November 14,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Pete Mckenna President of Concerned Residents of Ridgewood, commented on the Valley Hospital Settlement, “As I mentioned to the Village Council when this was on their agenda, our long local nightmare has ended.  Much of the credit for this outcome is due to the work of mayors Knudsen, Killion and Aronsohn over the past many years.  When this expansion was first introduced to then Mayor Pfund and his council it seemed like a done deal.  Fortunately for the people of Ridgewood, common sense and rational land-use planning have prevailed.  While this settlement is predicated on Valley receiving approval to move to Paramus from the State Department of Health, no obvious impediments to that approval happening have surfaced and it is expected to come in the months ahead.  ”

McKenna went on ,”The settlement itself is a win-win for all those involved.  The current litigation involved four parties, The Village, The Planning Board, Valley Hospital and CRR.  All of the preceding and current legal actions were essentially consolidated into a single action being heard in the Appellate Division in Trenton.  With the agreed upon settlement, CRR and all of the parties retain all the legal rights they have today should the state approval of Valley’s move not occur.  If Valley’s move to Paramus is approved, the underlying issues of the lawsuit will have been addressed and there is no reason to continue litigation.  Once approved to move the acute care hospital to Paramus, The Planning Board and Village will amend the Master Plan and Village Ordinances respectively to make the existing facility in Ridgewood “conforming”.  The Ridgewood property today is “non-conforming” as much of the building over the previous decades has been by variance.  By aligning the Master Plan and Ordinances with the existing facility size we provide the property owner and the community a greater sense of certainty about what can happen on that site. While the current facility has about 400,000 sq. feet of space above grade, the Master Plan that was being litigated would have allowed 1,000,000 sq. feet above grade on the same property.  Knowing that we are working with a baseline that is 40% of the previously approved Master Plan is a huge comfort to me and should be to all Ridgewood residents.  While there remains much work to be done to determine what health-related services will be performed at this location after the 2023 move to Paramus, I am optimistic that a workable compromise can be reached.  CRR needs to conduct what I hope to be our last fund-raising drive to pay the attorneys that helped make this settlement a reality. ”