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Hekemian Submits Substantial Changes to United Water Property Site Plan

Radical changes to residential component to make room for flood storage basin

Hekemian has submitted substantial site plan revisions to the proposed development of the 13-acre United Water property. The revisions, which replace a considerable number of proposed housing units and the proposed restaurant with flood storage basins, appear to be designed to alleviate the public's concerns regarding increased flooding in that area should the development be approved. 

Zoning Board attorney Scott Sproviero told Patch that the revised architectural drawings that Hekemian has submitted to the Zoning Board reflect substantial modifications of the original plans. Sproviero said that these changes include "radical reductions in the scope of the residential project and substantial provisions for what appears to be flood storage capacity."

The revised plans reflect 24 proposed housing units as opposed to the 221 unit multi-family housing complex that was proposed on the original plans. Here is the breakdown:

Size (sq.ft.) 1st Floor 2nd Floor 3rd Floor Total 1br 720 2 1 1 4 2br 1080 4 6 5 15 3br 1200 2 1 2 5 8 8 8 24

The revised plans show a flood storage basin where the bulk of the housing units were originally proposed fronting Cecchino Drive. This is also the space Hekemian offered to give New Milford as a field during their April 2011 presentation at New Milford High School.

Also removed from the plans is the four-story 428 space multi-level parking garage. Instead, the plans show 54 perimeter parking spaces. Also missing in the revised plans is the pool.

The revised plans have also replaced the proposed 6500 sq. ft. restaurant that bordered Main Street on the original plans with a flood retention basin as well.

Jeffrey DelVecchio December 03, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Very interesting.
Donna Colucci December 03, 2012 at 07:36 PM
VERY interesting indeed
Em December 03, 2012 at 07:52 PM
How about they figure out exactly what it is they want to build, get all the correct drawings (architectural and engineering) to correspond with each other, get all their traffic reports, etc etc.. And then come to the board. All this resubmitting is a complete waste of everyone's time!! My husband is an architect.. Most towns and cities would have initially sent him home and told him to get his act together!
Al Alonso December 03, 2012 at 08:01 PM
How predictable. I said they would do this a long time ago. The larger project was nothing more then a bargaining tool to have the property re-zoned by the mayor and council. Now that the re-zoning is off the table they have no choice but to reduce the size of the proposed application. What a big waste of time.
Casey Marie Hittel December 03, 2012 at 08:17 PM
This revised proposal unfortunately doesn't settle the issues I still find important. the ShopRite on River Road by Brookchester will become an abandoned eye sore. The people who rely on that grocery store (senior citizens, pedestrians) who moved to Brookchester for the convenience of ShopRite will now be left without. The increase in traffic at the North end of town would require major rehabilitation of River Road, Demarest Avenue, Main Street, and especially the intersection of Madison and Main Street. The construction, alone, will disrupt the High School for YEARS, kicking old contaminated dust in our children's faces, while they sit in unfiltered classrooms, having to choose between an open window, or stifling heat in summer months. We're not ready for the impact of this development, in any form.
Ulises December 03, 2012 at 08:20 PM
So the Hackensack River keeper throws his two cents in last week on Patch, our Mayor follows him with an article supporting the River keeper, and on Monday there's a new plan for the Zoning Board. The timing of it all makes one wonder who, if anyone (wink, wink), is behind the spin game to get this ShopRite Strip Mall & Bank, adjacent to the Hackensack River, approved???? At the end of the day, if approved, a strip mall with a smaller housing unit will not help our flooding issues, nor save the hundreds of tress this complex will knock down, nor save the endangered species that live on this property, nor will it end the traffic dilemma it will create, and it will urbanize this part of the town forever. This goes to show you why, those against developing along our flood plains should work even harder to stop this new proposal too - because it doesn't change anything and this is all theatrical political and corporate manipulation at its best. SOD!
another concerned citizen December 03, 2012 at 08:35 PM
i totally agree Al!
Ricardo December 03, 2012 at 08:37 PM
So, no shoprite there?
Lori Barton December 03, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Ulises hit all the right points. Same with Casey. It is still an evil plan and we need to stay committed to seeing it defeated.
Howard Berner December 03, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Wyckoff just approved Inserra's plan to build a new Shop-Rite right next to the Hekemian property with Stop and Shop. I hear they're not best of friends right now.
Lauren Maehrlein December 03, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Amen! The Inserra family can build the Shop Rite they want on the site of the current Shop Rite! Keep whatever "downtown" areas we have where they are - not spread out through our residential areas.
Sam B. December 03, 2012 at 09:20 PM
They can downsize their plans all they want. Nothing that Hekemian puts there will ever be a benefit to New Milford.
miriam pickett December 03, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I am so suprised that Hekemian, Subrizi and Sheehan think we're all morons. Haven't they learned that we are nothing if not tenacious. Ulises is absolutely right. Too many coincidences to be a coincidence. Don't be fooled New Milford. Yes, it is smaller, but it is still the wrong kind of development in a residential neighborhood. Stay the course, go to meetings, listen carefully and get up and ask questions. You are stronger than you think. You can make a difference.
Lori Barton December 03, 2012 at 11:31 PM
River Road would still need to be widened, trees would need to come down (not just the ones on River Road, the ones on the property, too), traffic will still be horrendous. When it was first mentioned in April 2011 that Inserra wanted to build there, I had one reaction and it is the same today: This is good for Inserra but bad for New Milford. They get to stay open while a new store is built but what do we get? We lose our last tract of open space, we have a vacant eyesore at the old location, and we bring massive amount of traffic to a site adjacent to our high school. Whatever ratables might be realized will be negated by the empty existing ShopRite site. And the scope of this development will cause an increase in our obligation to provide even more affordable housing. Inserra is the only winner in this scenario. Do as I do: take your grocery shopping to Stop & Shop, or Pathmark, or to the Paramus ShopRite (it's not owned by Inserra). Refuse to patronize his stores until he decides to rebuild on the existing site where he already has all the approvals he needs.
Bonita December 03, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Yes they get to leave it open and allow people to keep their jobs and benefits without having to go on unemployment and pay their own health care premiums, what is wring with that????? You don't know that the current site will go empty, if the economy does well it is in a prime location a business with more jobs will come along to fill it. The property will be developed and many of us want the Shoprite in the new location, not all of New Milford wants to stop all the development, we just did not want the 221 arpartments. This proposal is not perfect but it is a step in the right direction.
GH December 04, 2012 at 12:00 AM
SAY NO TO SHOPRITE. This will ruin our town
Michelle December 04, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Is Hekemian such an egomaniac that he has to build, no matter what or where it is? So far it has been a strip mall, a restaurant, a monster apartment complex, none of the above...now it's a little 3-story, 24-unit apartment building that won't even satisfy the growthshare COAH obligation the development will create -- assuming the rules are validated. The very same rules that load the guns of trigger-happy, irresponsible developers who have to satisfy their greed or compensate for inner deficiencies by taking over the world one municipality at a time just to have their footprint in the soil of yet another town who doesn't want them and their kind around, except for Bonita of course, who is happy, regardless. Cranford, Wyckoff, Englewood, how many people think well of the Hekemians (who haven't been paid to think well of them like their experts who laud lame plans that disregard the communities they’re invading)?
Michelle December 04, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Everyone knew this ginormous apartment complex was part of a strategy to force NM's hand. Now that it is off the table, we're supposed to be relieved and grateful and trust that we won’t get screwed in the end, like residents of Hekemian’s Boulder Run were, and those downstream of the Sheffield (and more I’m sure). But as I see it, we're essentially back where we began, with the original presentation, that so many people rallied to fight against that the M&C meeting had to be moved to the high school. We have endured a lot, and seen too much from this disgusting group of people to be swayed by this tactic. I’m fighting to the end. Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.
scooby doo December 04, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Hey Bonita! From what I was told, most of the employees would be offered jobs at other Inserra stores until the new one opened. That's not unemployment or losing benefits. So they get slightly inconvenienced while the new store gets built. but if it does get built, we are inconvenienced forever. and forever we lose that land. You appear to be the only one coming forward saying you want the monstrosity shop rite. Why would anyone have a problem with them rebuilding where they are? Everyone wants a new shop rite, they just don't want it next to NMHS.
TommyIce December 04, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Heikemian is quite the horse trader folks. You pick the best animal in the barn and work the deal until it busts. Then when you go for the second best nag, you get it for a song. But all New Milford will be left with is the horse's ass and all the manure that comes from it. He's not backing down. He's doubling down.
TommyIce December 04, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Not an egomaniac Michelle. Just a greedy robber baron.
Barbara December 04, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Inserra will relocate the employees to other stores. I went through it when they reconstructed the store many years ago. I worked in nothvale and Emerson. They will not lose their job.
Casey Marie Hittel December 04, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Bonita, please look around you. We have a zillion banks, and between us, Dumont, Paramus, and all the surrounding towns, we have many, many, many open store fronts of places that have gone out of business. That old Shop Rite building isn't desirable to anyone but Shoprite, maybe. It is highly unlikely that the building left open, if Shoprite vacates, will find a use. SOME in town have mentioned they'd love to put our emergency services there. But all in all, that suggestion in and of itself would require a LOT of money New Milford doesn't have, just to make the building usable for this purpose. Going up and down the area by the newly proposed locations, you will see a LOT of SOD signs that contradict your desire to move the ShopRite to the North end of town. If you imagine this is a good thing for our town, in any capacity, and that ANY of this is being done with your taxpaying pocketbook in mind, please reconsider. This is a long, expensive, detrimental proposition that you will wind up paying for, in the long run.
Casey Marie Hittel December 04, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Scooby is completely right. Having worked for a unionized grocery chain before, I can assure you that Shoprite is more than capable of keeping its employees employed, while any transition takes place. If those jobs are important to the workers, a temporary option will be made available to them.
Jose A. Camacho, Esq. December 04, 2012 at 05:10 AM
It was clear from the beginning that upon seeing any resistance Hekemian and politicians siding with development of the United Water property would use the proposed monstrosity as a scare tactic of how bad things could allegedly be to gain support for the proposal they wanted all along a Super shop rite which allows them not to lose business while the new shop rite is built and then allows them to abandon the old shop rite leaving us with a property already reasoned for mor commercial development. They just didn't count on our residents destroying their proposed development to the extent that they themselves do not see any inherent benefit to their proposed development. STAY THE COURSE SO WE CAN PERMANENTLY RID OURSELVES OF ANY UNWARRANTED DEVELOPMENT AT UNITED WATER!
Denise December 04, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Bonita, are you on another planet or really living in New Milford, maybe the north end? Is that why you want a new SR built there for your convenience? Have you not heard that the biased Mayor of town wants to put a new Fire Dept at the old Shop-Rite location? Are you a younger person or Senior Citizen? I no longer live in NM, but still care about what happens in the town I grew up in & can only hope that this developement (new or old plans) doesn't get approved & God help anyone, high school kids, Seniors from the Center across the street or even you wouldn't get hit/maimed/killed by the extra traffic/SR delivery trucks/shoppers that this debacle will bring. I met Ulises at one of the town meetings before I moved, everything this man says on anything that has to do with the developement is true, he is one wise man, unlike some of the elected officials of the town of New Milford........
ConcernedResident December 04, 2012 at 10:25 PM
It was explained to me that if the re-zoning and project goes through - half the old Shop Rite property will be donated to the town, and a new Police station will be built. Projects like a new Police station and re-modeling both Fire Houses are going to offset any ratables, that the Mayor and council claim are badly needed for the town. It's obvious that the taxpayers of NM are going to have to pony up a considerable amount of money to cover these projects. If my taxes are going to increase for the aforementioned projects - I would rather purchase the UW property and tell Hekemian to get lost! BTW - Does anyone really think we need a new Police department? The current one has served the residents just fine.
scooby doo December 05, 2012 at 12:55 AM
First, we need to come up with the money to buy the old shop rite property. Then we have to come up with the money to make it the mayor's dream municipal complex. I'm with you concerned resident. If my taxes are going to go up then I prefer open space. and i think there is more grant money available for open space instead of a new municipal complex. Next big meeting is dec 11 for zoning board. I will be there.

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