PJ BLOGGER

South Broad Street was chosen for COAH housing because . . .

In COAH, Ridgewood New Jersey on January 2, 2009 at 12:51 pm

As evidenced by recent postings on this Blog and others, spin doctors with close ties to Planning Board and Village Council members are working hard now to sell South Broad Street as the only “practical/reasonable” location for affordable housing in Ridgewood.

Thus far, we’ve heard the following rationales:

1) South Broad Street’s proximity to public transportation – Isn’t the property on Paramus Road where The Baker Organization wants to construct cluster housing within walking distance of several bus stops along Route 17 (including the Park & Ride) and Linwood Avenue?

2) South Broad Street’s proximity to shopping – Again, isn’t the Paramus Road site within walking distance of K-Mart, Stop & Shop, and other stores on Route 17 in Paramus?

3) The availability of a large parcel, a willing property owner, and interested developer on South Broad Street – Ditto for the Paramus Road location, correct?

It is being widely rumored now that South Broad Street was selected as the sole location for construction of all additional affordable housing units because Planning Board and Village Council members believe residents of the South Broad Street area would be less capable of forming an organized opposition group than residents of any other Ridgewood neighborhood.

Specifically, due to organized opposition to the Baker Organization’s Paramus Road cluster housing proposal, neither the Planning Board nor Village Council wanted to designate any area near Route 17 (including the Schedler property) as being suitable for affordable housing.

If Planning Board/Village Council endorsed COAH units had been included in the Baker Organization’s plan, it might have increased Baker’s chances before the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Neither the Planning Board nor Village Council wished to be in a position of endorsing a project being opposed by a large block of potential voters.

The lesson here folks is certainly that the squeaky wheel gets greased. Like it or not, potential votes matter, even when the next Village Council election is more than one year away.

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  1. Isn't it interesting that this poster refers to those who make simple and accurate observations as "spin doctors" and then tries to twist those observations to fit his or her view?

    The fact is that, Rt. 17 is near bus transportation. But, It is not near train transportation. Broad street has easy access to both. Secondly, is this poster really trying to equate access to K-Mart and Stop & Shop with the shopping and dining, shopping and activity of downtown Ridgewood? That seems like a stretch to me.

    I am not on the Planning Board or Village Council. But, it is very clear to me that Rt. 17 would be a LESS desirable location to live for the future residents than Broad Street would be. Why do those opposed to the Broad Street proposal think it is "OK" to stick future residents out on Rt.17 in a clearly less desirable residential location, with no sense of community, when a better alternative exists on Broad Street?

    Add another consideration to "what you have heard so far". Over the past few years we have heard a great deal about the decline of downtown Ridgewood. Why would we want to locate 10, 20 or 30 families on Rt. 17 and encourage them to support Paramus' economy, when we could build housing that would put them in the middle of our downtown area and guarantee increased commerce in Ridgewood? I wonder how the Chamber of Commerce feels about stooping the Broad Street proposal.

    Oops! Maybe you forgot to consider ALL the issues that the Village Council, Planning Board and Zoning Board must evaluate, in your rush to speak up for the oppressed and unrepresented residents on Broad Street.

    Where are the "concerned and unrepresented" citizens of Broad Street? Or is this another case of anonymous complaints by the self-appointed few against the "establishment", without thoughtful basis or widespread support in the community? If so, you are free to express your opinion. But, I am glad that the individuals involved are doing their homework and thinking the issues through, despite your accusations.

  2. a goverment sponsored ghetto sounds like the warsaw ghetto brilliant!!!!

  3. Oh yea. Like the people needing COAH housing can afford to shop in Ridgewood. Give me a break 10:25!

  4. yes round up all the undesirables and put them in projects ah albert speer would have been proud

  5. “…why are we building housing in the middle of a housing recession ….dumb dumber dumbest”

    You’re kidding, right? You can’t be this stupid, ignorant or out of touch, can you?

    If your question is sincere, we are in worse trouble than we think.

    You don’t vote, do you?

  6. nice attempt at a spin 10:25 AM

  7. Once again the protectors of all things government (except for a Republican White House), are in attack mode trying to deflect opposition to the VC’s location for COAH by passing it off as “anonymous complaints by the self-appointed few.”

    We all know this is not the case. There are over 12,000 readers of this blog. I, like many, read the articles and only post on topics which I feel strongly about. It seems to this reader that there are many posters on various topics. Not all the same folk comment abut each issue.

    But it bolsters the “spin doctors'” defense of the VC to propagate such myths.

    Goebbels would be proud.

  8. re 10:25 AM:

    You sound like a pompous jerk. No one said the issue was not thought through from every angle by the “powers” in town. I am sure they thought it through very carefully and concluded that they want to create, as 2:32 said, a housing project.

  9. Hey 10:25 – Do you honestly think that those who will be in low-income housing will be able to afford Ann Taylor and Yansi Fugel and eating at Raddicchio’s and shopping at Kings and Whole Foods? Get a reality check, they will be shopping at K-Mart because it is affordable. They won’t be buying toys at one of the designer toy stores in Ridgewood. They will not, as you suggest, be contributing to the commerce in Ridgewood. You are obviously one of the people who was involved in this segregated housing decision. Why else would you be so defensive?

  10. Who is talking about putting people ON ROUTE 17? You make it sound like they would be living on the highway, when in fact they would be in housing on Paramus Road.

  11. Who in the world would want to live right on the train tracks? So NOISY. Oh, that’s right, let’s shove the poor folks there.

  12. “individuals involved are doing their homework and thinking the issues through”

    I heard that Killion voted against it. I guess he came up with a different conclusion after doing his homework and decided to vote on the side of common sense. Or maybe he felt that more homework had to be done and more thought had to be put into this mess before such a decision could be made.

    GO KILLION!

  13. This decsion needs a lot more thought. What was the big fat rush?

  14. I may be wrong but I do not think that affordable housing occupants would be shopping and dining in the central business district. They would probably be working there and also in the surrounding homes as landscapers and domestics.

  15. “when we could build housing that would put them in the middle of our downtown area and guarantee increased commerce in Ridgewood?”

    COAH residents will not be able to afford to shop at Marcia’s Attic or eat at Marcellos at the station. Downtown has problems because the rents are high and the majority of the businesses are very high end.

    Frankly, I can’t afford to shop in a lot of them.

  16. Most of us cannot afford to shop in the downtown and that is why so many of the businesses are failing. Low-income residents will not be able to afford it either.

    It is a stupid rationale to suggest that this housing belongs on Broad Street because it will be convenient for the COAH residents and helpful to the businesses. Sounds good on paper but it does not hold up. It is the transparent rationale of someone who has another agenda.

  17. “You are obviously one of the people who was involved in this segregated housing decision.”

    SEGREGATED HOUSING – That accurately describes what the Planning Board and Village Council have endorsed building.

    Segregated housing in Ridgewood, NJ – I thought those days were all in the Village’s past. What a slap in the face.

  18. It seems many of you are working from the false premise that the Broad St development would consist entirely of affordable units. In reality, only a fraction of the units would be affordable, the overwhelming majority would be market rate.

  19. When the senior housing at Rigdecrest was being discussed, council members and citizens said that no Ridgewood residents would be eligible and that basically only the poor of surrounding communities would fill the vacancies. At the present time, nearly all the units are filled with a huge waiting list that recently was closed to new applicants. All the residents are or were Ridgewood residents. They are our mothers, aunts and close friends. You will see that affordable housing in Ridgewood will be used by a large variety of individuals including our friends and relatives. The downtown area is perfect because of transportation and shopping convenience.

  20. it should be on broad st.if you live at that spot you dont need a car it is in a nice spot.

  21. It is interesting to read the things that some think affordable housing residents will do – where they will & won't shop and what we think that they will do for a living. Why the need to stereotype?

    How much shopping do any of us do in downtown Ridgewood? I haven't purchased clothes in town since -???. Everybody be honest, we may buy a couple of things when walking through town but most of us shop at the malls. Look at your Christmas receipts. With the coupons and credit card discounts it was hard not to.

  22. all this is going to do is put pressure on the already stressed public services ,over crowd a school and put down word pressure on housing prices stupid idea

  23. yes and in the end we will be subsidising more ridgewood residents and little or know housing will go to anyone that really needs it

  24. The people I know do need it. Their income has to be below 21,000 a year and they shop at Stop and Shop and use other services such as the cleaners and the library. Also, we were mandated to create affordable housing under COAH and the fact that it has to be mandated in order to get results,speaks to the problem. I have lived in Ridgewood for over 30 years and thankfully own my own home. I plan to be here a lot longer and believe that providing affordable housing,even in Ridgewood, is a good thing.

  25. The VC is rushing because there is a deadline with the state. Get the facts people.

  26. maybe if we didnt have such high taxes and paid ultra top dollar for everything goverment and people were told they weren’t entitled to EVERTHING and there wasn’t so much corruption and red tape we might be able to lower the cost of living a bit so people regular joe people could afford to live here….I know thats doesnt cost enough so we will never do it

  27. One reading most of the posts in this thread could reasonably conclude that most of these posts assume that residents in the proposed housing project will be both “undesirable” and “undeserving” of a home with convenient access to the resources of our Village. How tragic these posts are. You people are showing your true colors now!

    Just because someone requires “affordable housing”, does that mean they don’t deserve to live in our town. My understanding is that it is the law, whether you like it or not, that we provide such housing. I also understood that only a percentage of the proposed project would be COAH housing. Is that correct?

    The Broad Street location makes a great deal of economic and logistical sense for the Village. Furthermore, if I was a potential resident of this project, I think I would prefer to live on Broad Street, rather than some of the other sites mentioned.

  28. Our council has known about the mandate for COAH for a long time. They put it off, hoping that they would be able to pay another town to fill our obligation. We are required to build in Ridgewood – now what do we do?

    If the planning board approves the valley expancion we will be obligated to build more.

  29. putting affordable housing the most unafforable community is just stupid ..another gov mandated make work project to pay off political donors and suporters

  30. 4:39 –

    You are a GAS BAG. No one suggested that certain people don’t deserve to live in Ridgewood. To the contrary, everyone seems to be suggesting that those in low-income housing shouldn’t be clustered together in a noisy commerical setting. Seems to me that all of the posters are trying to come up with a reasonable and sensible location (or scattered locations) for people to live in – not one that makes “economic and logistical sense for the village.” These are human being we are talking about, not some sort of “asset” that the village power brokers get to shove wherever they see fit. You are an embarassment. Are you one of the VC or Planning Board members?????

  31. Affordable housing is the law, and I believe the right thing for a town to do. We should welcome our new neighbors to our community. Treat them the way that we would want to be treated.

    I would not want to live on Broad Street. I moved to the suburbs to live in a residential neighborhood. I lived in the city when I was single but with a family I prefer a quiter neighborhood. Maybe spreading the housing around town is a good idea. Some may have reasons for wanting to live near town. When my children are older and living on their own I may think about an apartment/condo closer to town amenities. It won’t seem like high density housing if we spread it around in smaller doses.

  32. 9:54…

    You are correct. These are people we are talking about. That is why the Village must consider all of the variables that allows Ridgewood to best serve the needs of these individuals. This includes easy access to a variety of public transportation, food markets, dining, entertainment, etc. both COAH residents and non-COAH residents (who will occupy most of the units). Although those looking for a suburban single family home, may not choose Broad Street as a location, for those with limited housing budgets and/or the need for an apartment/condo (as opposed to a larger home and all the expense that comes with a house/property), a tastefully developed property at Broad Street may be ideal. The potential residents could include young professionals (commuting into NYC), single parents, elderly residents and families, who cannot afford a traditional single family home, to name just a few possibilities.

    It is also the responsibility of the Village Council and others to act in a fiscally responsible manner on behalf of all residents and evaluate the cost to taxpayers to develop the proposed property and provide long-term municipal services. Thus, it is REQUIRED that they an we consider what makes “economic and logistical sense” for the Village. To that end, while it sounds appealing to “spread the projects around town”, this is not a realistic possibility.

    First, there must be a sufficient number of available sites with willing sellers at reasonable prices that are large enough and can be zoned for multi-family units.

    Secondly, COAH units are not profitable for a developer. Thus, the project must also include market rate units. By breaking the required number of units into smaller projects spread throughout town, the smaller individual projects may not be economical for a developer. If a single developer could build ALL the properties, it MAY become more economical. However, it would never be as profitable for the developer as a single larger location. At the end of the day, a developer has to be willing to build to units. This is a business decision for the developer, not you or the Village Council. The risks are that no developer wants to build the individual units or that the it becomes cost prohibitive to do so for the developer(s) or that the Village must “give too much” to attract developers to build multiple smaller projects.

    Thirdly, there is a deadline imposed by the state. Developing multiple properties throughout town would take years to locate, acquire, re-zone and build, at a far greater expense than a single development on a suitably large and zoned property that is available today. This assumes that surrounding residents in these multiple neighborhoods around town don’t protest a development next door and drag the process out for even longer (a virtual certainty). While the idea of multiple smaller projects sounds quaint and appealing, this is not a realistic option.

    BTW, I am not a member of the Village Council or the Planning or Zoning Boards. I am simply a resident, who has a reasonable understanding of many of the issues and has spent a little time thinking through the alternatives. If you and others spent a little more time gaining a better understanding of the facts and thinking about all sides of an issue before posting on this blog, the discussions here would be far more intelligent and productive.

  33. I don’t live near Broad Street, and yet I have “easy access to a variety of public transportation, food markets, dining, entertainment, etc.” Many parts of town enjoy those amenities.

    The small scale condo housing subdivision on Godwin (near GW) could serve as a model for COAH. The subdivision does not overwhelm the neighborhood in physical size or with large numbers of families added to the community. It blends into the surrounding area. Now imagine – some on Schindler, some on Habernickel and maybe a few on Broad. It is easier for all the neighborhoods to absorb and more appealing for the low and market rate residents who will live there. There could be more than one developer involved. Maybe the developers would prefer to be involved in smaller projects.

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