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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.

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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