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Residents Testify Against Proposed Bloomfield Ave Development

Verona residents, who have been attending zoning board meetings since June, had the opportunity to express their concerns to the board during Thursday night's public meeting.

The Verona Zoning Board of Adjustment continued a hearing for a Bloomfield Avenue mixed retail and residential property with testimony from residents during its Thursday night public meeting.

The proposed three-story property, designed for 176 and 200 Bloomfield Ave. by developer DMH2 LLC, would include retail businesses on the first floor with residential apartments on the second and third floors, as well as two parking lots. 

Montclair Avenue residents Lars and Kathy Sternas have sought legal representation from attorney John Dusinberre to oppose the development.

“I'm concerend about noise, drilling, heavy machinery, and sirens going off before and after the blasting,” said Lars. “Our utilities can be shut off at any time without notice and this will go on again and again for months.”

The Sternas' are also concerned about a 26-foot drop from their property to the proposed parking lot. They have often seen children running and playing in the woods by their house, which would be removed if the application moves forward.

“If kids are running and fall they will fall almost the height of my house,” said Lars.

The board has already heard testimony from experts including an engineer, architect and J. Michael Petry, a professional planner and engineer in support of the application.

The board will still need to hear testimony from a professional planner on behalf of the opposition as well as more Verona residents before making any decision on the application.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 10 and may decide the fate of the proposed property.

About two dozen residents attended Thursday's meeting. Less than a month prior, more than 50 people were crammed into the Verona Community Center Ballroom for the Nov 27 meeting.

Residents opposing the application have been attending meetings since June, when the board was first presented the proposal. They remain concerned about how blasting could damage property and create unsafe conditions for the foundations of their homes.

Sandra Krouse of Westview Avenue addressed the board during a public portion of the meeting. Krouse's grandfather built the first house on the street in 1927, she said.

“I have had cancer and I do not need the stress over all this blasting,” said Krouse. “Who is going to be responsible for the contents in my house and my neighbors houses?” she asked, adding that she has two china cabinets, paintings and original windows from 1927.

Another resident, Palma Quagliata, expressed concerns over the air quality from blasting while kids play on Everett field, right across from the proposed development.

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