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Oradell Residents Worried by Hekemian Development's Traffic Impact

Oradell Mayor considers suing New Milford if variances approved; Oradell residents expressed their concerns in their home town as New Milford Zoning Board heard the proposed United Water development's impact on traffic in New Milford

While audience members and the New Milford Zoning Board heard from traffic engineer Elizabeth "Betsy" Dolan Tuesday night on the possible traffic impact and trip generation by the development of the United Water property, the Oradell governing body listened to its own residents concerns and considered what steps could be made on their part.

"I view the traffic concern as an economic issue," Maple Avenue resident Regina Little said. "When you have more traffic you are required to use a higher quality material for repairs which would impact the budget. I'm also concerned with the question of flooding, this project would add impervious coverage to an area that could force water into the electrical generators, our cellars; it's a disaster waiting to happen."

The United Water property project, designed by New Milford Redevelopment Associates LLC,  for the 13.6 acre lot call for a.

 to New Milford assessed the existing infrastructure in the vicinity of the site, and identified existing traffic patterns, and projects future traffic volumes. 

She primarily focused her analysis of River Road in the area of  and the intersections of River Road, Cecchino Drive and Main Street, and Madison Avenue and Cecchino Drive and Main Street and studied over the course of one year.

But in Oradell, residents were more concerned about any impact to New Milford Road and on  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. "The  services Oradell, our  and 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."

According to Dolan, she 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

The study determined that with the addition of traffic generated by the proposed development, the levels of service and delay for the River Road, Cecchino Drive and the Madison Avenue intersections would not cause any change in service. It was determined that all approaches will operate at "acceptable levels of service or better with the addition of site traffic." 

Dolan indicated in her testimony that the combination of existing street volume and site generated traffic is "not that high." She also said that because the plans call for more than one ingress and egress site - there will be two on River Road, one on Main Street and one on Madison Avenue - the traffic will not be forced through any one exit. With no individual driveway being burdened, she said that there will not be any disruption in the flow of traffic.

"Elm Street will be used as a cut street," Demarest Avenue resident Mike Kurk said. "The flooding is a no-brainer with the creation of impervious surfaces, you will have areas on Grove that have never flooded before, St. Joseph's will flood. I've had four floods in the 10 years I've lived in town.

Previously, Hekemian engineering expert Michael Dipple , there would not be any additional flooding to the area due to the installation of two detention system basins on the south end of the property, infiltration systems and  to reduce the rate of surface runoff.

"One of our problems is how to go about fighting this," Oradell Mayor Joseph Murray said. "I'm not sure what recourse we could have short of suing New Milford if the Zoning Board approves all those variances."

In the meantime, Oradell will seek an engineering expert and flooding expert to advise them about what they could do. Normally, Oradell is represented by Boswell Engineering but a conflict as arisen as the company also represents New Milford.

Have a question or a news tip? Email the editor Ann Piccirillo at annpiccirillo@yahoo.com. Or, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your email inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

AML August 19, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Bonita, Despite all of your posts, you have yet to answer why you have not attended all of the meetings in town? Please advise what legal document you utilized in order to ascertain the $16 million cost of the sale from United Water to Hekemian, as your repeated posts indicated that many of us had incorrect facts. And lastly,were you at the meeting in Nov., 2011 where Rich Henning, an Executive VP with United Water, stated that the only way to alleviate flooding was to "RESTORATION OF THE FLOOD PLAINS." NM IS OVER-DEVELOPED. Check the minutes of the meeting...go on-line to NM Boro Hall since you think that we are all liars and stupid people & make things up. I CHALLENGE YOU TO DO SO, & then you can write a post of the findings, the REAL FACTS! Would you not say that United Water, the seller, knew what they were talking about?????? Hmmmmm, food for thought! United Water sold us out!
sumdumfuk August 20, 2012 at 03:44 AM
In my humble opinion, if there were any payoffs, they are at the state GOP level, the orders and funds then trickle down to the county GOP, then to the town. What could they possibly be getting a couple of grand in a election fund? NM screwed itself in the wake of the fallout of the Obama election, we elected the GOP candidates as a protest. Anyone other than a democrat could have won and they dis. If this crew does not come out and say they are against the 200+ apartments a republican should never again be elected to any office in this town. This coming from a lifelong conservative. I am beyond angry at the lack of strength our elected officials are demonstrating. This does not happen in other towns for a very good reason. Listen to how the Mayor of Oradell speaks, then listen to the way the Mayor of New Milford speaks. Night and Day. In public, New Milford Citizens should literally turn their backs to the elected officials and their families until they come out and say they are for or against these apartments. Finally, where is the organized boycott and protest against Inserra? Lets shut this guy down for a couple of weeks to let him know this is going to cost him money no matter what. SOD
Denise August 20, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Hey Bonita, I was wondering...do you live in New Milford or Oradell?
Bonita August 20, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I live in New Milford as well. I have said I don't want the apts. But I do want the Shop Rite and the football field. You people should be honest with everyone and admit you want NO development. It has not helped the flooding with nothing there and I don't believe that is will be the end of New Milford as we know as you would like everyone to beleive. By the way way most people I talk to want the Shop Rite just not the apartments We need tax revenue. And yes people from Oradell can voice their opiinions, but they do not pay taxes in New Milford and I do
Bonita August 20, 2012 at 04:22 PM
How am I wasting your time,because I disagree with you? Get a clue it is my right to disagree, and I get To write about it just the same way as you do.
Bonita August 20, 2012 at 04:24 PM
And to all you people that think I have something to gain, you could not be more wrong, I didn't even vote for the current mayor. I am just a citizen of New Milford who pays way too much in taxes. Funny how if you don't agree with all the rabble I am somehow not a legitimate voice about this. Get used to it not everyone agrees with you.
AML August 20, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Bonita, I do not think that people are being mean. You are not answering questions. You have yet to answer the question as to whether you read any of the official reports, documents, transcripts, or, have attended any of the meetings well over a year that most people have. You seem to be hiding from answering those questions. The Field of Dreams is not slated for the United Water Property. It is not part of the plan; it is not part of the application. Are you aware of that? It will be on the ballot for NM residents to vote whether they want their taxes to be raised approximately $100.00 per year for the next 10 years for the Field of Dreams. The cost for this project is $3 Million Dollars & could be more & it will be paid for by the residents of New Milford. It has nothing to do with the United Water property, or, Shoprite. But I guess that you knew that since you attended all of the meetings. I guess you will vote No for the Field of Dreams since you said that you pay too much in taxes.
Denise August 20, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Bonita, I have one question. As I understand it you work late in the city and have not come to any of the meetings to learn about this debacle. You say you will make every effort to come to the next meeting. Will you stand before a fully packed room like a lot of us did and make your opinions/efforts known.....I know most of the people in the room won't want to hear them, that's why they are there. SOD OUT!!
AML August 20, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Bonita, The current application before the Zoning Board is between 2 private entities, United Water & Hekemian. In order for the Shoprite and bank to be built, as part of the mixed use development, they MUST build the 220+ unit apartments with affordable housing. There cannot be Shoprite without the apartments; there is no negotiation regarding that aspect. Hekemian would not be before the board seeking variances for just a supermarket. I do not know how much clearer I can be. You cannot have one without the other. If the Master Plan changes and the zoning changes, that would be a different story. Hekemian would sue & it will wind up in the court system either way. The sale is not 100% official & therefore, neither the Bergen Record, nor, the Patch has the exact figure. Media is not considered a legal document. The figure would be registered with the Bergen County Clerk's office once the sale is official. Our public officials have estimated the sale to be between $7 & $8 million dollars. We have many people who work in NY and come to the meetings. They run at times until past 11:30PM, and one meeting ended past midnight, at 12:40AM to be exact. So, please come. Lastly, I was confused when you said in your post that you would love a Field of Dreams, whatever that means. Did you mean to say that you really do not know what a Field of Dreams is?
Barbara August 20, 2012 at 08:24 PM
We can have he field of dreams on the ballot and not this development? This shows that our leadership does not care about the people who suffer from flodding. Let's keep this in mind when we are discussing this development. The flood area expands with each storm and this development would help the flood are expand further. I vote for no more suffering and let's put that on the ballot. Let's use the funds for the field toward this land.
John Michael August 20, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Why? Because the land is privately owned. The property behind the Middle School is not.
AML August 20, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Bonita, You mentioned the following: "You people should be honest with everyone and admit you want NO development. " We are honest. The members of SOD do not want any development on the United Water Property; we want to leave it as open space because NM is over-developed and the proposed development will impact us & neighboring towns negatively. How more honest can we be? The Field of Dreams has nothing to do with the sale/development of the United Water Property. REPEAT, THE FIELD OF DREAMS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE UNITED WATER PROPERTY. The Field of Dreams has nothing to do with SOD which stands for Stop Over-Development. Some people of SOD are for the Field of Dreams and other members of SOD are against the Field of Dreams. It is a totally different subject. Just like some members of SOD are from the Republican party & others are from the Democratic party. Regardless of our beliefs on other topics, we are united in our efforts to prevent any development on the United Water Property; that is the reason we joined forces. We formed for that reason only.
Lori Barton August 20, 2012 at 10:12 PM
If you can't afford more taxes, then you should be totally against this development. Even commercial ratables will end up costing all of us existing taxpayers more money. There are costs associated with increased fire, police and emergency services. There will be more crime and more associated court costs. Commercial property depreciates over time while open space does not. this development will cost all of us far more the anyone realizes. Rebuild ShopRite where it is. The variances have already been granted. Leave this last tract of land as open space.
AML August 21, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Bonita, If you had the chance to attend the Mayor & Council meeting last night, you would have found out, as we have been saying all along, that the sale of the United Water property is estimated between $7 & $8 million dollars, not $16 Million Dollars as you have repeatedly insisted. We are aware that COAH is in a temporary state of flux, as we have done our homework, but that does NOT prevent the developer to utilize COAH units in his proposed development. The more development there is in town, our COAH obligation increases. The application is Grandtathered in and once again, you are mistaken, as the developer can legally proceed, regardless of the fact that COAH is in a state of flux. There is no argument there! If you attended the meetings, you would know that we have already asked the M & C to petition the state to include the apartments as part of COAH. The COAH obligation can be transferred to the apartments if the owner "rehabilitates" the apartments to conform to COAH guidelines. He will not do this for free, he would want something in return from NM ie tax reduction, which would mean an increase in your taxes. The Mayor did say that she called Brunetti several times & he has not had the decency to return her calls. So, as I said before, we already know what you have posted as we have been working hours & hours per day gathering FACTUAL information by looking, researching official documents. The Mayor & Council have no.
AML August 21, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Bonita, Lastly, I agree with you that the town cannot afford to buy the property; however, SOD has tirelessly worked and is continuing to work in securing funding from outside sources, should the deal ever fall through, or, if Hekemian decides to throw in the towel. There are other options, but one must keep an open mind! As I said before, the Field of Dreams has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the current application. SOD does not endorse, or, is against it! It is a totally different subject and is not part of the United Water property/Hekemian development.
AML August 21, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Sorry to hear that you believe everything you read when you use Google. I guess, Google is right, the Mayor & Council are wrong. Believe what you like, that is your choice. Secondly, I have tried to be as rational as possible, but I can see that you have not mastered the English language so well! I am not expressing my opinion on the Field of Dreams as I have repeatedly said that it is a separate issue from the United Water Development. But you obviously, do not get it! For the hundredth time, that question will be on a ballot for the residents to vote as to whether they want to proceed with a field for our youth or not. I am a member of SOD fighting against the United Water development. We have some members who would like to see a Field of Dreams, and other members who do not want to see a Field of Dreams. I do not know how much clearer I can be. I have been crystal clear, and sorry that you fail to see that or understand! For your information, the current proposed location for the Field of Dreams is the David E. Owens Middle School. Once again, it has nothing to do with the current application by Hekemian for the United Water Property. And once again, my concern is only to fight the United Water property development. Once again, I have been crystal clear!
Mary McElroy August 21, 2012 at 06:40 PM
The concept of a "field of dreams" and the work that has been done to try & make such a field a reality was brought about PRIMARILY DUE TO FLOODING. The HS field, the Jr. football field/Babe Ruth field and Pavone field all flood severely. I'd imagine flooding is the only reasons the M&C even gave the idea any consideration. Chronic flooding, along with the fact that we have more kids playing sports in town, both recreationally and on travel teams, demonstrated a need to finally look at finding a solution. We have a M&C who have been open to the idea of working with our BOE & that says something favorable about both groups, especially our mayor. It was those of us frustrated by the flooding that rallied hundreds of people to come out the HS last April to listen to the initial presentation by Heikeman. I can't imagine the anger & frustration of those who own a home in an area that floods due to UW. The frustration with the flooding & condition of our fields has been the main reason why I became involved in the field of dreams and have continued to work on a solution since last April. People seem to forget that we don't own the UW land, perhaps one day, certainly not in the near future, we may be able to pick it up at a fair price. Until then, I'll continue to oppose Heikeman & attend every meeting while also continuing to work on a field of dreams.
Lori Barton August 21, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Bonita: AML is correct concerning the amount that Hekemian is paying for the UW property. The entire parcel is 16 acres, not $16 million. Hekemian wants to buy 13 acres. Many of us are hopeful that the zoning board will refuse to grant the variances requested and the courts will also turn Hekemian down. The property, while still zoned for single family housing, will be greatly depreciated. There is no developer who will want to purchase flood plain land to build single family housing. So while that is the current zoning, no one truly believes that those houses will ever be built. Then perhaps grant money will be lined up for New Milford to purchase this property. ShopRite has the approvals to build a bigger, better store right where they are and that is what they should do. I, for one, have written to Inserra to tell them that I will not shop at ANY Inserra ShopRite as long as there are any plans to relocate to the UW property. The field of dreams is a totally separate issue. There will be a referendum this fall to see if the public wants to bond the funds to rebuild the MIDDLE SCHOOL field. I hope this clarifies things for you. AML has tried to tell you these same things a few times.
AML August 21, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Obviously, you are the one who has a problem with everyone else. You were the one who said "you people," you are the one who called everyone else a liar. I do not have to take anger mangagement courses. You need to take English, Common Sense, and Memory Courses. I said in my post that no one is trying to be mean. You are the one who is interpreting passion as being mean. You have a problem with reality & memory. As I am now saying for the thousandth time, It is not my field of dreams. You keep saying "my field of dreams." If you go back & check the posts you were the one who firstly mentioned a football field in your post of Aug, 20 and many of us responded to that post. Since you cannot remember, I have indicated it below: With that said, I am not dignifying responding to your posts since you just do not get it. Check the earlier posts when other people thought that you were not even real. It is OK to disagree, but you accused us of being liars and not knowing what we are talking about. But then again, you are right, since you attended all of the meetings. Good luck in your quest! Bonita 12:17 pm on Monday, August 20, 2012 I live in New Milford as well. I have said I don't want the apts. But I do want the Shop Rite and the football field. You people should be honest with everyone and admit you want NO development
Mary McElroy August 21, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Bonita - if you google the Bureau of Public Utilities - BPU docket WM11030147 - most of the terms of the agreement regarding the sale of this land are spelled out. The contract details state $7.2 million as the price for the 13 acres. The date of the agreement was listed as 12-30-10. It does state that there was a provision that allowed the Borough Of NM 4 months to decide if they wanted to purchase the property. What some of us would like to know is did UW send the Borough of NM a letter that allowed us 4 months to decide to purchase as per the terms of the contract? This is a pretty simple question that we need to answer. In April 2011, we first heard about Heikeman so the timeframe from their 12/30/10 contract follows correctly. I would like an answer to this question & this issue is not going to go away until it's addressed. Did we receive notification or not? If yes, what is the date of that letter and who received it? If we did not receive said offer/letter then would that not be a violation of this deal? Would the agreement for the sale of this land between UW & Heikeman still be valid?
Bonita August 21, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Yes I want the football field on the united water site next to the high school I did not forget, and you are the one that mentioned the field of dreams which has nothing to do with the united water site, so don't bring it up. I have called no one a liar, so really, get off your high horse. And all those posts about me not being real are just cruel, i am a tax paying citizen of New Miford, because I don't agree with you I am a "plant" as one person put it, really! I speak excellent English, have a wonderful memory and my common sense is intact, somehow you think it is ok to be insulting to me. Every post you have made to me you have inserted some insult, that is not ok. I am glad you will not respond, it is you that is confusing anger with passion it is not all right to put someone down in an attempt to prove your point that is not passion it is just plain rude. Good luck, take a deep breath, and have a nice night.
TommyIce August 22, 2012 at 12:15 AM
There will not be JUST a SuperShopRite on that land. There will not be 50 singles family homes. Neither will happen if Heikemian purchases that property. Heikemian ONLY builds mixed use developments (commercial + residential). To see that all you need to do is visit their website. So don't rezone it and Heikemian will walk away. Do you think another developer would purchase flood prone land to build up to 50 houses in a town that is already overloaded with unsold homes in an economy that is tanking?
miriam pickett August 22, 2012 at 12:39 AM
In the end the question is do we want greenspace or do we want more asphalt? Do we want to lose our character? Do we need a gigantic supermarket in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Do we want an empty space in the middle of town bringing values down and causing blight? Bonita, if that's your vision for New Milford, I'm surprised you haven't run for public office. You are very glib about other peoples' homes being flooded, your neighbors being choked by air pollution, school age children trying to get an education in overcrowded classrooms. Your information is incorrect. You are either a plant or very easily influenced by men in suits. I am astonished that anyone could believe this will somehow lower taxes. Luckily for New Milford there are a group of informed citizens who are willing to fight for a vision of New Milford that is diametrically opposed to yours. I wish you luck. You'll need it.
Barbara August 22, 2012 at 01:07 AM
And do we want to cause more human suffering? For me that is the most important reason for not developing land so close to a river. Common sense.
Bonita August 22, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Thank you Lori, you have been very respectful. Imhave some questions for long term, let's say thwmtown does purchase the property, open land does not take care of itself, we would have to pay for the grading, planting, and any recreational equipment, then hire additional DPW workers, as well as police to keep it safe and now we would be paying for all of this without any revenue against it, so it is a pure tax increase now and for future generations. Have you done any accounting of potential costs? Thanks for being patient.
Denise August 22, 2012 at 04:12 PM
According to Bonita "any developer could build 50 homes on the UW property as long as they are built to code" . Would you buy a home in a flood zone?
AML August 22, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Ditto! Couldn't have said it better myself!
AML August 22, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Not unless, I have this crazy desire to be rescued by a rowboat as waters rise higher & higher, & I would like to showcase my singing talent by singing "row, row, row your boat gently down the stream...merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream" as my home and possesions are ravaged by flood waters. I am happy to say that I do not live in a "fantasy" world, so my answer would be no!
Barbara August 22, 2012 at 07:38 PM
The open land could be tied in with the water works museum. Proceeds from that venue could be used for upkeep. Or what about leaving it as woods and do nothing with the land?
Lori Barton August 22, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Bonita: Regarding your last questions concerning the cost involved of maintaining open space, there is a wealth of information showing that the long range costs of maintaining open space is far LESS than the costs generated from commercial and retail development. In Keeping Our Garden State Green: A Local Government Guide for Greenway and Open Space Planning, author Linda Howe points out that "commercial development may have hidden municipal costs. Such development, for example, may affect state requirements for low and moderate income housing. Or it may necessitate an increase in spending for police and fire protection or traffic control, and sewage treatment. The N. J. Office of State Planning agrees: "New retail development . . . require(s) outlays for public services such as police, fire, courts, road maintenance and traffic control." The costs of servicing development are unending and will increase over time. Over time commercial real estate is depreciated while residential real estate increases in value, changing the balance of property tax assessments. The proportion of taxes paid by commercial ratables generally decline over time, being subsidized by residential taxpayers.

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