Planning Board Public Meeting Minutes 03152016


The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of March 15, 2016. 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. Nalbantian called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. The following members were present: Mayor Aronsohn, Mr. Nalbantian, Councilwoman Knudsen, Ms. Bigos, Mr. Joel, Ms. Dockray, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Thurston, Mr. Abdalla, and Ms. Peters. Also present were: Gail Price, Esq., Board Attorney, Blais Brancheau, Village Planner; Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer, and Michael Cafarelli, Board Secretary. Ms. Altano was not present.


Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board – No one came forward at this time.


Committee/Commission/Professional Updates – Ms. Knudsen reported on the Historical Preservation Commission actions and Ms. Dockray asked about the construction of Capitol One Bank.

Sonic Wave dba Tito's Burritos, Minor Site Plan and Variance Application: Memorialization of Resolution of Approval, 166 East Ridgewood Avenue, Block 3704, Lot 5 – Chairman Nalbantian and Mr. Joel were not eligible to vote and Mayor Aronsohn was not present to vote. Ms. Knudsen motioned to approve the resolution, Ms. Dockray seconded, and the resolution was adopted.  

Approval of Minutes: The minutes from April 7, 2015 were adopted as written.

Executive Session – At 7:51 p.m., the Board moved to executive session and returned to Public Session at 9:15 p.m.

Mayor Aronsohn arrived at 8:48 p.m.

Open Session

Valley Hospital Litigation Matters – Ms. Price described the litigation settlement, process, pending remand order regarding the Whispering Woods hearing, dates the court said the Planning Board must hold public hearings, and development plan modifications. Ms. Price discussed key sections of the remand order. She said the litigation filed against the Planning Board consists of two counts, one that challenges the 2014 denial of the Master Plan and a request to have a Master Plan amendment that would have 995,000 square feet hospital to be constructed on the hospital grounds in the H-Zone compared with the 2010 Master Plan 1,266,000 square feet. She said the court indicated the Planning Board is under a tight deadline to resolve these matters and provided dates for the Board to conduct public hearings, known as Whispering Woods hearings. The dates the Board has to hold the meetings are March 30, 2016, March 31, 2016, April 4, 2016, April 5, 2016, and April 7, 2016. During the hearings, the Board will review the proposed Master Plan amendment, receive testimony from Valley Hospital and public questions on testimony, and receive public comment.

All prior testimony would be in place and the areas involved would only be modifications to the 2014 Plan. This includes modification of the north building height to be reduced by one story from 94 feet to 80 feet and to include a reduction of square footage from 995,000 to 961,000 square feet, a net reduction of 34,000 square feet from the prior plan. The above grade modification to the north building would have a setback of 47 feet from Van Dien Avenue. A series of aesthetics and visual improvement to be part of the plan, walkways, water features, green roofs, landscaping, mixing building materials to make it look like a campus development.

Ms. Price said the Planning Board needs to authorize the Whispering Woods hearing to move forward so notice can be effectuated and the public hearings can start on March 30, 2016. Mayor Aronsohn asked if Ms. Price would explain what the Board would be voting on. Ms. Price said the vote is not to approve a settlement, a plan, or any of the terms but to determine if a settlement was feasible and appropriate.

Mr. Thurston motioned to move forward with the Whispering Woods hearing and Ms. Bigos seconded. Ms. Knudsen abstained, Ms. Dockery opposed and all other approved the motion.

Work Session – Housing Element of Master Plan – Mr. Brancheau reviewed the housing plan and the Village obligations from EConsult. He discussed the draft AH-3 Affordable Housing District ordinance. Board members questioned the setbacks, type of housing permitted, household income, affordable housing, income range, the maximum number permitted by the State.  Members suggested the planner look at Normandy Court in HoHoKus and their setbacks. Mr. Brancheau said he would provide a layout and proceed with completing a draft plan for the next Planning Board meeting.

Reexamination Report of Action Items Prioritization – Mr. Brancheau discussed the memorandum distributed to the Board. He said the report consisted of 118 action items that were segmented by urgent, easy, and or neither category. Mr. Brancheau guided the Board on where and how to focus on the items.

Correspondence received by the Board – There was none.

Other Business - Mr. Brancheau and Mr. Rutishauser reported on the status of the Church of God. Ms. Price said she would review the resolution and enforcement procedures. Ms. Price said that there were Planning Board MLUL courses at Bergen Community College for Board members who have not been certified.

The meeting adjourned at 10:18 p.m.

                                                                                                Michael Cafarelli

                                                                                                Board Secretary

Date approved: May 16, 2017


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