The proposed development of a three-acre United Water property located in north New Milford is bad for surrounding communities on many levels.
First, and most obviously, the parcel of land has historically flooded. The developers - S.Hekemian Group and Inserra ShopRite - have plans to divert that water; but where will it go? Obviously into someone else’s property; the Hackensack River cannot absorb flood waters and overflows into surrounding neighborhoods with regularity. Should we believe that “this time it will be different’? No.
More likely is if it is different it will be because houses that previously did not flood will now be prone to flooding. The four to six feet of water that previously flooded the 13-acre United Water property will now flood a wider area both upstream and down steam of the work site. Upstream may sound surprising, but consider the bottleneck that will result from the proposed diversion, that will likely raise water levels upstream flooding areas in Oradell near St. Joseph’s far beyond historical patterns. Residents downstream in New Milford, River Edge, North Hackensack and beyond who once considered themselves “high and dry” should be reconsidering that assumption should this project pass.
Second, the roads in the proposed area (River Rd., Elm St., Main St., New Milford Ave., and even Kinderkamack Rd.) are not sufficient to support the thousands of additional cars that will be traveling to and from the proposed site containing a supermarket, 220+ residential units, and a drive thru bank. This will result in safety issues not only for residents along the local roads but likely the entire community serviced by the New Milford Ambulance station that is located in the heart of the new congestion area.
Third, while adding affordable housing opportunities to any community is an admirable thing to do, there is no evidence of analysis of the long term impact of this project upon our schools that are already near maximum capacity. Moreover, while local governments make development decisions chasing new revenues, adequate consideration to the funding of future liabilities to the schools, road system, and even water and sewage capacity is rarely considered. At what point do we consider over development over done?
Lastly, has anyone considered what will happen to the existing Shop Rite should this project pass? What is going to fill that huge empty building? Certainly the community cannot support two huge supermarkets. So what are we left with? Most likely increased flooding, more traffic, delays in ambulance service, overcrowded schools, strained infrastructure, and a huge vacant building serving as an eyesore where the existing Shop Rite stands.