Flooding Worries Neighbors of Proposed Westwood Subdivision

A property owner wants to subdivide a Fourth Avenue lot and build another home at the site, but some neighbors are concerned about a stream that flows past the property.

Neighbors of a Fourth Avenue property are worried that a proposed subdivision could cause a stream to flood their homes.

The Westwood Zoning Board began hearing an application this week to subdivide 484-486 Fourth Avenue and build a second home on the newly-created lot. The plan calls for an existing 14,240-square-foot lot which currently contains a two-family home to be split into a 7,505-square-foot lot and a 6,735-square-foot lot. The existing home, located on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Boulevard, would remain and the property owner would build a new one-family home facing Boulevard.

Neighbors said they were concerned about a stream which passes through the property via a 24-inch pipe. The borough has a 10-foot wide easement for the waterway and a catch basin.

The area has flooded several times from the stream during storms, according to George Mulhauser, whose woodworking business is located on the other side of the stream from the proposed subdivision. Mulhauser, who was one of several neighbors to question the plan, told Patch that more severe storms have caused his whole shop to flood.

"It's nothing like what they have on Harding, but the neighborhood can take on some water in the rain," Mulhauser said.

Mulhauser questioned why someone would want to build a house in a flood-prone area, noting that the borough is in the process of buying some properties that have flooded excessively.

Richard Eichenlaub, an engineer for the project, said he had never personally seen any flooding at the site and was not aware of it. He had also planned to include an underground seepage system to help control water runoff, he said.

"I don't see that there's a negative impact," Eichenlaub said.

It may be difficult for an underground system to be used. According to Mulhauser, the water table is just a few feet below the surface there.

The board plans to continue hearing the application at a meeting in February. The exact date will be announced at their January 7 meeting in the Municipal Complex at 8 p.m.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Christine December 07, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I have first hand knowledge that this particular property floods with every rain, not just moderate to severe storms. The amount of flooding is relative to the amount of rain. With Hurrican Irene last year, there was a significant amount of flooding. To build another structure would be a mistake.


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