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Flooding Focus of United Water Hearing

Applicant's engineer reviews existing conditions of United Water property; discusses flood plain

Representatives for New Milford Redevelopment Associates LLC appeared before the Board of Adjustment at a special meeting Thursday evening seeking . 

The application includes:

  • 70,500 sq ft supermarket 
  • 221 residential units with 428-spaced parking garage 
  • 88 one bedroom apartments; 117 two bedroom apartments; 16 three bedroom apartments
  • 4300 sq ft bank 

Flooding dominated much of the four hours of testimony that was provided by Michael Dipple, an engineer and principal of L2A Land Design in Englewood and expert for the applicant, (NMRA). During the course of his testimony Dipple explained the water infiltration system and basins that NMRA has included in their site plans. 

The existing conditions of the United Water property are the basis of the site plan application. Dipple said that the irregularly shaped 13.61 acres that NMRA is coming before the board for approval on, has the highest elevation of 27 feet at River Rd. and the lowest elevation of 11 feet at Madison Ave. Given those elevations, run-offs would seem to be the problem. 

However, Dipple reported that there is very little runoff on the site, but the infiltration systems that the applicant will install--both above and below ground--should alleviate any problems that might occur. Much of his testimony was centered around hydraulic systems pertaining to storm drainage basins that would be installed on the property to alleviate the collection of storm water.

Dipple informed the board that the developer has planned to utilize berms around the property to reduce the rate of surface runoff. Berms are flood protection barriers that serve to direct water to areas that are not susceptible to erosion, thereby reducing the adverse effects of running water on exposed topsoil.

But many members of the board, as well as the audience, who have lived through Floyd, the Palm Sunday storm and Irene expressed concern that if the land is covered by impervious materials, the water will pool.

Board attorney, Scott Sproviero, told Dipple that despite the flood maps that were on exhibit detailing the flood hazard area, the people of New Milford have lived through real storm events, citing the Palm Sunday storm and Hurricane Irene.

Sproviero said, "They know that the area floods." 

Also discussed was landscape design. Dipple reported that approximately 261 trees would be removed from the area of the site, but between 450 to 500 will be planted. Members of the board expressed concern about providing some natural screen for the residents of River Road whose properties face the development site. Dipple reported that they were going to landscape the front; however, NMRD wants the retail area to have visibility from the street level in order to attract customers. 

At last week's meeting, Dr. David Kinsey's testimony was centered on  "inherently beneficial use" and the borough's need to comply with its affordable housing obligation. 

Testimony will continue with Dipple on May 8th. 

Ulises April 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM
I don't get why New Milford has one flood zone map, which clearly put this property in the flood zone, and the developer's map doesn't????
Lori Barton April 20, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I couldn't make last night's meeting. I had to work. But was the flood map the developer presented from their "expert?" Was this "in his opinion" just like everything Dr. Kinsey stated at the last meeting was "in his opinion?" Just because their "expert" says it's so, doesn't mean anything. It is the job of our planner and our zoning board to question their "experts" when our information shows their information to be flawed. Big deal, the developer will be planting far more trees than they are removing. They will be removing mature trees and replacing them with saplings. Covering ANY of this watershed propety with impervious coverings and removing ANY trees will be detrimental to the environment and will exacerbate flooding. Even the flood map that the borough has should probably be updated considering the effects of the storms of the past 10 years. Development to the north has seriously impacted us and the flooding conditions we now experience. There is not one thing right about this application. From flooding, to overcrowded schools, to increased taxes from the municipal services the high number of residential units will require, this proposed development is "inherently detrimental" to New Milford.
Rick April 20, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Amazing, with all their crybabying about potential drought, it hasn't rained in five months yet United Water somehow manages to continue to serve their customers without restrictions or interruption from the Oradell Reservoir. Can somebody please explain why they didn't release excess runoff at low tide in advance of Tropical Storm Lee, one week after Hurricane Irene? Had we received no rain instead of the almost ten inches we did get, it would've made absolutely no difference in regards to servicing their 800,000 customers and could've prevented unneccessary expendatures & damages to our community.
Ulises April 20, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Yes, it was their expert's map and his opinion was that this property is not in a flood zone. Yet, he could not explain why during Irene there was water on that property???? The board member asked great questions but you never know what their final vote will be. I got there late, little league game, and the meeting went on until about 11 but the public was not allowed to ask question until the next meeting because it ran so long. I think May 8th is the next meeting with the same expert.
Anthony April 20, 2012 at 01:42 PM
To your point, the Record reported today the Oradell Reservoir is at 89% of capacity.
Danielle Loonam April 20, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Flooding, Traffic, Students at risk, that alone should be the end of it. They can paint the picture as pretty as they want to but in the end, we all know what is going to happen...
Jon April 20, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Everyone should keep in mind that the original plan presented back in April of last year included a soccer field where the now proposed apartment building will be. There is no way the new building will not make flooding a more pronounced problem. Where will these experts be when my house gets flooded the next major rain storm? Nowhere to be found since they would have been paid for their testimonies already. My house barely escaped Irene and the Palm Sunday storm with the water making it all the way up my driveway. Experts say the drainage systems "should" alleviate the problem. What happens when they don't? All flood zone properties will pay the price again. And I for one will not stay around to find out.
Carol April 20, 2012 at 02:47 PM
What will become of the old shop-rite site? How is the elderly population going to get to the other side of town for food? Are Brookchester and Dorchester not enough apartments? Do we need another strip mall? In a town with numerous laundromats, CVS's, 7/11's , pizza & nail salons, cafe's, restaurants, convenience stores, dry cleaners. How many banks are enough? Enough is enough
miriam pickett April 20, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I was at last night's meeting and had to leave early. Before I left, I got the names and email addresses of the people who were in attendance and are opposed to this development. I will check with the NM Library and find out if we can have a room for a meeting and then will send out an email informing everyone of the time and place. If you weren't at the meeting and would like to attend, please email me at nounitedwaterdev@yahoo.com. I believe that we must present a united opposition to these ridiculous plans in order to make a difference when the final vote is called for. Also, if it is not possible for us to get a room at the library does anyone have any other suggestions for a meeting place? Please use the above email address for any correspondence. Perhaps we should also start a Facebook page? Any comments?
Jon April 20, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I'm in. Let's see if we can meet at Big Jim's or something. Not sure if we are allowed to use the Elk's lodge or not.
Mary McElroy April 20, 2012 at 06:46 PM
After listening to 4 hrs. of testimony from the expert witness, I left the meeting confused from all the technical testimony and absolutely bewildered that flood maps from 1980- a document that is 32 yr.s old is the acceptable legal standard hinging a good deal of the expert testimony together. How much has changed with flooding in NJ since 1980? I too thought our board asked good questions but the acceptable standard flood map is grossly outdated. The driveway at the back of the property from Madison is according to the expert "slightly in the flood plain". It will be interesting to see how slight it is when the tractor trailors trying to make deliveries to the proposed 9 loading bays can't get into the site because the entire back part of that property will be a swimming pool.
John DeSantis April 20, 2012 at 09:07 PM
I was at last nights meeting. It seemed to me that the Board Members did ask good questions. I was disapointed that there were not more questions about the back flow preventer on the drainage discharge from the seepage systems. If the flood waters rise above the the discharge outlet the backflow preventer will automatically close due to the water pressure. This will prevent flood waters from entering the developement, but unfortunately it will force that water down stream to the folks on Colombia and Harvard street. New Milford needs no new developements. Our efforts should be directed towards re-developement of existing sites and delapitated structures. Miriam, my wife and I signed your list and we look forward to meeting with folks of like mind. Together maybe we can do some good. Ulises, it was good to meet you and put a face to the person who's words I find myself agreeing with time and time again.
Ulises April 20, 2012 at 09:48 PM
John, great to meet you and I find myself agreeing with your point of views all the time. Thank you Miriam for starting that sign in sheet.
David Bednarcik April 21, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Why do we need more development in an already area that floods? There is too much building in this area and that is increasing the flooding.
Emily Rostkowski May 01, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Go to https://www.facebook.com/SODofNewMilford Thanks!!!

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