CITIZENS FOR A BETTER RIDGEWOOD, INC.

Next Planning Board meeting Thursday, January 29th, 7:30PM, RHS — FINAL NIGHT FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS!!!

• THURSDAY, JANUARY 29, 2015, in the RIDGEWOOD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT CENTER, 627 E. RIDGEWOOD AVENUE, RIDGEWOOD, NJ beginning AT 7:30 p.m.

Please mark your calendar and join us as we urge our planning board take a cautious approach to this Master Plan amendment. Public participation is an essential part of the Master Plan process! Please participate!!

On Thursday, January 29th the public will have its final opportunity to comment on the proposed change to the Master Plan Amendment that will INCREASE the housing density and the building heights that are currently allowed in downtown Ridgewood.

To be clear, the heart of the issue is not WHETHER to allow multi-family housing in Ridgewood — but rather TO WHAT EXTENT it should be permitted. We believe allowing the maximum of 40-50 units per acre is irresponsible, and that 40-50 units per acre is not the appropriate level of density for the Village of Ridgewood. A much lower density could be established that would provide public benefit yet mitigate some of the negative effects.

Furthermore, adopting the proposed Master Plan change as drafted would open the floodgates and have implications beyond the three multi-family housing proposals that are currently before the Planning Board. The zoning area under consideration includes 10+ acres, which if fully developed, could result in over 500 new apartments. What’s more, enacting these zoning changes could result in future requests by developers for similar treatment in other zones, or for density bonuses, reduced parking requirements, building height increases and other concessions that would have far-reaching effects.

What would we suggest?  
Rather than allowing a blanket consent of 40-50 units over a 10-acre zone, a more cautious approach would be to raise the permitted density to a base number that represents what currently exists in our CBD, approximately 22 units per acre. A higher density could be awarded on a case-by-case basis to a project that provides substantial public benefits or amenities, for example additional parking spaces for public use, traffic and/or pedestrian safety improvements, greater setbacks, green space, and ample set-aside for affordable housing.

Another option would be to wait until the next Master Plan Re-examination, which is scheduled for 2016. We strongly suggest that our Planning Board broaden the scope of the reexamination and draft an entirely new Comprehensive Master Plan. For almost 30 years our Village has been reacting and reexamining without setting forth a clear VISION for the future of Ridgewood. Many other communities have developed comprehensive plans and it is time for Ridgewood to do the same.

Needless to say… the proposed Master Plan Amendment has enormous implications for shaping the future of Ridgewood. We hope to see YOU and all of your friends and neighbors at the meeting on January 29th. Please join us and show that you care for our VILLAGE!

 Please read the report prepared by our town planner, Blais Brancheau. His report supports increasing the density in and around our CBD. He cites guidelines set forth by Sustainable NJ and NJ Transit to support this amendment.  

Master_Plan_Memo_Report_October_31_2014

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We believe it should be the mission of the Village Council to encourage                    development that promotes a healthy and vibrant downtown community while ensuring that Ridgewood remains a wonderful and exciting place to live, work, play and visit.  In order to achieve this, our Village must go about planning in a comprehensive manner.  Comprehensive planning typically encompasses a larger area, a broad range of topics and covers a long-term horizon. Comprehensive planning is strategic and visionary. Public participation is essential! Right now Ridgewood is undertaking piece-meal planning, not considering other issues (like parking, schools, services) and there seems to be zero vision.  We deserve better.

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 Citizens for a Better Ridgewood…

  • Favors economic growth for our downtown
  • Favors new housing that is appropriate in scale
  • Favors new housing designated for empty nesters and special needs residents, where there is an established need
  • Favors new parking solutions that support commerce
  • Favors more open space and athletic fields for our youth sports

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1)    Please read the Legal Report prepared by our Counsel  that was  submitted to the Planning Board in October 2013.  The report outlines our concerns with altering our Master Plan to allow for higher density zoning.

Legal Report 

2)          Please read the Planning Report prepared by our Professional Planner that was presented to the Planning Board in March 2014 for a comprehensive review of the implications of allowing higher density zoning. 

Planner’s report

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Mark your calendar!

Please attend the next Planning Board meeting!

When: January 6th, 7:30PM

Where: RHS Student Center

Agenda:  Public will listen in as the board  continues to question our Village planner.  When they are finished, our attorney will get to question the planner.

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Please understand that…

• CBR, Inc. continues to attend Planning Board meetings with a lawyer and professional planner to encourage the PB to proceed cautiously with any high-density zoning changes.

• CBR, Inc. hopes that all of our efforts for the past 20 months will somehow influence our PB and that they will consider the long-term consequences when they create a new zone. We respect our PB members and have tried to present a calm and thoughtful perspective.

• CBR, Inc. has never tried to shut down development in our town. We recognize the importance of progress and realize that thoughtful development, guided by research and thorough studies, is essential in helping any community move forward.

• CBR, Inc. is wary of planning that is driven by stakeholders with little input from the community. As a result of the Village of Ridgewood Ordinance 3066, our villagers have little say in a process that is set up to benefit those who have the most money to hire the best lawyers, planners and experts.

• We would like to see this ordinance overturned by our new council. This will not shut down development, but instead will allow our PB and Council, not the stakeholders, to decide what is best for Ridgewood within a process where residents are given a voice.

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Thank you, once again, for your continued support.

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