officials say their plan to construct a 15-story water tower in Wyckoff is absolutely necessary in light of a township zoning board application by the Christian Health Care Center that would add to the CHCC campus.
The utility is about 75 percent complete with design specifications to construct a $4 million, 180-foot tower on its property between and Merrywood Drive, Ridgewood Water Director Frank Moritz told Patch Monday.
The plan is virtually unchanged from the proposal set before the Wyckoff Zoning Board of Adjustment in 2006, one that was denied.
Ridgewood Water officials say the coverage area — called the "Booster Zone" — includes the section of Wyckoff that borders North Haledon, Hawthorne and a small portion of Franklin Lakes. That area, which has no wells, is currently served by two pumping stations that are prone to occasional power failures and often struggles keeping up with demand.
"There's no way for us to increase service in Wyckoff by extending the main," Moritz said, adding the tower would serve the dual function of providing fire protection for the residents.
"We have to build it. We jumped through hoops for years avoiding building that tank. There just isn't another way," he added.
Moritz said the utility has "exhausted" alternate options, because "they wouldn't meet DEP mandates."
Wyckoff officials did not comment for this story, citing ongoing litigation issues with Ridgewood. The township , claiming Ridgewood from the neighboring towns through its water utility.
Attorney Joseph Fiorenzo, the Hackensack-based lawyer handling the class action suit, did not return a request for comment Tuesday. Fiorenzo is also a former Wyckoff mayor and committeeman.
Grassroots group "Save Our Skyline," a coalition of neighbors in the Merrywood neighborhood, previously suggested an overhauling of the pumping stations with emergency generators and more modern technological data systems would be cheaper and just as effective.
Merrywood Drive resident Eileen Gatens expressed disappointment the tower issue is reemerging six years later.
"We were worried about that," she told Patch upon hearing the news. "When [Ridgewood Water] were putting it in they said [the proposed water tower] had nothing to do with our water."
Gatens said she would vocally oppose the the water tower — like she did in 2006 — if the plans make it back to one of the township's land use boards.
According to Gatens, the last time she saw the plans Ridgewood Water wanted to install the massive tower in close to her home, adjacent her next door neighbor's yard.
"The property values of our houses here go down with one of those in our backyard," she said.
The height of the tower is paramount to the project's success, water officials said. Gravity forces down the water, increasing overall system reliability. The pumping stations would still be needed, according to officials.
The water tank would hold somewhere between 750,000 and 1 million gallons of water, and multiple sources said it would be absolutely necessary should a controversial application to expand the Christian Health Care Center go through.
Christian Health Care Center to construct 258 units on 20 acres in Wyckoff and Hawthorne. It's faced considerable opposition from neighboring property owners who believe wildlife and open space would be compromised, in addition to .
The previous water tower application was dismissed in early 2006 on the grounds that notification to nearby property owners was not done properly and that slopes on the property were not addressed by the application. Moritz said they'll be dotting their I's and crossing their T's this time around.
Once design specs are completed and costs have been tabulated, the utility will have to submit an application to either the Wyckoff Planning Board, or, more likely, the town's zoning board. They might be as soon as six months out from such a meeting, Moritz told Patch Monday.
Wyckoff residents aren't the only ratepayers to protest a tower in recent years.
Homeowners in Ridgewood's west side also spoke out against the construction of a water tower near Crest Road in 2008 and Midland Park residents have complained of the aesthetics of another tower on Glen Avenue.
Ridgewood Water serves more than 50,000 residents in Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Wyckoff, and Midland Park.