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Topics - ericmartindale

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Hackensack Discussion / Coles Brook Flood Commission
« on: April 18, 2018, 08:05:30 AM »
I am proposing that Hackensack, Maywood, Paramus, and River Edge create a Coles Brook Flood Commission to identify ways to reduce flooding in the Coles Brook / Van Saun Creek drainage basin. The amount of flooding and damage that occurs to the Johnson Ave area of Hackensack demands this. 

1. Other areas are hit as well.  I live in the last house on Woodland Avenue in Maywood, along the brook, and Coles Brook rose into my yard and driveway, and I got 2" of water in my basement and garage. My wife and I scrambed to move boxes and anything that could be damaged.  I drove around and took pictures during the peak water level, and I identified that a narrowing of the stream channel at Elm Ave / Stelling Ave is the cause of the Coles Brook impounding onto Maywood homeowners property in my area. Part of the problem is a raised mound between the end of Elm Ave and the brook, which could be easily removed by the City of Hackensack with a backhoe, in a few hours, at extremely low cost. However, that's not the only problem. the new house on Elm Ave has a retaining wall along the brook, which is causing the water to be a few inches higher, and that few inches is into my basement. The homeowner on the Maywood side is equally guilty. He has encroached onto a Maywood-owned flood prevention lot and he built a retaining wall. There are areas along the brook that the stream channel can be made much wider, including along Borg's Woods, and that will also make the water level drop. I can identify areas where this can be done without damaging the ecology. NOBODY should be allowed to have retaining walls along the brook to narrow the stream channel.  Fortunately, Borg's Woods itself retains water during storms, and that means less water in Coles Brook during storm events.

2. The construction of Lowes in Paramus was allowed without any water impounding area to allow water to impound before it reaches the brook. Ironically, this was proposed on the original site plan, and somehow with the intervention of Maywood and Hackensack city attorney's to help preserve a "green" setback, the flood retention basin was removed. Rick Salkin was heavily involved, but unsure if he is responsible for the site plan change. What's needed there is an impounding area IN PARAMUS that will collect water from the paved parking lots and access roads, and hold it and allow it to drain slowly FOR 24 HOURS, into Coles Brook. So the water impounding area will be very deep or even overflowing during the height of the storm, and then empty 24 hours later, so no need to worry about mosquito issues. This is done by creating a dam on the impound (not on the brook), and the dam has a slit an inch or two wide from top to base, and the slit will spew water from the impound.  There's plenty of land there to do this. Yes, some trees will be lost.

3. Van Saun Creek is the major tributary of Coles Brook, and it could be 3 or 4 times the drainage area and volume of Coles Brook. You can see this at the intersection of the two stream along South Lake Drive, Hackensack, a few blocks west of Main Street. From a pure hydrological sense, Coles Brook upstream of the stream merger is the real tributary. The main channel is Van Saun Creek. This is abundantly obvious upon site inspection. There are areas along Van Saun Creek where water could also be impounded as I suggested for Lowe's.  Including inside Van Saun Park, and behind the stores along Route 4 west. Most of the solutions needed for the entire drainage basin are in Paramus and River Edge.

4. Excavate the whole area where the creeks merge and create a large basin. Where there are now stream banks and dirt, there could be a basin holding water when it rises. I am not suggesting building any kind of dam (there are some loose rocks there now that is sort of a dam), but simply to have a LOWER AREA where water will collect. Excavating it out means there will be air where there is now a lot of dirt and soil, and it can fill with water. Basically there would be a permanent pond there, and a very low area all along the pond that can fill with floodwaters.  And that mean less water on Johnson Ave, and in the Grand Manor Condominiums, and that whole area.

If there is any interest, I am more than willing to volunteer to represent Maywood, and to help scope out what is needed for the entire project. I know this hydrology stuff, this is perfect for me.

Hackensack Discussion / Summit & Hamilton Construction
« on: March 01, 2018, 12:02:15 PM »
There is new construction on Summit Ave near Hamilton Place.  Attempting to download a photo, it's not easy.

Hackensack Discussion / Summit-Prospect Nursing Home
« on: January 17, 2007, 10:38:13 AM »
It has come to my attention that developers intent on building a 10 +/-story NURSING HOME have purchased two houses on Summit Avenue and one adjacent house on Prospect Ave.

They recently purchased the property for approximately 3.25 million at a special auction. A "prominent" family in Hackensack owned the three houses for many years, more than likely a failed attempt to assemble lots for a high-rise.

The house on Prospect is on the west side of Prospect, and it is the first house going NORTH from Golf Place.  This is a gray-blue house, and I believe it is in between the "Grand Imperial" and the "Prospect North" buildings, both approximately 6-7 stories.  It's one of the last houses left on the strip.

Whether or not the intent to use all or part of the Summit Avenue properties REMAINS TO BE SEEN.  However, they didn't spent $3.25 million to sit on property and do nothing.

I don't see any problem with a nursing home on Prospect Ave, but any attempt to build anything larger than a single-family home on Summit Ave would be enormously controversial. It might even attract the attention of some of the people who were fighting Excelsior III.

My gut instinct tells me they will leave the two houses, but attempt to cut off 50 feet or more of the rear yards and add it to the Prospect Ave lot.  The properties on Summit Ave are 200 feet deep.

Such a plan would require a use variance to build a non-permitted use in the R75 zone, which allows single family houses on lots 75 feet wide, and 10,000 square feet in size or more.  In June 2005, the zone was changed from R-1, which allowed single-family houses on lots 75 feet wide and 7,500 square feet.  The increased lot size was deliberately to prevent subdivision of large homes.

Note also that the city still has an ordinance that allows citizens to appeal to the Mayor & Council use variances granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustment.  There was recently talk of repealing said ordinance, which was enacted in 1989 specifically to protect Summit Ave, but the ordinance affects the entire city.  However, I believe the ordinance remains in place.

I'll post more information on this topic as it becomes available.

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