The biggest concerns about the proposed development on the Wemple property continue to be that of flooding in the area—and an environmental report is expected to shed some light on that and other issues with development.
Representatives for property owner Steve Lang will be returning to the planning board Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the municipal courtroom with an environmental expert who will discuss the impacts of development on the land.
The application had been expected to be continued at the July 23 meeting, but the meeting was cancelled because of a power outage at the municipal complex.
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 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, although he may not testify until a later meeting.
Laura Hierspiel, a member of the Stop 18 Homes steering committee, said they have hired John Thonet, president of Thonet Associates Inc., as their environmental expert and ecologist.
"He appears to be well qualified to provide an expert's opinion," she said.
Previous hearings on the application have focused on questioning the applicant's engineer, who has answered questions on the possibility of flooding on surrounding properties, as well as affects on the natural spring on the property.
Stop 18 Homes attorney Jeffrey Brookner has questioned how flash flooding could affect homes down the mountain on Twin Oaks Road and other surrounding areas with the addition of more development.
Residents have said they believe the addition of 18 new homes would be detrimental to their properties in terms of drainage and other issues.
Hierspiel said Stop 18 Homes is also looking into the history of the property, and although they do not know if it will be significant to the case, it is interesting to understand.
"It seems George Washington and his troops were using Steele Gap and Foothill roads to travel up and down the mountain," she said. "There used to be a sign posted at the top of Steele Gap Road, which said that this was used by George Washington as a lookout spot to survey the valley below."
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the courtroom on Commons Way.