20220201 - Planning Board Public Meeting Minutes

 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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