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Village Council Meeting Produces Big News on Many Fronts

Ridgewood Village Council
September 29,2016
the staffof the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewooood NJ, Once again, much was accomplished with this new and improved council!  Of course somethings never change ,Rurik Halaby came to the mic twice to insinuate that Ms. Knudsen( pronounced once correctly, second time with a hard k!) should be transparent about her raffle win and her sons becoming Ridgewood police officers. Thankfully Susan called for a point of order and Bernie Walsh made reference to Roberts Rules and that personal comments made to a council member from the floor are not allowed.  It probably won’t stop future rants.

Richard Calbi from the Water Department gave a good report on the chromium 6 that has been in the news. According to Ridgewood Water Ridgewood is below the level considered dangerous even though the EPA has made no formal recommendations or issued guidelines.Currently Ridgewood Water is below the California guidelines and those issued by The World Health Organization.

Matt Rogers reported on the status of Affordable Housing, the water suit filed by Glen Rock, Midland Park and Wyckoff and the Valley Hospital appeal.

Affordable Housing: a status conference is scheduled for October, otherwise all is quiet on that front.

Ridgewood Water: a possible trial in November if a scheduled mediation in October is not successful.

Valley Hospital: Appeals Court Agrees to hear Ridgewood against Valley Hospital Expansion Case. It sounds too good to be true but after a long battle it another opportunity for the new council to make their mark. What happens next is any bodies guess.
The status of suit filed against the Planning Board was not mentioned.
A discussion about parking at the council level was very productive as they are looking at immediate remedies to improve parking before any construction is initiated.
Ramon Hache gave a Field’s Committee update and possible solutions to remediate Maple Field. One suggestion is to infuse the current field with millions of rubber pellets or replace the current field.Another idea was to build berm to protect the field better from floods . What was not mentioned is that these pellets will go into the drains, the brook and on the kids!  As we all know Maple Field is in an active flood plain. Perhaps an analysis as to what would be the cost of replacing it with natural grass  vs. new artificial turf and or its remediation? No easy solution for this one .
Discussion on the placement of art in the village. The Library might be making a presentation soon on their plans to build a performing arts center, approx. cost , 5 million dollars! They are seeking help from the Village to bond this amount .Not sure how that will be received. Love the library but other issues may be higher on the agenda.
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Readers Say Gwenn Hauck has absolutely no business representing Ridgewood in a lawsuit

Gwenn Hauck has absolutely no business representing us in a lawsuit. For crying out loud, this is glaringly apparent. This is not about what platform she ran for office on, this is not about whether she loves valley hospital. This is the fact that there is a major lawsuit against Ridgewood and one of the two elected official on the mediation is a person who donates big money to them. How can anyone not see the conflict here? She is supposed to be representing US against THEM in this lawsuit, but she funnels money to them.

I love how Mrs. Hauck and her apologists cite the letter of the law when pushing back on such an obvious conflict of interest. I have no problem with her supporting Valley – it’s her right. I also have no problem that she ran for office for the sole purpose of voting yes on the Valley expansion should it ever come to a vote before the Council. Her problem now is that Valley has sued the Village and she swore an oath to represent the best interests of the Village. It is impossible for her to do this given her adamant, long-standing and very public support of Valley. Even if Valley is not paying her, there is still a conflict.

Anyone who does not see this or admit to it is either dumb, playing dumb or unethical.

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Valley lawsuit is troubling


JULY 31, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, JULY 31, 2015, 12:31 AM

Wealth shouldn’t determine future of community

To the Editor:

The litigation with Valley Hospital over its $780 million expansion plan is in the news again. I’m having a lot of trouble trying to reconcile Valley’s position with my understanding of what democracy is all about. I thought the people in the village, through elected officials, determine the nature of the village. We have established a master plan that presumably gives guidelines of a general nature about the village, such as defining ourselves as a residential community as opposed to, say, a home for heavy industry like the oil refineries that we see from the NJ Turnpike. We also have zoning specifying the maximum height of buildings, etc. All these plans and regulations were established by officials elected by the citizens of Ridgewood.

Now along comes Valley who seems to be saying: “Your master plan and zoning regulations are restricting our expansionary vision. Change your regulations!” Valley has been here for a long time, and it certainly knew our regulations when it decided to build and operate in Ridgewood, but now it has decided it wants to change the regulations established by the citizens of Ridgewood. Hmm. I know a number of people who have settled in Ridgewood because they like the community as it is, its ambiance, its schools, its zoning and other regulations. If we now give in to Valley, have we not abandoned an implicit trust?

The Valley litigation says to me democracy is not about the majority of citizens deciding on our regulations. No, instead it says to me it’s about wealth deciding the fate of the community. Valley, with its $780 million allocated for expansion (where did a non-profit, suburban hospital get $780 million anyway?), can out-litigate the Village of Ridgewood simply because the village doesn’t have Valley’s budget of discretionary funds. This is democracy?

Martin Cohen


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Valley conveys a clear message to the Village of Ridgewood ” they want what they want


Valley conveys a clear message to the Village of Ridgewood ” they want what they want

 feel that the lawsuit of Valley conveys a clear message to the Village of Ridgewood ” they want what they want” and will use their power and money to get it. The residents of this town have been go to meetings and spending their valuable time and money for 8 years. 

Valley has presented their plans twice to the Village and they were both rejected. The process was followed and people presented their views for 8 years about how they have felt about this expansion. It has been 8 years of peoples time!! Enough is enough. Valley has not made much of a compromise on their site plans. And as a result, it has been voted against both times because at the end of the day the hospitals proposal is too BIG for this site surrounded by residential homes and a school.
For those who are claiming people do not want it in their backyard I ask you to take a good look at the Valley plans because I do not think you would want it in yours either!! If your neighbor wanted to rebuild their home to be double its current size and it was going to take years of construction, I think you would be against it as well. If I wanted to double the size of my house on my property, I would be told my lot is too small for the site and to come up with a plan that works in the space or find a new space.
This Valley renewal is not a expansion. Look at the plans… it is a rebuild of a hospital. Can anyone really say that a 94 foot building belongs in the middle of a residential area? It does not fit in the space. People seem to forget that the houses surrounding the hospital were here before the hospital! The hospital was built in a residential area. I truly believe that the people against the expansion are not against the hospital updating but this plan is ridiculous. 10 years of construction and more than doubling it current size! If Valley really cared about Ridgewood and its neighbors they would have come up for alternative plan to address the size of the buildings and set backs from the homes. It is sad that this will never be over until Valley gets their way!

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Reader says The community is tired of Valley’s bullying, the wasting of our taxes and time .


Reader says The community is tired of Valley’s bullying, the wasting of our taxes and time .

By this action, Valley has proven to me and to residents of this village that it is nothing more than a self interested business entity without any true integrity or competent leadership. This attempt will fail because the associated issues don’t support such a audacious over development. The community as a whole is now aware and tired of their bullying, the wasting of our taxes and time .It has become clear to many in all sections that fears of them trying to turn this town into Valleywood is coming true. The Board of Valley should be embarrassed by their lack of proper management planning,. their double talking and miscue on PV and their disgraceful approach and tactics agaisnt a host that has subsidized them for ages. Valley has lost its way and much of the goodwill that it once had. I personally will disassociate myself with the institution.

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