January 2016—News Update on Maple Lake

We received our first notification on Maple Lake. An extension was granted until March 31, 2016 by the Superior Court of NJ. The issue to be decided is whether and how much of any Maple Lake development will be affordable housing.

As you may have read in the newspaper, after a long period of inactivity, New Jersey municipalities are again required to file their plans regarding how they will fulfill the state-mandated obligations to create affordable housing. Wyckoff has only two large pieces of undeveloped land left - - Abma’s farm and the 27-acre Maple Lake site (off Cedar Hill Avenue).

In the last version of Wyckoff’s affordable housing plan, the Maple Lake site was not zoned for affordable housing. Much of the property is wetlands or steep slopes, which limits the number of housing units which could be built there.

Wyckoff attempted to purchase Maple Lake to create a park, but the owners, Canterbury Development Corporation, wanted 4 to 5 times the assessed value, so negotiations ended. (Incidentally, Canterbury fought for a lower assessed value in its successful tax appeal.)

The owners of Maple Lake may decide to sue Wyckoff to have the Maple Lake site zoned affordable housing so that more units may be built there. Watch for this to become a key issue for the town.

Our Open Space Fund

The Open Space Trust Fund is a key reason Wyckoff attracted a $1.9 million Bergen County Open Space grant for the acquisition of Russell Farms, and the Township has applied for additional grants from Bergen County and the state Green Acres office.

The Open Space Trust Fund, financed by a small, separate tax, creates a fund that Wyckoff may use to purchase undeveloped land, preserve farmland, significantly upgrade our recreation facilities, and preserve Zabriskie House and Larkin House, two town-owned historic properties. Read more

Tree Ordinance

Some of New Jersey’s big trees also have historic value, and have been around for hundreds of years, witnessing many state and local historical events. These older trees scattered around the state are an important part of New Jersey’s natural heritage and occupy all of the unique geographic regions found in the state. We as humans can use these big trees to tell stories of the past or preserve the memories we are making today for our children.

The benefits of preserving these trees are countless. With hopes that someday there may be some form of protection or a conservation program for them, we need to take the necessary steps to preserve them today. Read more

Historical Preservation Ordinance

Local historic preservation ordinances are very successful as tools for maintaining property values because they directly contribute to an improved image of the community, and therefore increase property values. Preservation ordinances are used to safeguard the heritage and character of established neighborhoods by allowing for the voluntary preservation of those properties that reflect elements of the neighborhood’s history and architecture. They can also serve as guidelines to encourage any future construction in those neighborhoods that is harmonious with existing architecture and surroundings. Read more