Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Herold's Farm Property Meeting

Another emotionally charged fight in town. If you want the details and to be in the know about what's going on near your house and what's coming to town, you probably want to be in attendance. You can't say you didn't know when you have the chance to go. Knowledge is power. Get your knowledge, then use your power.

Glen Rock, Fair Lawn residents invited to information session on Herold's Farm property

July 7, 2014    Last updated: Monday, July 7, 2014, 4:17 PM

Glen Rock Gazette
Clifton-based ARC Properties is inviting Glen Rock and Fair Lawn residents to an information session on an updated retail development proposal for the Herold's Farm property off Prospect Street.

The forum will begin at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, July 10 at Central Elementary School. Company officials are expected to outline ingress/egress changes, additional landscaping and other plan modifications.

The session is apparently a private initiative by ARC and not connected to the municipality, although borough officials and other interested parties are invited to attend, according to Glen Rock planning/zoning board secretary Nancy Spiller. No renewed development application had been filed with borough officials as of Monday.

The original ARC proposal last year, which stalled in December amid procedural issues and resident opposition, called for two commercial buildings at the site. One would house a 14,820-square-foot Walgreens drugstore, with the other subdivided for an unspecified retail store of 4,000 square feet and a 2,720-square-foot Dunkin Donuts outlet.

The Glen Rock Gazette has thus far been unable to confirm with ARC officials whether the aforementioned retail outlets remained in the plan.

ARC development executive Lisa Dilenno had notified Spiller about this week's meeting with residents in an email sent last Thursday, July 3. The communication stated that, "Our goal is to hear the residents' opinions and see how we can satisfy their concerns.

"We have already made alterations to the plans in an effort to soften the magnitude and the look of the development," Dilenno wrote. "We have added landscaping, modified access points and lessened the density because we want this to be a project in which all residents can take great pride."
Last November, the Glen Rock Borough Council introduced an ordinance that would have rezoned the Herold's Farm property to all-commercial zoning to accommodate the development. The action closely followed a Planning Board approval of the zoning change request by ARC officials.
In the ensuing weeks, local resident objections mounted, led by attorney Rinaldo D'Argenio, a Keith Place resident representing fellow neighbors fighting the rezoning proposal. The campaign culminated in a December public comment session heavily attended by nearby Glen Rock and Fair Lawn residents.

The meeting featured D'Argenio's review of documents furnished to officials in both Glen Rock and Fair Lawn by ARC Properties since early 2013, depicting what he called "anomalies" in the process; one being that a zoning change request went to the Planning Board and not the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The attorney also cited what he termed inconsistencies in the content and timing of project scenarios provided to officials of the respective boroughs. He said that a review of documents filed in Glen Rock and Fair Lawn indicated that the development scenario leading to the Planning Board's November zoning change approval was somewhat different from one that was dated earlier, but provided shortly thereafter, to Fair Lawn.

Acting on that information, the council then determined that the request to change the Herold's Farm property to all-commercial zoning for a new retail development should be redirected to the borough Zoning Board of Adjustment, and that further Planning Board and council action was to be suspended pending the zoning board's review. However, no new petition to the zoning board was since filed by ARC Properties.

The re-ordered review sequence would mirror the steps originally followed by Fair Lawn officials in vetting ARC's development request. Fair Lawn shares jurisdiction because a segment of the Herold's commercial property bordering Naugle Drive, off Prospect Street, is in that borough.
At that time, Mayor John van Keuren told the Glen Rock Gazette that, "The council feels partly that the Planning Board should have done more, earlier, to involve the public in a formal way. Given all the early information that was available, and the actions that the applicant (ARC Properties) took with Fair Lawn, they should have done the same thing in Glen Rock, beginning with going first to the zoning board."

He reiterated that the Planning Board, of which he is a member, formally notified the council of its agreement with the zoning change in November, which was followed by the council's introduction of the associated ordinance on Nov. 13, 2013.

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