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Hearings Begin Tonight on Multifamily Developments

Planning board considering master plan amendment that would allow up to four multifamily developments to proceed in and around downtown Ridgewood.

A map of the proposed new zones in and around Ridgewood's central business district / Credit: The Village of Ridgewood
A map of the proposed new zones in and around Ridgewood's central business district / Credit: The Village of Ridgewood

Public hearings on a master plan amendment that would pave the way for as many as four proposed multifamily developments are scheduled to begin Tuesday night.

After years of conceptual discussion on the proposals, the planning board is considering the creation of new zones in and around the central business district that would allow for high-density development.

According to the village planner’s draft, all residential developments in the zones would be required to include an affordable housing component to comply with the village’s obligations under state law, though the percentage of units that would be reserved for low- and moderate-income tenants remains unclear.

The density of the developments, according to the draft, would range from 30 to 50 units per acre, with a higher density allowed for rental units.

In the AH-2, or affordable housing zone, located on Broad Street, building heights of for-sale units would be limited to 45-50 feet, and 50-55 feet for developments with rental units.

Height limits in the two other proposed mixed-use zones would be 50 and 55 feet in for-sale and for-rent developments, respectively.

The draft amendment to the master plan also requires visual elements to be consistent with the surrounding area.

“Buildings should incorporate architectural features that are characteristic of exemplary buildings reflecting the traditional architecture in the central business district,” the draft reads.

According to the draft amendment, buildings with a taller height would further be required to include architectural features on the roof that soften their visual impact.

Critics of the four multifamily development applications have raised concerns about the proposed density, not seen elsewhere in the village, while proponents say the housing could fill a gap in Ridgewood's residential options.

In discussion of the draft amendment, planning officials emphasized that the draft is subject to modifications based on the upcoming public hearings.

The planning board meets at Benjamin Franklin Middle School for the public hearing at 7:30 p.m.

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