Members of the planning board and the public again expressed a number of concerns related to a on S. Broad Street.
Representatives of Garden Homes, the applicant eyeing the Brogan lot as a spot for new luxury apartments that would require a rezoning of the Master Plan, testified that the proposed building's perceived negative impacts are smoothed by architectural detail and a 'Ridgewood feel'.
Architect Lawrence Appel said "The Dayton" – designed in a reverse "E" – would have apartment units laid out on the first two floors with "voids" on the third floor and zero units on the fourth floor, which instead culls the Tudor-style pitched roof that fluctuates from a high point of nearly 64 feet down to 31 feet.
Appel offered several comps in Ridgewood to make the case that what was proposed was not too grandiose, including the three-building brick apartments just a few feet down on S. Broad St.
"I don't feel that this would be the only building that is tall in this area," Appel said of The Dayton. Planning board members questioned some of the examples, noting that elevation levels were not taken into consideration. Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh said the brick apartments were a poor comparison because the apartments on S. Broad St., 42-feet-tall, are separate units with 'green space' between them.
"This is a pretty massive building on the street," Walsh said of the proposal.
The planning board requested more architectural renderings be drawn, so as to get a better sense of the scale.
Size isn't everything
There were other concerns beyond the height of the building.
Board member Nancy Bigos remarked that there was still minimal outdoor space. The developer has stressed tenants would instead take advantage of Ridgewood's downtown and parks.
Zoning board member Hans Lehman scrutinized the number of parking spaces proposed – 180 spots for 120 units. State law would ordinarily require 231 spots built for 120 units, explained Village Planner Blais Brancheau. However, that figure could be lowered because of the mass transit oriented approach and demographics targeting retirees, young couples without children, he said. The vast majority of parking is enclosed below grade, underneath the structure.
Jobs, jobs, jobs
Reverend Thomas Johnson, of , asked that the applicants provide greater notification of the proceedings to residents. He also pressed the developer to look to Ridgewood in a different way.
"We need jobs," the community leader said, adding that the development proposals to his knowledge would not bring any work to Ridgewood residents or firms.
School enrollment issues
The next hearing will be Dec. 6, the same night as is set to be heard. Builder J.T. Bolger has also been proposing a rezoning to the Master Plan at 120 Chestnut to accommodate for a 54-unit complex near the YMCA.
Officials from requested a report be filed to assess a potential impact on the school system. Wells, who is also the attorney representing Bolger's development, said a report has been completed and it will be presented to school officials shortly.