On Thursday night, the Zoning Board listened to the final public objections against the development of the currently unused United Water property adjacent New Milford High School.
The Zoning Board will reconvene on Oct. 8 for a regular meeting and will continue the discussion on the development of this property.
After the public presentation portion was through, much of the focus of the evening was based on borough engineer Margita Bastistic’s findings. After reviewing the project as submitted, Bastistic found that the amount of increased flooding that would result was so small that it “could not be measured.”
“They [the developers] are meeting all of the regulations they are legally required to meet. Unfortunately, I know that’s not what they want to hear but that’s the truth,” said Bastistic.
Any major development--structures that will disturb more than one acre of land--must adhere to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Flood Hazard Area rules.
Despite acknowledging her awareness of two ‘100-year floods’ in the last six years, standards that are currently in place are being met.
“That’s what engineers do. We make sure that they meet the requirements of the law. And they do,” Bastistic added.
When asked if the condition of the river, a subject on which almost two hours of evidence was presented at the last meeting, was irrelevant Bastistic answered with one word.
In other words, despite recent weather phenomena being well above anything that current flood maps--drawn up in the early 1980s--do not reflect, developers are in fact meeting the standards that are currently written as law.
Bastisic acknowledged that many people want a higher criteria, but she also made it clear that without a higher criteria in place, she had no right to hold the developer to higher standards.
“I’m an engineer. If I was to design it, it would do the same thing. How can I say that this is not good?”