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New Jersey high-rises aren’t as fire safe as you think

Ridgewood_Firefighters_Quickly_Snuff_Out_theridgewood blog

file photo by Boyd Loving

by New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NJFSAB)

Ridgewood NJ, Fatal fires in high-rise buildings continue to demonstrate the dangers associated with failing to install fire sprinkler systems. These buildings present unique challenges to fire departments and pose a serious danger to their occupants if fire sprinkler systems are not in place.

Continue reading New Jersey high-rises aren’t as fire safe as you think

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Reader says , “Expect more people to turn careless as Ridgewood evolves into a full scale Hackensack “


file photo by Boyd Loving

Expect more people to turn careless as RW evolves into a full scale Hackensack. RW management will make sure to accelerate this transformation. Even myself who am super neighborhood friendly and squeaky clean have started to not pay attention anymore. Have you see how sanitation does not pick up your garbage unless your bin is on the curb?
BUT at least Mr Mayor paid for a corner in NY Post to show the world that RW is the gem of Bergen County. Mayor is in real estate so he knows where to advertise. We’re so lucky.

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Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi : Raising Legitimate Concerns Over Court Forced Development is Not Racism

CBD high density housing

July 28,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

River Vale NJ, Holly Schepisi (New Jersey State Assemblywoman for District 39 )” I will say this as clearly as possible. The current system does not work properly for anyone. Because I want the legislature to do its job and implement better policies for our communities does not make me a racist or xenophobic as stated by Kevin Walsh, the Fair Share Housing head. I am committed to focusing on providing affordability in housing for all that need it, including our seniors, our veterans, our disabled, new home owners, people who have lost their jobs or have a medical issue and the poor of all races. I do not care what race, religion, ethnicity, political affiliation you identify with. If you want to be my neighbor I will welcome you with open arms. What I do not want is to have every last piece of green space in the already most dense state paved over with 1,000 unit complexes. These units are being forced to be built by Fair Share Housing in communities with no public transportation, no jobs, no infrastructure, all volunteer fire and ambulance corps while increasing populations of small communities by 30 percent or more. Excising concerns about these real life issues is not racism. Calling it such is outrageous. “

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NJ Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee Hosts Forced Developement Lobby

CBD high density housing

July 25,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,  Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee Chair Benjie Wimberly will convene a Wednesday hearing to discuss the issue of affordable housing. The committee will receive testimony from invited speakers and the public.

In an effort to start a fresh discussion on housing concerns, Wimberly plans to hold similar forums throughout New Jersey.
“It is no secret that the cost of living in New Jersey is among the highest in the nation. And, currently, we are at an all-time high in terms of demand for affordable housing,” Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “We face a severe shortage of affordable homes in our state. This concerns us as a legislative body and committee.”

Among the invited guests for tomorrow’s hearing: Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, Fair Share Housing Center, the New Jersey Apartment Association and Community Investment strategies.
Audio of the hearing will be streamed at

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Bramnick announces rally against state-imposed, high-density housing

Bramnick announces rally against state-imposed, high-density housing

July 10,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

WESTFIELD N.J. ,Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union)  announced plans for a rally against state-imposed, high-density housing at a town hall meeting tonight in Cranford. The rally will be held on the steps of the Statehouse Annex on Thursday, September 20 at 10 a.m.

Jon Bramnick  , “We cannot allow the Courts to require our towns to build thousands of residential units without regard to the impact on schools, traffic and property taxes. The legislature must act immediately. Both democrats and republicans agree that action is needed now and at the very least a moratorium on litigation until the legislature acts. Local zoning laws should be respected.”


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Paramus rejects proposal to build a mutifamily housing development near New Bridge Medical Center

over developement

December 11,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Paramus NJ, on Thursday night Paramus officials rejected a proposal to build a mutifamily housing development near New Bridge Medical Center. The Paramus Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously denied Highview Homes’ application to build a 35-unit development on a nearly 2-acre lot on Sorbello Road. The Red Bank-based applicant sought multiple variances, including for multifamily use and height.

According to the “We Are Paramus ” Facebook page , “Great job by the zoning board for hearing the voice of 3,711 residents that voted to stop high density housing in our borough. Thank you for putting the residents first and not the over developing machine!” Others argued that , “This vote is a direct result of the master plan which was passed well before this years election.”

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Reader Says My hat goes off to Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi but she seems to be lonely in this fight Against Over Development

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi

My hat goes off to her but she seems to be lonely in this fight. I don’t see any uproar from anybody else on the Republican side at least. Democ-rats agenda will continue the path of destruction in the name of socialism. Socialism tries to narrow the gap by destroying the rich so they can come come closer to the poor levels instead of trying to bring up the poor and increase their standards. In the end Bergen County and Ridgewood in particular will suffer terribly. We live in times of sadomasochism. These libs don’t care that even their living standards will go down and that of their children as long as their brain is happy with bringing “equality” to the world.

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Maybe its time to build large-scale apartment/condo structures out of non-combustible construction

CBD high density housing

August 2,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Edgewater NJ, One year ago today, a fast-moving fire sparked by a maintenance worker’s blowtorch climbed up the walls and through unsprinklered spaces of the Avalon Edgewater apartment complex.

The blaze was first reported at 4:22 p.m. on Jan. 21, 2015, sending 500 first responders to the Russell Avenue complex.

Before it was over, the fire destroyed 240 of the 408 units, displacing 500 people who lived in apartments and another 520 residents from nearby homes affected by the fire. Firefighters rescued three people from smoke-filled apartments. No one was killed and only minor injuries were reported.

In the many months since the fire, there have been efforts both to compensate residents who lost everything and to make changes to building codes.

Maybe its time to build large-scale apartment/condo structures out of non-combustible construction, not wood?

Why are reforms needed ? The area limits long established in code for wood buildings have been circumvented, and now phony wood “buildings,” defined by coreboard fire assemblies, which do not work to contain massive fires, are being constructed inside much larger detached wood structures, the size of city blocks or larger.

The unintended consequences are massive fires that, in a single fire start, destroy entire detached wood structures, and as many as hundreds of wood apartment homes within them, entire neighborhoods, or communities as their developers call them. These conflagrations are endangering densely populated areas.

Fire departments have given up on saving the properties, and after rescuing people inside, stay outside spraying water on top of the structure from tall ladders that sit atop very expensive fire trucks which municipalities purchase. The lightweight wood that is used to construct these huge wood residential structures collapses very quickly when burning, and firefighters fight these fires defensively because it is too dangerous to remain inside the buildings.

Why not build beautifully designed and affordable non-combustible apartment/condo buildings in New Jersey? Long-lasting construction is sustainable. The highly combustible, lightweight wood apartment megablocks that are currently in fashion in New Jersey are not. These disposable buildings are not sustainable, nor affordable, in the long-term.

Here is a cost study comparison between lightweight wood construction and non-combustible. The study prices out different methods of construction and shows costs of construction 3-5% higher, or even comparable, for non-combustible construction as compared to lightweight wood construction.

Johnathan Arnold is the developer for the very green, affordable, and non-combustible River Market development in downtown Kansas City. Thick concrete walls mean apartments/condos will be quiet. For drawing of project click here: .

Developer Jonathan Arnold; “The idea is to build buildings the way we used to, which tended to last hundreds of years. We decided to build 2nd and Delaware so that it would be, one, long lasting, and offer a quality of life often times not found in apartments, and then bring a level of energy efficiency to the building that would make a significant dent on the buildings carbon emissions and address things like climate change.”

“We got the idea for the project approximately three years ago when we starting working with the United Nations and learning about all the tools that are available for sustainable development, and we decided let’s stop talking about it and put them all together in one building.” See Jonathan Arnold speaking about the project in this video.

Instead of using non-combustible construction for large-scale apartment/condo structures, two technological fixes have been proposed — (1) using commercial fire suppression systems in these huge lightweight wood residential structures and (2) requiring masonry firewalls instead of coreboard fire barriers. However, these two fixes alone would not prevent the regular conflagrations that are occurring across in the country, in occupied, near-completion, and under-construction enormous wood residential complexes.

(1) Requiring commercial NFPA 13 fire suppression rather than the residential NFPA 13R standard, which does not require sprinklers or materials to prevent fire spread in the attic, would help prevent fires.

But, sprinklers do not always work.

According to the organization which analyzes our fire statistics, the National Fire Protection Association, sprinklers only operate effectively 87% of the time. And this does not include failures due to improper maintenance or the lack of an adequate water supply.

In addition to the failure of sprinklers in occupied buildings, sprinklers are not operational (nor are fire barriers) during construction, and massive fires occur frequently in large-scale, highly combustible, lightweight wood residential structures that are under construction. The Los Angeles 2014 conflagration in an under-construction, over 500 unit, apartment complex caused $80 million in damages to a city-owned high-rise next door and closed two freeways. National code expert Jay Hall wrote to us that the under-construction complex in LA that burned was constructed of fire retardant treated wood (FRTW). Although the fire retardant chemicals slow the initial start of a fire, once FRTW starts burning, it can create conflagrations just like untreated wood.

‘Tower of fire’ destroys L.A. apartment complex under construction, Los Angeles Times, Dec 8, 2014,

Furthermore, there are fires that start on the exterior of a structure and run up to the roof, never activating sprinklers, like the massive fire in Edmonton Canada in 2015 where 100 lightweight wood homes were destroyed. See the Edmonton fire:

Another example of sprinklers not preventing a massive fire is the conflagration that occurred in 2015 in Edgewater NJ, when plumbing work ignited highly combustible wood beams in the walls, where there are no sprinklers (and will not be even with a commercial NFPA 13 system). The fire ran through the walls for some time with little evidence of fire (no smoke) before the magnitude of the fire was even recognized by firefighters. See video of Edgewater Fire Chiefs and Investigator discussing that fire in which 240 luxury apartment homes were lost, 500 people displaced permanently and 500 more displaced temporarily. (Edgewater fire officials from 4 mins to 45 mins.)

An earlier devastating fire in the same Edgewater complex in 2000 destroyed soon-to-be-open luxury apartment structures, with 408 units, in which sprinklers were not yet active. The lightweight wood conflagration spread to occupied buildings nearby and destroyed 9 surrounding homes.

(2) Replacing coreboard fire assemblies with through-the-roof solid masonry firewalls would also help to prevent the spread of massive fires between interior wood “buildings” in these huge highly combustible apartment/condo structures.

However, wind-driven fires leap even through-the-roof masonry firewalls.

Building highly combustible wood frame residential structures the size of city blocks, no matter what technology is employed to keep them from burning, or how carefully inspections are performed, puts the public at risk for conflagrations in heavily populated areas and for large losses of homes in a single fire start.

Many of these lightweight wood conflagrations occur when structures are either under construction or near completion, when fire barriers may not yet be in place and sprinklers are not activated. These conflagrations spread and destroy or severely damage nearby occupied buildings.

The solution cannot depend solely on fire barriers and sprinklers alone; the size of these lightweight wood structures needs to be limited in area as well as height, so as to limit the size of massive fires and prevent conflagrations in heavily populated areas. It has long been acknowledged that large-scale structures should be built of non-combustible materials, which are affordable and sustainable.

The cost to the taxpayer in fighting these lightweight wood conflagrations, which occur regularly across the country, and the cost to residents in insurance premiums and the loss of their homes and possessions, means that public and individual finance suffers for the profit of developers, often large sophisticated corporations.

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Phil Murphy Funding the Over Development Push in New Jersey

phill murphy over developement
July 29,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, no surprise here that state Democrats are funding over building in Bergen County and looking to destroy the quality of life ,turning the county into another borough of Manhattan .

“Anyone who follows me knows I have been fighting to bring rational discussion to the over development crisis impacting most of our communities. As a result I have been labeled a racist, xenophobe and a whole host of awful and untrue things by a non profit organization Fair Share Housing Development. Imagine my surprise today when I saw that their top donor list includes gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy! And we wonder why our communities are receiving no help from their representatives in Trenton.” , Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi .

In Ridgewood this blog has long warned of over development , even warning residents to not vote for  a Hudson County Mayor .
Unfortunately the warnings went unheeded and after the “3 amigos ” reign of terror in the Village is now faced with 4 major high density housing developments  that will deplete the Village of Resources , pressure water,sewer, fire ,police and education as well as lower property values  and increase tax rates.

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Lawyers Spar Over Ex-Judge Wolfson’s Affordable Housing Role

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Douglas Wolfson

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Douglas Wolfson

Michael Booth, New Jersey Law Journal

Lawyers argued Monday over whether a former state judge who handled affordable housing cases should have at least one of his rulings overturned because of his relationship with a developer.

In Trenton, a lawyer for South Brunswick Township squared off against a half-dozen others representing developers and affordable-housing advocates. The township is seeking to have affordable housing rulings made by now-retired Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Douglas Wolfson vacated because of what it alleges is the appearance of a conflict of interest: Wolfson’s acceptance of vacations from, and current representation of, Edgewood Properties.

While on the bench, Wolfson handled litigation involving the township, but not Edgewood Properties, according to documents. And Wolfson recused from cases that came before him involving Edgewood.

Nevertheless, Wolfson for years has had personal and professional ties to Edgewood, and South Brunswick claims Wolfson’s decisions in other affordable housing cases could work in favor of Edgewood or its primary owner, Jack Morris, even though he has no projects pending in the township.