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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. 

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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