Page 6 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • April 29, 2009 Allendale Orchard Commons: $200K needed for zero tax bite by John Koster Allendale Mayor Vince Barra was warmly applauded last week when he told the council that a second Green Acres grant has brought the borough within reach of the goal of creating a passive part at the Orchard Commons site at no cost to taxpayers. “We will be completing the whole $4.5 million without having to ask the residents for any tax money,” Barra said. He explained that the $500,000 that Allendale received follows a previous $600,000 from New Jersey Green Acres, $1.1 million from Bergen County Open Space, $1.2 million from Allendale’s own set-aside for municipal park development, and $500,000 granted for the special needs housing to be constructed on one quadrant of the 3.4-acre tract off the Franklin Turnpike. Voluntary contributions coordinated by Councilman Jim Strauch brought in the first $290,000 and convinced the council that saving Orchard Commons was plausible. The remaining $200,000 will be sought through voluntary fundraising as the park moves toward completion at a June 14 grand opening at 1 p.m. At the same meeting, the council accepted a bid for Phase II landscaping, including grassy areas with installed sprinklers, for $75,000, which was half as much money as the highest of the competitive bids by contractors. The ground work on the park has largely been completed and the plantings will go in as soon as soil conditions permit. Ramon Alvarez, the land owner who originally intended the site for 24 townhouse units in eight buildings, donated the entrance gate to the park. Alvarez also received Barra’s praise for helping to arrange a paydown in increments and at some reduction for what he could have obtained at fair market prices, well before the present slump in real estate. The gate is already standing at the site. As the builder was preparing the site for construction, borough officials were able to put together a deal to buy the land in phases with scheduled payments. The 24-unit townhouse project had been approved by the Allendale Planning Board because the zoning of the site for affordable housing would have made a successful appeal virtually impossible. However, the borough’s negotiations with the developer led to a widely applauded shift from 24 townhouses to a commitment for six affordable units and a landscaped park on the section of the property nearest to Franklin Turnpike. Residents: Keep Crestwood’s membership closed A group of Allendale citizens and a member of the Allendale Planning Board who spoke as a private citizen, urged the Allendale Borough Council not to open Crestwood Park to Midland Park residents who have no local sponsors. “There’s a movement to make towns more cooperative,” Allendale Mayor Vice Barra told the residents. “We share the high school fields, we share a lot of other things with towns.” Barra said he found a letter he received asking that Midland Park be kept out of Crestwood to be negative and somewhat embarrassing. He said he had “a little more embracing and open philosophy.” Maria Aiello, who opposed open membership for Midland Park, said that, since Midland Park residents had started to come to the lake, she had seen cigarette butts, drunken misbehavior, overflowing trash receptacles, and stressed lifeguards. Several other parents who take their children to Crestwood Lake joined Aiello in urging that the lake not be opened to general subscription membership for Midland Park residents, though some said they had no objection to members who had Allendale sponsors. “You have to draw a line somewhere so I think you have to draw a line at the sending districts,” said Todd Fliegel, the planning board member who expressed his personal opinion on the matter. He urged that Allendale limit membership at Crestwood to those residents who have Allendale sponsors who are close friends or inlaws, and to the people from school districts that send students to Northern Highlands Regional High School. Mayor Barra noted that Crestwood membership has been steadily declining for the last six or seven years, and Councilwoman Elizabeth White added that, when she appealed in a newsletter for residents who want the lake kept exclusive to send extra money with their enrollment fee, only four people sent bigger checks. She established that Aiello was not one of them. Andrea Pennington, one of the people who responded to White’s appeal, said she saw much the same disregard for Crestwood that Aiello had noted, especially the cigarette butts left on the beach (Crestwood bans smoking) (continued on page 20) Lynn’s Pet Care Going on vacation? Away for the weekend? Work long hours away from home? We’ll care for your pets when you can’t. Please call 201-493-8442 ���������������������������������� ����������������������������������� ������������������������������� ����������������������������������������� �������������������������� ������������������������������� SAT Last Ditch? 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