Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Residents Grill Developer on Site

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Residents Grill Developer on Site

Article excerpt

UPPER SADDLE RIVER -- Residents largely told Mack-Cali representatives on Tuesday night that the proposed development of the Pearson Education site would ruin their town.

A handful in the crowd of more than 100 at the meeting organized by Mack-Cali at the Hilton Woodcliff Lake said, however, that they were open to the idea of building 240 luxury rental apartments, retail, office space and recreation fields on the 47-acre Lake Street site.

And just as many said they hadn't made up their minds.

But the opponents were the most vocal. They said that the redevelopment idea was already dragging down property values, that the three- or four-story housing would disturb neighbors' privacy and that the complex would burden borough services.

Mack-Cali has asked the Borough Council to rezone the site from industrial to mixed use. Carl Goldberg, co-president of Roseland Management Services, a subsidiary of Mack-Cali, gave a 20-minute presentation, then asked for questions.

Several people brought up the recreations fields, asking if the developer would maintain them, if use would be restricted to borough residents and what types of fields would be built.

Goldberg said that the developer would not maintain the fields and that the rest of the details would be left to borough officials.

Others asked why there weren't other uses for the existing 495,000-square-foot building on the site, including dividing it into smaller office space.

As it exists now, rear neighbors have a parking lot as a buffer. The proposal would put residential units there.

Eric Halpern, whose property backs up to the site, said he fears looking out his window and seeing an apartment dweller staring back.

"I'm gonna fight that tooth and nail," he said of the structure's height.

Residents grew frustrated when Goldberg directed them to the website for information or compared the project to one done in Verona, which one resident said has about half the median income of Upper Saddle River. …

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