Franklin Lakes December 23, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 7 Mayor: Council should buy Omaha Way site by Frank J. McMahon Franklin Lakes Mayor Maura DeNicola has urged the borough council to begin discussions about purchasing the Omaha Way property that was recently approved for subdivision by the planning board. DeNicola voiced that opinion at a recent council session, saying the property should be preserved for open space and that Green Acre grants and private funding sources should be investigated so “the onus doesn’t fall on the taxpayer.” “It will take time and effort, but it is worth it to the residents,” DeNicola said. She pointed out that she voted against the planning board’s approval of the subdivision. “It is a terrible application, and a terrible project for the town and for that area,” the mayor said. “I encourage the council to look into purchasing the property.” The land, a 14-acre wooded and steeply sloped site, has been approved for subdivision into three lots. The land is surrounded by residential properties on three sides and by High Mountain Park in Wayne on the south. The developer, Mark Built Homes, plans to construct estate type homes on the lots. The subdivision requires 38 truckloads to remove 490 cubic yards of soil and rock. However, it has been estimated that between 1,800 and 2,000 truckloads will be required to remove all the soil and rock during the overall development of the three lots. Many neighbors of the property voiced their opposition to the plan during the planning board’s public hearing. The objectors claim that many of the property owners along the truck route that will be used to remove the soil and rock from the site have also voiced opposition. The neighbors claim their homes and properties may be damaged by the development because of drainage problems, the potential need to blast the rock on the site, and the number of trucks that will be transporting the soil and rock. They also said the long-term impact of the removal of the soil and rock will devalue their homes, and they have threatened to file tax appeals to reduce their property taxes. Prior to the planning board’s subdivision approval, they urged the council to consider buying the property from the developer in order to preserve it as open space. Robert Hausler, a neighbor who lives on Shawnee Drive, recently told the council of the neighbors’ growing concerns. He pointed out that additional funding for the Green Acres Division of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection was approved in the general election, so there is potential funding available for the purchase of the property. He noted that the planning board’s vote to approve the subdivision showed five members voting for the application, two voting against it, and two abstaining. He asked what impact any new members who join the board next year would have on the approval. The council’s attorney, Douglas Doyle, advised Hausler that the neighbors would have to challenge the subdivision approval in Superior Court, but Hausler said the neighbors had not yet decided to do so. Doyle told the resident that if the neighbors do not appeal the decision, they will have to fight the individual lot site plan applications as they come before the planning board. Doyle recommended the citizens seek the advice of an attorney. Schweinfurth Florist Wishes You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ��������� ����������������� ������������� Merry Christmas 85 HILLSIDE AVENUE, MIDLAND PARK 201-444-4760 • 201-445-1164 Continuing Our Tradition of Quality and Service ����������� from Hair Care �������������� MART Y’S SHOES IS BACK! 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