Posted on

Ridgewood Planning Board Meeting: Implementation of Master Plan

Annex Ustinov2CPeter28QuoVadis29 01 2968641048



Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Village Hall Court Room – 7:30 P.M.

(all timeframes and the order of agenda items below are approximate and subject to change)

Continue reading Ridgewood Planning Board Meeting: Implementation of Master Plan

Posted on

Ridgewood Master Plan Draft and Public Hearing

IMG 6857 scaled

file photo by Boyd Loving

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Ridgewood Planning Board and Master Plan Committee are pleased to present the Village of Ridgewood’s Master Plan draft for preliminary public review and feedback. A Public Hearing for adoption of the Master Plan, by the Planning Board, is scheduled for Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at 7:30 p.m., in the Court Room of Village Hall.

Continue reading Ridgewood Master Plan Draft and Public Hearing

Posted on

Ridgewood Master Plan Meeting September 21, 2021


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, at 7:30 pm our Ridgewood Planning Board is hosting a public meeting on our new Master Plan. We will be answering your questions about the process and providing information regarding what to expect as we move forward with the new plan.

Continue reading Ridgewood Master Plan Meeting September 21, 2021

Posted on

Vision Ridgewood Final Draft Hearing October 20th

0 3

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, We are pleased to announce that the Final Draft of the Village of Ridgewood Master Plan – Section 1: Our Village, Our Future is complete. Click here to download the Final Draft from the Village website. A Planning Board public hearing on its adoption will be held on October 20.

Continue reading Vision Ridgewood Final Draft Hearing October 20th

Posted on


Romm 7

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Mark Your Calendars for Ridgewood’s Master Plan Visioning Workshops, which will determine what Ridgewood will look like 20, 30 and 40 years from now.  All Ridgewood residents and community stakeholders are welcome to participate!

Posted on



the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, do not forget to add your voice and vision to the future of the Village of Ridgewood at:

Many local organizations and special interests have been attempting to push their agenda and influence the planning process . Last night Deputy Mayor Knudsen asked residents , ” to use their own common sense , take the survey, don’t be influenced by any special interest groups ,this is a plan for the future of the Village of Ridgewood , its really important that we don’t allow any process to be tainted ”

What should the Village be like in 5, 10, or 20 years? What trends do you think might have a significant impact on the Village in the future? What is your vision for the future of the Village?


Posted on

Village Council Summer Highlights from August 9th Meeting

Village Council

Village Council Summer Highlights

1. VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD MASTER PLAN – Planning Board Master Plan update: funding for the Village Master Plan is in place and the Planning Board advanced the undertaking at the annual reorganization meeting on July 18. A Master Plan Committee was appointed to assist the Planning Board, the Ridgewood Village Council and the public with the Master Plan process including, but not limited to: project education, scheduling, milestones, budgeting, public engagement and participation, and to ensure an open and transparent process. Committee members include Mayor Susan Knudsen, PB Vice-chairman Joel Torielli, Planning Board members Debbie Patire and Melanie McWilliams. **Chairman Richard Joel will be substituting on an interim basis as needed. The Master Plan Committee is a preliminary step prior to formally advancing the Master Plan process. 

2. As one of the most used sports fields the turf at Maple Park is now in need of replacement. Installed more than decade ago, the replacement will allow the field to continue to facilitate a variety of sports programs throughout the year. The Maple Park Turf Replacement is subject to a public hearing scheduled for August 9, 2017.

3. Purchasing the Elks Club Property allows for future planning ensuring a more efficient utility benefiting Ridgewood Water customers. The Water Capital Ordinance for $1,600,000 includes the purchase price of $1.1 mil for the property and $500,000 to renovate the building from the Water Utility Capital Fund. 

4. Summer “School” ordinances: Amending Chapter 265 will prohibit stopping on portions of West Ridgewood Avenue allowing a safer approach to vehicular traffic around the Ridge School. Additionally, Enacting Title 39 on All Public School Properties authorizes the Ridgewood Police Department to enforce traffic and parking regulations on Board of Education property. Ordinance 3612 protects Ridgewood taxpayers from the unlawful enrollment of students in Ridgewood Public Schools through the Village Municipal Court.

5. Direct Village Planner to conduct a study for Redevelopment of the Hudson Street Municipal Parking Lot, allowing the Village more options moving forward with garage construction plans that could potentially save significant taxpayer dollars and build time.

Posted on

Ridgewood Master Plan to Get an Update


July 23,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Ridgewood Master Plan is set to get an update. In what seemed like news to many Ridgewood residents the Village Master Plan has not been updated in 30 years .

A master plan is a guiding document that sets zoning throughout a municipality, but also offers a vision and objectives for shaping the look and traffic circulation of a community.

14716191 1152891321455851 3243110012385832261 n

master planner Robert Moses

The 1983 Master plan represented the vision of Ridgewood at that time . A lot has changed in the Village in 30 years and this may open the door for a major up date in all elements .

Yes a lot has changed ; like the Valley Hospital H-zone and of coarse the massive increase high density housing in the Central Business District  all of which many residents thought happened because of changes in the Master plan.

Mayor Susan Knudsen called ,”this is the most exciting thing that we are ever going to do “.

The Master Plan document is divided by main topics, called “elements”.  A Master Plan has three components for a master plan  1) the goals and objectives 2) land use element this is the element that most closely corresponds with your zoning map and zoning regulations and 3) the housing plan element .

On Tuesday night the Ridgewood Planning Board formed a four-member master plan subcommittee, assigned with spearheading efforts to revise the village’s comprehensive land-use document in its first complete overhaul since 1983.

$250,000 has been set a side in the Village budget to do a proper master plan and the entire process could take over one year .

Posted on

Does healthcare trump the health of a community?

Jeff Voigt Ridgewood

April 7,2016
Village Council Candidate Jeff Voigt

Ridgewood NJ, This past Tuesday’s vote by the planning board sent a clear message to the Village of Ridgewood residents; that healthcare trumps the health and well-being of a community.  Pete McKenna of the Concerned Residents of Ridgewood said it best back in May 2014: The Village will be inextricably burdened in providing a benefit to the region. Is this fair?

The planning board majority (6 in total out of 9; Aronsohn, Nalbantian, Reilly, Joel, Abdalla, Thurston) who voted in favor of the settlement stated that the Village runs the risk of losing a further lawsuit and as well, if the Village loses the lawsuit would keep in effect the 2010 Master plan H zone, a more egregious plan.   However, in the settlement that was negotiated between the planning board and Valley, the terms appeared to fall squarely in favor of Valley, with Valley reducing its size (bulk) by only 3% (and gaining most of what it wanted – to the detriment of the health and well-being of the Village).  The total floor area is now going from 562,000 sq ft. (of hospital above grade structures) to over 1,024,500 square ft. of above grade structures which includes: 653,500 sq ft. for the hospital; 95,000 sq ft. for enclosed rooftop areas; 245,000 sq ft. for parking decks; and 31,400 sq ft. for atriums and courtyards.  I will get back to this.

The term inherently beneficial was used frequently throughout the Whispering Woods hearings (4 in total) and was used as a “stick” by Valley in gaining the expansion approval by the Planning Board.  It is unclear to many whether the concept of inherently beneficial applies to zoning or planning (including me).   However, it was used generously through-out these hearings. An inherently beneficial use of land serves the public good and promotes the general welfare.  As many may know, courts view hospitals under a more favorable light than other types of development (because it is an inherently beneficial use) and due to this, Village concerns about the size of the development may be discounted.  However, courts also view schools as an inherently beneficial used of land.   This was lost in the sauce but mentioned by Lorraine Reynolds back in May 2014.   So a question becomes: Does healthcare trump
education?  The negotiating team lead by Charles Nalbantian (Chairman of the Village Planning Board), who developed the terms of this agreement, thought so.

The Village’s Master Plan has suffered significantly in this process and; as well with other issues that have faced the Village including high density housing.  The primary objective as stated in Ridgewood’s Master Plan is the preservation of Village residential in residential neighborhoods.  Further, as defined in the Master Plan, building should continue to respect the neighborhood character and the rights of adjacent property owners.  These rights (while not explicitly stated in the plan) likely include quality of life, safety, security and a sense of belonging to a community.  Interestingly, these rights affect one’s health and healthcare. These rights have been violated by developers and by Valley.

John Hersperger, Village resident, at the 4/5 Whispering Woods hearing stated the following:  Developers through the use of Ordinance 3066 have ripped the Ridgewood Master Plan to shreds for the purpose of their own self- interests and not the Villages.  Developers as a group, petitioned the planning board at the same time and turned what should have been zoning issues into planning issues.   I would agree with John.  This Ordinance needs to be modified significantly or repealed.  The Valley decision by the planning board could not have come at a worse time for Valley and the Village because of this.

The 3 dissenting views on the planning board by Susan Knudsen, Wendy Dockray, and Debbie Patire all concluded the same thing – the Valley decision does irreparable harm to our Master Plan; calls into question what really is beneficial and; whether a hospital interests should trump the well-being of a Village.

Wendy also stated that the Planning board on behalf of the Village should stand up and fight for what is right, despite the risks.  If we go on to a lawsuit, there likely would be other opportunities to negotiate terms which would benefit both parties.

I was frankly surprised, with having several lawyers on the planning board, that no case law was cited.  A recent NJ Supreme Court case in Princeton called into question the concept of an inherently beneficial use of land by a hospital and whether functions in a hospital such as administration, billing, and marketing should be considered inherently beneficial.  If these are not inherently beneficial, they could be moved to other locations.  If this “concept” were applied to Valley it might lessen the bulk of the Valley expansion in a meaningful way.

Here is what I would do if elected to the council: 1) Propose modification to or repeal  of Ordinance 3066; 2) Work with Valley and the CRR (if possible, as there is a 5/9 court date on the second count of the lawsuit – Valley v Village Council and the council may not have any ability to negotiate based on the results of this case) in crafting a fair and equitable resolution to the Valley expansion.

A follow on blog will address the issue of how Valley might improve its image with the Village.

Posted on




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

For complete details for the meeting schedule – Click Here

Posted on

Ridgewood Planning Board continues review of master plan


file photo by Boyd Loving

JANUARY 29, 2016    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2016, 12:31 AM

During last week’s Planning Board meeting, Village Planner Blais Brancheau explained some changes he recommended the board make to the master plan.

Brancheau began by reading from the current master plan, discussing housing, changes in population in the village and historic preservation, among other topics.

One change he recommended was updating the master plan regarding soil removal.

“Right now, we have three levels of soil permit procedures: a ministerial, a minor and a major permit,” he said. “We don’t need that level of difficulty to do a soil movement permit, where you’re going to get both Planning Board and council approval to move soil. One or the other should suffice.”

Another change he said would be beneficial was updating the master plan in terms of flooding zones.

Brancheau explained that the federal government has been making changes to its flood area designations, and that these should be reflected in Ridgewood’s master plan.

Chris Rutishauser, the village engineer, noted that this would be done as soon as possible, since people who would potentially be in flood zones may need to purchase flood insurance, and should know sooner rather than later if they required it or not.

Brancheau also pointed out that flood areas prohibit certain activities, such as building houses in some locations, making it even more important that the changes be updated as soon as possible.

Posted on

Planning Board continues reexam of Ridgewood master plan



The village’s Planning Board forged on with its reexamination of Ridgewood’s master plan last Tuesday with a discussion that focused on its circulation and community facilities plan.

With an early February deadline to submit a complete master plan reexamination, the board voted unanimously to include the village planner’s recommendations in the draft version of the report with final determination to be made prior to adoption.

One of the recommendations made by Village Planner Blais Brancheau was the establishment of a Transportation Improvement District (TID) in Ridgewood, which would allow the village to allocate the cost of roadway improvements to areas of development in town based on the property’s use. The board also asked for the Complete Streets program previously adopted by the Village Council to be included in the report.

In discussing the current circulation and community facilities plan with the board, Brancheau said he was “struck” by how outdated they are and said both are in need of a major overhaul.

Brancheau suggested the board could decide to do away with the respective elements altogether as they are not mandated by the state and some municipalities have no such elements in their master plan.

Posted on

Ridgewood planner questioned on changes to master plan amendment


MAY 7, 2015    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, MAY 7, 2015, 2:52 PM

Ridgewood residents and Planning Board members questioned Village Planner Blais Brancheau on the latest changes to the amendment to the land use element of the master plan as multifamily housing hearings resumed Tuesday night.

Two weeks ago, Brancheau presented a reworked recommendation to the board for its consideration, which featured reductions in density, height and floor area ratio along with some zoning tweaks.

All three zones now feature a maximum height of 50 feet and a density of 30-35 units per acre. Floor area ratios were reduced by 20 percent in the AH-2 zone and 10 percent for the B-3-R and C-R zones since the latter two allow mixed-use, but not purely commercial, development.

The C-R zone was also reduced in size as the West Bergen Mental Healthcare building and its adjacent properties were returned to the C zone. The southern end of the originally proposed C-R zone, which includes the Ken Smith property, was moved into the B-3-R zone.

Posted on

Planning Board begins reexamination of Ridgewood master plan


April 13, 2015    Last updated: Monday, April 13, 2015, 9:24 AM

By Darius Amos
Staff Writer |
The Ridgewood News

Already mired with the downtown multifamily housing public hearings, the Ridgewood Planning Board has taken on the state-mandated task of reexamining its master plan.

For the next several months, board members will be expected to review the municipality’s current master plan and a list of corrective action items created during the village’s previous reexamination, which took place in 2006.

Their objective, according to Ridgewood Planner Blais Brancheau, is to identify areas that require change and any outdated language within those planning documents.

The board is not necessarily required to rewrite the master plan, but members must complete their review and adopt an official reexamination report, to be drafted by the municipal planner, by February 2016.

In part, the report should evaluate major problems and objectives related to land development at the time of the adoption of the previous report, determine the extent to which problems have changed, and propose any recommended changes to the master plan.

“It’s a report that will say this is what we looked at … this is what we think going forward,” said Brancheau, who detailed the reexamination process during last Tuesday’s Planning Board work session.