Expert Opposing 18 Homes to be Cross-Examined
Planning board meeting regarding Wemple property application will continue Monday.
The application for 18 homes on the former Wemple property at Foothill Road is expected to continue at Monday's planning board meeting, with the cross-examination of the opponents' environmental expert.
Testimony had continued Oct. 8 when Blaine Rothauser, one of the environmental experts hired by the opposition to the application, said the study originally done by the applicant is insufficient to justify the development on the land, particularly because of the many endangered and threatened species living on the land.
The application is for the building of 18 single-family homes on the woodlands formerly owned by the late John Wemple, and currently owned by Steven Lang.
Wemple, who willed the property to his nieces and nephews after his death in 2002, had maintained to his neighbors that he never wanted to see the land developed, and made that a part of his will, which was overturned by the Superior Court of New Jersey in 2005.
Rothauser spoke at the Oct. 8 meeting about endangered owls and turtles on the land, among many more animals and wildlife that would be disrupted by having this kind of development on the site.
In addition, Rothauser said that the survey done on the property by the applicant was finished too quickly, and did not focus enough on examining the different kinds of species there, instead looking too much at the wetlands.
Stop 18 Homes, a group of residents opposing the application, hired Rothauser to put together his study of the environmental components of the land, and are hoping to prevent the approval of the application.
“There is a lot more potential to this property than might meet the eye just by driving around it,” said Laura Hierspiel, a steering committee member of Stop 18 Homes, after the previous meeting.
The board has not yet had a chance to question Rothauser, and the applicant has not had a chance for cross-examination yet.
The applicant has rested his case at this point, and deliberations among the board are expected soon.
The meeting will continue Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. at the municipal complex.