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Ridgewood Village Council Moves to Repeal Controversial Ordinance 3066

Ridgewood Village Council

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Ridgewood NJ, The Village Council repealed an ordinance that has in many residents eyes opened the door to unpopular village master plan amendments that included clearing the way for The Valley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Over the years many residents argue that this should be repealed to ensure that we don’t see overdevelopment at Valley and in the CBD in terms of densities and building scale.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.

9 thoughts on “Ridgewood Village Council Moves to Repeal Controversial Ordinance 3066

  1. Thought that was just first reading, no?

  2. Remember Aronson’s campaign promise that he would repeal the ordinance? Not only did he fail to do so, he went out of his way to abuse it for the benefit of his cronies.

    We need to remember things like this so that next time we don’t allow ourselves to be lead so far astray.

    At any rate, Pfund’s folly is now gone!

  3. yes true august public meeting is the final repeal

  4. When does Pfund’s contract as municipal judge expire?

  5. Important to realize what 3066 actually did.

    3066 removed a powerful poison pill provision the Village possessed against such developments. The Village could ‘claim’ not to have funds to conduct detailed studies and hence not move forward with or delay approval of any zone amendments.

    Superficially, allowing petitioners to pay for the studies is a fiscally responsible move. But the aim was to kill the poison pill the Village possessed.

  6. Next up, challenging Valley’s not-for-profit status and using their annual property taxes and back taxes to reduce property taxes for all residents.

  7. Next up – remove the concrete blocks.

  8. 1:21 I agree with you 100%.

  9. Big Al The developers Friend tries to remain relevant like his Amigo Paul A. . He was on the Planning Board when this was passed. What he will never understand that he will not ever hold public office in Ridgewood again.

    The folly surrounding Ordinance 3066

    To the editor,

    I wonder if the people who support the call for the repeal of “Pfund’s Folly” – Ordinance 3066 – have taken the trouble to read it. Our Mayor claims that the Ordinance strips power from the Planning Board which should be able to refuse applications as it sees fit. The Ordinance has been blamed for the pending destruction of the charm and character of Ridgewood. It has been vilified as a developer’s tool to ransack our land. It has been the mantra of elected officials who campaigned for its repeal and now espouse repeal “to regain the public trust”.

    But like those elusive weapons of mass destruction, the sinister attributes of this Ordinance are nowhere to be found. To the contrary, it is a tool that empowers our Planning Board and Council and makes clear that their powers to decide or even to consider applications to amend our master plan or zoning ordinances are wholly within their discretion. The Ordinance did not create a right for developers to petition to amend the master plan or zoning regulations. They have this right, as indeed we all do, with or without Ordinance 3066. But it did shift to them the costs associated with any such petition.

    For persons who doubt my conclusions, I refer you to the text of the Ordinance codified in Sections 190-143 and 144 of our Village Code. The text is, after all, what is at issue. Far from “Folly”, the procedure for dealing with such applications is clearly set out in the Ordinance, If they are followed, an applicant cannot challenge the process. The Planning Board and Council, after reviewing an application, are expressly empowered “to take whatever action they deem to be appropriate under the circumstances”. That includes the right to decide not to proceed further to a hearing. The Ordinance is clear that applicants will pay costs associated with their applications. How is this bad for the people of Ridgewood?

    I recall that in 2015, Susan Knudsen, then my fellow Council person, led a review process with then Mayor Aronsohn, Planning Board Chair, Charles Nalbantian, Planning Board Attorney, Gail Price and Village Planner, Blaise Brancheau. Following that review, all five Council members agreed that the Ordinance should not be repealed, but perhaps be slightly revised for purposes of clarification. Mayor Knudsen, citing the manner in which the Ordinance has been applied, now supports repeal.

    So to Judge Pfund, then Mayor Pfund, and his fellow Council Members who adopted this Ordinance in 2007, this Ridgewood citizen thanks you. Further I encourage you not to be disheartened by all the noise surrounding this Ordinance that has been the stuff of political sloganeering. By the time this letter is published, the Council will likely have initiated repeal in a vote that may even evoke cheers from the audience. You did your part and someday perhaps another Council will recognize the value of Ordinance 3066 and reinstate it for the good of all of us.

    Albert Pucciarelli

    Ridgewood
    Tags:
    Opinion: Letters to the Editor | Ridgewood
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