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Schedler property in Ridgewood : Any solutions should benefit entire village

Schedler Park

DECEMBER 11, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2015, 12:31 AM

Any solutions should benefit entire village

To the Editor:

The “Officials face open space shortage” article on the Schedler property (The Ridgewood News, Dec. 4, page A1), exposes the perennial “zero sum” thinking that plagues village politics. It concludes: “…an unpopular decision in the eyes of one [or the other] group of people will have to be made.” The absence of a community-wide vision for our village perpetuates endless acrimonious interpersonal and intergroup relationships. Rather than focusing on special interest groups’ differences, we need a holistic approach that compares our community to surrounding ones, to North Jersey, and to our nation as a whole.

The obvious characteristics of our town are stark and too often ignored: 1) As this article states, we have the largest school system in Bergen County; 2) Ridgewood is one of the wealthiest communities in New Jersey with the one of the highest tax burdens; 3) We are universally [yes, the Internet] seen as a schooling magnet community so families move here; and 4) We have zero public policies designed to retain empty nesters, zero availability of over-55 housing, and zero assisted living facilities in the Central Business District.

We may want to believe we are “Lake Wobegon … where the men are strong, the women good-looking, and that all our children are above average,” but our denial of aging results in social engineering that ignores life stages and destroys a multigenerational family community.

Saying Ridgewood is exclusively a nuclear family-child raising community, lacks both a historical perspective and a desire to imagine the future. Well into the 1930s, smaller New England towns practiced “home relief” where aging homeowners unable to support themselves in retirement were maintained at the town’s expense, and when they died the sale of their homes reimbursed the town’s costs. Into the 21st century, Ridgewood is a powerful draw for upper middle class families from world cultures in which multigenerational families are the norm. Furthermore, a slower growth economy means all of our children will carry elder care obligations which are outside the range of what Social Security or Medicare can provide.

The Open Space worries reported here pale in the face of wider community concerns. Where 2,000 youths get to play baseball in a community of 25,000 is a valid special interest concern. Saving a complete forest as a barrier between a quiet neighborhood and Route 17 is also a valid special interest concern.

In reality, all the wooded areas closer to residential properties could be preserved while limited commercial development could take place preserving older growth trees. Taking up opportunities for commercial development that bring down taxes for all residents and help reverse the “aged cleansing” social engineering practice that characterize our town is the right thing to do for the majority of Ridgewood families. This is what leadership in a democracy should be all about.

Martin Walker



One thought on “Schedler property in Ridgewood : Any solutions should benefit entire village

  1. I would like to stay in Ridgewood but the taxes are crazy. Once the kids are out of school what do you get for your money?

    I am not looking for assisted living or over 55 with a window on the train tracks.

    They sent out a survey for over 55 residents. It was just bizarre. Asking about assistance with shopping and lunches in the senior center! My husband and I work for God’s sake. The survey asked me to imagine a life that I am not ready for, maybe not for 20 years if heredity is any indicator.

    I would like a real tax break. I get nothing from the schools, yet they suck up 75% of my taxes. If we sell another family will move in. This is not a sustainable balance for the village.

    I am not ready to move yet but a condo on top of the train station is not an option. Who in their right mind would want to be that close to the tracks? The noise and vibrations are a deal breaker.

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