough attorney to be named at the reorganization meeting of the Mayor and Council on Monday, January 7. According to Madaio, he did not submit his name for consideration. It is unknown at this time the status of the Zoning Board and Planning Board attorneys, as well as the Borough Planner.

Also, new faces may appear on boards and commissions, replacing those members whose terms expired in December.

All appointments will be named at the reorganization meeting of the mayor and council, Monday, Jan. 7 at 6 pm in the council chambers of Borough Hall.

Ulises January 03, 2013 at 05:08 PM
I look forward to attending all of these meetings this month and I hope Ms. Casey will shed light on last year's missed opportunities and what we can do going forward if there's another opportunity to keep this land as open space (such as a field/patk) by our high school.
Donna Colucci January 03, 2013 at 07:45 PM
In today's Twin Boro there was a comment under New Milford nuggets that talks about the the option of re-zoning the United Water property to commercial use, it was written by a Bonnie Darkey and I think it needs to read by New Milford residents.
Donna Colucci January 03, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Correction: it was in the Sounding Off section.
Ulises January 03, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Not everyone gets the TBN, can you pleease state what's so important and why?
Sam B. January 04, 2013 at 12:47 AM
I read it. So what? There are no startling revelations in the article, just one person saying that she's in favor of Hekemian's development.
Ulises January 04, 2013 at 01:47 AM
Sam, I agree with you. I just read it myself and I'm using it now with kindling to start a fire.
TommyIce January 04, 2013 at 02:41 PM
I read it Donna. I'll recap since you didn't take the time to: Synopsis for everyone....she's all for a new ShopRite and the development because the town needs the rateables. Uses the argument that since the Racquetball club is now a church (no taxes) and the boro will be purchasing some of the flood troubled houses, we'll be losing that tax income as well so the development is the only way to make up the loss of revenue. Here's my rebuttal to the need for new income. 1. Rebuild ShopRite in it's current location that zoning, variances and permission has already been granted for. 2. When you have a revenue problem, stop spending! Start cutting out the perks. Boro employees don't need vehicles to use for their private purposes. If the building inspector needs a vehicle, then he can sign one out of a boro motor pool. I see we've got new fire chiefs. Congratulations and thank you fellas. But does the town need to supply the chief, assistant chiefs, deputy chiefs with vehicles (gas and insurance on said vehicles). I had a family member who was chief in the past. He had a badge in his car window. Period. When you don't have the money, there's lots of places to cut.
NewMilfDadMakinEndsMeet January 04, 2013 at 06:13 PM
Can anyone honestly answer me why we have a Councilman, Austin Ashley who needs representation by an attorney? Can he not speak for himself? Who pays for this attorney? Not that who pays for him is important - more just curious there. Does this Councilman not have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and speak for himself? What is he 12 years old? He clearly has a limited resume nor life experiences. Isn't he on council for a year already and still can't speak for himself? Also, how is it that his attorney gets to speak prior to the floor being open to the public at Zoning Board meetings? Does his attorney get special dispensation to speak whenever he wants? Another question I would love to hear an answer to: why didn't Ms. Casey ever go to the THEN COUNCIL PRESIDENT to get back on the meeting agendas to bring forth information on all these supposed Grants she can find? Please someone knowledgeable -- correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the Council President (and in this case it would have been her partner in distaste, Howard Berner) have the authority to set the agenda or add to the agenda for M&C meetings? I can't wait to see her theatrics at the upcoming meeting. Theatrics indeed.
Donna Tomasini January 04, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Donna - I have to disagree with you. This letter/article written by Bonnie Darkey should read just that. As I am a New Milford resident I do not agree with re-zoning the United Water property to commercial use.
Lori Barton January 04, 2013 at 11:20 PM
1.Councilman Ashley has done an honorable thing by hiring an attorney who knows the ins and outs of land use law. He is doing this at his own expense. Perhaps you have heard the saying that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. Mr. Ashley is not an expert on land use law. His attorney is. 2. The Council President does NOT set the agenda. It is set by the borough administrator, at the direction of the MAYOR. So when Mr. Berner requested that Ms. Casey be on the agenda, all he could do was request. His request was not honored.
Adam January 06, 2013 at 04:09 PM
speaking behalf of the silent majority of New Milford residents, who do not want to see their taxes rise and are concerned with ratables, I believe that if we cannot reasonably and cheaply convert the current sludge heap known as the United Water property to parkland or some other non-commercial use,then the next best step is to consider the current development plan by the Hekemian group, especially the reduced apartment complex plan, as a reasonable and practicle use for this maligned property. I am quite frankly tired of reading the same opinions over and over again in this post and the Twin Boro News from the same 5-6 talking heads who oppose the reasonable development of this former sludge heap property. A new,first rate supermarket on the site, and increased parking for the High school, seems like a reasonable use fort his property.
RavinMaven January 06, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Haven't I read that because Councmilman Ashley hired a laywer he couldn't be part of mayor and council talks about the UW property? Maybe it's good that he got a laawyer but maybe not so good since he couldn't represent us at council. Is that doing his job? Lori - wonder about your #1 - whose expense. Interesting quetsion.
PitaPumpkinita January 06, 2013 at 06:11 PM
I googled Dominic Colucci, pictures pop up, I clicked on the one on the left, his election campaign letter comes up, northjersey.com. I did the same with Diego Robalino. Both letters are very interesting. Councilman Colucci is in construction, and talks about the United Water Property. Councilman Robalino talks about representing us. This is how they got elected. Here are the links: Here is Councilman Colucci’s. It will bring you to a redirect notice. Click on the first link. http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://media.northjersey.com/images/Colucci2010_1028_tw_tif_.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.northjersey.com/news/106136033_Colucci_running_for_council.html&h=733&w=550&sz=34&tbnid=_oZbcSzmUnbaZM:&tbnh=88&tbnw=66&prev=/search%3Fq%3Ddominic%2Bcolucci%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=dominic+colucci&usg=__DVNo7pOnSm9R-4G3TdwhjND52z0=&sa=X&ei=_ALpUIaHEYXE0QHc-IHYDA&ved=0CB0Q9QEwAA Here is Councilman Robalino’s. It will bring you to a redirect notice. Click on the first link. http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://media.northjersey.com/images/Robalino_1028_tw_tif_.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.northjersey.com/news/106137448_Robalino_running_for_council.html&h=725&w=550&sz=41&tbnid=VwLYvMn0l0rQAM:&tbnh=82&tbnw=62&prev=/search%3Fq%3Ddiego%2Brobalino%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=diego+robalino&usg=__FM6Riv7Vi8S-WGj_X3wKfeXRvAI=&sa=X&ei=4wXpUIGbEaKV0QHH74C4DQ&ved=0CBcQ9QEwAA
PitaPumpkinita January 06, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Apparently, Councilman Colucci, Councilman Robalino and Mayor Subrizi ran together. They are also, coincidentally, the three who are for this development.
Adam January 07, 2013 at 12:47 AM
ahhh, the "evil" conspiracyof those who do not object to developing the United Water property. Seems like whoever expresses a different opinion are attacked by SOD proponents as "ignorant" individuals with duplicative motives and dis-loyal New Milford residents. Actually we are fellow New Milford residents love this town but feel that a reasonable development plan for the former sludge heap property is not a bad idea. The new proposal for a larger Shopright Supermarket, plus a much smaller apartment unit, large catch basins for water control and parking spaces for the high school sounds like a reasonable development for the area. I was aghast at the vicious attacks on Riverkeeper Sheehan by SOD proponents and am quite frankly amazed at the demonization thrown at others with different opinions by those who oppose such development. Please, SOD folks, understand that your opinions are just that, opinions, and not reflective of the majority of this town.
Pat January 07, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Another fact, it has not been established that we can reasonably or cheaply convert the United Water property into a non-commercial use.
robin commerford January 07, 2013 at 02:06 AM
Yes, Adam, I agree with what you are saying, we are all entitled to voice our opinions just like Sod is and does. Just because we don't agree doesn't make us ignorant. Or clueless. Their opinions are not reflective of the majority of this town for sure.
Michelle January 07, 2013 at 03:27 AM
It is equally convenient to blame every post on SOD, rather than address the issues raised. If you can't win the argument, take it to the man, or in this case, the group (i.e. SOD). Any group will do, just as long as we deflect... I wonder if you know who all comprises SOD.

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