Plan to build new school in Fairview could displace dozens

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A plan to build a new school in Bergen County could put dozens of people out of their homes.

The Fairview School District hopes to build a new elementary school on one of the only empty lots in the borough. School officials say the new school would help alleviate overcrowding.

“We’ve experienced a very large enrollment increase. As a result, we really need a new school in order to accommodate the large number of students that have moved into the borough,” says Superintendent Dr. David Sleppin.

The only problem is that the empty lot, located at Walker Street and Eighth Street, is not exactly big enough to build the school. Town officials would need to knock down some homes in order to accommodate the size.

“My understanding is the entire block,” says renter Alex Lopez.

“Of course, first – the board of education and the borough would make an offer,” says Sleppin. “If the offer wasn’t acceptable, then we would, with our board attorney, begin the eminent domain process.”

The homes which would be torn down would be determined by the project architect.

Some residents say that they are wary of the plan.

“I think there’s some people who have probably lived here for 20-plus years. This is probably the home of their life, their dreams, so they’ll probably be upset,” Lopez says.

“Nobody is going to be forced to accept a lower-than-fair market value price for their home,” Sleppin says.

Sleppin says that the homes will be appraised and offers will be made to the owners. The appraisals are expected to start in the beginning of January.

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