Hillsdale officials are considering applying for a grant to purchase the “Tandy Woods” property on Hillsdale Avenue near Pascack Road at the behest of a group of residents trying to preserve the land as the deadline for the grant approaches and the owners consider development. The council is expected to vote on the issue during their Oct. 14 meeting.
The property is owned by the descendants of the Tandy and Allen developers, who built about 200 homes in the borough starting in 1948. It is the largest undeveloped piece of land remaining in Hillsdale. Nine acres of the 12-acre property are wetlands, but the owners have started the process to apply for a subdivision which would allow them to build three new houses on the other three acres if approved by the planning board.
However, residents who live near the Tandy Woods and local environmental advocates want the borough to purchase the land in order to preserve it, and the owners said they also prefer that plan.
“My siblings and I would prefer to have [the property remain open space] and urge the town to accept ownership of the property for that purpose,” Meredith Tandy-Spangenberg said, reading a letter.
During a public session at the Oct. 7 council meeting, many people spoke in favor of preserving the property, which they said is home to numerous kinds of plants and animals.
“Their habitat is shrinking and we wonder where they’re going to go,” Sachiko Goodyear said. “They have as much right to live here as we do, even if they don’t pay taxes.”
Rosemary Dreger-Carey, the chair of the Pascack Sustainability Group, listed the potential disadvantages of development: increased burden on schools and other tax-supported services, a decrease in quality of life and property values in the surrounding neighborhood, the destruction of a diverse ecosystem and the loss of flood mitigation provided by the open space.