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West Essex Highlands Protests Continue in West Orange

David Drill, left, is thanked by Councilman Jerry Guarino, who spoke on behalf of the council in thanking the Drill Family for all that they do for the township. Credits: Alan Grossman

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Once again, several residents of the West Essex Highlands spoke to the West Orange Township Council on Tuesday about their concerns if the proposed 700 new housing units are built on the site.

Rosalie Saferstein, a resident of the West Essex Highlands, said that with only one entrance in and one out, there is already a problem should fire engines or ambulances need to get into the complex quickly.

“If this extra building proceeds, it will be a disaster if emergency vehicles have to get in fast,” he said. “The township should take this into account. Please be aware of our health and safety.”

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Agreeing with Saferstein on this issue, Highland resident Wendy Schuman said there must be two public access points to the West Essex Highlands if this project proceeds.

Another resident of the complex, Alan Yohlalem, said that money should be set aside in case there is any damage done to one of the homes in the Highlands when construction takes place.

“I would recommend putting dollars aside in an escrow account to protect the homeowners in the complex,” he said.

Council President Joe Krakoviak said all the issues that have been brought up regarding the building of additional housing at the West Essex Highlands have been considered as part of the ongoing mediation to reach a settlement on this issue with two other parties involved in the litigation. He said the township is bound not to speak about the details of this issue due to the confidentiality agreement it has with the courts.

“Garden Homes says it wants to contribute to the affordable housing obligation of West Orange,” he said. “It’s all before the court. This goes beyond the usual planning board deliberations. Are hands are tied.”

To read more about this meeting, click HERE

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