Jai Agnish North Jersey Record
Published 7:00 AM EDT Sep 26, 2018
RIVERDALE — Off Mathews Avenue, in an area of the borough known for crumbling rock walls and rock slides, a developer wants to build three new homes. Nearby residents say not if they can help it.
A previous version of the proposal, known as Dube Development or Hidden Hills, was denied in 2007. It’s a three-lot subdivision on 12.5 acres off Overlook Drive and Skyview Terrace near the Butler border.
Planning Board hearings began in June with a third hearing scheduled for Thursday at borough hall at 7:30 p.m. A large turn-out is expected where several professionals representing Hidden Hills expect to be questioned by members of the public.
The application is being closely scrutinized by neighbors and lawyers from the nearby Enclave at Riverdale Homeowners Association and Rock Creek Crossing Condominium Association.
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Residents raised several concerns over falling rocks, the applicant’s planned alternatives to blasting, and water runoff.
Homeowners in the 31-home Enclave development off Overlook Drive and Skyview Terrace have dealt with falling rocks since 2005 when the neighborhood opened. In 2011 a massive rock slide closed down Overlook Drive for three days, sealing off the main road to the neighborhood. A temporary road had to be constructed off High Street in Butler.
At the first Hidden Hills hearing in June, a reference was also made to falling rocks on Timber Ridge Road which leads out of Rock Creek.
Association lawyers, homeowners, and Planning Board members posed several questions about on-site excavation and hammering, area rock slides, and how residents living below steep slopes would be protected. They were told to expect answers for such questions from the geological engineer at a future hearing.
It’s unclear who is responsible for fixing any deteriorating rock walls in the area, and the borough attorney was expected to weigh in on the issue. After the 2011 rock slide, an out-of-court settlement was reached between the developers, contractor, and the borough to share the cost of repairing the wall there.
The Hidden Hills developer plans to construct the entrances to the new homes off the cul-de-sac at the end of Skyview Terrace. They will likely be four-bedroom homes at around 1,750 to 2,000 square feet in size. However, the exact dimensions of the homes will be determined by the progress of — non-blasting — excavation. The homes may need to be modified to fit around rock, or basements may need to be partially eliminated.
Follow Jai Agnish on Twitter: @JaiAgnish. Email: [email protected]
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