Eagle Ridge water permit rejected by environmental agency

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:54

    Opponents of the Eagle Ridge 880 town homes development received a boost last week. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley Campbell issued a 12 page decision rejecting house builder K. Hovnanian's request for a water allocation permit. The permit is the final hurdle for Hovnanian, who needs the permit to divert additional water flow from existing wells to the planned development. "I think this puts us in a much better position", said township attorney Fred Semrau on Campbell's decision, while Councilman James Warden described Campbell's action as "very intelligent and precedent setting." As Mayor Joseph DiDonato said at last Wednesday night's council meeting "The adversary here [K. Hovnanian] is not going to roll over," confirming that the Red Bank-based company intends to fight Campbell, West Milford Township and anyone else opposed to this development in the courts in an effort to construct the widely unpopular housing plan. In other business: • Passaic County wants to purchase West Milford's South Shore Marina. This has been met with anger and confusion from some Greenwood Lake residents and sailing enthusiasts. Many who live by the lake and who use the marina to dock their boats fear the county may limit their access to the nine-mile-long waterway and effect their property values. The Marina's owner, Nancy Jessen, said she had contact with the county, but Passaic Freeholder Director Elease Evans released a statement this week in response to the clamor indicating the deal is a long way from certain. Evans said the County had been made aware of the possible purchase of the marina through its Open Space Committee and that it had so far only approved appraisals of the property. The county's objective, according to Evans, is to allow greater public access to Greenwood Lake. In her statement Evans said, "Depending on the results of these appraisals and in consultation with the open space committee and the Township of West Milford, the freeholder board will decide whether the purchase of this property is the best way to accomplish this public access goal." • The township is applying for a grant from Passaic County to help fund a plan to improve the Westbrook tennis and basketball courts. The total cost of the redevelopment will be $510,000 with the town agreeing to fund exactly half of that amount, providing the county approves the other half in the grant. Repairs to cracks on the five tennis courts, as well as surface repairs to the two basketball courts, are planned. Alongside these are plans for an increased parking lot, new bleachers and wheelchair access. • While rescue workers arrive from all over the world to assist the area devastated by Hurricane Katrina, emergency staff in West Milford await their call. Two police officers and two first-aid personnel have volunteered to provide assistance to the stricken region, as needed. Police Chief Paul Costello said of his two staff members who volunteered, Officer Greg Post, Jr., and Detective Joseph Walker, "They were tentatively due to leave this week on a 14-day deployment, but their names are not on the list I received today of those asked to report. It is not certain that they will be called to go to the hurricane-effected area. The situation is changing day by day." As the death toll rose on Wednesday to 659 in the four states hit by the hurricane and a clearer picture emerges of the precise needs of the region West Milford First Aid Squad volunteers, John Stack and Jack Cronin, are also awaiting the call to travel to the area to provide medical assistance.