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Reader says It is Time for Ridgewood to Appeal the Valley Ruling

Valleywood_theridgewoodblog

Appeal, yes, but the town may also wish to obtain a stay the part of the ruling that requires the Council to adopt the specified ordinance. The latter is no mean feat. Final judgments and orders from New Jersey Superior Court trial court judges are extremely difficult to “dislodge”. Appellate Division judges have to practically be charmed to within an inch of their lives before agreeing to block implementation of a trial court’s judgment pending final appellate disposition. The whole system is more or less designed to front load power at the trial court level rather than at the apellate level. Hard to see why things must be arranged this way but thems the facts and Ridgewood must deal with them squarely.

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Ruling: Ridgewood must comply with master plan amendment

Valleywood_theridgewoodblog

BY ALEXANDRA HOEY
STAFF WRITER
THE RIDGEWOOD NEWS

RIDGEWOOD – Superior Court Judge Lisa Perez Friscia issued an opinion last Thursday, which gives the village 90 days to adopt an ordinance consistent with The Valley Hospital 2016 master plan amendment adopted in April by the Planning Board.

Valley Hospital, which is surrounded by homes in an otherwise residential neighborhood, plans to nearly double in size, from 565,000 square feet to 961,000 square feet, which will create 451 one-patient rooms.

https://www.northjersey.com/community-news/town-government/ruling-village-must-comply-with-master-plan-amendment-1.1627638

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Reader says ,Valley in Ridgewood has already lost – Hackensack is the regional hospital of choice

Bike Valley theridgewoodblog.net 71

Valley has already lost – Hackensack is the regional hospital of choice. Valley (and their arrogant supporters) just seem to want to win their battle with Ridgewood. Fact is, in order to have had any shot against Hackensack, they needed to have finished this expansion years ago but they’re still battling that handful of pesky neighbors that don’t know what’s good for them.

Next up – Real Estate Taxes!

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Reader questions if Valley Hospital is “inherently beneficial ”

Bike Valley theridgewoodblog.net 71

Pete

We all appreciate the uphill battle against a major business and the law that Corzine pushed through that eliminates any sort of evaluation of whether an institution with an “inherently beneficial ” usage is necessary.

Previously, it was a factor but not THE factor in zoning decisions. Clearly in this case it doesn’t make sense. There are multiple fine hospitals within 10 miles of here. There is clearly no lack of need.

Valley is a tough adversary. Clearly money is of no object to them. They buy up millions of dollars of languishing real estate and then they complain they are struggling.

Come on.

They have the real estate they need in Paramus now They should use it. It makes more sense for a “regional” hospital to build between two major highways in a commercial zone rather than on a small lot in a residential neighborhood. Princeton is the best example of what a good neighbor hospital would do- move to the highway when they outgrew their lot a few years ago.

Let’s bring this fight to the next level. Maybe now we can get Hackensack to chip in some more money, if they haven’t already.

Thanks.

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“I think this decision should have a chilling impact on municipalities across the state”, CRR ‘s Pete Mckenna

Valleywood_theridgewoodblog

july 2,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, CRR ‘s Pete Mckenna commented to the Ridgewood blog on the recent ruling ,that Ridgewood has 90 days to clear way for Valley Hospital expansion .

“The Judge’s decision is disappointing, but not surprising given the way she conducted these hearings.

I think this decision should have a chilling impact on municipalities across the state.  If this decision is upheld it would indicate that localities have no say in controlling land-use within their borders if a hospital is involved.

If Ridgewood isn’t permitted to determine that 1 million square feet of building is too much for this sensitive site, than what are municipalities to do when applicants come forward with plans that are completely out of sync with their surroundings?

The Judge relied on the flawed 2016 Master Plan Amendment that is the subject of CRR’s current litigation.”

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N.J. judge: Ridgewood has 90 days to clear way for Valley Hospital expansion

Valleywood_theridgewoodblog

BY STEVE JANOSKI
STAFF WRITER |
THE RECORD

RIDGEWOOD — A state judge ruled Thursday that the Village Council has 90 days to adopt an ordinance putting into effect master plan changes that clear the way for a vast expansion by The Valley Hospital, or else the hospital may “move to enforce” her decision through a court-appointed special master.

The ruling, issued by state Superior Court Judge Lisa Perez Friscia, said the council ordinance must be consistent with April Planning Board approvals allowing the hospital to nearly double in size, from 565,000 square feet to 961,000.

https://www.northjersey.com/news/n-j-judge-ridgewood-has-90-days-to-clear-way-for-valley-hospital-expansion-1.1624628

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Justice Department investigating Toms River’s zoning laws

VillageHall_floods_theridgewoodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Toms River’s zoning laws affecting religious land uses, including the Board of Adjustment’s requirement that a rabbi obtain a use variance to continue operating his Church Road home as a house of worship. Jean Mikle, Asbury Park Press Read more

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Ridgewood Councilwomen Gwenn Hauck strikes again?

gwenn hauck

May 13,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Make sure you see page B1 of The Ridgewood News, issue date:  05/13/2016 (Friday the 13th of all things).

There, in the left center of the page, you will find a photograph of Ridgewood Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck posing with Anastasios Kozaitis, President of The Valley Hospital Foundation, and Audrey Meyers, President and CEO of The Valley Hospital and Valley Health System.
The photograph’s caption indicates it was taken during a fundraising event for The Valley Hospital Foundation. Councilwoman Hauck was apparently an attendee at said event (whether by personal invitation or self registration is unknown).
You will no doubt recall that Councilwoman Hauck was one of two individuals who represented Village of Ridgewood taxpayers during mediation sessions held with respect to The Valley Hospital’s “Renewal” project. The other was Councilwoman Susan Knudsen.
In light of her past role as a mediator representing Village Taxpayers, the staff of The Ridgewood Blog questions the appropriateness of Councilwoman Hauck posing with Mr. Kozaitis and Ms. Meyers at the noted venue.
Is it just us, or is this rather bizarre?
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What can Valley Hospital do to improve its “bad neighbor” image with Ridgewood residents?

valley construction

 

photo by Dana Glazer

April 8,2016

Council Candidate Jeff Voigt

Ridgewood Nj, Based on the 2016 H zone Master Plan amendment being passed by the planning board – where does this leave Valley in the view of the Village residents? Many view Valley as a very bad neighbor – it pays no property taxes, doesn’t tell us its long term intentions, and filed a lawsuit against the planning boardand town council in order to achieve its expansion aims. Valley certainly has a public relations problem which it needs to address. So what can Valley do to improve its image and commitment to the Village of Ridgewood?

Here are some suggestions:

 In a recent conversation I had with Jim Griffith, Village resident, Jim suggested that Valley should start investing more $$$ in the Village. This could be done potentially with the new NJ requirement for Valley to pay property taxes (even though they are a non-profit). However,rather than just giving the Village the tax dollars, Valley should make known to all residents its financial commitment to issues important to the Village such as Parks and Recreation. While Ipartially agree with Jim, I would also content that Valley is a very profitable non-profit hospital (see their December 31, 2014 financials on line; Baker Tilly, auditor’s report). Therefore as a“good neighbor” Valley should pay their fair share of property taxes. This would have amounted to $4.5 million based on their 15.5 acre campus (based on the Village tax assessor estimates). Recent suits in NJ have opened the door for non-profits to pay their fair share of taxes; as perabove. It would also be nice however, if Valley would become more involved in the Village’s interests, above and beyond paying its fair share of taxes.

 Valley might consider having a Village resident on its board of Trustees (ideally a voting member), who in turn could report back to the Village on Valley. There are several committed Village residents who would do a really good job at this. This person(s) would serve the interests of the Village and help in building a partnership with Valley.

 Valley should have a Village resident intimately involved in the planning and implementation of the hospital expansion/construction. Again there are several people in our Village, living near Valley, who would be great candidates for this.

 Valley could develop a series of educational programs such as “good health programs” for the schools and teach them. These might include nutrition, healthy living/lifestyles, exercise programs, etc.

The key for Valley in all of this is to become a better neighbor and; to demonstrate its commitment to the Village by working with its residents.

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Council Candidate Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh : “To disregard the resident’s voice, is to disregard the process”

Bernie Walsh
April 6,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj, Council Candidate Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh ,released the following statement to the Ridgewood blog on the Planning Broad Special Public Meetings , “While I applaud all the members of the Planning Board for their dedication and hard work, I feel they fell short of representing the residents last evening.  As PB attorney Katie Razin stated in her comments, each member of the Planning Board should be deliberating on the process based on the facts presented and public approval.  I interpreted that as examine the evidence and listen to public comment and decide for yourself as to whether or not the public approves of this expansion plan.   The residents who showed up this past week and en masse last night, in my opinion from their statements into the record, were not in approval of this mediation agreement.  To disregard the resident’s voice, is to disregard the process. “

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RIDGEWOOD PLANNING BOARD SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETINGS – VALLEY HOSPITAL TONIGHT !

Valleywood_theridgewoodblog

livestream planning board meeting  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jp0OPnUFv4

Planning Board Amendent to Meeting Schedule – Special Public Meetings – March 30, 31, and April 4, 5, 7

Please Note – The Board may take formal action when the matter is concluded on any of these dates
For complete details for the meeting schedule – Click Here

Valley Exhibits
1.  A-1 2013-2014 Bird’s Eye View Exhibit
2.  A-2 2016 Bird’s Eye View Exhibit
3.  A-3  2013-2014 Site Section D (2013 Exhibit A-12 Slide 18)
4.  A-4  2016 Site Section D
5.  A-5  2016-Ex-A-5-2013-Ex-A-12-Evers-slide-19-section-E
6.  A-6  2016 Site Section E
7.  A-7  2013-2014 Setback Exhibit (2013 Exhibit A-29 Slide 21)
8.  A-8  2016 Setback Exhibit
9.  A-9  Photo Simulation Long View from Meadowbrook Ave
10. A-10  Photo Simulation Closer View from Meadowbrook Ave
11. A-11  Photo Simulation View from North Van Dien Avenue
12. A-12  Photo Simulation View from 318 Steilen Ave
13. A-13  Photo Simulation View from 258 Steilen Ave
14. A-14  Photo Simulation View from BFMS Ballfield
15. A-15  2016 Reduction in Floor Area Calculations
16. A-16  2016 Building Floor Area by Phase
17. A-17  List of Conditions Generated during the 2013-2014 Master Plan Hearing
18. A-18  2016-Ex-A-18-2016-Building Floor Area by Phase
19. A-19  Survey-property line at N Van Dien
20. A-20  Survey-property line rearyards of Steilen
21. A-21  Photo-from-BFMS-ballfield-looking-south-to-TVH

Village of Ridgewod Planning Board Exhibits
1. B-1 – Planning Board Public Notice
2. B-2 – Court Remand Order
3. B-3 – H-Hospital Zone District – Proposed 2014 Land Use Plan Amendment (defeated by Planning Board)
4. B-4 – H-Hospital Zone District – Proposed March 15, 2016 Land Use Plan Amendment (red-lined version shpwing changes from 2014 plan amendment)
5. B-5 – H-Hospital Zone District – Proposed March 15, 2016 Land Use Plan Amendment (unlined version without showing changes from 2014 plan amendment) 
Transcripts
1.  March 30, 2016 – H-Zone Master Plan Hearing
2.  March 31, 2016 – H-Zone Master Plan Hearing
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The Valley mediation proceedings resulted in a win for Valley and nothing for Ridgewood

stopvalley
April 5,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The meeting got off to a poor start as the PB chairman announced to the crowd they would be going into closed session before public comment! Thankfully the people waited to be heard and they were back out in about 50 minutes.The speakers were great. Their statements were diverse, intelligent and heartfelt.  It is hard to imagine what the counter argument could be though we know there is one.

There were about 30 speakers at the PB meeting.  It was good to see that we are not just a small vocal group. They are allowing more public comments tomorrow. Please come to the next PB meeting and let them know what you think. It’s at 7:30 in the Town Hall

The Valley mediation proceedings resulted in a win for Valley and nothing for Ridgewood except how they will mitigate the damages.

The Valley expansion is too big for the 15 acres it sits on and too big for the neighborhood even if there wasn’t a school adjacent to it.

Ridgewood needs our planning board and council to look out for the village and it’s residents.

Valley will continue to thrive and grow. They have purchased numerous properties for off site facilities and can certainly modernize the Ridgewood location and not destroy the Master Plan in doing so.

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RIDGEWOOD PLANNING BOARD SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETINGS – VALLEY HOSPITAL TONIGHT!

Valley_Hospital_theridgewoodblog

Planning Board Amendent to Meeting Schedule – Special Public Meetings – March 30, 31, and April 4, 5, 7
Please Note – The Board may take formal action when the matter is concluded on any of these dates
For complete details for the meeting schedule – Click Here

Valley Exhibits
1.  A-1 2013-2014 Bird’s Eye View Exhibit
2.  A-2 2016 Bird’s Eye View Exhibit
3.  A-3  2013-2014 Site Section D (2013 Exhibit A-12 Slide 18)
4.  A-4  2016 Site Section D
5.  A-5  2016-Ex-A-5-2013-Ex-A-12-Evers-slide-19-section-E
6.  A-6  2016 Site Section E
7.  A-7  2013-2014 Setback Exhibit (2013 Exhibit A-29 Slide 21)
8.  A-8  2016 Setback Exhibit
9.  A-9  Photo Simulation Long View from Meadowbrook Ave
10. A-10  Photo Simulation Closer View from Meadowbrook Ave
11. A-11  Photo Simulation View from North Van Dien Avenue
12. A-12  Photo Simulation View from 318 Steilen Ave
13. A-13  Photo Simulation View from 258 Steilen Ave
14. A-14  Photo Simulation View from BFMS Ballfield
15. A-15  2016 Reduction in Floor Area Calculations
16. A-16  2016 Building Floor Area by Phase
17. A-17  List of Conditions Generated during the 2013-2014 Master Plan Hearing
18. A-18  2016-Ex-A-18-2016-Building Floor Area by Phase
19. A-19  Survey-property line at N Van Dien
20. A-20  Survey-property line rearyards of Steilen
21. A-21  Photo-from-BFMS-ballfield-looking-south-to-TVH

Village of Ridgewod Planning Board Exhibits
1. B-1 – Planning Board Public Notice
2. B-2 – Court Remand Order
3. B-3 – H-Hospital Zone District – Proposed 2014 Land Use Plan Amendment (defeated by Planning Board)
4. B-4 – H-Hospital Zone District – Proposed March 15, 2016 Land Use Plan Amendment (red-lined version shpwing changes from 2014 plan amendment)
5. B-5 – H-Hospital Zone District – Proposed March 15, 2016 Land Use Plan Amendment (unlined version without showing changes from 2014 plan amendment) 
Transcripts
1.  March 30, 2016 – H-Zone Master Plan Hearing
2.  March 31, 2016 – H-Zone Master Plan Hearing
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Reader asks , “who is looking out for Ridgewood?”

valley_hospital_theridgewoodblog

March 31,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewod Nj, Reader says , “My take away from last night is, “who is looking out for Ridgewood?”. The best questions/ concerns came from public comment which was so limited and restrictive.  The majority of Valley’s testimony centered around aesthetics:  different colors and shadings on the buildings to minimize the visual perception, green coverage to hide the mechanicals, monitoring of all the potential environmental negatives,etc.

Blais was obviously sick last night but his comment about the need to balance the positive and negatives of the expansion and also considering the regional needs was very telling.

Are there any benefits to Ridgewood in this?  I only see Valley telling us how they will deal with the negatives.  How will exiting more cars onto Linwood ever work and trucks will travel back and forth down Glenn, make a left on Van Dien and then back out the same route?  BF just put in a new driveway with an exit onto Glenn.

My feelings are we should not amend the Master Plan and continue operating under the 2010 version.  The Valley project is too big for the 15 acre lot. There is no way around this fact.  Where is our counter  offense?  It wasn’t there  last night and our only hope is that the council votes against the ordinances needed to push this through. Jeff was really great last night.  It is so hard to be heard.

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Council Candidate Jeff Voigt shared his thoughts on the “Whispering Woods hearing” last night

Jeff Voigt Ridgewood

 

March 31,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Council Candidate Jeff Voigt shared his thoughts on the “Whispering Woods hearing” last night . According to Jeff , “It was disappointing not many people showed up to the Whispering Woods hearing.  This is a huge issue for our Village – with the hospital and its environs effectively doubling in size.  My guess is that many people think this is a fait accompli and that Valley will get what they want.  It is not.   I also think many of the Villagers are likely tired of having to address one huge issue after another in our Village – parking, high density and now this.  This is very draining.   It was however, nice to see those Villagers who have spent a significant amount of time on this at the meeting – most importantly Pete McKenna for the Concerned Citizens of Ridgewood and Megan Fraser from Valley Hospital.”

Jeff continued , “If I was a betting man, my guess is that the planning board more than likely will vote in favor of the mediated agreement.  It will then become a draft ordinance which the Village council votes on.  Again there will be more hearings on this at the Council level.  If this draft ordinance is heard/evaluated by the current council, Albert Pucciarelli (one of the council members) has recused himself – leaving only 4 council members to vote.  Conceivably, this could result in a 2-2 vote.  My understanding is that a 2-2 tie means the ordinance would not pass.  We are therefore back to where we started with Valley possibly continuing with its lawsuit. Another possible scenario is that the evaluation of the draft ordinance does not occur until the new council comes in, in July.   My guess is that if the NJ Supreme Court judge who mediated this, understands the 2-2 conundrum, she will request it goes before the new council – so that a majority would result.   My thought/suggestion is that we need an educated community on this issue to help provide insights/inputs to the existing and 3 new council members.   Therefore it would be great if more of the Villagers could attend to present their comments and understand this.  Personally I am going to be at every one of these hearings in order to talk with others, listen and understand the issues, and ultimately figure out how best to move forward for the Village.”

the Ridgewood also asked Jeff about Councilwomen Gwen Hauck perceived conflict of interest with Valley Hospital Jeff said , “My guess is the Gwen’s conflict of interest  (even though I think there is one) ultimately will not matter in this.”  Jeff then emphasized, ”  I may have mentioned this to you previously, as it relates to my tenure with the Zoning board, if there is even a “whiff” of a conflict of interest, the board member will recuse themselves.  A perfect example of this is when our Chairman, Joel Torielli, recused himself a couple of years ago from one applicant hearing because his children and the applicant’s had several play dates – even though he did not know the applicant.  Additionally even if we live within a certain radius of an applicant and; we do not know them, we recuse ourselves (I have done this).   It just seems to me that the Council should be setting the example on how best to govern – and not have a “lesser” board showing the Council how to do so.”