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New Expansion Plan a Response to Past Criticism, Valley Says

Valley Hospital will present its new proposed expansion project to the planning board in March.

In fall of 2011, the Ridgewood Village Council unanimously voted down Valley Hospital's $750 million expansion "Renewal" project. If approved, construction on the first phase would have persisted for about seven years. Buildings would have been demolished, and others erected on the 15-acre space, which included all single-occupancy rooms and a 195,000 square foot parking garage. 

But council members expresed concern over intensity of use, traffic impacts, overall growth, and infrastructure damage to surrounding homes and the village's water system.

A last ditch attempt from Valley CEO Audrey Meyers to "compromise" on substantive issues before the vote fell on deaf ears.

Valley has returned.

In a brief statement to Patch Monday, hospital officials said Monday they've learned from Renewal.

"In response to concerns raised by Village residents during the 2011 Village Council review of our former plans for campus renewal, we have developed a modified plan," Valley spokeswoman Megan Fraser said. "We appreciate the opportunity to introduce the plan, and look forward to the first Planning Board meeting next month."

Sources told Patch Valley's newest proposal, set to hit the planning board March 11, calls for fewer uses on site to reduce intensity. But it's still unclear how modified the plans will be. 

In her plea to the council prior to the ordinance vote in 2011, Meyers offered to "compromise" on construction time, with regard to traffic issues and groundwater construction methods. She did not, say, however, the project would be scaled down.

Council members heavily criticized the prior planning board's review of "Renewal" and the zoning offered when voting down the project in November.

Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh called it "disturbing" that experts and the planning board took unverified information "supplied to them provided by Valley Hospital at face value and did not attempt to check any of the facts."

Now-mayor Paul Aronsohn even wondered if the hospital should go to the zoning board instead of the planning board when it finally returned.

Valley says the healthcare standard of single-occupancy rooms with more modern diagnostic equipment is necessary to remain a viable player in the hyper-competitive healthcare game. That need hasn't changed.

In short, they need to expand. Maybe moreso now more than ever.

The hospital will soon be seeing even more competition, with uber-rival Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) re-opening Pascack Valley Hospital in June. HUMC-Pascack will be privately run and contains many of the modern upgrades Valley seeks.

Valley estimated in 2011 it would lose millions of dollars in business from increased competition.

What would you, as a resident, like to a new hospital expansion to have – or not have – that differs from the "Renewal" plan?

delgado February 19, 2013 at 01:51 AM
Need to realize the overwhelming conflicts that is going on here. The Republican Bergen County Executive is a campaign contriubtions money taking machine and there are those among the Valley Hospital community that are big Republicans. Add in the thousands of money Honorable Walsh (per NJ ELEC website) has contributed to Donovan and the law firm of Honorable Petrucelli is a huge Republican contributing law firm.(per NJ ELECO) . So basically the fix is in. The Hospital will expand and more houses in the area might as become a strip mall of medical offices...
James Kleimann February 19, 2013 at 05:22 AM
Pucciarelli said he will abstain from the hearings. Walsh was very opposed to the prior proposal.
sandy February 19, 2013 at 01:51 PM
My biggest fear was the unknown damage to the Ridgewood water system with their proposed "removal of ground water" in the bedrock blasting. I also think they could modernize much of the existing facility w/o such massive construction destruction.
Fan of Ridgewood February 19, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Back in 2011 it was "convential wisdom" that the Valley expansion would roll through the Village Council. That didnt happen either.

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