Letter: Purchase Property for Open Space
Letter writer is a resident of Personette Street in Caldwell who favors township purchasing Knights of Columbus hall.
Imagine when the residents of Personette Street, Kirkwood Place and Orchard Square attended the standing room only Planning Board Meeting on April 11th. Now imagine only four residents from two of the mentioned streets attending the Council Meeting on July 17th.
When the concerned residents thought that a church was going to buy the Knights of Columbus building, our neighborhood came together in their entirety. After the church withdrew their application we were all pleased, but interest in the future of the building, noise and parking problems seem to wane.
I must remind my fellow residents, that “this is not a done deal as yet!” For those who are not aware, several individuals want to build on the Knights site. One wants to build several two family houses, and the another individual has intentions of building a four family apartment house.
Some interested neighbors started a petition to change the ordinance so that we will not encounter another similar situation with the Knights property again. Many signatures were obtained within our three surrounding streets. Also, signatures were still being gained on the petition as the Council Meeting was in process. Some neighbors were out of town and could not be contacted, however; other borough residents have expressed a concern with our situation because with the present ordinance, they too could experience the same consequences which we have encountered.
If you think this problem will not affect you because you live in another area of Caldwell, think again because unless the present ordinance is changed you may share our headache. As you will note, this problem is not moot.
I have previously asked the Mayor and Council, “Why couldn’t the town purchase the Knights building?” Thank goodness for Councilman O’Donnell who brought this same issue up at [recent] meeting for Open Space.
Only problem he had was being usurped by the Mayor. While I have the utmost respect for Mayor Dassing, I nor the council and residents would agree with her proposal to purchase the building, renovate same and then rent it back to the Knights of Columbus or rent it out for luncheons.
I think she forgot the problems with noise and parking that the residents already went through. I am sure that she would not like to come home and find strangers sitting on her steps or someone parked in or across her driveway as some residents encountered.
As this building has been For Sale for the past two years, we have shared a relatively comfortable neighborhood! Councilman Hauser stated the “the town was not in the rental business.” The Mayor also spoke on soil remediation because an oil tank was removed from the Knights property. I question why remediation was not done at the time of removal because when I had an oil tank removed from my property, the remediation was done at that time. “Was favoritism shown?”
The Mayor also mentioned opening up the small borough lot on Personette Street to the municipal lot in back. Bad idea…the lot faces east of Kirkwood Place and there is already a heavy flow of traffic coming south on Personette Srteet (part of the street is one way from Bloomfield Avenue) and north on the two-way part of the street vying for to turn into Kirkwood Place. Mayor Dassing did not take into consideration how opening the lot would affect the residents situated on either side of same or across the street from the lot.
My recommendation and I am sure that my neighbors will agree is to have the borough purchase the property, demolish the building at 27 Personette Street and set aside the area for Open Space.
Although Councilman Kelley is against the purchase, I cannot adhere to the thought that he thinks Councilman O’Donnell “caved into the residents.” How unconscionable to show such a lack of integrity! Remember, we residents are not the ones who make or write the ordinances, however; we do vote for council members.
Hilda Moore, Caldwell