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Proposed Added Turn Lanes Top United Water Property Hearing

Proposed left hand turn lanes on River Road and Main Street will widen roads, necessitating the removal of long standing Sycamore trees

Tuesday night's meeting of the Zoning Board brought the return of Hekemian's expert Michael Dipple, an engineer and principal of L2A Land Design in Englewood, who testified to changes rendered to the design of the site plan for the United Water property. The changes come as a result of comments and reviews brought forth by the applicant's team, as well as those recommendations from the borough's engineer, Margita Batistic of Boswell Engineering.

The proposed development of the United Water property by the S. Hekemian Group includes a 70,500 sq.ft. supermarket, 4300 sq.ft. bank, and a 221 unit multi-family housing complex that includes a four-story 428-spaced parking garage.

The major revision to the original plan is the addition of two left turn lanes on River Road. One is to allow vehicles traveling north to access the site, and one is for vehicles traveling south to make a left turn onto Demarest Ave. The addition of these turn lanes will create three lanes of traffic each measuring 11ft., 12 ft and 13 ft. The left turn lanes are designed to maintain the flow of traffic on both River Road and Main Street.

Dipple said that a left turn lane was added on Main Street to allow vehicles traveling westbound to access the site, as well as a left turn lane for vehicles traveling eastbound to turn onto Washington Ave.

However, when the Elm Street Bridge was closed for repairs, a borough ordinance was adopted prohibiting left turns onto Washington Ave. The board informed Dipple that permissions would be needed before that left turn lane could be incorporated into the plan. 

The addition of the left turn lanes will necessitate the road to be widened from 30 ft. to 36 ft. at those points. This will also result in the need to remove a number of the Sycamore trees that currently line River Road. Dipple said that the trees will be replaced with "something else."

Acting Chairperson Ronald Stokes informed Dipple that the Shade Tree Commission had concerns about how many borough trees the widening of the roads would affect. Attorney for the applicant, Antimo "Andy" DelVecchio said that the landscape plan will be submitted for the Commission to review.

The applicant also discussed the use of River Road by delivery trucks to access the supermarket should Madison Ave. be flooded.

There will be a special meeting of the Zoning Board dedicated to the hearing of the proposed development of the United Water property Monday, Nov. 19 at 7:15 pm in the council chambers at Borough Hall. 

miriam pickett November 15, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Mr. Dipple, the engineer for Hekemian, stated that the sycamores to be cut down would be replaced by young sycamores. I was shocked when I asked him how big these new trees would be and he answered "3 1/2 inches." If you haven't got angry yet, this should finally do it. The nerve of these people coming and destroying trees that have been part of New Milford for over 50 years is revolting. People, you've got to make sure this happen. You've got to come out for the BOA meetings. You've got to ask questions. You've got to follow up on every detail to protect town's environment. SOD needs you. New Milford needs you.
miriam pickett November 15, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Whoops, in my anger I missed a few letters on the keyboard. It should read, "you've got make sure this doesn't happen."
Tracey November 16, 2012 at 12:29 AM
How about a left turn lane for westbound Madison onto Boulevard?!?!? Madison could easily be widened a few feet to accomodate. It sucks sitting through 3+ light signals because of the left turners.
Pat November 16, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Miriam, that is not 3 1/2 inches in height, it is trunk diameter. It is probably 8 feet in height. Although i do not like putting sycamores close to the street as they are very large trees and grow very rapidly, I think we know trees and power lines are not a good match. Sycamore trees grow about 6 feet in height a year. I wish the shade tree commission would deal with pruning the rest of the trees around this town, and develop a better forestry plan.
Ulises November 16, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Last month the M&C approved the knocking of a few more sycamore trees in front of the High School...
TommyIce November 16, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Where exactly on Main Street are they proposing this left turn lane? Will Heikemian be purchasing the properties that exist on Main Street to tear them down for the addition of this left turn lane or will Eminent Domain be used to abscond with these privately owned pieces of property? And now a left turn lane onto Demarest! What a way to help increase the traffic flow on this little street. A street that is usually filled with STUDENTS walking to and from the High School and all the SENIOR citizens who attends events at the senior center. Oh I forgot---the streets around this mess are currently under utilized and we need to increase the traffic in these RESIDENTIAL areas to utilize our streets to their full potential. Time for pitchforks and torches people!
John November 16, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Pat you hit the nail on the head with the shade tree commission. The problem I think is that there is no manager running the DPW.
Mark G November 16, 2012 at 03:05 PM
The trees in question are actually a hybred called London Plane trees. It is part Sycamore. It has a very stout lumpy trunk, Sycamores have a tall smooth trunk.
David Bednarcik November 16, 2012 at 06:06 PM
If this development does go through, it should make for a scary time at drop off for the High School with the increased traffic.
Lori Barton November 16, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Don't let this happen! You can no longer be complacent and sit at home letting others attend meetings for you. The residents of New Milford need to let the zoning board and Hekemian know that THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! Meetings stink, I know!! But letting this happen to our community stinks even more. SHOW YOUR OUTRAGE!!! Next zoning board meeting is Monday, Nov 19 at 7:15 PM. BE THERE!!!
Denise November 16, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Tommylce....I agree with you. I said the same thing in your first paragraph regarding Eminennt Domain etc. over a year ago.......
miriam pickett November 18, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Of course I knew he was talking about the diameter of the trees. The day after his testimony I went to measure the diameters of the existing trees along with two members of SOD. The town ordinance states that hertiage trees are trees that are 36" in diameter. Using a mathematical formula to do the calculations necessary, we were surprised to see that even the widest didn't quite measure up. However, the town ordinance says that a heritage tree needs only to be over 50 years old in order to designated as such. We are certain that these trees were planted in the late 1920s and so they will qualify. All this means is that the developer will have to pay a fee and then needs to get a permit to take them down. Considering the opposition to this plan I think it is safe to say that he'll never get those permits. So back to the drawing board, Mr. Dipple. I'm interested in seeing what new plan you come up with.

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