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Planning Board Meeting, May 6th 2008 - Summary
the planning board meeting May 6th, it became clear that this process is going to
take several more months before it is goes to a vote. During the course of the
professional’s reports, the Planning Board raised some specific concerns that
will require further investigation and will take time. Below is a summary of
some of the issues that were raised by the planning board and the planning
- Justification: All zoning regulations need to
promote a “public purpose”. While hospitals do promote the public purpose
and often given special status, there is always a balance that must be
struck against the negatives that will result. The negatives also include
the long construction phase. Construction standards to regulate the
negatives would need to be added to the ordinances if they were passed.
- Affordable Housing: If the Valley expansion is
approved, 60 new affordable housing units would need to be constructed for
lower income tenants. While Valley has said that they would carry the cost
of these ($10 million+), the problem is where would they go? Ridgewood
would have to rezone an existing zone to allow them to be built.
- Road Widening: The corner of Linwood Ave and Van
Dien is currently at “D” grade intersection (Scale: A=zero wait time, F=80
seconds wait time or more). This is based on the peak traffic time that
occurs every day at about 3pm when the hospital shift change occurs and BF
school comes out. If the Valley expansion is approved, the county would
have to approve the site plan and it is expected that the county would
then insist that the intersection be upgraded and the road widened. The
Village Engineer was asked to approach the county for clarification. The
other consideration is that if the intersection is improved, it could
attract more traffic away from other streets.
- Parking: The professional employed by the Village
to review the traffic study is “not buying” the Hospital claims about
limited growth in vehicle traffic. More work needs to be done and he was
asked to get more information from the hospital. The Village Planner also
said that more parking is needed. The implication is that might require a
second story be placed on the proposed parking garage on Linwood Ave.
- Visual Impact: The Planner conceded that the
proposal would have a significant visual impact. If the road is widened,
then the setbacks of 40 feet would be reduced to 28 feet. The implication
would be that there then would not be enough room for adequate vegetation
buffers. The Village Engineer said that buffer details should be
specifically added to any ordinances. The Planning Board also asked for
further clarification on Valley’s need for the extra roof equipment height
and the 2 feet between floors.
- Traffic: A peak times the hospital generates 800
car trips per hour according to the traffic engineer. This will increase,
but the predicted amount has yet to be determined. Pedestrian safety could
be improved on Linwood and Van Dien.
- Zoning Changes:
- Valley is also asking for a Zoning change to
incorporate a childcare facility.
- The Village Engineer said that, while Valley is not
asking for it today, he could see a future where Valley wants to expand
by purchasing homes. This has zoning implications.
Ridgewood can handle the increased sewer needs of an expanded hospital,
storm water run-off is problematic and would need to be handled by some
on-site temporary storage, treatment system and seepage tank.
- Construction Practices: Establishing construction
ordinances with penalties to control; deliveries, truck idling,
construction times and staging material off-site would be needed to
enforce any Construction Agreements.
- Environmental: The Village Engineer suggested that
the following items should be added to the ordinances: noise abatement,
positive noise cancelling, air quality, vehicle idling, dust emission,
grey water for irrigation, solar panel and green building practices.
- Control: The mayor expressed concern over the fact
that there would need to be changes in the ordinances to ensure that the
Planning Board still had control after approval as once it reached the
site planning phase, the Village would no longer be able to insist on compliance.
was good to hear that many of the concerns that have been raised by the
Concerned Residents of Ridgewood are now being looked at. However, the devil is
in the details! Two points that came across strongly were that the impact on
the immediate neighbors would be greater than at first considered and that the
affordable housing issue and its impact on all of Ridgewood, has no simple