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Change in Plans Expected in 18 Homes Proposal

Wemple development hearing will continue at Tuesday's planning board meeting.

After several postponements, the planning board is scheduled Tuesday to hear continued testimony on the application for 18 homes on the former Wemple property at Twin Oaks and Foothill roads—and the plans are expected to be slightly different.

At the , Michael Cresitello, the attorney for the applicant, said they are in the process of finalizing revised plans. Those plans should be heard at Tuesday’s meeting.

The application is for the building of 18 single-family homes on 36 acres of woodlands on Twin Oaks and Foothill roads, 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.

, an organization made up of more than 60 residents who oppose the application, are expected to introduce their own environmental expert as well at a future meeting.

Laura Hierspiel, one of the steering committee members for Stop 18 Homes, said she is also expecting that the environmental expert for the applicant will be presenting his testimony at Tuesday’s meeting.

“According to our lawyer, Lang’s environmental engineer is conducting some soil percolation tests, which are required for the plan’s approval,” she said.

The last hearing for the application was held July 10, and the applicant said they would be bringing an environmental expert in to discuss the environmental impacts of building 18 homes on the property.

No hearings have been held since, and the environmental expert has not yet been heard.

Stop 18 Homes has since hired its own environmental expert—John Thonet, president of Thonet Associates Inc.—and have also brought in an ecologist to move forward with the hearing.

Hierspiel said the residents are working to make sure the homes are not built.

“We are not giving up the battle to save this lovely pristine piece of mountainside property,” she said. “Stop 18 Homes will leave no stone unturned which helps us prevent the raping of this virgin land.”

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the municipal complex on Commons Way.

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