NOVEMBER 18, 2015 LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2015, 10:55 AM
BY MARK KRULISH
STAFF WRITER |
THE RIDGEWOOD NEWS
(This article is the first of an ongoing series examining the Schedler property and the issues surrounding it.)
If you were to take a drive up West Saddle River Road, you would see a typical quiet suburban neighborhood with homes and manicured lawns spread out on small winding streets.
However, you would also see green signs asking people to help save their neighborhood as plans loom on the distant horizon for possible development of the area near the Zabriskie-Schedler house.
The house sits on 7 acres of woodlands between West Saddle River Road and the northbound side of Route 17. Last Sunday afternoon, it was also the site of a rally attended by dozens of neighborhood residents who fear their quiet environment, property values, health and quality of life would be harmed by development.
“Our concern is our houses, our quality of life and the impact on us,” said Paul D’Arpa, a Racetrack Road resident who organized the event. “We don’t want to stop the kids from being kids and playing. But is this the right environment for everyone?”
On a recent cloudy, drizzly Tuesday afternoon, D’Arpa stood on the sidewalk on West Saddle Road. He made his way further into the woods, moving towards Route 17. A soft-spoken man, the sound of trucks, buses and cars roaring by drowned out his voice.
“How is an umpire supposed to make calls here?” he asked, referring to a proposal to build a 90-foot baseball diamond after clearing some of the trees away. D’Arpa was standing at the approximate spot for home plate.
At the moment, the concept for the baseball field is just that – a proposal presented in October during a Village Council meeting, although the issue dates back several years. The council has not taken any action in regards to the field except for a resolution endorsing a report by the Open Space Committee that recommended a 90-foot baseball diamond with multi-purpose overlay field be constructed on the Schedler property.
But building a field and possibly clearing several acres of trees could result in unacceptable noise coming from the highway along with added pollution of the heavy traffic that passes through the area. The proposal detailed in October has a six-and-a-half foot high, 17-foot wide berm with deciduous trees along the highway and another line of trees along West Saddle River Road.
However, local residents who have come forward since the latest proposal was unveiled have said this may not be enough to satisfactorily reduce the potential negative side-effects of building a park and field.