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Ridgewood Planning Board

Regular Public Meeting

April 19, 2022

                                                                           

The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of April 19, 2022. Interested parties may request an audio recording of the meeting from the Board Secretary for a fee.

 

Call to Order & Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act: Mr. Joel called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m.

 

Roll Call – The following members were present: Mayor Knudsen, John Young, Councilwoman Reynolds, Richard Joel, Dianne O’ Brien, Fran Barto and Sergio Alegre. Also present were Stephen Wellinghorst, Esq., Board Attorney and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary. Debbie Patire, Melanie Hooban, Darlene Johnson and Igor Lyubarskiy were absent.

 

Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board –  There were no comments at this time.

 

Committee/Commission/Professional Updates for Non Agenda Topics – There were none at this time.

 

Adoption of Memorializing Resolution re: Fitometry, LLC, Minor Site Plan and variance approval at 129 South Broad Street, Block 3708, Lot 2 – Board members reviewed the resolutions and discussed adding language regarding audio on the rooftop, screening on the rooftop, hours of operation and time limit regarding the lights. There was discussion regarding specifying the months the rooftop could be open.

 

The adoption of the resolution was carried to May 3, 2022.

 

Adoption of Minutes:   The minutes from April 5, 2022 were adopted.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

                                                                                      Jane Wondergem

                                                                                      Board Secretary

 

Date Approved:               May 3, 2022

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 Ridgewood Planning Board

Regular Public Meeting

April 5, 2022

 

The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of April 5, 2022. Interested parties may request an audio recording of the meeting from the Board Secretary for a fee.

 

Call to Order & Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act: Mr. Joel called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m.

 

Roll Call – The following members were present: Mayor Knudsen, John Young, Councilwoman Reynolds, Richard Joel, Debbie Patire, Melanie Hooban, Darlene Johnson, Igor Lyubarskiy and Sergio Alegre. Also present were Stephen Wellinghorst, Esq., Board Attorney; Maryann Bucci-Carter, Village Planner, and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary. Dianne O’ Brien and Fran Barto were absent.

 

Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board –  

 

Rich Labarbiera of AE Developers, 350 West Passaic Street, Rochelle Park, approached the Board regarding a concept plan for 921 and 923 Linwood Avenue. The Board recommended that an application be submitted. Mr. Labarbiera stated he sent an application for a Concept Review but that they were recommended to submit an application for a use variance to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Mr. Wellinghorst advised Mr. Labarbiera to have his attorney call him to discuss.

 

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, commented on the seating of the Planning Board members. Regarding the Master Plan, Mr. Halaby asked when the process started, what has been accomplished, and how much has been spent on the process.

 

Committee/Commission/Professional Updates for Non Agenda Topics – There were none at this time.

 

Ridgewood Water PFAS Treatment Facility, 451 Goffle Road, Block 2703, Lots 8 & 4 – Courtesy Review – Matt Rogers, Village Attorney, entered his appearance on behalf of Ridgewood Water. Mr. Rogers explained that this facility will be one of many and is a Capital Improvement project.

 

Richard Calbi, Director of Ridgewood Water, was sworn and described the DEP mandates and the PFAS levels that exist and what is permitted. Mr. Calbi explained that some of the funding is coming from Federal grants, insurance and other grants. Mr. Calbi explained that this particular project has been underway for about a year and it takes 3 years for each project.

 

Board members asked about how many facilities will be needed, Mr. Calbi said this is one of 12 facilities and all facilities will go through a courtesy review with the Planning Board. Board members asked about noise and smells from the facility. Mr. Calbi said there are no noise or odor concerns.

 

Public questions: Donna Dorsey, 255 Goffle Road, owner of 445 Goffle Road, asked if the Village owned property behind 445 Goffle Road would be used for this facility. Mr. Calbi said that portion of the property will be fenced in and may be used for a replacement well in the future, but not part of this facility at this time.

 

Earl Schneider was sworn and his credentials as a licensed engineer accepted. Mr. Schneider testified regarding the site plan and described what will be on the site, including the building and an emergency generator, which will be properly screened. Mr. Schneider described where vehicles would enter and leave the property.

 

Board members asked about the hours of operation for maintenance. Mr. Calbi said it would be during daytime hours. Board members asked if there were any concerns that the facility will be next door to a gas station. Mr. Schneider said it is not an issue. Board members asked about the types of chemicals and safety. Mr. Schneider said there would be security cameras and an 8-foot-tall fence around the property. Board members asked about plantings, which Mr. Schneider said there would be evergreens along the street and they could also plant along the residential property.

 

Ms. Bucci-Carter asked about a 20-foot-wide easement. Mr. Rogers said it has been there since the 1950s. Ms. Bucci-Carter suggested putting shrubs around the generator.

 

Public Questions:

 

Denise Lima, 319 E. Glen Avenue, asked how many houses would benefit from this facility and about chlorine. Ms. Lima asked what would happen if there were a power failure. Mr. Schneider stated how many gallons of water and that there is no chlorine. Mr. Schneider said that the NJDEP requires that there is backup in case of power failure.

 

Bob Upton, 172 W. Glen Avenue, asked if there were any more pervious options to use for the pavement. Mr. Rogers said they would consider other materials that can be used that fit the requirements they would consider them.

 

Donna Dorsey, 255 Goffle Road, asked how tall the building will be. Mr. Schneider said 32 feet.

 

Steven Casano was sworn and his credentials as a licensed architect accepted. Mr. Casano described the structure and how it will fit in with others on the street. Mr. Casano said different colors for the building could be used. The lighting would be place 8 feet above the ground and point downward. Mr. Casano stated the building would be 36.5 feet in height.

 

Board members asked if solar had been considered. Board members suggested different colors for the building to make it look less industrial and asked had concerned about the size of the windows due to concerns about the amount of light coming from the building at night and the industrial look. Mr. Rogers said there would be no lights on at night inside the building. Mr. Rogers said there is a gas station on one side and residential on the other side and they were trying to find a blend and balance for the mixed use area. Board members asked what the height of the building was and it was confirmed that the height to the peak of the building is 32 feet.

 

Ms. Bucci-Carter suggested window patterning could make a difference.

 

Mr. Rogers stated that this was a courtesy review and they do not need the Board’s approval but are willing to consider the Board’s recommendations.

 

Donna Dorsey, 255 Goffle Road, asked what the property behind 445 Goffle Road might be used for. Mr. Schneider said someday another well may need to be dug there, but there would not be another building.

 

Mr. Rogers made closing comments and the Board members gave their recommendations, which included that some trim on the building would help aesthetically.

 

Phase 2 Master Plan – Public Meeting – John Barree, from Heyer Gruel & Associates, was present and shared a PowerPoint presentation. Mr. Barree went over the next steps, stating that the public hearing could be held on May 17. Mr. Barree said that 90% of the draft will be posted for review.

 

Mr. Barree went over all the elements and did a recap of what was discussed.

 

Board members asked how the public would get their comments to the Committee. Mr. Barree said they could go through the website or at the May 3 meeting. Mayor Knudsen said the link will be added to the Village website and distributed via email. Board members asked about the Open Space element. Mr. Barree said they were still waiting for the Land Conservancy Plan and would insert it into the Master Plan.

 

Ms. Bucci-Carter asked if there were any identified view corridors or views to preserve and if not it is something to consider as it is often overlooked in the Master Plan. Mr. Barree said that would be in the Open Space element. Ms. Bucci-Carter said it should be in the land use section as it makes it stronger for use for the Boards for hearing applications. Mr. Barree said they would look into it after they get the material from the Land Conservancy.

 

Public questions and comments:

 

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, commented negatively regarding the Village Website and asked why this meeting was not broadcast.

 

Denise Lima, 319 E. Glen Avenue, asked what happens after the Master Plan, how it will be implemented and said she would like to be able to see the comments from others and how they are answered.

 

Rurik Halaby asked how much the Master Plan process has cost the Village. Mayor Knudsen said she would find out.

 

Adoption of Memorializing Resolution re: Fitometry, LLC, Minor Site Plan and variance approval at 129 South Broad Street, Block 3708, Lot 2 – Board members asked for more time to review the resolution and it was tabled until the April 19, 2022 meeting.

 

Adoption of Minutes:   The minutes from March 15, 2022 were adopted as drafted.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

                                                                                      Jane Wondergem

                                                                                      Board Secretary

 

Date Approved:               April 19, 2022

                                                                              

 

 

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Ridgewood Planning Board

Regular Public Meeting

March 1, 2022

The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of March 1, 2022. Interested parties may request an audio recording of the meeting from the Board Secretary for a fee.

 

Call to Order & Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act: Mr. Joel called the meeting to order at 7:42 p.m.

 

Roll Call – The following members were present: John Young, Richard Joel, Dianne O’Brien, Frances Barto, Igor Lyubarskiy and Sergio Alegre. Also present were Stephen Wellinghorst, Esq., Board Attorney and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary. Mayor Knudsen, Councilwoman Reynolds, Debbie Patire, Melanie Hooban and Darlene Johnson were absent.

 

Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board –  There were no comments at this time.

 

Committee/Commission/Professional Updates for Non Agenda Topics – There were no comments at this time.

 

Adoption of Memorializing Resolution re: Preliminary investigation for The Valley Hospital property, Block 3301, Lot 51, as area in need of redevelopment – The resolution was adopted as drafted.

 

Adoption of Minutes:   The minutes from February 15, 2022 were adopted as drafted.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 7:46 p.m.

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

                                                                                      Jane Wondergem

                                                                                      Board Secretary

 

Date Approved:               March 15, 2022

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 Ridgewood Planning Board

Regular Public Meeting

February 15, 2022

The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of February 15, 2022. Interested parties may request an audio recording of the meeting from the Board Secretary for a fee.

 

Call to Order & Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act: Mr. Joel called the meeting to order at 7:42 p.m.

 

Roll Call – The following members were present: Mayor Knudsen, John Young, Councilwoman Reynolds, Richard Joel, Dianne O’Brien, Melanie Hooban (7:48 p.m.), Frances Barto, Igor Lyubarskiy and Sergio Alegre. Also present were Stephen Wellinghorst, Esq., Board Attorney; Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer; Malvika Apte, Village Planner; and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary. Debbie Patire and Darlene Johnson were absent.

 

Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board –  There were no comments at this time.

 

Committee/Commission/Professional Updates for Non Agenda Topics – Mayor Knudsen reported that the Historic Preservation Commission had a meeting and reviewed several signs in the CBD, a residential application and discussed the Historic Preservation Element of the Master Plan.

 

Phase 2 Master Plan – Public Meeting - John Barree and McKinley Mertz, Heyer, Gruel and Assoc., and Annette Schultz and Rachana Sheth from NV5 were present.

 

Mr. Barree made opening remarks and introduced the PowerPoint presentation, discussing the timeline and draft recommendations.

 

Mr. Barree started the presentation with the Downtown Economic Development Element, stating the goals and discussing land use, a broader range of economic activity, design and aesthetics.

 

Ms. Sheth discussed access to transit, circulation and their recommendations.

 

There were no questions from the Board members or professionals at this time.

 

Public questions:

 

Nancy Brennan-Hill, 136 Doremus Avenue, commented that the recommendations sound good and asked how these ideas and recommendations will happen. Mr. Barree explained that this is a step in the process, a guide for the town.

 

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, asked why high density development should be limited, commented that revenues that would allow the town to thrive should be permitted.

Hans Lehmann, 234 Union Street, commented that there has been significant change in how people operate since the pandemic, more walking and biking and less auto. Mr. Barree said that a majority of the Committee discussion deals with making the downtown safer.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that the foundation of the presentation is the Visioning process which the Village was involved in with public outreach and that this process is not a directive coming from the Planning Board or governance.

 

Sheila Brogan, 302 Kensington Drive, said that she had been on the Safety Committee and that one-way streets and bike lanes had often been discussed. Ms. Brogan asked what would be the process to make those things happen. Ms. Sheth said that if the town wanted to move forward with those things they would need to conduct a feasibility study. The Master Plan is a vision of what is wanted.

 

Fred Jubitz, 56 Heermance Place, asked about considering underground parking for high density development. Mr. Barree said the recommendations are not to consider more high density development at this time, and that it is very costly to construct underground parking as well as the challenges to excavate in this area.

 

Mr. Barree continued the presentation with the Land Use Element and the zoning recommendations, design standard review, use recommendations, residential flexibility, tree ordinance and storm resiliency.

 

Ms. Schultz presented the recommendations for the Circulation Element, which is an optional element. Ms. Shultz commented that the Village already has strong public and governmental support in this area, giving the examples of complete streets, walking and biking access to schools and parks, trails, etc. Ms. Schultz stated that what is needed is to improve the conditions of the roadways, adding mass transit options and bicycle safety and access.

 

Ms. Sheth and Ms. Schultz talked about the specific goals regarding the Circulation Element such as roadway safety and Complete and Green Streets Policy and Complete Street typologies.

 

Board members asked about the R-7 and T Zone districts. Mr. Barree explained that the R-7 Zone is residential, but more commercial in nature and the Transition Zone is where commercial meets residential. Board members asked if the T Zone should be expanded to protect the residential neighborhoods. Mr. Barree said it is unusual to have one or two parcels in a zone, it is usually a block.

 

Public questions:

 

Pamela Perron, 123 Kenilworth Road, asked if there had been any discussion regarding transit within the town, such as a jitney. Ms. Sheth said it had been discussed.

Joe Ferrante, 610 Hillcrest Road, asked if there had been any discussion regarding the environmental impact of electric vehicles. Mr. Barree said that an Environmental Impact Assessment is not part of the Master Plan Study, but they are trying to create a balance between vehicles, pedestrians, bikes and electric vehicles.

 

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, said he is impressed with the presentation on the Circulation Element.

 

Mr. Barree continued the presentation with the Sustainability and Green Building Element and the goals regarding green building standards, sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, air quality, renewable energy generation, waste management, water conservation, etc.

 

Ms. Mertz discussed the Community Facilities Element which involves recommendations regarding options for upgrades to Fire, Police and Emergency services; expanding programs at the Senior Center, Youth Center and Community Center, and monitoring enrollment trends in the public school to plan for future growth.

 

Ms. Mertz also presented the Recycling Element and the Utilities Element.

 

Ms. Mertz stated the goals for the Historic Preservation Element, which is being done by Dianne O’Brien with input from the Historic Preservation Commission.

 

Mayor Knudsen acknowledged the work Ms. O’Brien is doing for the Historic Preservation Element and clarified that the Historic Preservation Commission reviews residential applications when variance relief is sought for a historic site or in a historic district, as well as applications for the historic Central Business District. Mayor Knudsen asked how the Village would create a demo delay ordinance for historic homes.

 

Mayor Knudsen acknowledged the representation of many Boards and Committees in attendance.

 

Public questions and comments:

 

David Refkin, 401 Wastena Terrace, from Green Ridgewood Committee, spoke of climate change and asked that the Master Plan process address these issues.

 

Kerry Jacoby, 160 Godwin Avenue, thanked the Committee for including the Shade Tree Commissions forestry plan and thanked the consideration for a tree ordinance and said that the Commission would like to communicate with the Planning Board regarding anything that would affect the green infrastructure and be a resource for the Board.

 

Sheila Brogan, Kensington Road, asked if the Land Use Element could include support for universal design elements. Ms. Brogan asked if they had information on towns that had ordinances that allowed for accessory dwellings. Mr. Barree said Princeton and Maplewood allowed accessory dwelling units, with limitations regarding lot size and size of dwelling.

 

Hans Lehmann, 234 Union Street, commented on high density housing not being considered and asked why affordable housing and special needs housing has not been discussed. Mr. Barree stated that the affordable housing is being worked on by others. Mr. Lehmann asked if affordable housing would be incorporated into the Master Plan. Mr. Wellinghorst explained that the State says every town must address affordable housing in their Master Plan, so there is a separate avenue carved out to address affordable housing and it will be discussed in a public manner.

 

Mr. Lehmann said he hoped that the accessibility issues regarding walking and biking paths become a reality.

 

Mahmoud Hamza, 528 Amsterdam Avenue, asked how to make Graydon more attractive to Ridgewood and how to direct the many people who come to Ridgewood for sporting activities to the downtown. Mr. Barree explained that the Open Space and Recreation Plan is being worked on by another team and hope to present at the next meeting.

 

Nancy Brennan-Hill, 136 Doremus Avenue, asked if there was a way to identify the projects that could be done quickly. Mr. Barree said that the process includes prioritizing projects and identifying short term and long term items.

 

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, said there needs to be a plan for the Master Plan.

 

Mr. Joel says that it is a group effort and an extensive process with many elements and they want to do it right.

 

Barbara Ferrante, 610 Hillcrest Road, a member of the Historic Preservation Commission, mentioned the State Historic Commission and that they try to follow those and is concerned about the loss of a lot of beautiful architecture in the Village.

 

Mr. Barree made some closing remarks and said the next target meeting date is April 5.

 

Adoption of Minutes:   The minutes from February 1, 2022 were adopted as drafted.

 

The Board adjourned to Executive Session.

 

The Board returned from executive session and the meeting was adjourned at 10:04 p.m.

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

                                                                                      Jane Wondergem

                                                                                       Board Secretary

 

Date Approved:               March 1, 2022

  • Hits: 100

 Ridgewood Planning Board

Regular Public Meeting

February 1, 2022

The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of February 1, 2022. Interested parties may request an audio recording of the meeting from the Board Secretary for a fee.

 

Call to Order & Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act: Mr. Joel called the meeting to order at 7:49 p.m.

 

Roll Call – The following members were present: Mayor Knudsen, John Young, Councilwoman Reynolds, Richard Joel, Dianne O’Brien, Melanie Hooban, Darlene Johnson and Igor Lyubarskiy. Also present were Stephen Wellinghorst, Esq., Board Attorney; Christopher Rutishauer, Village Engineer; Maryann Bucci-Carter, Village Planner; Beth McManus, Conflict Planner; and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary. Debbie Patire, Frances Barto and Sergio Alegre were absent.

 

Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board –  There were no comments at this time.

 

Committee/Commission/Professional Updates for Non Agenda Topics – Ms. Bucci-Carter and Mr. Rutishauser discussed the Site Plan Exemption application process and that the ordinance should be amended to state that if an applicant does not comply with the determinations and approvals from the committee, they will be required to go before the full Board. An application regarding lighting at Bethlehem Lutheran Church was discussed and the Board agreed that they should come to the Board. Ms. Bucci-Carter will draft an amendment to the ordinance regarding Site Plan Exemption applications.

 

Public Hearing re: preliminary investigation for The Valley Hospital property, Block 3301, Lot 51, as area in need of redevelopment and/or rehabilitation (Carried from January 4, 2022) – Beth McManus introduced the Power Point presentation she prepared, explaining that the purpose of the investigation was to make a determination if the property is an area in need of redevelopment or for rehabilitation. When that determination is made, the Board will make the recommendation to the Council.

 

Ms. McManus began the presentation via Power Point and gave a description of the study area, which is the Valley Hospital property. Ms. McManus explained the criteria used to determine if property was in need of rehabilitation or redevelopment, and then showed the photos which let her to make a recommendation that the property is an area in need of redevelopment.

 

Ms. McManus stated that the investigation showed that the following redevelopment criteria were met: D) obsolescence and faulty arrangement or design, which have become detrimental to the safety and health of the community. H) The designation of the delineated area is consistent with smart growth planning principles adopted pursuant to law or regulation.

 

Ms. McManus distributed and insertion to the “Review of Study Area and Redevelopment Criteria” which included a response from The Valley Hospital.

Board members had questions regarding the process and asked what the future plans of the hospital included. Ms. McManus said she did not know about the future of the property. The Hospital, as the property owner has two options, to continue to use as the current H-zone, or to use the redevelopment plan option for redevelopment.

 

Board members asked how the study came about. Mayor Knudsen explained that the Governing Body asked the Planning Board to investigate the property and that Valley Hospital had been open and accommodating to the Planner for the process. The redevelopment plan would be a plan to have in place should the Hospital cease to operate.

 

Board members had questions about the plan. Mayor Knudsen said the details of the plan would come after the determination.

 

Public Comment:          Peter McKenna, 420 Meadowbrook Avenue, asked about the partial redevelopment possibility. Ms. McManus said that the redevelopment has not been drafted yet, but most likely the plan would require the whole lot to be used for inclusionary housing.

 

Mr. McKenna asked if the redevelopment plan would be utilized by the property owner or the Village, Ms. McManus said it would not be utilized by the Village.

 

Mr. McKenna asked if the Hospital wanted to make changes to the existing operation they would be dictated by the H-Zone and would they need to go back to the Planning Board or the Board of Adjustment. Ms. Manus said that was correct.

 

Ms. McManus read the insertion to the study into the record.

 

Jonathan Drill, Esq., counsel for Valley Hospital, stated that they have no objections to the insertion.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked if the Hospital only vacated part of the property, would a subdivision be required and would the redevelopment plan be assigned to the newly divided subdivision. Ms. McManus said the redevelopment plan would apply to the whole site, or not at all, but that changes can be made during the redevelopment hearing.

 

Ms. McManus summarized and said that her recommendation is that the property be identified as an area in need of redevelopment.

 

Following Board discussion, Ms. O’Brien made a motion to recommend approval to Village Council that the study area is in need of redevelopment based on criteria D and H, Ms. Johnson seconded. The motion passed.

 

Adoption of Minutes:   The minutes from January 18, 2022 were adopted as drafted.

Discussion: Mr. Wellinghorst reported that the discussions with Mr. Rutherford and Ms. Lima regarding the easement agreement for 315 E. Glen Avenue have continued and they are close to an agreement.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:14 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

                                                                                      Jane Wondergem

                                                                                      Board Secretary

 

Date Approved:            February 15, 2022

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