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Planning Board, Residents Scrutinize 120-Unit 'Luxury' Housing Proposal

Questions revolved largely around building height for luxury housing development proposal at the site of the Brogan Cadillac Dealership on S. Broad St.

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.

RdgwdGRock November 16, 2011 at 01:36 PM
if this project needs a "Ridgewood feel", perhaps the ground level can be storefronts dedicated to banks and real estate offices. :-)
Anonymous Guy November 16, 2011 at 03:00 PM
Yeah, because we need more vacant space...
Nancy November 17, 2011 at 12:42 AM
There's a lot of real estate for sale. We really don't need any more housing.
emptynester November 17, 2011 at 12:46 PM
great plan, great architecture, great ratables
nancy brennan-hill November 17, 2011 at 02:50 PM
It is difficult for me to square the description "luxury" with the lack of greenspace (trees, gardens, bird baths) planned for this unit. I think the future occupants and the residents of Ridgewood should demand greenspace for this complex. It is very weak to say that the occupants can use the parks of Ridgewood.
RdgwdGRock November 17, 2011 at 02:54 PM
why can't the occupants use the parks of Ridgewood? do the other garden apartment complexes in town have their own parks?
nancy brennan-hill November 17, 2011 at 05:05 PM
I am proposing a richer environment for both the occupants of the new complex, the neighbors and the people of Ridgewood. Going to a park is not the same as looking out your own windows and seeing beautiful landscape architecture.

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