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Oradell Counsel Speaks At United Water Hearing

Fearing the Elm Street Bridge will be a cut-through for traffic generated by the proposed development, Oradell's counsel informs Zoning Board that Oradell will be submitting their own traffic report to the Board.

Louis Flora of the law firm of Giblin & Giblin in Oradell appeared before the Zoning Board last week to inform the Board that on behalf of the Borough of Oradell, he will submitting a traffic report regarding the traffic impact that the proposed development of the United Water Company property will have on Oradell.

The proposed development includes a 70,500 sq ft supermarket, 4300 sq ft bank and 221 residential units with four-story 428-spaced parking garage.

In Oradell, residents are concerned about any impact to New Milford Road and on Elm Street once the bridge rehabilitation has been completed and is open to the public.

"In addition to flooding and traffic, I'm also seriously concerned with the infrastructure," Beechwood Road resident Tom Belthoff said at an August meeting of the Oradell Mayor and Council. "The New Milford Ambulance services Oradell, our fire and police departments provide coverage to New Milford. If you drive up New Milford Avenue during rush hour, school openings or closing, you're lucky there are no collisions with the trains. At some point the Elm Street Bridge will be open and that will serve as a cut-through and impact residents on Elm and Grove."

"Elm Street will be used as a cut-through street," Demarest Avenue resident Mike Kurk said at that same meeting.

When questioned by Flora on whether the new Shop Rite would draw customers from surrounding communities, Joseph Pagano, Director of Produce for Inserra Shop Rite who testified as a factual witness on behalf of Hekemian, said that all Inserra Shop Rites draw from the surrounding communities.

had testified that she provided for 354 spaces for new ShopRite. 470 is the number of spaces required by ordinance.

In determining how many of those spaces would be occupied by employees during any given shift, Pagano testified that the number of employees at the new Shop Rite will increase from its current headcount of 115 to 140 with 40 to 50 people per shift, approximately 10 overlapping. Pagano said that many of these employees are part-time.

Dolan focused her study at the following hours during the month of September 2011 and February, March and April 2012:

  • Monday through Friday 7am-9am; 2pm to 4pm; and 4pm to 6pm.
  • 1pm to 2pm Saturday
  • 7pm to  9pm summarized peak hour at each intersection
  • 2pm to 4pm 
  • 4pm to 6pm
  • Saturday 11am to 2pm

However, Pagano told Flora that the peak shopping day at the Shop Rite is Sunday, followed by Saturday and Monday. According to Pagano, Tuesday and Wednesday are the weakest shopping days, testimony that is in direct contrast with Dolan who testified that Tuesday was a peak traffic day. 

During her testimony, Dolan concluded that the additional traffic caused by the proposed development can be accommodated because the roads that she studied around the area are "underutilized." It was determined that all approaches will operate at "acceptable levels of service or better with the addition of site traffic."

The next special meeting of the Zoning Board dedicated to the continuation of the United Water property hearing will be Monday, October 29 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Borough Hall.

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Ulises October 25, 2012 at 11:51 AM
How lucky is Oradell to have a M&C that listens and cares about their constituents. Unlike the divided bunch that rule New Milford and some of them ridicular their constiuents over this development by knocking on doors this election cycle and telling residents, "this development is a done deal, SOD should be called SID, etc...". Next year's election couldn't get here sooner to vote those council members out and the following to get rid of our mayor that wants this Mega ShopRite Strip Mall to be her legacy. Oradell thank you for your support and having real leaders in town.
Rory G. October 25, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I only know what I know about this issue from the articles and comments posted on Patch. Many of the comments for other articles on this site lead me to believe there's a confidence among residents that the builder's application won't be approved and an appeal in court would not be successful. Am I correct to interpret that this confidence is primarily the result of discrediting the testimony of the builder's experts? If so, is that enough to succeed in court? Has any evidence (not residents' concerns or assumptions) that flooding WILL increase, traffic WILL be severely impacted, etc. been put on the record in these proceedings? My fear is that the judge that rules on the inevitable appeal of any denial will look only at the transcripts, see that there's "expert" testimony stating nothing bad will result from this project and that residents were able to identify flaws in how the experts arrived at their conclusions. However, I can see the judge upholding the appeal if the transcripts don't show ANY testimony from other experts identifying negative consequences that will definitely occur (e.g., increased flooding) and providing evidence to support their conclusions. You and I can assume the flooding will only get worse, but what's going to convince a judge?
miriam pickett October 25, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Yes, Rory. We are confident that the BOA will deny the variances. However, you are right. Anything can happen in court. SOD is exploring many different avenues to help win in court. However, without funding. We will not be able to go forward. We are planning a wonderful fundraiser on Nov. 10. For $40 a person, you will get wine, small bites and sweet endings. And, you donation is tax deductible. For more information, contact us at sodnow@yahoo.com.
james October 26, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Miriam where is this fundraiser located?
Lori Barton October 26, 2012 at 09:40 PM
SOD"s Night Out will be held on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 7 PM-10 PM at the NM Knights of Columbus on River Rd (just north of Main St). You can email or call 201-261-0112 for tickets in advance: $40/each or if you buy at the door it will be $45. Proceeds will go to funding the experts needed to win this fight.

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