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.