The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of February 4, 2014.
Call to Order & Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act: Chairman Nalbantian called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m. The following members were present: Ms. Bigos, Chairman Nalbantian, Mr. Joel, Mr. Hurley, Ms. Dockray, and Ms. Peters. Also present were: Gail Price, Esq., Board Attorney; Blais Brancheau, Village Planner, and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary. Councilman Pucciarelli is recused from the hearing regarding the Master Plan amendment for the AH-2, B-3-R, C-R and C-zone districts and was absent from the meeting; Mayor Aronsohn, Mr. Grant, and Mr. Reilly (who arrived at 7:55 p.m.) were absent at this time.
Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board – No one came forward at this time.
Correspondence received by the Board – Ms. Wondergem said there was none.
Public Hearing on Amendment to the Land Use Plan Element of the Master Plan – AH-2, B-3-R, C-R & C Zone Districts – Chairman Nalbantian provided background regarding the requests for an amendment to the Master Plan to allow development of high density multifamily housing in and near the central business district and gave an overview of the hearing process.
Ms. Price acknowledged the counsel for the various proponents, Andrew Kohut on behalf of The Dayton Project and Chestnut Village and Thomas Bruinooge on behalf of The Enclave. Ira Weiner was present on behalf of Citizens for a Better Ridgewood (CBR). Mr. Weiner stated that the Village website had a notice saying the meeting would begin at 8:00 p.m. A Board member visited the website and reported that one location of the website indicated a 7:30 p.m. start time. Due to this discrepancy, there was discussion regarding the notice and Ms. Price said that the legal notice was effectuated with the 7:30 p.m. start time and that the website notice was a courtesy above what is required by the MLUL.
Mr. Kohut put his appearance on record on behalf of The Dayton by K&K Developers, 150 South Broad Street, Block 3707, Lot 5.02 and 152 South Broad Street, Block 3905, Lot 1.01. Mr. Kohut introduced Peter Steck, Professional Planner, and distributed Mr. Steck’s report and PowerPoint presentation. Mr. Steck’s report, entitled “Summary Planning Evaluation” and dated December 26, 2013, was marked as Exhibit D-3 and the PowerPoint presentation was marked as Exhibit D-4.
Mr. Steck was sworn and presented his expert credentials as a Professional Planner which were accepted by the Board.
Mr. Reilly arrived at the meeting at 7:55 p.m.
Mr. Steck gave a PowerPoint presentation during which he described the property and the surrounding area. Mr. Steck described the development the applicant proposes to put there if permitted. Mr. Steck explained the existing planning policies, the proposed planning policy and the planning rationale for the draft AH-2 zone district.
Mr. Kohut entered his appearance on behalf of 240 Associates, the application known as Chestnut Village, 154-170 Chestnut Street, Block 2005, Lot 3. Mr. Kohut introduced Joseph Burgis, Professional Planner, and distributed Mr. Burgis’ report entitled “Planning Report Prepared by Burgis Associates” dated December 20, 2013 and marked as Exhibit CV-2. Mr. Burgis’ PowerPoint for Chestnut Village, dated January 7, 2014, was marked as Exhibit CV-3.
Mr. Burgis was sworn and presented his expert credentials as a Professional Planner which were accepted by the Board. Mr. Burgis explained that he was also talking about The Enclave, located at the corner of East Ridgewood Avenue and North Maple Avenue. He gave an overview of each application and talked about what they have in common.
Mr. Burgis went through a PowerPoint presentation, entitled “Master Plan Amendment: For Multifamily Housing – Chestnut Village and The Enclave at Ridgewood” and dated February 4, 2014 which was marked as Exhibit CV-4 and E-2. Mr. Burgis described the character of Chestnut Street and the various land uses there and explained that the site does not warrant the kind of uses that it is currently zoned to permit. Mr. Burgis described the site of The Enclave, explaining that a strong anchor at the eastern end of the Ridgewood Avenue commercial corridor is needed. Mr. Burgis discussed the Master Plan Goals and Objectives, the Master Plan and 2000 Housing Element and the 2006 Re-examination report. Mr. Burgis went over the current zoning and the permitted uses in the B-1, B-2 and C-zone districts.
Mr. Burgis described the Chestnut Village site and neighborhood and what would be proposed if permitted and the benefits of the rezoning request. Mr. Burgis described The Enclave site and neighborhood and what would be proposed if rezoned and the benefits. Mr. Burgis showed the proximity of each site to mass transit.
Chairman Nalbantian said that CBR would be providing the Board with a Planner’s report and testimony from a professional planner on March 4 and that the Board will cross-examine all planners at that time.
The Board opened the meeting to the public to ask questions of Mr. Steck and Mr. Burgis.
Kevin Collins, 135 Crest Road, asked Mr. Burgis about the height of Chestnut Village, which Mr. Burgis said would need to be answered by the architect. Mr. Collins asked if Chestnut Village would be a LEED certified project and if the HVAC equipment would be visible to people who are above or directly across from the structure. Mr. Burgis stated that typically rooftop equipment is screened but that this project is at a conceptual stage at this point. Mr. Collins asked about the projected light pollution from the Chestnut Village site. Mr. Burgis said that would be a question for the architect.
Ellen McNamara, 120 West Ridgewood Avenue, asked about the proposed height of The Enclave compared to the Board of Education building. Mr. Burgis said The Enclave would be shorter. Ms. McNamara asked if the affordable housing requirement was a fixed number or a percentage of development. Mr. Burgis explained that it is a percentage. Ms. McNamara asked why a warehouse, light manufacturing use or other commercial use which would be permitted is not being considered. Mr. Burgis explained the distinction between the Master Plan and the Zoning Ordinance and that the list of permitted uses has been available for developers for many years and nothing has happened and that this is the appropriate time to take action.
Jeff Goldberg, 292 Mastin Place, asked if research had been done on the marketing viability of the hypothesis that The Dayton is for ‘bookenders’. Mr. Steck said that his client is confident regarding who would live at The Dayton because of the projects they built in other locations, and due to the statistics available. Mr. Goldberg asked how they come up with the numbers for public school children and Mr. Steck said that garden apartments produce more school children per unit. Mr. Goldberg said that Chestnut Street is not an attractive street and asked why they thought it would be an appropriate place for housing. Mr. Burgis said that someone has to be the first to generate change in a neighborhood.
Peter Cahill, 5 Anna Lane, Wyckoff, asked how they calculated that there would be 11 public school children at The Dayton. Mr. Steck explained the statistics and the data they looked at to come to that number.
Patricia Kruger, 184 Bellair Road, asked if Ridgewood was now considered to be semi-urban compared to suburban. Mr. Steck explained that the term had to do with the downtown and that Ridgewood is a railroad community. Ms. Kruger asked about the parking at the Enclave and if it would be designated for the residents. Mr. Burgis said that some parking spaces would be and some would be designated for retail. Ms. Kruger asked about the contradiction of the retail expenditure data and the number of school age children.
Survat Bansal, 20 McGuire Court, asked if there was any data on the benefits for the community and pedestrian activity. Mr. Steck and Mr. Burgis both said there was no study but it is what they have seen in their years of experience. Mr. Bansal asked if any study had been done on the Ridgewood senior community leaving their houses and moving to these apartments. Mr. Steck said that it is healthy for a community to have a wide range of housing choices. Mr. Bansal asked about the traffic impact and the parking ratio. Mr. Steck said that for The Dayton the parking was 1.75 spaces per unit.
Jennifer Devlin Burke, 400 Lincoln Avenue, asked about the retail expenditures based on a family of three and the contradiction that there would be only 11 public school children out of that development and about the Planners’ experience with similar developments. Mr. Steck and Mr. Burgis discussed their experience in other towns with similar projects.
James Bombace, 686 Midwood Road, asked about the infrastructure impact, and the number of school children and if they could give documentation on a project that they have testified on where their predictions were accurate. Mr. Steck said, in regards to the infrastructure, that the developer would have investigated that and that it would be addressed during site plan by the Village Engineer and DEP. Mr. Steck and Mr. Burgis said that their numbers have usually been pretty accurate.
Kevin Collins, 135 Crest Road, asked Mr. Steck and Mr. Burgis if they took into account the increase in rental housing stock when they testified about positive economic consequences. Mr. Steck and Mr. Burgis said that these developments will have high end units and would be focused on a different housing market. Mr. Collins asked if visual view points from the east and the west to Chestnut Village could be presented.
Peter Cahill, 5 Anna Lane, Wyckoff, asked about the retail expenditure data and the average family of three and about the impact on the downtown during construction of these developments. Mr. Burgis explained that he did not use a family of three to calculate the $900,000 figure but to cite on average how much a family of three may spend when retail trade is good. Mr. Burgis explained that the impact of construction would be addressed during site plan approval and in a developer’s agreement.
Survat Bansal, 20 McGuire Court, asked how the number of school children was calculated and how the units are different than what currently exists in Ridgewood. Mr. Steck said the statistics are based on bedrooms and there is a statistical correlation with above market rents or below market rents in the Rutgers study. Mr. Burgis said they have looked at other municipalities and different projects and found the data to be consistent with the Rutgers study.
The meeting was closed to the public.
There was discussion by counsel regarding scheduling and procedure.
The hearing was carried to March 4, location to be announced.
The next regular meeting will be February 18.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:50 P.M.
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