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Keep an open mind on new housing


Keep an open mind on new housing

APRIL 4, 2014    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, APRIL 4, 2014, 12:31 AM

Keep an open mind on new housing
Ed Sullivan

to the editor:

The year 1915 saw great change in Ridgewood when the first multifamily building went up at 263 Franklin Ave., where it still stands today. As demand grew, six more apartment complexes were added through the 1920s.

“Will these new apartments destroy our village?” residents must have asked.

Sound familiar? With a Master Plan amendment currently before the Ridgewood Planning Board, this question has emerged again.

The apartment building history of Ridgewood shows a pattern: The first apartments went up 90-100 years ago. Responding to post-war demand, a second wave of 15 complexes followed during the 1950s-60s.

With each wave, Ridgewood embraced the new while preserving the “old.” History tells us that Ridgewood has a wonderful capacity to adapt to the times while maintaining its excellent schools, charming character and vibrant downtown.

Fifty years after the last significant apartment build-out, new demographic forces are driving a third round, driven by baby boomers and young people.

Empty nesters and baby boomers like me are downsizing at an accelerating pace, but we do not wish to live in a senior community.

Today’s active boomers and retirees desire a modern, high-end option, with amenities and conveniences that come with a walkable downtown setting.

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4 thoughts on “Keep an open mind on new housing

  1. Empty Nesters and Baby boomers in town will not live in high density housing along the railroad tracks. It will not happen.

  2. Wanna bet ? It already IS happening in higher end towns in New Jersey. Check out Westfield and Summit for starters.

  3. Never before have the Ridgewood BOE and municipal budgets ever been stretched so thin. During each of those waves in Ridgewood’s growth you mention above the BOE was still able to maintain their buildings and absorb the growth that resulted from these apartments. That is no longer the case. Our budget cannot afford to repair our current buildings, hire more teachers or build more classrooms. Unless you are looking for another $48 million dollar bond referendum in less than 5 years.
    As a parent, I am tired of paying taxes and then being told that I need to raise money to pay for an outdated and unsafe playground, or new risers to replace the unsafe 30 year old ones for my child’s vocal concert or buy non-fiction books to fill the classroom libraries. All of that was covered by our BOE budget before years and years of this gradual growth.
    All this growth also occurred before our streets were so filled with cars that even the traffic experts say we can’t handle one more car on our streets. I’m not sure how many pedestrians were hit by cars back then, but I’m guessing it was less than half the number we have today.
    The point is, what is being proposed is a change to the Master Plan which would allow for enormous and sudden growth. Nothing like what you outlined above.

  4. Is anyone thinking that, as detailed in this post, the inventory of apartments in Ridgewood is old with limited ability to modernize because of the types of buildings that were the style in 1915 and again in the 1950’s are not want people want today? Is anyone thinking that newer and more modern style apartment will attract young professionals who want to start a life in Ridgewood and empty nesters who want to stay in Ridgewood? That combination will bring a vibrancy to Ridgewood so this will not just be a village with parents of school age children who leave when the kids graduate.
    As a parent, I find the box of kleenex on the back to school supply list offensive beyond words but I do it and for our children, we write cheeks all year long for teams, field trips, concerts, book fairs, etc., etc. It is called the cost of living in a Village with high expectations for the schools. It is the cost of living so close to NYC.
    I don’t understand the poisonous anti-development sentiment and the yard signs that imply the end of the world as we know it if things change.

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