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Neighbors Oppose Herold’s Farm Rezoning Process

Proposal to rezone the property as entirely commercial expected to be shelved by council and sent to the zoning board of adjustment for consideration.

The Glen Rock Council is expected Wednesday night to again revise the borough’s approach to a potential expanded commercial zone on the Herold’s Farm property.

An ordinance had been before the council, on the planning board’s recommendation, to revise the zone to allow commercial use on the entirety of the property, part of which now lies in a residential zone.

Neighbors, who say they were unaware at the time that the planning board was considering the move, have come before the council in opposition to a rezoning of the property, last month requesting that the ordinance be revisited by the board. 

After another presentation Monday, Glen Rock Mayor John van Keuren told Patch the council is expected to shelve the zoning ordinance Wednesday night, and put the process instead in the hands of the zoning board of adjustment.

“I believe that the council is going to dismiss that ordinance and not have it come to a second reading,” he said.

“I also believe that the council will in effect tell the planning board that the council does not believe that’s the right place, and that it should go to the zoning board.”

Rinaldo D’Argenio, an attorney who lives on Keith Place, near the Prospect Street farm, argued before the council at its Monday night work session that adding new commercial space, absent a broader discussion of the borough’s master plan, would set a bad precedent of “spot zoning.” 

“If you do it in a piecemeal way you open up the prospect of creating bad precedent,” D’Argenio said in an interview Tuesday. “So what you do in this part of town could come back to haunt you on Maple Avenue or Glen Avenue or Rock Road.”

A petition objecting to the proposed zone change, circulated among residents of nearby streets in both Glen Rock and Fair Lawn, had accumulated 73 signatures when it was presented to the council last month, according to Herold Drive resident Paula Royak.

“The field right now on Herold’s Farm that they want to rezone as commercial has been there since the beginning of time,” she said.

“We want the residential to stay residential, we want the commercial to stay commercial.”

Royak said neighbors had quality of life concerns with expanded commercial development in the area .

Arc Development had made a presentation the planning board on its reasons for a rezoning, van Keuren said, but no plans have been formally presented to the borough. A Walgreens is believed to be part of the developer’s plan, based on documents D’Argenio said he obtained from neighboring Fair Lawn.

Before the zoning board, the developer could seek a variance allowing commercial use on the residential part of the property. D’Argenio believed that would be the proper procedure, and allow residents to testify on the perceived impact to their neighborhood.

“When you’re introducing a commercial use into a residential area, that’s dramatic,” he said. “In my personal opinion in local government…the two most important functions are to prepare a budget and to exercise control over zoning. The easiest way to destroy a community is through bad zoning.” 

ann m December 11, 2013 at 07:41 AM
I agree completely,introducing commercial zoning in a residential area is never a good thing. I live on Long Island and they did that here. It's ruined what once was a lovely area... They did not share the plan with the community until it was complete..
paula royak December 11, 2013 at 11:52 AM
ALL residents of Glen Rock and Fair Lawn should make an effort to be in attendance tonight, Wed., Dec. 11th at the Mayor and Council meeting 7:30pm at GR Borough Hall on Harding Plaza, off of Rock Rd. We need our towns to know we will NOT let such an important issue, impacting so many, be decided upon without proper notice and all available information made PUBLIC. This one almost slipped by us;"We won't get fooled again"! We will now have representation at EVERY planning, zoning, council meeting and work session until this is resolved.
Phil Brooks December 11, 2013 at 01:13 PM
Granted that some of the Herold's/Amos property is residential. But the majority has been commercial for years. // So, what seems to be the problem--that the commercial of a farm/nursery/small food store is OK but not of a CVS or Walgreens? In other words, so commercial is OK, but not THAT kind of commercial? // For all you NIMBY people, pool your resources and buy the property. You folks in back of Herold's have money. Hey, it's not exactly a poor neighborhood, is it? I live in this town and many of us are doing pretty well, thank goodness. Make an investment, then convert the property to residential, build houses on it and make a chunk on your investment. And you know how the town council salivates over ratables. If you can get 50 families to buy in, the investment per family won't be all that large. Go for it!
Jeff Litke December 11, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Phil, You are misinformed....1) Half of the property is zoned residential, however they have encroached on some of the residential for commercial use for years. Keith Place has always been zoned residential and will stay that way if i can help it. 2) No one in the area is opposed to any business as long as it is built on the commercially zoned area.... I, personally dont believe a 24 hour business is a good precedent to start in our town. 3) A major problem is that the town tried to sneak this rezoning in without the decency to take anyone in the area into account or approve this without notifying anyone living near this proposed project. 4) This project would benefit one party only, and that would be the Amos' who owe this town $86,000 in taxes on this land, and has for many years floating tax arrears, while ruining the quality of life on may homeowners who pay their taxes on time. The Amos' have no hardship.... They can sell their property in a heartbeat zoned exactly the way it is for a lot of money.....just not as much as this plan, while it would harm their neighbors (what a great neighbor). I dont know what street you live on Phil, but if your neighbor across the street should somehow rezone his property on your residentially zoned block, I believe the tone of your message above would be different.
paula royak December 11, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Perhaps Mr. Brooks should read the article now available online at Northjersey.com as of this afternoon to see the entire situation from a reporter's standpoint. Guess we made an impression on our town's leaders 2 nights ago. And the reporter is unbiased as he is just reporting the facts.
Phil Brooks December 11, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Paula, Nice article! // You'll forgive me, but it seems that both ARC and the town were operating in an underhanded manner as ARC tried to slip through a variance when they really needed re-zoning. // When you really get down to it, however, the sleaziness of this doesn't really matter as, if a variance was sought, everyone within 200 feet would had to have been notified, at which point the shouting would have begun. // Quite honestly, I'm not sure what the notification procedure is for re-zoning. If it's something less than for a variance, maybe it's good for those living near Herold's that ARC went with the variance route because, if the town tried to slide this through as quietly as possible, they would have opened themselves for a massive lawsuit. // Even though all of the above, I can't get past the fact that ARC is sleaze. They have lawyers who are supposed to know all this stuff and, if they knew they needed re-zoning but went the variance route (which is something you do when you want to put a couple hundred extra square feet on your home), then they had ulterior motives and, therefore, shouldn't be trusted. // Here's a question you might not be able to answer: How was Herold's allowed to use at least some of their residentially zoned property as commercial all these years? // And, I'll reiterate. Pool your money together and buy the property. I'll even go in for a reasonable share.
Phil Brooks December 11, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Jeff, I live within walking distance. // I take it that there's little love lost between some of the neighbors an the Amos family. // I'm guessing they're backing ARC, if only because they can get more money for their property if more of it is zoned commercial. // Rather than writing the same thing over again, please read what I wrote to Paula. // Not sure how much Amos is asking, but maybe you folks (and I'll go in for a reasonable share as well) should pool your money and buy the property. // Finally, be honest. You'd rather have a relatively quiet nursery type business there than something where a lot more people go in and out, wouldn't you, even it was forced to close at 10 PM? You don't really want to live that close to a Walgreens, do you? That's why I brought up the NIMBY thing.
Jeff Litke December 11, 2013 at 07:06 PM
Phil , all that we're opposed to is the zone change, nothing more, nothing less
Mike Espie December 11, 2013 at 07:13 PM
I worked at Herold's farm back in the early 80's when Mr. Herold was still alive. The original old farm building and other garden center/small greenhouse. It was a great place until it commercialized into what it has become today and the razing of the original buildings. Mr Herold's daughter Edna and her husband Waltet Amos handed the reign to their children Bob, Scott and Peggy years ago. It is apparent with all hand down 'farmland' space the children want the money over the life style that created the place in the first place. Who would blame them? Bob still lives behind the property and unless he moves he will be affected too but with $$$ he has the option of packing up and leaving easier than most. It's a shame to see what $$$ does and to see such a staple of a small town close for yet another Walgreens. Sad to see it go.
Phil Brooks December 11, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Jeff, So, you wouldn't mind living behind a Walgreens?
redhead December 13, 2013 at 11:07 AM
And let's face it the people who run Harold's Farm are jerks
Phil Brooks December 13, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Redhead, FWIW, it's Herold's Farm. // Also, FWIW, that they're jerks or not has no bearing on this. // So, what's your point? And please don't say "just sayin,'" as that's the layman's way of when a lawyer badgers a witness, the witness' lawyer hollers "objection," and the first lawyer withdraws his comment.
RidgewoodGuy December 13, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Phil, FWIW using "//" is rather archaic and given what we know now, I'm surprised anyone would buy into the dog and pony show that is embarrassing misuses of punctuation.
Phil Brooks December 13, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Ridgewood Guy, You'll forgive me, but using "//" is my way of paragraphing. And, as you'll notice, a double slash isn't punctuation anywhere that I know of. Commas? Periods? Semi-colons? All punctuation. Back-slashes aren't. // (New paragraph) You'll notice that the so-called "new and improved" Patch took away the ability to properly paragraph. Nonetheless, if you have a better suggestion, please be so kind as to present it rather than belittling someone for the "embarrassing misuses of punctuation" who is trying, within the confines of what Patch currently offers, to do so.
Phil Brooks December 13, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Ridgewood Guy, Come to think of it, in addition, among all the people around here that couldn't spell or construct a sentence and/or a cogent thought if their lives depended upon it, you're picking on one of the few people who can. // So, why don't you pick on someone who you can beat up instead of someone who's actually getting it right? // Then again, it must be a slow night in the basement for you--left hand alternately on the keyboard and Cheez Doodles and right hand on the other thing.
DD December 13, 2013 at 11:44 PM
While Phil is schooling the folks here, perhaps he'll tell us what "begging the question" means. // His ad hominem attacks, which for some reason often include "Cheez Doodles" and "basements" are getting a bit old. // Hopefully Phil Brooks will go back to straight-up naming-calling! That seemed to work for him. Everyone respects people who name-call! // Although his delusions of grandeur are endlessly amusing, as I munch on Cheez Doodles in my parents' basement.
DD December 13, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Can't wait to meet some of these folks at a town meeting. Although, curiously, there's no tax record of some of them.
DD December 14, 2013 at 12:03 AM
FWIW, it's "witness's." Not "witness'" Wrong, again!
Ridgewood Mom December 15, 2013 at 08:29 AM
I enjoy shopping at Herald's Farm. Nice place. But I won't come to town to shop at Walgreens. Yuck! Good luck Glen Rock!
Mike December 16, 2013 at 06:19 PM
Of course you wouldn't - you have rite-aide right down town.
Ridgewood Mom December 16, 2013 at 07:04 PM
But we don't have a Herold's farm. :) And don't you guys have a CVS?
Yelena Sinitsyn December 18, 2013 at 06:25 PM
CVS on Fair Lawn Avenue is less than 5 minutes drive and is 24/7. How many drugstores do we need?
DD December 18, 2013 at 06:32 PM
It's not a matter of "need," it's about what the market will support. I'm sure when the second drug store opened in Glen Rock people said "we already have a drug store. why do we need another?" Now there are 3, with several others within minutes.

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