The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of July 1, 2014. Interested parties may request a CD recording of the meeting from the Board Secretary for a fee.
Call to Order & Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act: Mayor Aronsohn called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m. Following members were present: Ms. Dockray, Ms. Peters, and Mr. Nalbantian (via speaker phone).
Subsequently, the following additional members arrived: Ms. Bigos, Ms. Knudsen, Mr. Joel, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Thurston, Ms. Altano, and Mr. Abdalla.
Reorganization – Administration of Oaths of Office to New Members and/or Reappointments – Ms. Price administered the oaths of office to the following members: Mayor Aronsohn, Class I Member; Nancy Bigos, Class II Member; Susan Knudsen, Class III Member; Richard Joel, Class IV Member; Kevin Reilly, Class IV Member; David Thurston, Class IV Member; Isabella Altano, Alternate #1 Member and Khidir Abdalla, Alternate #2 Member.
Roll Call – The following members were present: Mayor Aronsohn, Ms. Bigos, Councilwoman Knudsen, Mr. Nalbantian (via speaker phone), Mr. Joel, Mr. Reilly, Ms. Dockray, Ms. Peters, Mr. Thurston, Ms. Altano and Mr. Abdalla. Also present were: Gail Price, Esq., Board Attorney, Blais Brancheau, Village Planner; Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer; and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary.
Resolution appointing Gail Price, Esq. as Board Attorney for July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 – The resolution was adopted.
Nominations for election of Chairman – Charles Nalbantian was nominated and elected as Chairman.
Nominations for election of Vice Chairman – Richard Joel was nominated and elected as Vice Chairman.
Appointments to the Site Plan Review Committee – Mr. Joel, Ms. Bigos and Mr. Thurston were appointed to this committee.
Appointment to the Site Plan Exemption Committee – Mayor Aronsohn was appointed as the Planning Board member on this committee.
Appointments of Master Plan Reexamination Committee – Councilwoman Knudsen, Mr. Reilly, Ms. Peters and Ms. Bigos were appointed to this committee.
Appointment to the Historic Preservation Commission – Chairman Nalbantian will be the liaison to the HPC.
Appointment to the Open Space Committee – Ms. Dockray will be the liaison to this committee.
Resolution of Adoption in the Matter of Compliance with the Requirement of the Open Public Meetings Act for the year beginning July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 – The resolution was adopted.
Mr. Brancheau was designated by the Board to do completeness determinations of applications.
At 8:11 p.m. the Reorganization Meeting was adjourned.
8:12 p.m. – Vice Chairman Joel called the regular Planning Board meeting to order. The following members were present: Mayor Aronsohn, Ms. Bigos, Councilwoman Knudsen, Mr. Joel, Mr. Reilly, Ms. Dockray, Ms. Peters, Mr. Thurston, Ms. Altano and Mr. Abdalla. Also present were: Gail Price, Esq., Board Attorney, Blais Brancheau, Village Planner; Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer; and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary. Chairman Nalbantian was absent.
Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board – There were no comments at this time.
8:14 p.m. – Discussion re: New COAH Regulations – Mr. Brancheau gave background on COAH and what it does and what its regulations do and what it means to municipalities. Mr. Brancheau went through the changes in COAH regulations and obligations over the years. Mr. Brancheau says the latest rules proposal which was released in May and is scheduled for adoption in November, 2014 changes the rules in a significant way. The deadline for comments on the new regulations is August 2.
Mr. Brancheau went through a draft document he distributed, Summary of Proposed Affordable Housing Obligations, dated June 27, 2014. Mr. Brancheau said that there are three components of obligation for each municipality. Those components and the obligation for Ridgewood include the Rehabilitation Share of 12 units, Unanswered Prior Obligation of less than zero, and the Fair Share of Prospective Need of 47. Mr. Brancheau explained those components in detail.
Municipalities can address the Rehabilitation Share of 12 units by providing construction of new units to replace the defective units or participate in a program which will fund the necessary improvements to bring them up to code.
Board members had questions regarding how the Village identifies the twelve units that need rehabilitation. Mr. Brancheau said the Construction Official can go out and do a survey of the Village and identify the number of units in the Village are substandard based upon a methodology established by COAH and submit that to COAH. Board members asked what the Board needs to know and focus on at this time. Mr. Brancheau said that as it appears the Village of Ridgewood may have no obligation except for the rehabilitation program or participate in the county rehabilitation program and that in general the Village of Ridgewood obligation is less in the new COAH rules.
Mr. Brancheau explained that the Unanswered Prior Obligation includes the sum of the new construction obligation from 1987 through 1999 and the prior need for 1999 through 2014. The prior obligations are reduced by past affordable housing completed and publicly subsidized affordable housing eligible for credit. Mr. Brancheau then went over the numbers for Ridgewood and how the obligation for Ridgewood is less than zero.
Mr. Brancheau explained that the Fair Share of Prospective Need is a projection of low- and moderate-income housing needs in a municipality based on development and growth that is likely to occur in the municipality from 2014 through 2024. The fair share of prospective need for Ridgewood was determined to be 47 units. Mr. Brancheau said that this determination may be less because the Village may seek a vacant land adjustment.
Board members asked if the vacant land adjustment could be changed if the town agreed to build affordable housing units on land that was previously not vacant. Mr. Brancheau said the old COAH rules said that a plan needed to be in place for areas that had potential to be redeveloped. The Board members asked for clarification of the numbers and what is actually required of the Village.
Ms. Price said the Board needs to consider that part of the changes in these rules is the mandatory economic feasibility study component which can be either Village driven and paid for or applicant driven and paid for. Ms. Price explained that the economic feasibility study needs to be certified by a licensed professional. If a developer comes in with a proposal they can be required to prepare the study and submit as part of their application, if the Village comes up with a plan the study would need to be done at the municipality’s expense.
Board members had question regarding vacant land and open space. Mr. Brancheau said that designated open space is not considered vacant land; the land has to be reasonably developable for housing.
Mr. Brancheau said that the Board should keep in mind that the Village will have a rehabilitation obligation, that there may be additional obligation and that the Board will be starting on the housing plan and will need to understand what that obligation is.
9:08 p.m. – Resolution of Approval – Halwagy, 313-319 W. Glen Avenue, Block 1607, Lot 3- Ms. Price said that there were changes to the resolution emailed to the Board and explained the changes and technical revisions. The resolution was adopted with the revisions.
Approval of minutes from December 3, 2013 – The minutes were adopted as drafted.
9:12 p.m. – Discussion item – Ms. Price said that she sent a letter to the counsel representing the Church of God regarding their application which has been deemed incomplete and has been pending since May saying that the matter was going to be dismissed if the Board did not hear from them. Counsel for the applicant responded saying that they were going to submit revised plans from the engineer and asked for additional time. Ms. Price explained to the Board that the applicant is in violation of Village code at this time and had been issued summonses. Mr. Brancheau said he received the revised plans and that the applicant is now only seeking approval for improvements they have already done and that he has not yet reviewed the packet. Ms. Price said that the application should get before the Board as soon as possible. Mr. Brancheau suggested that the old application be dismissed without prejudice and accept the revised plans as a new application. The decision as to whether the application is complete and whether it should be considered as a new application will be made by July 15.
Ms. Price told the new Board members that they are required to be certified as having taken the mandatory education course for Board members within 18 months.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:27 p.m.
Date approved: May 17, 2016
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