Dems Urge Freeholders: Extend Boundaries of Water Works Property to Include United Water Parcel

Duffie, Grant and Ashley send letter to Freeholders urging them to extend boundaries of county-owned Water Works property to include the United Water property and preserve entire area as open space.

New Milford's Democrats are urging the Bergen County Freeholders to consider extending the boundaries of the county-owned Water Works property to include United Water's 13-acre parcel, currently under contract for private sale with Hekemian, located directly across the street and add it to the county's inventory of open space. 

In a letter dated Thursday, September 20, Councilwomen Randi Duffie and Hedy Grant, along with Councilman Austin Ashley, ask the Freeholders to preserve the historic nature of that area arguing that the development of this property would increase flooding; cause noise; air and light pollution; increase traffic beyond what New Milford's roads can support; increase calls for service to the police, fire department and ambulance corps; create road safety issues; strain already overcrowded schools; destroy wildlife; and place a financial burden on the taxpayer to support the associated costs of the development. 

The from the Open Space Trust Fund for repair funding. 

With the clock ticking on the hearings of the proposed development of the United Water property before the zoning board of adjustment, and with the mayor and council considering the prospect of rezoning that property, Duffie, Grant and Ashley decided to turn to elected county officials hoping that the county could help find a way to preserve New Milford's "last largest tract of undeveloped land."

In the letter they say, "This development will destroy the historic neighborhood originally called Peetzburg and have a detrimental impact on neighboring Oradell and River Edge."

The mayor and council of Oradell are committed to fighting the development of the United Water property because of the negative impact they believe it will have on their roads and community. Representatives of SOD (Stop Over Development) recently attended a mayor and council meeting in River Edge seeking their support in fighting this development, as well.

"This property is not only important to the character of New Milford," Duffie, Grant and Ashley write, "It is also important to the character of Bergen County."


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Casey Marie Hittel September 20, 2012 at 04:46 PM
This is a great move! Wonderful work! Thank you, and I hope they listen!
Anthony September 20, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Nicely played, let's spread the cost out over all of Bergen County. Makes perfect sense. Also what about eminent domain, can the Borough or County, acquire the property that way? I have to say these three are being very aggressive about keeping this open space and it will not go unnoticed on election day.
TommyIce September 20, 2012 at 05:16 PM
But Anthony remember to ask if they will turn like the current Republicans did. Remember they were all against the development before their elections and now. Well we know how it's going.
miriam pickett September 20, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Exactly the right move. It is a shame that the mayor didn't pursue such a logical solution to this problem. Here's hoping we can get some help from the county. Thank you Councilman Ashley and Councilwomen Grant and Duffie. Perhaps it's time to start our own letter writing campaign, in conjunction with the folks from Oradell, to each of the Freeholders.
Anthony September 20, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I agree with you completely. Election season promises? But at least they are doing SOMETHING to try and stop this.
smiley September 20, 2012 at 06:11 PM
future eyesore
AML September 20, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Kudos and a million thanks to Councilwomen Grant, Duffie, and Councilman Ashley for this amazing action on behalf of the residents of New Milford! They displayed terrific insight, courage, and employed fantastic listening skills to hear the wishes of the majority of our residents! Boo, hooo, hoo to the individuals who do not have the wisdom, strength, or, drive to fight for what is right for our town as perhaps they have never employed Mr. Winston Chuchill's famous quotes of : "The pessimist sees the problems in every opportunity. Whereas the optimist sees the opportunity in every problem" "Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.
Paul Hyduchak September 20, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Finally, someone can think of something plausibe without spending money.
Ulises September 20, 2012 at 07:17 PM
When the vote for rezoning is up, Duffie and Grant should vote to keep this as Open Space versus Robalino and Colucci's stand to Commercialize the entire area by our kid's high school and the senior center. If this occurs the deciding vote will be on Mayor Subrizi, since Berner and Austin recused themselves. Unfortunately, if you read M&C minutes, going back to when she was a Councilwoman - she's always been in favor of developing this land. Let's hope the freeholders can help us stop this mega ShopRite strip mail. If you need SOD signs,we deliver now! Contact us at SODNOW@yahoo.com or www.SODNOW.org SOD!
Gordon September 20, 2012 at 07:34 PM
How are they going to extend the boundaries to include 13 acres of privately owned property? Can someone explain how such action is possible or legal. Thank you.
Rory G. September 20, 2012 at 08:03 PM
The article refers to Open Space funds, but I'm unclear as to how the council members want the freeholders to extend the Water Works boundary. Do they want the county to purchase the land with Open Space funds or to confiscate it? Also, isn't the property in Scott Garrett's district? If so, why cc Steve Rothman & Bill Pascrell instead of Garrett?
mellie September 20, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Thank you from the children of new Milford. When voting comes, we won't forget whomstood in our corner.
Ulises September 20, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Gordon, the old conservatory building and the property by the HS was once on the same lot and that lot was designated to remain open space once UW stops utilizing it. It was never intended to be developed but UW is very greedy, with a lot of clout, and had things changed for their own self interest (not for NM’s, nor for the County’s best interest). The county needs to restore things as originally planned and help the many that oppose this mega ShopRite strip mall, that will increase traffic, increase pollutants, increase our taxes, increase rodent infestation, increase flooding and stop the birth place of Bergen County from becoming Hudson County II. We don't need this urbanization and we need help from the Freeholders to stop the very few in Boro Hall from doing what they feel is right for the town's future and that's their compromise in the developers best interest over what most in town want stopped, SOD!
Lori Barton September 21, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is leadership. This is listening to your constituents. Join us on 9/24 at 6 PM to tell the Mayor and Councilmen Robalino and Colucci that we do not want this property rezoned. Join our protest to let them know we want to Stop OverDevelopment and Keep New Milford Green.
Sam B. September 21, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Thank you to those who are putting New Milford's best interest first. Berner's sudden advocacy against this development is nothing more then a ploy to get re-elected. He'll flip the day after if he got elected. Subrizi, Colucci and Robalino are a scourge to this community.
Jose A. Camacho, Esq. September 21, 2012 at 08:12 AM
Finally, we have elected officials who have listened to the people, and are taking leadership in the best interest of New Milford and in line with the expressed desire of it's residents. Thank you, Council Duffie, Grant and Ashley!
Mark G September 21, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Wow, let's have the county buy it and bail us out. Let's request every dollar of the county open space fund that is funded by every tax payer in the county for New Milford's personal use. The hell with the rest of Bergen County and the other towns and their open space needs just as long as New Milford get what it wants. The old water plant in Oradell is a dump and another endless money pit that is not even accessible to the public, let's invest another $8 million plus to buy more property that the county can't take care of. These Three are pandering to a mob that is dreaming if they think the freeholder board will vote to allocate that type of money at the expense of the rest of the county tax payers. If you want to pander to the mob, then bond for it yourselves and let the tax payers of New Milford pay the principal and interest on it. Shop Rite has been on River Rd for years and I have never seen a or heard of major traffic jam, or any of the problems SOD raises. There is a school right across the street from the existing Shop Rite and no kids have been run over, or chocked by smog or blinded by light polution. This letter is a calculated ploy to curry favor with the mob knowing full well this idea is DOA. Oh yea, that's right, at least they had the courage and intelegence to write it.
Tomasina Schwarz September 21, 2012 at 04:27 PM
United water seems to be off the radar, meanwhile this company is behind the current application. UW should be asked to donate the property, not sell it to a developer for profit.
AML September 21, 2012 at 11:40 PM
I am totally amazed at the ignorance of a certain individual for calling New Milford residents united against a development a "mob." It is a community coming together for a just cause; it is called a democracy. If one is unhappy about a democracy and does not believe in a democracy, there are plenty of countries abroad that would welcome you with open arms....perhaps you will be enamored with the daily flag burning, car overturning, looting, rock-throwing, setting villages on fire, pain & suffering, death mentality of certain countries. Perhaps your definition of a mob & democracy will then change. You can disagree with people (absolutely no problem...you are entitled to your opinion), but to resort to categorzing everyone who does not share your view as a "mob" is classless. P.S. The people who have banded together are intelligent and courageous. Please do not be jealous because you do not know how to spell the word intelligence....look at your last sentence, as it is certainly not a typo.
Ulises September 22, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Mark G, at least they are trying to do something which is a lot more than the rest of the council and mayor, who are compromising with the developers by changing the zoning from residential to commercial (we won't forget them on election day).  In you comments, you are also comparing a 34k square foot ShopRite to a 70.5k square foot mega ShopRite Strip Mall (this will bring in traffic from all over Bergen County, unlike the current ShopRite).  Plus, you're comparing a grammar school to a high school too.  There's also traffic lights near the BrookChester strip mall, which controls traffic, and we just found out this week, the developer's traffic expert recommends no need for traffic lights at the complex's entrance (Demerest & River Rd), nor any pedestrian walk ways.  In addition, the concerned citizens that questioned this traffic expert pointed out all the flaws in their calculations that they now have to redo most there findings.  You seem to agree with the mayor's vision to urbanize that part of New Milford but many in town, and surrounding towns, see this as the beginning, or the birthplace of Hudson County II.   I just met an 81 year old lady, dropping off a SOD sign, and she told me how she just confronted Subrizi and told her how she's ruining this town because she's doing nothing to try to stop overdevelopment.  She also told me the mayor only sees ratables and she said our taxes will never go down because of this mega ShopRite Strip Mall, etc... (continue)
Ulises September 22, 2012 at 12:30 AM
(continue) She also said the mayor has no vision for the town's future. I told her I couldn't agree with her more and I couldn't accept her $5 donation after hearing all that, she really impressed me.  You see Mark G, my new friend Mary gets it, the Democrats get it, Peter Rebsch gets it, Berner seems to get it now, and everyday SOD gets email from common folks that get it too (not a mob as you portray concerned citizens). We know the odds are against us but "hope" is worth fighting for and I'm proud of those that are helping because this development could be stopped - if there's a will to do so. As for Inserra, I just met their head of operations this week, nice guy (Joe P.) and he said Larry Inserra cares about New Milford (I'm sure he does, to an extent). And yes, I'm aware of his contributions to various organizations in town and he employees a lot of residents in town, etc... But his next comment really bothered me; he said if Larry doesn't get this mega ShopRite (along the river) - he's leaving!  If you care so much why would you make such a threat.  If you care, you listen and do what your patron's want.   Selfish people makes threats to get what they want, so in my opinion he only cares about exploiting New Milford, and his fat wallet.  Inserra leaves someone else will come.  Keep in mind, the surrounding towns whose property values are much greater than ours, have no ShopRite (Oradell, Riveredge, etc...).  
Ulises September 22, 2012 at 12:30 AM
This proposed mega ShopRite Strip Mall, adjacent to a river, adjacent to a flood plain, adjacent to a high school, and across the street from the Senior Center, will lower our property values even more than they are today. SOD!
Lori Barton September 22, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Ulises, I think you've said it all! Recent studies have shown that the fewer trees and green areas in a community, the lower the property values. That doesn't mean your taxes go down, you just pay a higher tax rate. Look at the tax rate in common ties with smaller lots, less open space, and fewer trees and you will understand. Allowing a ShopRite Strip Mall will only increase your taxes and decrease your quality of life.
TommyIce September 22, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Mark that current ShopRite is on a stretch of River Road that is much wider than where it wants to relocate to. Not to mention, River Road is the only way to get to it now. Where it wants to be will increase traffic on Main Street, River Road, Milford and Demarest Avenues and all those child-filled side streets off of those main roads. Now for the school across the street. It's a private school that has no where near the enrollment that the high school does. The children in the Armenian school do not have to cross any road to get to their athletic field. It also has off-street parking for drop off/pickup.
TommyIce September 22, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Quality of Life. Interesting phrase. I heard every one of the council members use it at their "victory" speeches. How they loved the quality of life in NM. How much the boro means to them. How they wanted to preserve that "quality of life." My how times change. How people change. What changed these people?
concerned resident too September 24, 2012 at 08:08 AM
Right on Mark!!! Deliveries to supermarkets are made before children are even at school. If you are worried about high school students crossing a street...that's just sad , and maybe parents should re educate their children on how to cross a street...jeez...when my kids were 5 i taught them how to cross a street, they are 22,24 and 27 now, and they have never had a problem. And I would hardly say that a super Shoprite will bring people to New Milford from all over Bergen County...maybe A few towns but that's it. In case you haven't noticed there are large supermarkets all over Bergen County.
Ulises September 24, 2012 at 11:29 AM
concerned resident too, that's my point too. Since there are large ShopRites all over Bergen County as you stated, if Inserra leaves there are still many more to select from so we don't need this mega ShopRite Strip Mall along the Hackensack River, that will generate an abundance of traffic right across the street from the senior citizen center. Or do you think we shouldn't worry about the seniors too?


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