Tuesday, February 28, 2006


What is ecorealty, you ask?
Here’s another Realtor’s website that may give you an idea of what it CAN be. You will note from the tag on the address that they’re not exactly our competition.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Creative Financing Hits Home

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2006 – 7:00 P.M.

7:00 P.M. - Capital Lending with Jeff Bunin
Solving Tough Funding Problems with Creative Financing Solutions

Not to worry. Mr. Bunin is NOT a disciple of Carlton Sheets.
He has an impressive track record in shaping up failing businesses.
On the Creative Custom Financing section of Capital Lending'’s website they state their goals:

"Accounts and lawyers refer their customers to CLC because we solve tough financing problems for their clients. Banks refer their customers to CLC because we help them keep the deposits of clients to whom they unfortunately cannot make a loan and who thus may take all their business to another bank. Borrowers like CLC because we find them financing when others cannot. CLC proposes new ways to re-structure client finances to give them more flexibility."

For next weeks council meeting Mayor McCarthy might be encouraged to cut up the Town Credit Card.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


In recent months, we’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of seemingly healthy trees cut down in the Brookdale area as well as in neighboring Montclair. We doubt that those dastardly beatles have made it this far west of Hudson County, buthe folks in Montclair are beginning to investigate the rationale as per this post on the Montclair Watercooler:

Tue, 21 Feb
From: "kevelson"
Subject: re: Tree removals on Montclair's streets

At last August's council meeting it was stated that ONLY 35
dangerous trees were to be removed on Montclair's streets. After
receiving a response from the engineering department recently it was
learned that there were 218 trees removed during the period of 2003-
2005. This number does not include trees removed for reasons other
than street improvement or curb replacement. There are reasons to
believe that the total number of trees removed during 2003-2005 is
much higher then 218 trees. Recently an OPRA request (open public
records act) was submitted to the shade tree department, Mr. Ward.

The request include but was not limited to:

1. total number of trees removed during 2003 to 2005

2. how many trees were planted between 2003-2005

This request was submitted at the beginning of February. A response
is supposed to be given within 7 days. As of today there has been no
response and the State of New Jersey has been contacted.

Over the past year we have formed the group Concerned Citizens
for Montclair's Trees. I want to thank all the people who have
responded to our email requests. Our group has helped residents save
trees that the town wanted to cut down. As you might know the Town
does not have on staff a certified arborist. Our group only uses the
services of a State of New Jersey certified tree expert. If you have
a tree that you would like to save please email us. Also if you
would like to be part of our effort to require that our Town's trees
receive expert care please email me to be put on our email list.
Thank You, Scott

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Canal Foot Print

Further enhancing the historical notoriety of Oak Tree Lane is the origin of the forested area on the undeveloped east side of the street. The low elevation between the street and The Garden State Parkway is the last visible section of what was once the Morris Canal.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Double Vision

About 4 miles down river from the massive Garrett Mt. development depicted below, the ultimate in small scale subdivisions can be seen at 24-28 Oak Tree Lane in Bloomfield. This little green box is very likely the oldest continually occupied home in the township. Family records kept in the home date back to the original construction c.1860.
This was the Weichert description when it was first listed as 24 Oak Tree for 310k in November 2004:

Family homestead...first time on market...corner property/oversized lot... (101x100) possible subdivision.... Sold 'AS IS'. Buyer resp. for CO . Oil tank in basement. Ample parking but no garage.

Bloomfield’s Historical Society wanted it.
Schweppe/ERA got it for 310K.

Back on the market after a year, this is the Schweppe/ERA description for the 50x100 ft lot:

APPROVED PRE-CONSTRUCTION SINGLE FAMILY PROJECT including subdivided lot, approved architectural & engineering plans & building permits. Current list price does not include construction.

The price: 337K for each lot.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Looking for a cause?

The New Jersey Conservation Foundation has preserved over 100,000 acres of land throughout the state to protect our state’s precious natural resources and beautiful natural areas. NJCF’s land protection program focuses on select project areas and greenways that have been identified as critical to our future. From the Highlands to the Pine Barrens to the Delaware Bayshore, NJCF has protected farms, forests, wetlands and urban and suburban parks.
Through acquisition and stewardship, NJCF protects strategic lands; promotes strong land use policies; and forges partnerships to achieve conservation goals. Since 1960, NJCF has protected tens of thousands of acres of open space. For more information, call 1-888-LAND-SAVE, or visit njconservation.org

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Big Dig

While we’re tracking Garrett Mt. developments, we’re obliged to reprise our favorite local eco-real estate story exerpted from 11/04:

Where Dinosaurs Once Roamed
By Samantha Henry HERALD NEWS
(Original research by Bloomfield’s own Mary Shaughnessy)
WEST PATERSON -The layers of rock at the Tilcon quarry near Garret Mountain read like the history of North Jersey. The most recent layer is a pending condominium development on the site; the oldest dates back 200 million years. It contains fossilized dinosaur footprints that scientists have been quietly removing from the area for decades in an effort to save them.

Now the quarry and surrounding land at the Clifton-West Paterson border have been sold to the developer K. Hovnanian, which plans to build 810 condominium units there. Construction of the complex will soon fill in the quarry that yielded the specimens. Workers will rebury the layer of volcanic rock that provided a brief and rare snapshot of a time when dinosaurs roamed the Newark basin - a vast geological depression from the Palisades to Pennsylvania - during the early Jurassic era.

"For this time interval, it's probably the most important site in New Jersey," said William B. Gallagher, registrar of natural history for the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. "It's one of the best sites for looking at the early phase of dinosaurs, and the beginning of the trend towards gigantivism," he said, referring to the huge meat-eating dinosaurs that appeared at the transition point between the Triassic and Jurassic eras. Fossilized dinosaur footprints can be found across North Jersey, but they are buried in a layer of earth that is often exposed only through quarrying and other deep-digging processes, Gallagher said. For the three dozen or so dinosaur footprints that Gallagher and his colleagues have found at the site over the years, he said, countless more were probably damaged or lost in the quarrying process. "A lot of 'salvage paleontology' involves getting into these places and getting what we can before it's destroyed," he said. "It's the difficulty of trying to preserve geologic history with accelerated development. Nowhere is that more evident than in New Jersey, where we're rapidly running out of room."

The Tilcon quarry on Garret Mountain - referred to locally by the names of its many previous owners, such as UBC, Hamilton, and Dell - has been mined for nearly a century. Chris Laskowich, a science teacher at Paterson's Eastside High School who grew up next to the Garret Mountain site in West Paterson, credits the quarries across North Jersey for exposing prehistoric layers of rock that would have otherwise remained buried. "The geology for the area got a real head start in Paterson, because of the heroic, immigrant, blue-collar workers who started these quarries which made all our highways. They started this science," Laskowich said. One of the most pristine dinosaur footprints found at the site is displayed at the state museum. Preserved in a chunk of red rock, it shows the three-toed imprint of a Eubrontes giganteus, Gallagher said.
He said dinosaur footprints provide a great deal of information about how the animal lived, and tracks found in succession can provide clues as to how fast it could move.
The specimen from Garret Mountain would have been a huge carnivorous dinosaur, probably a Dilophosaurus, which weighed more than a ton, stood on two hind legs, and had a long, powerful tail and two thin ridges of bone on its head, Gallagher said.
He described the landscape of prehistoric North Jersey as a large valley surrounded by molten lava flows at a time when all the continents were connected in a single landmass.
"Africa was right next door to New Jersey. You could have walked from Newark to Morocco," Gallagher said. The particular geological makeup of North Jersey - the basalt (volcanic rock) that is found in quarries across the area - preserves fossil footprints better than it does skeletons or bones, and the two are rarely found together, Gallagher said.

Though New Jersey's physical conditions may be favorable for preserving prehistoric fossils, the state's laws are not. Paleontological discoveries, regardless of age, are not protected by law as they are in some other states. In New Jersey, only archaeological finds - those involving human bones and remains - are granted legal protection. A bill to add protection for "geologically significant sites" into the Natural Areas law was introduced in 1999 by state Sen. Leonard Lance, R-Flemington, but it has not been passed. Although Gallagher and Laskowich said they would like to see the Tilcon quarry site preserved, they said such an expensive, cumbersome undertaking would require a continued funding stream that most scientific institutions do not have. Laskowich, whose home will overlook the new Hovnanian development, said he wishes the company would at least acknowledge what was there before. "By definition, there is no destruction by developers," Laskowich said. "It's already been destroyed by the quarrying. What's sad is that there isn't one little corner, the size of just one housing unit, that will be saved to show the surface." Gallagher, who teaches a course in dinosaurs at Rutgers University, said the site would make a great educational location, where students and the public could study fossils and see the footprints. Gallagher and Laskowich referred, in separate interviews, to the impending condominium development on the site as just another layer in the strata of local history scientists will rediscover one day. "This is New Jersey," Laskowich said. "We pave over historic sites. It's like the song says: 'They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.' "

Monday, February 20, 2006

Paving Paradise in Pa & NJ

Our photograph was taken of our nearest comparable development at Garrett Mt on the Clifton/W.Paterson border.

We were impressed by the statement that the project will increase the area population by 70%.

Perry County Weekly Sunday, February 19
Housing Projects Worry Residents

Citizen concerns over large-scale housing developments in eastern Perry County are on the agenda for a meeting Wednesday of a task force representing 13 Perry municipalities and four Cumberland County townships. A Penn Township resident’s comments on traffic congestion that might result from a concept plan to build about 910 housing units on a mountain above Perdix is among the planned discussion points, she says. If built, the development would increase housing units by 72 percent in Penn Township. That’s on the heels of a plan to build about 300 mountainside homes in Marysville borough, which now has about 1,200 homes, just a few miles south of Perdix on Route 11-15. Traffic on Route 11-15, which is two narrow lanes through Perdix, is a concern expressed by Penn Township residents.
Presentation of the concept for 910 homes for Penn Township drew a standing-room-only crowd recently to the township building, where New Jersey-based developer David Meiskin of Windsor Cos. spoke at a supervisors meeting, says township Secretary Helen Klinepeter. Meiskin outlined what developers would like to do with the 1,155-acre J. Nevin White tract and asked, “What would you like to see?” Klinepeter says. On the advice of the township solicitor, supervisors weren’t saying, she adds. Windsor Cos. of Freehold, N.J., “is committed to developing environmentally sensitive and visually attractive high-end projects,”
its website states.
Windsor has built more than 20 housing developments totaling more than 7,000 units and has developed more than 5 million square feet of commercial space in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut, the website states.
Zoned mostly forest conservation with some high-density residential areas and possibly one or two low-density residential lots, the section of Cove Mountain is slated for a minimum of 4-acre lots, Klinepeter says.
But the concept plan calls for cluster development of single-family houses, condominiums and townhouses that would leave a portion of the tract open, she says. The White land lies in the eastern part of the township in an area of approximately 500-foot hills below the 1,300-foot ridge line that carries the Appalachian Trail from Cumberland County across to Duncannon.
Any development would “have to deal with steep slope issues,” Klinepeter says. “They’d have to comply with zoning, subdivision land development ordinance and storm water ordinance plus whatever the county conservation office and DEP (the state Department of Environmental Protection) comes up with.” Perry County Planner Jason Finnerty also is waiting to comment until a formal plan hits his desk in New Bloomfield. But “a mountain slope does command a certain level of attention. Penn Township recognizes that and they have a steep slope conservation overlay district in their zoning ordinances,” Finnerty says. Other considerations planners routinely deal with are wetlands, flood plains, state permits and transportation, he says.
Transportation issues are in the forefront of action on the approximately 300-unit Marysville development planned by Yingst Homes of Harrisburg. PennDOT is reviewing amendments to a traffic study needed for a highway occupancy permit, says Kelley, who also is Marysville manager.
The development also has township officials excited about commercial development that would most likely follow the addition of new residents, although an eight-year build-out is projected. “There’ll be a need for a drycleaner, pharmacy” and the development may push business owners to look at further developing strip malls on Route 11-15, Kelley says.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Pocket Park

If you drive south about 100 yards on Bloomfield’s Broughton Ave.,
You’ll find a vacant lot where 532 Broughton should be. This is a publicly accessible space that was deeded to the town with the priviso that it remain open.
Take a short walk past the “No Dumping” sign and you’ll find one of the best views in town! You are directly above the center of Clark’s Pond Nature Preserve (Caution: stay back from the steep cliff!)
and across from Huck MS field.
The pond is still very low due to the dredging work that will be finished when the spring thaw takes hold. Between May and October the tree cover on the slope will be too thick to see much but you can usually hear an amazing variety of birds—and an occasional frog.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Mortgage Rate Increase

Mortgage rates are on the rise again. Treasury yields pushed higher yet this week, likely putting further pressure on mortgage rates to increase next week as well.

Weekly Home Mortgage Rates

30-Year Fixed
Feb. 15
New York 6.34
National Avg 6.37

5-Year Adjustable
Average 6.05

The spread between these mortgages has narrowed over the past year due to increased short term rates without a corresponding increase at the long end.

Increased rates on Adjustable Rate and Interest Only mortgages should have a negative impact on first quarter '06 sales in Northern NJ.

Friday, February 17, 2006

We’re on the lookout for answers to several perennial questions in our blog:

Why do some homes sell an a few days, while others take months?
How important is “location, location, location,”
or is price and the economy the driving force?
Why in the world are they building such a big house in such a small lot?

How seriously are environmental issues addressed before approval of mega- developments?
How are different towns in North Jersey and the NYC Metro-area
dealing with common problems? We’ll share more questions
and suggest a few answers as we watch future developments.