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Fresh & Fancy Farms Seeks Variances

Testimony of Fresh & Fancy Farms seeking variances continues

appeared before the Zoning Board in requesting variances for the following:

  • Relocation of an existing greenhouse 
  • Construction of a new greenhouse 
  • Construction of a 36' x 60' barn with a greenhouse and 12 foot overhang
  • Paving a portion of the property between Stockton Street and the existing house and barn 
  • Installation of a 12 foot high, 6' x 6' double sided sign facing River Road

Don Low, owner of Fresh & Fancy Farms, informed the board that after meeting with representatives of the Bergen County Farmland Preservation Department of Planning & Economic Development he received a letter from them dated May 2, 2012, regarding his proposed barn and greenhouses.

According to Low, the letter stated that upon review of his plan, "No further action by us is required." 

However, the board argued that the language of the letter appears to be in opposition to the language of the farm deed as they are interpreting it.  

There was debate among the members of the board and the attorney for Fresh & Fancy Farms regarding the language contained in the farm deed regarding signage. Board Attorney Scott Sproviero said that the language of the farm deed is "less than clear" when it comes to signs.

"The way it's written, it's hard to discern what they're trying to prohibit," Sproviero said.

The deed specifies that no signs for advertising purposes are permitted; however, Fresh & Fancy Farms asserts that the sign is to "identify" their farm and not to "advertise."

Testifying on behalf of Fresh & Fancy Farms was Jason Pitingaro, an engineer from the firm of Azzolina & Feury Engineering in Paramus, who explained the proposed buildings and the effect of run-off and water collection on the property.

In addressing the public's concern regarding flooding on the property from run-off generated by additional structures, Borough Engineer Margita Batistic said that based on New Milford's current ordinances, the board cannot require seepage pits. Batistic said that it would help if Fresh & Fancy Farms ran their roof leaders to the brook, but said that they are not showing it on their plans. 

At the April 10 Zoning Board meeting, members of the public expressed concerns that Low was going to store trucks and equipment from his Town & Country and landscaping businesses in the new barn he was seeking to build. To quell those concerns, Low testified Tuesday that his other businesses will not store equipment or trucks on farm property. He added that it is not even feasible to store one of his 25-foot trucks--it wouldn't fit. 

Addressing the concerns of residents who accused Low of importing plants, rather than using the farm to grow them, Low came armed with pictures to exhibit that he does plant and grow on the farm. 

Low emphasized the importance of being granted the variances to build the greenhouses. "We need the greenhouses because we don't have enough room to grow and profit from the farm." 

Testimony was adjourned and will continue at the June 12 meeting of the Zoning Board.

Debi Klinger May 11, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Doesnt sound like he is trying to do anything different that what my Father had there for 45+ years.....and my Grandfather before him....why all the fuss?? He will certainly have less buildings than my Father had, and less than the farm next door.....whom, by the way, do alot of buying and selling.themselves. Instead of trying to nit pick, lets keep in mind that there is alot of tradition here, how many other towns have farms in it? I think there are alot more things to be worried about than a man trying to make an honest living.
Debi Klinger May 11, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Note: I have personally seen the Low Family planting their own annuals.
Arlene M. Baladi May 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I agree with you Ms. Klinger - what is going on with the zoning board in this town anyway?
Maria Calautti Bullaro May 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM
I agree with Dan. We should be worried about other things such as the United Water property sale than a small business trying to survive! New Milford is loosing its grip on being considered a small town if the sale of the United Water land goes thru.
Big Ben May 11, 2012 at 11:01 PM
I thought We the People owned the Klinger Farm and paid them a million or so Grant for the privilege of owning it. Did the new people buy it? Did We the People ever get any of this money or did the Klingers collect twice? Those two pieces of property would possibly make a good football field.
Denise May 12, 2012 at 05:39 PM
At one point in life I worked in horticulture. I can tell the difference between a vendor planted container & & what Debi Klinger posts above. She is correct. So what if possibly Hekemain wants to purchase Town & Country for the debacle to go through. In reality It would also mean purchasing a private residentail home, a sign business, a real estate business & he would have that whole corner. In essence, so what if the Low's family business is contained in one area for the people concerned about his parking of trucks at Fresh & Fancy, after all Town & Country is a landscaping business, it would make sense to have the garden center & the landscaping in one place. As long as there is no "LAW" in NM for the truck parking on open historical land, go for it. As for putting a football field on this parcel of land, I can't think of a worse place to put it, I can visualise the accidents already especially on the s curve on River Road.....
newmilford1967 May 13, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Debi I worked with your dad and Uncle Herman on Osers farm.Some time ago you must understand that back then we all grew our own products.But for what I see as of now with the people that bought your dads farm is different.They have been buying all sorts of plants from different growers and retailing it. Your dad was not like that and I also beleive you are wrong about the Perrones.Look at the article on patch from Friday there greenhouses are full to brim.You should be proud of your dad and the way he did things but as far as Mr Low he has destroyed what once was Klingers Farm.
Denise May 14, 2012 at 04:50 PM
new milford 1967-As Debi K posts above, not to nitpick, and first and formost not to demean Mr. Klinger, I personally took his phone calls when he ordered geraniums from the company that I once worked for.
Debi Klinger May 14, 2012 at 08:12 PM
No, the "building rights" were purchased by a grant from the state, which means the state preserved the land as green space so a mini mall can never be built there, it needs to stay green space. The land itself was still owned by my family. We did not get a million dollars, the farms in total split a large sum of money, it was split equally based on acreage, which Klingers farm had the least of, the farm next door dominated in acreage, so they got a larger lump of the grant than we did. And no, we didnt collect twice, the value of the land diminishes due to the fact that it is green space and must remain that way.
Debi Klinger May 14, 2012 at 09:11 PM
@newmilford1967...I can never be anything but proud of my Father, you wont meet many men like him in your lifetime. And yes, whether it be a geranium seedling as Denise mentioned below or by seed, everything was raised by my Father. I am not wrong about Perrones, I am not saying they buy and sell everything, but they do buy and sell certain items, I witnessed the trucks coming in year after year, and yes, greenhouses are brimming, because that is where the plants need to be at this time of year, not because they were all planted there, in fact, a good portion of what is in their greenhouses is for sale at Market, not their store front. Mr. Low is trying to make a bigger and better Klinger's Farm, but no one is giving him the chance. Everytime the poor guy turns around someone is trying to shoot him down (a certain few, who seem to want to see him fail), how can he grow an abundance of items on his own without greenhouses? That is a necessary item to grow plants! Running a farm doesnt come with a manual, it takes alot of learning, hard work and dedication. The Low Family has the drive to make it successful, but no one seems to want to give them the chance. If in a few years, he hasnt proved himself, then tell him he is wrong, but he sure as hell deserves the chance to get started. Shame on those who are making it harder than it needs to be for him and his Family.
Debi Klinger May 14, 2012 at 09:30 PM
And, there are items that cant be anything but bought and sold, he has a beautiful selection of large trees and shrubs, which just cant be "started from scratch", every nursery in the area buys and sells these things, not just Fresh and Fancy. I would also be curious if the opinion of him ruining the Farm is based on having met the Low Family and having visited the farm? or just the buzz around town and the Patch.
newmilford1967 May 15, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Debi I knew your family well and I really think you are wrong about them buying and selling because that is way to much to buy.I think they buy shrubs and some hanging baskets but all rest is grown buy them. As far as trucks dropping off it must be plugs to transplant for planting .I would think you cant seed everything you have to start from plugs. As far as the mess at the farm I witness first hand last year when I took a look there. Im really sorry but thats my opinion best to him .

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