December 7, 2004
Plans are being developed to build a house on the traffic island on Cooper Road! We are creating a
neighborhood effort to block the required approval from the zoning board – the lot size does not meet
township zoning requirements. WE NEED YOUR HELP, by spreading the word, showing up at meetings
so that we can demonstrate our strength in numbers, and by contributing funds to hire the necessary
attorneys and expert witnesses to represent our position and interests.
Cooper Road Island, with its flat mowed lawn on one half and its wooded hill on the other, is an asset of
the entire neighborhood. Its beauty is important, not only to those who live near it but to those who
drive by it, also. We view the island as a nature preserve, with its own plant life and animal life, and a
stream that flows through the neighborhood. To build a house on the island would take away a shared
nature preserve and mar the beauty for which Cooper Road is known and for which many of us
originally purchased our homes.
One of the primary reasons for having zoning requirements is to help preserve a neighborhood's
"character." It is often difficult to quantify "character," but one attribute that has been used effectively is
the size of the property. This is one important measure that can be applied to establish that the
proposed construction on the island would negatively impact the character of the neighborhood. It is
important to note that the area that is actually suitable for building is significantly smaller than the
already sub-standard lot size. This implies that in order to construct a home, the builder would either
have to “level off” the peak, or build a huge retaining wall along the back and sides of the property. In
either case, a large number of very old established trees would need to be removed.
In addition to issues with appearance, there are major environmental concerns. Removing trees and
building a house along with its associated driveway will have a great effect on the flow and absorption
of rain water and slow melt. Some of our neighbors’ homes are located at the base of this property and
will be directly affected by any change in the terrain and/or grading, causing additional rain water and
snow melt to flow directly into their yards, or indirectly overloading the stream, potentially causing
homes to become flooded.
Most important of all is the safety risk to residents, visitors and our children. We already have a
complicated traffic flow in this area. The proposed house would be surrounded on three sides by high-
usage roadway. We cannot envision any arrangement that would allow cars to safely enter the
roadway from the property. This roadway curves and slopes sharply, limiting the ability to see
approaching automobiles. Wet or foggy weather only exacerbates this problem, often causing cars to
skid out of control. Drivers mistake road signs and come down Cooper in the wrong direction; and year
round wildlife tends to jump across the road at a moment’s notice. To place a home at the proposed
location would be extremely dangerous.
On November 17th, with very little prior notice, over 30 of your neighbors gathered at the meeting of
the Board of Adjustment to provide a unified stand against this variance and to request a
postponement of a decision on the variance so that we, concerned citizens from the South Side of
Scotch Plains, could organize our effort and represent our case to the Board. In the interest of
fairness, the Board has granted a postponement until THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 2005 (7:30PM)
We strongly need your support to so that we can demonstrate a strong and unified voice in our request
to the planning board to DENY THE REQUEST FOR A VARIANCE TO BUILD A HOUSE ON COOPER
Please familiarize yourself with the issues by visiting www.savetheisland.org and join us in this important
effort by participating in any or all of the following actions:
1. IMMEDIATE PRIORITY!!! Attend a rally on Saturday, December 18th at 11:00 am on the grass
lawn of the traffic island. Please come early and park on Hacklorn Lane, Heather Lane, Wellington
Downs or other side streets.
2. HIGHEST PRIORITY!!! Attend the Board of Adjustment meeting on Thursday, January 6th at 7:
30 pm at the Municipal Building to provide visible support to neighborhood opposition to the variance.
3. Encourage healthy dialogue and discussion of the issues. Ask others to join our efforts.
4. We need your contributions to fund legal representation at the Board of Adjustment Meeting.
Contributions should be sent to Jeney & Jeney Trust Account, 1953 Westfield Avenue, Scotch Plains,
NJ 07076. Please consider a contribution of $100 or more, as this is an important issue and requires
hiring planning and traffic experts as part of our retained legal representation.
5. For further information contact Don Cardiff at 908 561-8862 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Bob Jeney,
Esq. at 908 754-2447 or email@example.com
Your neighbors for SAVE THE ISLAND
Scotch Plains, NJ 07076
Save The Cooper Road Island
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