Flooding Tops Questioning Of Hekemian Engineer

Dipple returned for questioning at Thursday's special meeting of the Zoning Board.

Michael Dipple, Hekemian's engineering expert, was recalled to answer questions from the public at Thursday's special meeting of the Zoning Board. Dipple faced further questioning by members of about the effectiveness of the infiltration systems designed to control flooding that he has proposed for the site. 

Dipple testified that during a flood event, surface runoff would not compromise the basin from beneath because in determining his calculations, he looked at the seasonal high and went two feet above it. 

SOD member John DeSantis asked Dipple if he felt an obligation to go beyond the regulatory flood map and consider the actual flood events. Dipple responded that that although there may be "bigger storms" it is not relevant to his site design.  

Dipple is confident that the two infiltration systems that will be installed by the courtyard of the 221 unit apartment complex and behind the bank will be sufficient in controlling runoff. 

By design, infiltration systems work by turning water that would normally become surface runoff into a resource that waters trees, recharges groundwater and provides stream baseflows. They are also designed to function to improve water quality by removing some pollutants from the runoff as it infiltrates. According to Dipple, these contaminates go into an "isolator row" or chamber wrapped in fabric that filters the contaminates. Also, because these systems serve to reduce the volume of runoff, they contribute to flood control. 

Other questioning centered on the proposed 221 unit multi-family housing complex. When questioned by Michael Gadaleta about the square footage on that portion of the proposed development, Dipple referred him to the architect who would have that information.

The site plan includes the square footage of the proposed supermarket (70,500) and the proposed bank (4300), but it does not include the square footage of the proposed housing complex or parking garage. 

Considering the residential element to the proposed development, Gadaleta pressed Dipple about the types of variances Hekemian is applying for.

Dipple explained that Hekemian is seeking the following use variances based on a Residential Zone A zoning. 

Variance Needed Permitted Proposed Building Coverage 18% 30.53% Impervious Coverage 58% 70.37% Building Height 2 1/2 stories/30ft 4 stories/53.91ft # Families Per Building  1 family

221 families

Parking 925


The hearing on the United Water property will continue on Sept. 19 at 7pm.


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AML August 27, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Brillliant to the Nth degree to have designed a plan for a mixed use development without taking into consideration the reality of storm events of the past few years. Dipple's brilliancy is further exhibited by designing a project based on a 32 year old antiquated flood map which has no relevancy to the current situation, the here & now, the future. The proof is in the pudding with his remark... There may be "bigger storms, " according to Dipple, but that is NOT RELEVANT. Dipple is one of the paid geniuses that Hekemian has hired. This paid genius has been working in the twilight zone era & needs to crash land into the realm called reality. How he, Hekemian, and his attorneys sleep at night, is beyond all human comprehension!
Ulises August 28, 2012 at 01:30 AM
I hope our town officials realize what a mistake any development on this site is, including the original proposal that didn't include the apartments. Dipple responded that although there may be "bigger storms" it is not relevant to his site design - really??? Really, bigger storms are not relevant??? His design will control water from ending up in the High School caferteria, during bigger storms, really? All that runoff that a big storm will create once those tanks reach capacity are not relevant, really??? I'm really sorry I was out of town last week and missed this expert's relevant answers.
Lori Barton August 28, 2012 at 11:28 AM
The code of ethics for American Civil Engineers requires "all pertinent and relevant information" be considered as part of testimony. When Dipple was questioned whether he thought that the updated FEMA flooding map from 2005 was pertinent and relevant, he answered "no." That will not bode well with the zoning board when they make their decision, nor with the courts if and when they appeal. Dipple also admitted that he was the engineer on the Sheffield project in Englewood and that property has flooded since it was built. The United Water property should not be developed. Period.
O.J August 29, 2012 at 04:16 PM
His development will be more suitable when there is a major flood, however, he doesn't care about the rest of the area. He wants people to move out of their current homes/apartments, into his development. That's why he is not concerning himself of the ecological ramifications of his plans.
Teaneck_Resident August 29, 2012 at 09:42 PM
While I do not live in NM I drive through the area very often and I think it's insane to develop this proposed area. However, what this development boils down to, in my opinion, is simply money and it's obvious. The current NM administration will make money, line their pockets and skip town after the are not re-elected. The developers will make money and United Water has made money. Those who lose are the residents. My view would change if the members of the current NM administration would show good faith, sell thier homes, purchase the homes around the area that will be flooded and live there. It's simply greed and profit and the expense of real people.
Teaneck_Resident August 29, 2012 at 09:44 PM
I have an easy answer, they sleep on a pillow and bed made out of money. The winners of this battle will simply be those who have the most money and those that will be making money off the deal by allowing this to happen AKA the current NM Administration.
Tomasina Schwarz September 02, 2012 at 03:36 PM
The zoning board does not seem to ask many questions of the witnesses, this is troubling. This was true during the Walgreens application in Oradell. There were only two members of the oradell board that actually showed concern during the application. The new Milford zoning board must step up to the plate and ask many pertinent questions or be they must be criticized for not actively being engaged in the application process. The board should fear the repercussions of not actively participating in the process more than the fear of being sued by the developer. The board must produce their own expert witnesses or they risk being accused of not actively enforcing the town ordinances. If the town does not produce any expert advocates they are negligent. The citizens of New Milford must demand that the zoning board and the mayor and council provide experts to question the developer's experts. The M&C of Oradell has been publically asked to hire an expert to send to New Milford. The Oradell zoning board threw the citizens under the bus, don't make the same mistake we made; we neglected to demand that the town provide experts. The only way that we beat Walgreens was to appeal the zoning board approval to the council. SOD is doing a great job of making the application process public, these efforts must be intensified by making the appointed and elected representatives accountable for hearing proceedings.


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