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Candidates for Ridgewood Council air views at forum


Candidates for Ridgewood Council air views at forum

MAY 1, 2014    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2014, 1:20 AM

RIDGEWOOD — Voters will select two new members to the Village Council in just two weeks, so they packed a forum to meet the three candidates hoping to earn their support.

It was standing room only in Village Hall for Tuesday’s event, which was organized and hosted by the League of Women Voters.

James Albano, Susan Knudsen and Michael Sedon aired their individual views on a variety of village issues, ranging from Ridgewood’s decades-long parking dearth to Valley Hospital’s proposed expansion.

“I believe the idea of a stacked parking deck [as part of the plans] is very troubling and concerning,” Knudsen said of Valley’s proposal to nearly double in size, providing 454 private rooms with 12-foot-high ceilings.

“It will forever change the charm and character of the neighborhood,” said Knudsen, vice chairwoman of Board of Adjustment, who has lived in Ridgewood for 15 years.

Knudsen said the village ordinance providing “interested parties” the freedom to request changes to Ridgewood’s master plan “must be repealed.”

Sedon, a freelance journalist who once worked at the Ridgewood News, said it “is not OK to ask too much of your neighbors and overburden them, and this expansion project is doing that.”

Sedon has lived in the village with his wife and three children since 2010.

Albano, who lives in the neighborhood surrounding Valley Hospital, said hospital and village officials “need to find common ground” on the proposal, but agreed the “neighbors’ concerns need to come first.”

Albano, a 42-year Ridgewood resident, serves as board president of the Ridgewood Baseball Softball Association.

Parking problems have persisted in Ridgewood since “there have been automobiles,” Sedon said, adding that he supports installing second tiers for parking above existing lots in Ridgewood rather than a large parking garage in town that “will concentrate all the cars, concentrate all the traffic, and create havoc.”

Knudsen also supports a “two-tier parking system,” but also advocated “reconfiguring existing parking to get more spots.”

Albano said he thinks a parking garage in the Central Business District would help keep downtown vibrant.

All three candidates placed an importance on stabilizing taxes while maintaining service levels, and agreed government should be both sensible and efficient.

All three also agreed that three high-density, multiple-unit housing projects before the Planning Board would negatively affect the village and fundamentally change Ridgewood’s character.

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