PJ BLOGGER

Valley Hospital Update:Planning board asks for amendment to village plan

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

BY BOB GROVES

THE RECORD

STAFF WRITER

The Ridgewood Planning Board has asked for an amendment to the village master plan that balances Valley Hospital’s desire to expand with the fears of residents that their neighborhood will be overwhelmed by the new structures.

The Planning Board decided it must first change the village master plan before it can decide on Valley’s building plan. The board asked village planner Blais Brancheau to draft an amendment to the master plan and its hospital zone ordinance.

The move follows months of heated discussion over Valley’s proposed $750 million plan to replace two old buildings with three new ones and to add a above- and below- ground parking ramp.

Without changes in the master plan, Valley would have to continually seek variances from the village board of adjustment, which is “a dysfunctional process,” said Planning Board Chairman David Nicholson.

This will further delay the Planning Board’s vote on Valley’s plan, which Nicholson had hoped would take place by the end of this month May.

“No one is more disappointed than I am” at delaying the vote, he said. “But I think in making some changes to the ordinances, we can improve the process dramatically.”

“We would certainly like to move this along,” Nicholson said at a special public meeting of the board on Monday at Benjamin Franklin Middle School. About 50 people attended.

At the meeting, the board also received documents from Valley in response to its request for more information.

Valley, for example, said it could not shift the loading area of its north building to a location further south on its campus because it would disrupt ambulances dropping patients at its emergency department.

The hospital also supplied drawings of a taller, tiered “wedding cake” design building, a concept that opponents had suggested as a less obtrusive alternative because the height would be in the center of the building.

A “wedding cake” structure, with two levels of ventilating equipment on top, would be 132 feet high, compared to Valley’s proposed 80-foot high buildings, said Megan Fraser, a hospital spokeswoman.

“I can’t say how seriously the board members would really take that idea” of the wedding cake, Nicholson said.

The board, he said however, is concerned about maintaining proper building setbacks, such as the 38 feet that Valley’s parking ramp must be from Linwood Avenue on its south border.

He noted, however, that Bergen County has rights to an easement on Linwood, and could decide to widen the roadway to accommodate hospital traffic.

Earlier this year, Valley asked the Planning Board to amend the master plan and hospital zone ordinance to allow what it contends is needed modernization. Concerned Residents of Ridgewood, a neighborhood group which opposes the hospital plan, asked for amendments to “limit its impact on the community and preserve the village’s residential character.”

Fraser said she was “delighted that the board overwhelmingly recognized the need for change.”

Paul Gould of Concerned Residents said he agreed with the board that setbacks are of “primary importance.” The group, he said however, “still believes that the proposed size of the expansion is too big for this village.”

The Planning Board set May 27 as the tentative date for its next public meeting on the issue.

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  1. Wedding cake?

    So, will there be a bride and a groom statue on the roof?

    Audrey and Scott I presume?

  2. re: “…He noted, however, that Bergen County has rights to an easement on Linwood, and could decide to widen the roadway to accommodate hospital traffic….

    I’m confused…

    Based on the steady stream of statements from Valley Reps and supporters like this one recently posted on the blog:

    “Valley’s renewal will alter the potential number of patients by less than 5. That will not increase traffic around the hospital. Why is it so hard for you people to deal with facts, truth and reality instead of lies and disinformation?”

    … I can’t understand why widening the roadway is even being discussed. Why isn’t the planning board just dealing with facts?

    /sarc off

  3. The article stated:

    —–
    “The Ridgewood Planning Board has asked for an amendment to the village master plan that balances Valley Hospital’s desire to expand with the fears of residents that their neighborhood will be overwhelmed by the new structures.

    The Planning Board decided it must first change the village master plan before it can decide on Valley’s building plan. The board asked village planner Blais Brancheau to draft an amendment to the master plan and its hospital zone ordinance.”
    —–

    Does anyone know the nature of the amendment? Is it more restrictive, less restrictive? Minor changes and clarifications? Significant changes?
    Other??

    Any of you flies out there have any info??

  4. The Planning Board should wait and see if they will still have their positions with the new council.

    We need new faces on the Planning Board too.

  5. let’s get to grass roots people: where is the low income housing going and what will be the impact on our schools????

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