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Hearing on Valley Hospital postponed when too many people show up


Hearing on Valley Hospital postponed when too many people show up
Thursday, August 22, 2013    Last updated: Thursday August 22, 2013, 7:27 AM
The Record

RIDGEWOOD — Opponents of the proposed expansion at The Valley Hospital are frustrated and angry that they have to wait another six weeks to present their case after a public hearing was abruptly canceled when village officials decided the room had become overcrowded.

After seven months of listening to experts hired by Valley testify before the Planning Board in favor of the hospital’s proposal to expand to nearly 1 million square feet, opponents were supposed to get their turn Tuesday night.

Instead, the meeting was shut down when officials said there were too many people in the room at Village Hall, violating fire codes.

“I think this was strategic — we rallied and they want us to just go away,” said Angele Ekert, a resident and one of the opponents who tried to attend the meeting.

Many previous hearings on the issue had been held in large halls at the middle and high schools. This meeting was scheduled in a room that officials said could not hold the approximately 130 who wanted to attend. Opponents pointed out that many more people had been in the same room during other events, like the village reorganization meeting, and those had not been adjourned.

Village officials said they did not realize so many people would attend the hearing. “We’ve been having hearings since April and haven’t had this issue before,” Kathryn Razin, attorney for the Planning Board, said on Wednesday. “The board had no reason to anticipate anything differently last night.”

Board Chairman Charles Nalbantian said they considered trying to use some type of technology to include people standing outside the room but felt it wouldn’t allow complete public participation.

The debacle harkened back to another mishap at a Planning Board hearing on the same issue. In June 2010, the Planning Board moved its meeting to a small auditorium at George Washington Middle School for its vote on a previous hospital expansion plan. So many people were locked out that police from three towns had to help local officers get control of the crowd.

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4 thoughts on “Hearing on Valley Hospital postponed when too many people show up

  1. Hey………….they might be selling tickets for the next meeting Sept. 30th…. perhaps, they can raise enough for police and firemen overtime.

  2. Does Valley pay for the Village services associated with the PB expansion request? The time and effort of Gail and Blaise and others must be 7 figures.

  3. Hey #1 if they hired enough cops they wouldn’t have to pay overtime.

  4. Yes Valley does pay for the costs of the planning board associated with their application. When they initially filed (six years or so ago) CRR filed a counter amendment and had to drop it because all of the costs were being split 50/50. So, could you imagine what that bill would be now? I don’t know what Ms. Price gets as attorney to the PB but I’m sure she alone has made a bundle!

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