Allendale March 4, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • Page 5 Council considers purchase of Fell House by John Koster The Allendale Borough Council last week postponed the introduction of an ordinance that would, if adopted, allow municipal bonding to purchase and preserve the John Fell House on Franklin Turnpike. “We’re in the process of discussion.” Mayor Vince Barra said at the meeting, but did not elaborate. He said that a meeting was scheduled for this week to further discuss the possible purchase of the house. Built in the 1750s, the John Fell House was the home of a man who served in the Continental Congress and helped ratify the U.S. Constitution. He had been arrested as a Patriot by Tories and placed in a prison in New York City, then occupied by the British. In November 2008, the Allendale Planning Board rejected a site plan application by a consortium of developers based in Fort Lee that would have demolished the house, its barn, and stable, and replaced them with 11 new townhouses, contiguous to a nearby tract of condominiums. Mahwah attorney George Cotz successfully argued that the conditions under which the existing condominiums were constructed in the 1980s mandated that all owners be contacted and allowed to give their consent before any new development could take place on a 10-acre tract that includes the existing townhouses and the Fell House and its out-buildings. Allendale residents had formed a group that retained Cotz and publicized the campaign to save the John Fell House, and were pleased when the Allendale Planning Board dismissed the site plan application on technical grounds before the residents – a standing-room-only crowd in the council chambers – even had a chance to testify against the developer on aesthetic and historic grounds. Two years ago, when Mayor Barra and the Allendale Borough Council saved the Orchard Commons site from development into 24 townhouses when the bulldozer was literally on the property, Barra cautioned the Fell House preservationists that while he and the council would provide expertise and logistical support, they would not commit taxpayer money to the Fell House. Orchard Commons has now been transformed into a passive landscaped park at the entrance of Allendale with state and federal grant money and donated private funds. An official opening is expected in April after the plantings are installed. Allendale Mayor Vince Barra praised Wyckoff for taking the lead in a New Jersey League of Municipalities initiative to change the arbitration polices in which state-appointed arbitrators settle police contract disputes between local Policemen’s Benevolent Association units and local governments. “Wyckoff has been taking the lead in this, but the arbi- Officials urge PBA arbitration changes tration policy just has to change,” Barra said at last week’s council meeting. Mayor Barra noted that Closter had been locked in to granting a four percent annual raise to police officers for the next four years, despite present economic conditions, at the behest of a state appointed arbitrator. 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