Planning Board Meeting Minutes 20140310

The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of March 10, 2014. A verbatim transcript has been prepared and is adopted with these minutes by reference. Interested parties may also request an audio cassette recording of the meeting from the Board Secretary for a fee.

Call to Order & Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act: Chairman Nalbantian called the meeting to order at 7:39 p.m. The following members were present: Mayor Aronsohn, Ms. Bigos, Mr. Nalbantian, Mr. Hurley, Mr. Joel, Ms. Dockray and Ms. Peters. Also present were: Gail Price, Esq., Board Attorney; Blais Brancheau, Village Planner; Chris Rutishauser, Village Engineer and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary. Mr. Reilly (who arrived later) was absent at this time. Councilman Pucciarelli is recused from the hearing on the H – Hospital zone and was absent from the meeting.
Chairman Nalbantian made opening remarks regarding safety issues and the hearing process.
Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board – No one came forward at this time.
Correspondence received by the Board – Ms. Wondergem reported that the Board members received correspondence from Mr. Drill dated March 6, 2014 regarding the revised amendment to the land use plan element of the Master Plan.
Public Hearing on Amendment to the Land Use Plan Element of the Master Plan for the H-Hospital zone, The Valley Hospital, 223 N. Van Dien Avenue, Block 3301, Lot 51 – Chairman Nalbantian explained that Mr. Brancheau will present the revised draft amendment which the Board authorized him to do with the agreement of counsel for The Valley Hospital.
Ms. Price said the notice and filing of the public hearing for this meeting and for March 18 and March 31 was done as required and marked the proof of notice, together with the Certified slips and the Affidavits of Publication as Exhibit B-12.
Ms. Price marked the Amendment to the Land Use Planning Element, H-Zone District, dated February 28, 2014 as Exhibit B-13.
Blais Brancheau, Village Planner, was sworn by Ms. Price. Mr. Brancheau said he prepared the document marked as Exhibit B-13. Mr. Brancheau went through the modifications to the amendment.
7:49 p.m. – Mr. Reilly arrived at the meeting.
Mr. Brancheau said the main objectives of the amendment were to simplify it, eliminate contradictions and to update the plan based upon information received from the hospital. Mr. Brancheau said that the idea of simplifying it was to put it more in scale with the rest of the Master Plan and leave the details for site plan review and the ordinance.
Mr. Brancheau went through the redline version of the proposed amendment submitted by the hospital with their application describing and clarifying the changes made in the language and numbers.
The Board members had questions concerning intensity use and asked if the intensity of use was not going to increase or be reduced could that be reflected in the master plan amendment. Mr. Brancheau said that intensity of use has to do with the amount of site activity in relationship to the size of the property and that site activity can refer to trips coming to the site, parking, noise and other activity. Mr. Brancheau said the hospital would need to say if there is room for a reduction in the height, floor area or parking. Mr. Drill said that he stated that the hospital was going to reduce the maximum total hospital floor area by 21 percent in is opening statement at the beginning of the hearing and that maybe the Board can put additional language in the amendment to satisfy their concern.
The Board members asked if this amendment was a review of the hospital’s proposed plan incorporating some of the input from the professionals. Mr. Brancheau clarified that he re-drafted the hospital’s request to eliminate contradictions, be more consistent, to eliminate unnecessary language and to clarify certain issues. Ms. Price said that the Board still needs to hear from Mr. May, the Board’s hospital facilities expert and then they will hear testimony from Mr. Brancheau and from the public before they make a decision.
Ms. Price marked the redline version of Exhibit B-13 as Exhibit B-14.
The Board members asked why illumination restrictions and some construction related issues were deleted from the Master Plan amendment. Mr. Brancheau explained that illumination restrictions are currently in the ordinance and the details regarding construction related issues are typically dealt with at site plan.
The Board members asked why the height of the parking deck was left at 45 feet when the parking was reduced from 2,000 spaces to 1,700 spaces. Mr. Brancheau said that doing it this way preserved some flexibility in dealing with an unknown site plan. Mr. Drill said the 300 spaces would be eliminated in subsurface parking in the proposed South Building.
The Board members said they would like to see something in the Master Plan that would recognize the construction issues given the long-term impact on the neighborhood if construction could take ten years to complete. Mr. Brancheau said that would be better dealt with in the ordinance, resolution or developer’s agreement. Ms. Price suggested putting language into the Master Plan that would recognize the extensive construction issues that would be incurred with a major site plan and that would recognize the importance of any ordinance and/or developer’s agreement.
The Board members asked why the height of the parking deck could not be reduced if they had the ability to put 300 parking spaces underground. Mr. Drill said that the underground parking would not have been proposed until Phase II.
The Board asked what the process would be to ensure that the provisions eliminated from the Master Plan would be put in the ordinance. Mr. Brancheau said that the resolution adopting the Master Plan amendment could recommend that certain items are put into the ordinance, that when the ordinance got to a public hearing of the governing body the additional items would be discussed, and that the Board members and staff would remember those provisions when drafting and discussing the ordinance.
The letter from Mr. Drill dated March 6, 2014 was marked as Exhibit A-36.
The Board opened the meeting to the public to ask questions of Mr. Brancheau regarding the revised amendment.
Lisa Baney, 136 Brookside Avenue, asked Mr. Brancheau for clarification regarding his statement that the revised Master Plan amendment did not represent a change in intent to what was planned by the applicant. Ms. Baney asked Mr. Brancheau if he would have revised the amendment if the Board was opposed to the application. Mr. Brancheau said he would recommend that the Board not take a position until all testimony is heard. Ms. Baney asked what the process would be if the Board wanted to adopt a different plan. Mr. Brancheau said that the Board would not be able to proceed to draft a different amendment until the decision regarding this amendment is made. Ms. Price said that the Board would not be able to proceed with pursuing a separate amendment given the direction given in the court order.
Ed Daly, 386 Ponfield Place, asked how Ridgewood would be able to enforce off-site parking given the 4.25 spaces per bed. Mr. Brancheau said that the Village’s ordinance already permits off-site parking and the same issue of enforcement exists there today as it would in the case of the hospital.
Phil Almeida, 401 Upper Boulevard, asked if the spaces in the new area of the proposed plan would generate additional traffic or need for parking spaces beyond the 4.25 spaces per bed. Mr. Brancheau said that the 4.25 spaces per bed are intended to cover all aspects of the hospital parking.
Cathy Benson, 572 Fairway Road, asked the Board to put in the Master Plan that valet parking should not be stacked. Mr. Drill said that their testimony was that they would have stacked parking in the valet parking area.
Ms. Benson asked if the Village can limit interior operations in regard to intensity of use. Mr. Brancheau said that the Village has the authority to regulate the intensity of the hospital use.
John Hersperger, 347 Linwood Avenue, referred to the March 11, 2013 transcript and asked Ms. Price regarding the Board’s ability to make their own modification to the Master Plan. Ms. Price said the Board could modify what is pending before it, but could not do anything that was arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. Ms. Price said the Board is operating under the remand from the court.
Lorraine Reynolds, 550 Wyndemere Avenue, asked if the 1,700 parking spaces included valet parking, and if so, what the point is of limiting the hospital to 1,700 spaces. Mr. Brancheau said it did not include valet parking and that the ordinance would need to say 1,700 striped spaces and the same level of valet parking that exists today. Ms. Reynolds asked for clarification about the Board’s ability to modify the Master Plan amendment. Ms. Reynolds asked how the comments from the public will be weighed versus the testimony from the experts. Ms. Price said that expert testimony is given weight in particular fields but that the Board could find the expert lacking in credibility, which is why the Board hired their own experts. Ms. Price said the Board will listen to all the neighbors and assign equal weight in terms of those issues and in terms of neighborhood sensitivity.
Board members asked if there was a way to limit the cars rather than looking at spaces. Mr. Brancheau said the ordinance would have to be specific in regards to total spaces.
Janet Daly, 386 Ponfield Place, asked about the floor area ratio (FAR) and what it included and how it compared to the 2010 plan and what exists now. Mr. Brancheau explained what was included and what was not included and estimated that the FAR percentage is about 145% in the proposed plan, was about 150% in the 2010 plan and what exists is at about 90%. Ms. Daly asked how that compares to a residential neighborhood. Mr. Brancheau said a typical FAR in single family zones range from 10% to 40%.
Ms. Daly asked about the restaurant in the plan and if the parking for that would be included in the 1,700 spaces. Mr. Brancheau said it would.
Marla Sherman, 449 Beverly Road, asked where the reduction in intensity of use is going to come from. Mr. Brancheau explained that the reduction of employees parking on site would reduce the activity on site and that trip generation is only one of the factors of intensity of use. Ms. Price said that moving the outpatient services off-site reduces the trip generation. Mr. Drill said that the reduction in intensity of use is from the 2010 plan not from what exists.
Janet Daly, 386 Ponfield Place, asked about the coverage by buildings in the current H-zone regulations and what is being proposed in the Master Plan amendment. Mr. Brancheau said the coverage by above grade structures currently permitted is 16% and what is being proposed is 288,000 square feet which would be 43%.

The hearing was carried to March 18, 2014.
The Board closed the meeting to the public.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:36 P.M.

    Respectfully submitted,
      Jane Wondergem
      Board Secretary

Date approved: August 19, 2014

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