Delaware Valley okays $7 million land purchase

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:32

MILFORD - As anticipated, the Delaware Valley Board of Directors approved the $7 million purchase of the 121-acre Santos Farm property on Sept. 21. A down payment of $1.1 million will be made in two equal parts, following the successful outcome of an engineer’s survey of the property. The board vote was 6-3, as the three newest board members Ed Silverstone, Deborah DuCharme, and Bob Goldsack, voted together in opposition. Unlike the recent purchase of property opposite the Dingman-Delaware campus, the board discussed a likely and somewhat immediate use. The construction of a new elementary school would replace the district’s oldest building, the elementary school on the Westfall campus. The purchase drew other criticism beyond the board. Milford Township has questioned the process since the announcement last fall. Supervisor Gary Williams said the district and township have discussed the proposal since then, but he remained unsatisfied. “They’ve overspent taxpayers money for the property. For what that land is worth, I feel they could have found other property to fulfill the district’s requirements without spending $7 million,” he said. Another issue concerning the property is the long-standing federal authorization that would allow the National Park Service to take that portion within the park. School district solicitor Michael Weinstein suggested that some 18 acres would be needed for an elementary school, while sensitive riverfront lands would see much lower impact uses. Apprised of the pending deal, Milford Borough Planning Commission member Peter Rushton responded, “Great, just what we need, more traffic.” Weinstein said the likely alternative for property would have been a housing development and “a strip mall, and another four or five traffic lights and maybe a Target Store across the street.” Borough President Matthew Osterberg didn’t agree with his planner either. “We’ve already got the buses from the school. This is going to be the same buses and the same kids, spread over a wider area. And the traffic isn’t there in the summer when our other traffic is. With this, at least we know when the traffic problems are going to be,” he added. “(The new school) has got to be someplace,” Osterberg concluded.