July 21,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The Village Council repealed an ordinance that has in many residents eyes opened the door to unpopular village master plan amendments that included clearing the way for The Valley Hospital’s expansion and construction of high-density housing downtown.

The ordinance, No. 3066, was adopted in 2007 and states that “any interested party” can formally request amendments to either the master plan or its development regulations. The requests must be reviewed by the village, and the ordinance also outlines how a party must file such requests, as well as the fee structure for doing so.

Village Planner Blais Brancheau authored the ordinance nine years ago and has steadfastly claimed it was to “establish a clear procedure” for handling amendment requests and let the village charge the requesting party the cost of the professionals involved. Brancheau claims that without the ordinance, those costs would be carried by Ridgewood taxpayers.Critics of 3066 have long felt the Village had lost control of the planning process.

It was introduced by the Village Council under Mayor Pfund in 2007 (http://www.ridgewoodnj.net/minutes/07RPMJUN13.pdf ). Chapter § 190-143 of the amended Village Code is the kicker; it established procedures for interested persions (i.e. developers) to request amendments to the Village Master Plan or development regulations.

Council members Mancuso, Ringler Shagin, Wiest, and Pfund all voted in favor of the ordinance. Chapter § 190-143 is here http://ecode360.com/6694062 .

Over the years many residents argue that this should be repealed to ensure that we don’t see overdevelopment at Valley and in the CBD in terms of densities and building scale. It’s felt this will better protect our property values.

But last night the council agreed to repeal Ordinance 3066 once and for all in all its glory which will allow the Village to once again gain control of its own destiny and close the door on incongruous non conforming development. The final repeal will come in the August public meeting.