Fix The Rosewood Ditch

Flanders Residents Fighting State-Imposed Flooding, Mosquitos, Rats and Other Problems

Next Meeting: Jan. 13

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The next meeting during which the Planning Board will talk about the Rosewood Ditch will be Jan. 13. Pass the word.

Meanwhile, I sent some pix to Town Hall of the ditch wet and dry, including some of the area behind Mountainview School.

Meeting on Ditch Rescheduled

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I just read an article that says that not many people are writing blogs these days. I guess not many are reading them either, judging by this one

BUT:

Just to let you know that the next Planning Board meeting at which Marveland Farms and the Rosewood Ditch will be discussed will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 13 at Town Hall. Please come and be ready to speak, even if it’s just to say you’re adding your voice to those concerned.

Meanwhile, reminder to take pix, send pix, notes or anything else that supports our assertions about the ditch. A case for DEP is being assembled at Town Hall but they need our help.

Written by inhousepr

December 17, 2010 at 11:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Coverge in the Mount Olive Chronicle

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If you didn’t see it, the Mount Olive Chronicle finally wrote a story about our fight: http://bit.ly/9SwQth.

Have you sent any pix to our mayor or council? We need to give them what they need.

Written by inhousepr

November 9, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Daily Record covers the Ditch

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This morning’s Daily Record has a great story about our efforts to FixTheDitch.  You can read it here: http://bit.ly/aeb4iM

Vanessa came and walked the ditch behind Knollwood Road, talking with several residents. I know she was going to try to come back and talk to people on Bolton, but I guess she never had a chance.

Make sure others in the neighborhood see this!

Here, Direct From NJ DEP, Is Why We Can’t Touch The Ditch, Unless…

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When I talk with some of the folks in the neighborhood, they tell me they don’t understand why the town can’t just come in and fix the Rosewood Ditch. The reason is because the state Department of Environmental Protection has told them they can’t tocuh the ditch unless they prove there’s a good reason. 

Click here — http://bit.ly/fixtheditchdep — to see the actual letter from DEP. Pay special attention to the second page. This letter ties everyone’s hands – unless we, the folks who live by the ditch, can show the state that the conditions outlined in the letter exist. Town officials are ready to take our case to the state.

So start sending stuff to the town. We need your photos — old and new — any memos you received or sent or anythng else that will help us make the case. Email, snail mail or bring them to Town Hall. Mail them to admin@mtolivetwp.org.

And don’t forget to send them to fixtheditch@gmail.com, our Facebook page or here on the FixTheDitch blog.

Board Decision Gives Us An Opportunity To Fix The Ditch — If We Work On It

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People living along the Rosewood Ditch scored a first down on their way to what we all hope will be a game-winning decision to fix the Rosewood Ditch once and for all.

Excuse the football metaphors, but ‘tis the season. And the decision lays out a course of work that those of us living by the ditch must undertake if we want the town to take action and fix it.

The Planning Board Thursday night asked its attorneys to prepare a resolution that gives preliminary approval to the proposed active-adult community the would be built on the Marveland Farms property. The resolution includes a variety of “conditions,” one of which is that the developer will work with the town and with the residents near the Rosewood Ditch to address the issues we’ve been raising—if DEP allows it.

The long meeting Thursday night featured supporting testimony about fixing the Rosewood Ditch from people on both sides of Knollwood and Bolton Roads. They talked about how the ditch has changed over the years, flood conditions when it rains, and mosquito-producing conditions when it’s dry.

An attorney representing the sellers of Marveland Farms told the Planning Board that the Rosewood Ditch wasn’t caused by Marveland Farms, and that they shouldn’t consider the ditch.

Fortunately, when it came time to vote, board members thought otherwise:

  • John Cavanaugh (yes) – “DEP has to be shaken up. We need your help (directed at the applicant) to fix this problem. I encourage township residents to continue to show up.”
  • Joseph Fleischner (no) – “I voted wrongly for the changing of the zoning.”
  • Rene Gadelha (yes) – “The Rosewood Ditch…I wonder how much it can be exacerbated (by Marveland Farms) and that’s been on my mind.”
  • Nelson Russell (yes) – “I voted yes on the rezoning because part of the concept was fixing the ditch.”

With the exception of Fleischner, board members acknowledged that the developers had met all their legal obligations and there were no grounds on which they could deny the application. Mayor David Scapicchio went so far as to say, “I’ve been trying to find a reason to deny, but I haven’t heard one.”

Planning Chair Howard Weiss described the ditch as “the biggest problem concerning the residents,” but went on to say it’s “a pre-existing off-site problem” that didn’t really impact the board’s decision.

Weiss has not been especially sympathetic to our cause. He made a comment in the Daily Record that we must be happy with what had been done previously because residents hadn’t been coming to meetings. And Thursday night, he noted that the ditch was a pre-existing condition not directly related to the Marveland Farms proposal. Not the kind of thing we want to hear.

But here’s the thing: He’s 100 percent correct.

For the first time since the ditch’s creation, we have a lot of things in our favor to get the ditch fixed once and for all. Mayor Scapicchio and Councilman John Mania have voiced their support and are willing to work on our behalf.

But we have to do the work.

Last May, the town received a letter about the Rosewood Ditch from the state Department of Environmental Protection. It said, in part, “The Department cannot lawfully permit the cleaning, piping, moving, or elimination of the Rosewood Ditch under the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules, unless an erosion, flooding problem, mosquito control problem or other threat to public health, safety or welfare can be demonstrated.”

So there’s our charge: Town officials need to document that the Rosewood Ditch is creating erosion, flooding, mosquito and other threats to our health and safety.

Do you have letters, photos or other evidence of the problems created by the ditch? Can you show how it’s changed since 1993, when it was widened? In addition, take photos or videos of the current conditions. See a swarm of mosquitoes? Grab your cell phone and shoot it. A rat? Take a video. Flooding makes another good pic.

Please send copies of anything you have to David Scapicchio, Mayor-Township of Mount Olive, Post Office Box 450, Budd Lake, NJ 07828, or email the information to him at admin@mtolivetwp.org and put the mayor’s name and Rosewood Ditch in the subject line.

Also, please share everything with us. You can do that here, by emailing to fixtheditch@gmail.com or by posting it on the FixTheDitch Facebook page.

If we don’t do this now, if we don’t give town officials the support and cover they need to challenge the DEP, we’ll never get this fixed. And as the water rises into our backyards or we slap mosquitoes on a summer evening, we’ll be able to blame only one group of people: Us.

Let’s get to work. The clock is ticking and we’ve got a lot of work to do to push that ball toward the end zones.

Rollin’ on the Rosewood River

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Rosewood Ditch Behind Mountainview School

Our little ditch this morning looked more like a river: It was moving quickly through our backyards and behind Mountainview School. In places it was probably 10 or 15 feet wide and rather deep.

Ditch Behind Knollwood Road

Ditch Behind Knollwood Road

If anybody wants to know why this issue is one that should concern everyone in Flanders, these photos tell the story. They were taken this morning about 8:30 a.m., after the rain had slowed enough for the water to go down. Engineers would probably look at the ditch and say, “So? The ditch is working like it’s supposed to.”

The problems, of course, are many. The ditch is eating away at our backyards. You can see in some of these places, backyards now just flow into the ditch. Which brings up a second problem: What’s to keep kids and pets out of the ditch? The water is suprisingly deep and fast.

Rosewood Ditch Behind Bolton Road

Rosewood Ditch Behind Bolton Road

Of course in a few days, this will dry up. Problem gone, right? Well, maybe now that it’s fall, yes. But the ditch never really dries out. It’s a great place to breed mosquitos!

The rain last night sounded incredible, but we got spared the type of rainfall some places to our south received. And with Marveland Farms being built, more runoff will have to go into the ditch…or a second ditch.

Make sure you let Mayor Scappicchio and Councilman Mania know that we appreciate their help in this matter. Be sure to send them any photos or videos or other documentation of the problems this creek causes. Then post it here for all to see.

Written by inhousepr

October 1, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized