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Readers questions “Valley is inherently beneficial because they are a hospital ” mantra

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Readers questions “Valley is inherently beneficial because they are a hospital ” mantra

During last night’s meeting, it was certainly drilled into anyone sitting there that we must remember that according to the law that Valley is inherently beneficial because they are a hospital. The board must consider the good for the overall population. Mr. Brancheau told the chairman when asked, that the board had to not only consider the good for their own municipality, but also of the region. I have an issue with this. I can see if they were the only hospital around for miles, you wouldn’t want to deny anyone decent care. But everywhere you look there is another hospital in this region. Even Valley tried to argue a few years back that there was an overabundance of beds. The greater good of the region will not be compromised if Valley isn’t allowed this over-expansion, the board must consider the greater good of Ridgewood for this decision.

9 thoughts on “Readers questions “Valley is inherently beneficial because they are a hospital ” mantra

  1. Are you willing to allow some expansion or just against all expansion?

  2. IMHO, The town desperately needs alternative legal advice–YESTERDAY.

    In particular, the planning board must have an accurate assessment of their range of options in providing a final response to Valley Hospital’s expansion plan.

    We simply can’t accept an after-the-fact justification of rubber-stamping Valley’s expansion plan that goes something like this: “We had no choice. If we had said no, Valley would have sued the town and won.” We’ve been down that road before. Thankfully, it led to a last-minute (miraculous?) vindication of the village’s interests by the Village Council in November 2011. (Read the related newspaper article at: https://www.northjersey.com/news/ridgewood-council-opposes-valley-hospital-renewal-plan-1.243368 )

    “We had no choice, we had to say yes” is a lame excuse. Fortunately, as a legal theory, it also doesn’t actually hold water.

    I sometimes wonder about attorneys who advise municipal governing bodies (Rogers) and planning boards (Price). On the one hand, none of the individual councilmembers, board members, or the mayor can lay claim to having that attorney as their personal lawyer, because strictly speaking, the latter’s client is the municipality. This means no elected or appointed official can legitimately bend the town attorney’s efforts toward their own personal gain or aggrandizement. This is a good thing, of course!

    On the other hand, though, non-citizen third party entities like Valley seem to be quite willing and able to spend enormous sums to employ brash mouthpieces to twist municipal law, articulate one-sided theories of liability, and put whatever village attorney is in front of them into some kind of a deer-in-the-headlights trance. The goal, of course, is to get him or her to lose focus his client’s best interests and unwittingly begin promoting those of the third party. Ms. Price’s unnecessarily accommodative behavior in response to the condescending approach of Valley’s lawyer in abruptly and rudely interrupting concerned village residents trying to speak at many recent public planning board meetings this past winter is evidence to show that Valley Hospital’s strategy of relentless pressure and shameless and unapologetic advocacy can eventually bear fruit, particularly when the targeted municipality regularly fails to stick up for itself.

    New Jersey municipalities are not just in the business of avoiding lawsuits! They should be about exercising firm but appropriate control on development in the interests of residents and the municipal entity, riding herd on their hired attorneys to ensure they are accurately apprised of the full range of acceptable action in response to third party petitions/applications, and actively discouraging the latter from developing and acting upon one-sided legal theories that bully elected and appointed officials by magnifying out of all proportion the true risk of litigation. Town attorneys who fail to paint a full and appropriately nuanced legal picture for their client risk looking like patsies when sophisticated, deep-pocket entities like Valley Hospital are inexplicably allowed to win major battles, and even entire wars over the course of months or years of wrangling over proposed changes to Ridgewood’s master plan and municipal law without having to fire a single ‘litigation’ shot.


  3. jjj:

    Are you willing to allow some expansion or just against all expansion?

    ha ha
    Nice Straw Man.

  4. Hospitals are not bad, the expansion plan is.

    They could have purchased land with access to route 17 and had their hospital built by now.

  5. #1, jjj, if you had asked that question 7 years ago, I probably would have said yes. But no longer. NO WAY! They have squandered all their
    good will. They have played dirty politics and have cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. They have forced residents to spend their own money trying to protect their interests and have sucked time away from friendships, family and worthy civic involvement. They tried to stop other towns from having access to quality healthcare for one reason alone….greed. They pretend to be philanthropic when actually they are simply buying good will. They are greedy, deceitful bullies and I would not give them a single square foot any more!

  6. The court asked for a compromise and the compromise is the addition of a 5 story parking garage along Linwood and the elimination of some underground space. Residents have not been engaged in the revised plan. This whole process has been at best a joke at worst a fraud. Residents should take to the streets . Village officials and Valley have been stringing us along.

  7. ” This whole process has been at best a joke at worst a fraud.” Of all the statements made above, this one really hits the nail on the head ! How embarrassing to the residents of this town.

  8. If Valley had made anything approaching a reasonable modernization plan when they first pushed for their “Renewal” (remember way back when it was called a “Renewal”? That was like 3 PR campaigns ago) construction would be finished by now. Instead, they continue to push for this monstrosity of a project that’s no good for anyone but Valley and their plants on the Planning Board and Village Council.

  9. Inherently Beneficial Use Doctrine dictates that even hospitals must demonstrate that the benefits to the community resulting from development projects must outweigh the detriments.

    Valley has yet to prove that doubling in size will benefit Ridgewood at all (less than 10% of Valley patients actually live here), and it is VERY CLEAR that the detriments will be enormous.

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