The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of March 18, 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 7:35 p.m. The following members were present: Mayor Aronsohn, Ms. Bigos, Councilman Pucciarelli, Mr. Nalbantian, Mr. Hurley, Mr. Joel, Ms. Dockray and Ms. Peters. Also present were: Katie Razin, Esq., substituting for Gail Price, Esq., Board Attorney; Blais Brancheau, Village Planner and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary. Mr. Reilly was absent.
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 – There was none.
Marla Sherman, 449 Beverly Road, asked about an email she sent to Ms. Price and Chairman Nalbantian regarding procedure. Ms. Razin said that the Board would address that at a later time.
7:43 p.m. – Discussion re: Review of North Walnut Street Redevelopment 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 testimony from the experts hired on behalf of the Board would continue with testimony from Dr. Golam Kabir. Dr. Kabir, of Converse Consulting, was retained by the Board as a geotechnical expert.
Dr. Kabir’s report, Review of Documents related to the Geotechnical Issues, dated January 16, 2014 was marked as Exhibit B-9. The PowerPoint presentation prepared by Dr. Kabir, The Valley Hospital (TVH), dated January 29, 2014 was marked as Exhibit B-10.
Dr. M. Golam Kabir was sworn by Ms. Price. Dr. Kabir presented his expert credentials as a geotechnical engineer which had previously been accepted.
Dr. Kabir explained that he attended and/or read the transcripts of all the meetings regarding the H-zone amendment and reviewed all the documents and exhibits related to geotechnical testimony.
Dr. Kabir gave his PowerPoint presentation, which was a summary of his report. Dr. Kabir said that there are four major geotechnical concerns: the suitability of subsurface materials, dewatering and related settlement, excavation and associated support system, and blasting of the rock as well as the vibration related hazards.
7:54 p.m. – Mr. Grant arrived at the meeting.
The Board members had questions regarding Dr. Kabir’s recommendation that pre-blast interior and exterior surveys should be done of adjacent structures prior to removal of any bedrock. Dr. Kabir said he was referring to the residences immediately adjacent to the property and that the survey would protect everyone.
The Board members had questions regarding vibrations and noise levels from bedrock removal, Dr. Kabir recommended 0.5 inches per second as the Peak Particle Velocity and that if it is more than that it should be stopped. The Board members asked questions regarding noise abatement and Dr. Kabir described different methods such as mats, noise barriers and wooden fences.
The Board had questions regarding the settlement related to dewatering. Dr. Kabir explained that it would be negligible.
The Board members had questions regarding the type of information and who would monitor the website which was recommended by Dr. Kabir. Dr. Kabir said that the website should provide information regarding what activities are happening when, excavation process, settlement measurements and the noise and vibration measurements. The construction manager would be responsible for the site. Mr. Drill said he would recommend this to the hospital and that the content and details would be agreed upon in the developer’s agreement.
The Board members asked what makes this project different from construction of an office building or residential housing. Dr. Kabir said the proximity of the hospital to a residential area and that the hospital needs to consider the impact on its patients make this project unique.
Mr. Rutishauser asked if Dr. Kabir thought it would be a significant restraint on the excavation project if blasting were prohibited as there are other technologies that would lower the particle velocity, such as a hoe hammer. Dr. Kabir said a hoe hammer would create more noise and take longer, but there would be minimal vibration.
Ms. Price asked if a DEP permit would be necessary if the discharge from the dewatering was to the storm sewer. Dr. Kabir said it would be necessary.
Mr. Drill stated that either Mr. Gouda or the construction manager said that the hospital was planning on putting sound blankets on the construction fence around the perimeter of the property.
The Board opened the meeting to the public to ask questions of Dr. Kabir.
Peter McKenna, 420 Meadowbrook Avenue, asked if Ridgewood has noise standards. Mr. Brancheau explained that Ridgewood adopted the state noise regulations.
Edward Daly, 386 Ponfield Place, asked if surveys of the adjacent structures would be done whether or not blasting is considered. Mr. Drill said that the hospital agreed to do the surveys for the dewatering as well as the blasting.
Marla Sherman, 449 Beverly Road, asked how many levels were being proposed for the parking deck as Dr. Kabir’s report shows two below ground levels, one at grade and three above grade levels. Mr. Drill said he would follow up on that question. Mr. Drill later confirmed that what would be proposed is five levels above grade and one level below grade.
Scott McCann, 450 Linwood Avenue, asked what would happen if the hospital was dewatering into the sanitary sewer and there was a power outage. Mr. Rutishauser said that if that happened the hospital would be asked to turn off the pumps, and that would be part of any agreement made before the project started.
Janet Daly, 386 Ponfield Place, asked how settlement would be different for an older house. Dr. Kabir said settlement is a function of the soil condition, not the building structure. If the soil condition is poor then there would be more settlement of an older structure. Ms. Daly asked about Dr. Kabir’s statement that residents could leave their homes during blasting and asked if the students should be evacuated from the school during blasting. Dr. Kabir said that people should only leave their homes if they have an issue with the noise and vibration and that blasting could be scheduled so as not to affect the students.
Ms. Price clarified that the pre- and post-construction surveys would be done on a particular perimeter of homes around the hospital which would be established if and when a site plan came to be. Ms. Price also said that the surveys would be a program facilitated and implemented by the hospital and would require the homeowners to voluntarily agree to participate.
Mr. Drill said that if there was blasting there may be two post-construction surveys, one after dewatering and one after blasting.
Joy McCann, 450 Linwood Avenue, asked how close a home should be to the hospital to participate in the survey. Dr. Kabir said he would not comment on that until there was a site plan submitted. Ms. McCann asked how the problem would be rectified in the event that there is damage to a home. Mr. Drill said the hospital would purchase an insurance policy to cover any damage that might occur.
Walter Durant, 538 Linwood Avenue, asked if a baseline assessment on the noise level at the hospital had been done. Dr. Kabir said it had not.
Marla Sherman, 449 Beverly Road, asked if the ten foot drop in the water table during the dewatering process is comparable to what happens during drought conditions. Dr. Kabir said it is very close and that if there are drought conditions there would need to be little or no dewatering.
The Board closed the meeting to the public.
Dr. Kabir was excused.
Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer, was sworn by Ms. Price. Mr. Rutishauser stated that that he attended and/or read the transcripts of all the meetings regarding the H-zone amendment and reviewed all the documents and exhibits. Mr. Rutishauser said he was involved in the proceedings for the 2010 Master Plan amendment.
Ms. Price asked Mr. Rutishauser if the Engineering Department would be the point office for any and all activities that would be overseen in conjunction with a project such as is being proposed by the hospital. Mr. Rutishauser said that is correct and that he would be involved with administering the major soil permit and preparation of the developer’s agreement which would address safety, health and welfare as it relates to noise, vibrations, methods of construction, pedestrian access, proximity to the school and mitigation of concerns.
Mr. Rutishauser said the hospital would need to comply with the Village ordinance as well as the state standards in regards to stormwater management. A treatment works approval permit executed with the DEP would be required if the hospital wanted to discharge groundwater to the sanitary sewer.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that he agreed with Mr. Meth in regards to his traffic report and recommendations.
Mr. Rutishauser said he would need to work with the hospital’s contractor to ensure that state’s regulations for environmental issues, such as noise and air pollution, are complied with.
Ms. Price asked if there was anything that would demonstrate a lack of utility service capability. Mr. Rutishauser said that the sewer capacity exists and that there is ample potable water.
Mr. Rutishauser said that Dr. Kabir made good recommendations with the monitoring and the pre- and post-construction surveys, although a wider survey area may be needed. In regards to demolition, Mr. Rutishauser said that many of the same issues with noise, vibration and air quality will apply. Mr. Rutishauser said that the developer’s agreement would be the critical part of this project if it goes to construction because it would clearly define how the work is performed to mitigate and minimize the impact for the adjacent property owners.
The Board members asked Mr. Rutishauser if he agreed with the construction manager for the hospital that the sidewalk along Van Dien Avenue should be closed during construction or with the Board’s traffic consultant who said the sidewalk should remain open. Mr. Rutishauser said he agreed with Mr. Meth to keep the sidewalk open to avoid the need for several street crossings, but that it would be something to be worked out in the developer’s agreement.
There were no questions for Mr. Rutishauser from the public.
The hearing was carried to March 10, 2014.
Mr. Brancheau asked the Board to authorize him to amend the draft master plan amendment based upon the testimony and issues which have been heard. Mr. Brancheau said that this would need to be done with the hospital’s consent. There was discussion by the Board and Mr. Drill as to when the draft would be completed and reviewed by the hospital. The Board authorized Mr. Brancheau to amend the draft. Ms. Price said that the revised draft would need to be noticed and on file ten days before the March 10 meeting.
There was discussion regarding dates, venues and agendas for upcoming meetings.
Approval of Minutes – The minutes from September 17 were adopted as drafted. The minutes from September 23 were adopted with a revision.
Chairman Nalbantian announced that Trisha Connors submitted her resignation to the Board effective immediately.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:04 P.M.
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