A Manville resident expressed concern Tuesday night to the regarding construction projects that could worsen already flood-prone areas.
Richard Onderko, speaking on behalf of several fellow Manville residents, approached the committee in hope the township considers the impact of construction projects—such as housing projects on Falcon and Valley roads—on the quality of life in the region.
“Before any board approves future projects in Hillsborough, we ask that the quality of life for the entire region be considered, and not just what’s best for the tax revenues of the township,” Onderko said. “We need cooperation from the entire county and surrounding municipalities to solve a flooding issue that is now out of control that also affects residents of Manville.”
Onderko warned that several residents are already moving out of the area amid flooding problems that are simply going unresolved. Onderko stated that as many as 900 homes in Manville are recognized as flood risks, and estimated that half of the businesses in the center of Manville go underwater during any particular period of flooding.
“I can’t say I blame them,” Onderko said. “Others who choose to stay or rebuild are living among abandoned mold-infested homes with no chance of getting real-estate appraisal.”
Mayor Carl Suraci noted that the township recognizes the dangers of required development, and states that the projects mentioned fall into a category under the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH).
“This is the right point to perhaps bring up to our legislator in Trenton to talk about the devastating effects that COAH does have on our region’s communities by requiring development,” Suraci said. “One was court-mandated; the other was the result of us trying to meet our COAH obligations for affordable housing.”
Deputy Mayor Gloria McCauley also seemed interested in getting state legislators involved in protecting and improving the area against flooding, stating that Congressman Leonard Lance and Gov. Chris Christie visited the area as recently as last year to further investigate the issue.
“I do believe they are quite aware of the impact, especially on Manville,” McCauley said. “We can certainly reach out and see if (Lance) is on top of that and see where it is at this point on a Congress level.”
Onderko said he hopes a resolution is reached quickly.
“It needs to be fixed, and we can’t wait 30 years,” Onderko urged. ”Large parts of [Manville] now are being destroyed.”