Page 10 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • October 28, 2009 Franklin Lakes Planners approve Omaha Way subdivision request by Frank J. McMahon A 14-acre wooded property on Omaha Way, Franklin Lakes, will be subdivided into three lots, now that the borough planning board has granted approval of this application by Mark Built Homes. Prior to the vote, planner Joseph Medici moved to deny the application. Medici said he was not against development, but believed this applicant should have to present arguments for the granting of the variances that may be needed for the individual lots before the subdivision is considered for approval. Medici was referring to the potential need for high retaining walls that would exceed the borough’s zoning ordinance and the potential need to protrude into the steep slopes on the property. The motion to deny failed when five members of the board voted against it and Medici, Brian Trava, and Mayor Maura DeNicola voted in favor of the denial. Joseph Palmieri abstained. The motion to approve the application was then made by Joseph Pullaro, who had previously suggested the board could not deny the application because it is essentially variance free, with the only variance having been requested by the board itself. Pullaro said that, if the application were denied, he believed that decision would be overturned in Superior Court. Pullaro and board members Joseph Cobuzio, Julius Lauber, Jay Lazerowitz, and Planning Board Chairman Frank Conte voted to approve the application. Medici and DeNicola voted against the approval, and Trava and Palmieri abstained. Prior to the two votes, Jerome Vogel, the attorney for the Mark Built Homes, the developer of the property, and Robert Simon, an attorney who was recently retained by several objecting neighbors to argue their case against the subdivision, gave summations of their client’s positions, and the board spent two hours debating the pros and cons of the application. Simon told the board the application should be denied because it is flawed and incomplete. He contended that the borough’s master plan never contemplated that three lots with high retaining walls would ever be developed on this mountainous property, and he argued that the board should see the cumulative effect of all the potential variances, especially concerning the height of the potential retaining walls and the steep slopes on the site, before voting. Vogel countered that his client does not need variances for the subdivision, and the one that exists was requested by the board to limit the disturbance on the site. He also pointed out that his client could have asked for seven lots on this property, but instead sought three oversized lots, which restricted development on the site in keeping with the intent of the borough’s master plan. Vogel argued that the board was given enough information on the three lots proposed for the site, including the ultimate area of disturbance for the three lots. He also emphasized that his client agreed not to extend Cheyenne Drive, which would have provided more building lots than the three his client has proposed but also would have created more disturbance. He implied that if this application did not receive approval, the site might be developed for affordable housing. The steeply sloped property is surrounded by residential properties on three sides and the High Mountain Park property in Wayne on the south. Mark Built Homes plans to construct estate type homes on the three lots and the subdivision of the property will require 38 truckloads to remove the 490 cubic yards of soil and rock that must be removed from the site for the subdivision. However, it has been estimated that between 1,800 and 2,000 truckloads will be required to remove all the soil and rock that must be removed during the total development of the three lots on the site, although Vogel said that could take five to seven years based on the current housing market. Several immediate neighbors of the property voiced their opposition to the plan, and advised that many property owners along the truck route that will be used to remove soil and rock from the site have also voiced opposition to the plan. They claim their homes and properties may be damaged by the development because of drainage problems, the potential need for blasting rock on the site, and the number of trucks that will be transporting the soil and rock from the site. The objecting neighbors claim the long-term impact of the removal of the soil and rock will devalue their homes. They pleaded with the planning board not to approve the subdivision, and threatened to file tax appeals to reduce their property taxes if the development received approval. They urged the borough council to consider buying the property from the developer in order to preserve it as open space. Talents & Treasures Fundraiser to begin The Presbyterian Church at Franklin Lakes will be holding its annual Talents and Treasures Fundraiser from Nov. 1 through 30. Offerings include vacation spots, restaurant gift certificates, jewelry, luggage, linens, artwork, and collectibles. Items are on view Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and following the 10 a.m. worship on Sunday. The church is located at 730 Franklin Lake Road, Franklin Lakes. The list of all items and services will be available on the church website, beginning Nov. 1. For further information, call the church office at (201) 891-0511. The Presbyterian Church at Franklin Lakes is located on 730 Franklin Lake Road in Franklin Lakes. �������������������� ������������������� �������� The Mahwah Regional Chamber Connection ������������������������������������������ ���������������������������������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������� ��������������������������� ������������ YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD NEWSPAPER The Villadom TIMES is your community newspaper, delivered by US mail to all of the homes and businesses in the following Bergen County towns, with a total circulation of 56,300: ZONE 1 - Wyckoff, Midland Park, Franklin Lakes ZONE 2 - Ridgewood, Glen Rock ZONE 3 - Waldwick, Ho-Ho-Kus, Allendale, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River ZONE 4 - Mahwah, Ramsey