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Ridgewood Water Plans to Build 15-Story Tower in Wyckoff

"We have to build it," says Ridgewood Water Director Frank Moritz. "There just isn't another way."

 officials say their plan to construct a 15-story water tower in Wyckoff is absolutely necessary in light of a township zoning board application by the Christian Health Care Center that would add  to the CHCC campus. 

The utility is about 75 percent complete with design specifications to construct a $4 million, 180-foot tower on its property between and Merrywood Drive, Ridgewood Water Director Frank Moritz told Patch Monday. 

The plan is virtually unchanged from the proposal set before the Wyckoff Zoning Board of Adjustment in 2006, one that was denied.

Ridgewood Water officials say the coverage area — called the "Booster Zone" — includes the section of Wyckoff that borders North Haledon, Hawthorne and a small portion of Franklin Lakes. That area, which has no wells, is currently served by two pumping stations that are prone to occasional power failures and often struggles keeping up with demand.

"There's no way for us to increase service in Wyckoff by extending the main," Moritz said, adding the tower would serve the dual function of providing fire protection for the residents.

"We have to build it. We jumped through hoops for years avoiding building that tank. There just isn't another way," he added.

Moritz said the utility has "exhausted" alternate options, because "they wouldn't meet DEP mandates."

Wyckoff officials did not comment for this story, citing ongoing litigation issues with Ridgewood. The township , claiming Ridgewood from the neighboring towns through its water utility.

Attorney Joseph Fiorenzo, the Hackensack-based lawyer handling the class action suit, did not return a request for comment Tuesday. Fiorenzo is also a former Wyckoff mayor and committeeman.

Grassroots group "Save Our Skyline," a coalition of neighbors in the Merrywood neighborhood, previously suggested an overhauling of the pumping stations with emergency generators and more modern technological data systems would be cheaper and just as effective.

Merrywood Drive resident Eileen Gatens expressed disappointment the tower issue is reemerging six years later.

"We were worried about that," she told Patch upon hearing the news. "When [Ridgewood Water] were putting it in they said [the proposed water tower] had nothing to do with our water."

Gatens said she would vocally oppose the the water tower — like she did in 2006 — if the plans make it back to one of the township's land use boards.

According to Gatens, the last time she saw the plans Ridgewood Water wanted to install the massive tower in close to her home, adjacent her next door neighbor's yard. 

"The property values of our houses here go down with one of those in our backyard," she said.

The height of the tower is paramount to the project's success, water officials said. Gravity forces down the water, increasing overall system reliability. The pumping stations would still be needed, according to officials.

The water tank would hold somewhere between 750,000 and 1 million gallons of water, and multiple sources said it would be absolutely necessary should a controversial application to expand the Christian Health Care Center go through.

Christian Health Care Center to construct 258 units on 20 acres in Wyckoff and Hawthorne. It's faced considerable opposition from neighboring property owners who believe wildlife and open space would be compromised, in addition to .

The previous water tower application was dismissed in early 2006 on the grounds that notification to nearby property owners was not done properly and that slopes on the property were not addressed by the application. Moritz said they'll be dotting their I's and crossing their T's this time around.

Once design specs are completed and costs have been tabulated, the utility will have to submit an application to either the Wyckoff Planning Board, or, more likely, the town's zoning board. They might be as soon as six months out from such a meeting, Moritz told Patch Monday.

Wyckoff residents aren't the only ratepayers to protest a tower in recent years.

Homeowners in Ridgewood's west side also spoke out against the construction of a water tower near Crest Road in 2008 and Midland Park residents have complained of the aesthetics of another tower on Glen Avenue.

Ridgewood Water serves more than 50,000 residents in Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Wyckoff, and Midland Park.

Have a question or news tip? Contact Editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com or Editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com.

Ridgewood Patch fans can find us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for our daily newsletter.

Wyckoff Patch fans can find us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for our daily newsletter.

Chris June 26, 2012 at 11:47 PM
And the hits just keep on coming! Also happy to see our water rates are going up to help pay for this. Time to go back to my good old well water. Once our elected pols approve Vista, having the water tower will be a "life safety" issue that won't be stopped.
AMAMOM June 27, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Correction: The water tower on Valley View Road, "near Crest" was existing and was replaced with a new water tower when the first tower aged out. A water tower has been there for at least 40 years. Also, the picture shown with this article looks nothing like the tower (tank) in Ridgewood. The tank/tower in Ridgewood is green, solid, not on legs and very well landscaped.
Jim June 27, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Another reason not to proceed with this mess. Is anyone listening?
boyd sentinal June 27, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Here is an idea, how about the water company and local law enforcement enforce the water restrictions when they in place. Too many idiots have every square inch of their properties watered every day - even at stage 3 & 4. Most people don't pay attention to what's going on, and/or don't care. So build it! Put it up as a huge reminder as to what happens when people don't care, and don't conserve.
John A. Unglert June 27, 2012 at 02:24 AM
NOW, after 7 years, all of a sudden, after rate raises that have not been used to increase capacity, litigation on rates, Mr. Mortiz wishes to build thism ? Is RW now using the Vista project and problems as a new method to increase rates even more ? I warn you all NOW, beware, another seligh-of-hand from RW to increase rates under the guise of a "tower". What's been happening for the last seven years pray tell ? WHY now, after all the stink we now see a plan for increase capacity. I say again, "Something is rotten in the State of Ridgewood Water".
Lee R. June 27, 2012 at 02:58 AM
The water tower in the photo is in Iowa,
No One June 27, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Stupid question, where does the water come from?
NLTITAN June 27, 2012 at 11:05 AM
I agree with all of you, especially John Unglert. Once "they" start - more and more to come. Look at Boulder Run!! Have you seen anyone come and go in those low income housing units? NOT ME - NOT ONE PERSON!!!
NLTITAN June 27, 2012 at 11:06 AM
Oops - one more thing - will the tower have "Wyckoff" on it? The water comes mostly from Wyckoff, I understand - "No One"
Michael Sparozic June 27, 2012 at 12:23 PM
If the CHCC wants to build Vista and to be able to get water to the project to feed the new demand on the water system, then let CHCC pay for the upgrades to the water system. Instead of a new tower have them build a pumping facility on the CHCC property to make sure they are their neighbors have the proper water pressure since they are putting an additional demand on the existing distribution system. Cost of doing business.
Gary Rabinowitz June 27, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Why on earth would any fiscally responsible entity incur a single penny of costs, let alone $4 million, on a project serving a development that hasn't even been approved yet? Ridgewood Water's senior mgmt and their board should be fired for even suggesting so. >"Ridgewood Water officials say their plan to construct a 15-story water tower in Wyckoff is absolutely necessary in light of a township zoning board application by the Christian Health Care Center that would add a 258-unit expansion to the CHCC campus." I applaud Wyckoff's litigation against Ridgewood Water. That RW is not only incurring costs, but also the ire of Wyckoff customers, on such a speculative capital project tells you most of what you need to know about their managerial competence. GXR
Helen Cool June 27, 2012 at 04:45 PM
This reminds me of when my husband first moved to N.J. It seems there was a terrible water shortage (some of you might remember). This was when the cute adage came about (SHOWER WITH A FRIEND). Well many, not all took it heart & water use came down substancially, hurray for the good guys right, wrong. Hackensack Water Co. raised our rate. Do you know why, perhaps you've already guessed or perhaps you remember too. Because of the lack of use of water the company wasn't making enough money,hence increase the rates. Contradiction, wouldn't you say?
Gary Rabinowitz June 27, 2012 at 07:03 PM
@ Lee R. - yes it is. And it's shorter (164 ft) than the tower RW is proposing (180 ft).
John A. Unglert June 27, 2012 at 07:31 PM
RW "must" rasie rates because "RW is one of the lowest rates in the area"... always a well thought out reason. Mark my words, this is going to become the "excuse" to keep any refunds the lawsuit recovers. RW is hedging its bets now under the quise of a need that does not, currentlt exist. The is a REAL NEED for water pressure in this area however, let that not remain unsaid. However, WHY has RW never addressed THAT issue. It has NEVER been mentioned when all the rates went up. Did RW every say; "Oh we need the rate increase to add capacity and pressure in the Wyckoff Sicomac area !", Nope, the just need money for their bloated retirment and health benefits for the water dept. ALONG with all the other Ridgewood employees.
jp1 June 27, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Let Wyckoff start there own water company or hook up with Hackensack and stop whining.
Louis Smith June 27, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Hear Hear Michael... I don't want it at all and am trying to fight Vista, but if THEY want to build, let THEM pay for the water tower.
Louis Smith June 27, 2012 at 09:36 PM
jp1 - bring it on. Most people in Wyckoff would welcome the change. Ridgewood Water would never let go of their cash cow to allow Wyckoff to do so.
Stanley Goodman July 05, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Yes, this is about water rates, but it's also about greed and an absurd development proposal in Wyckoff. In a residential, single-family zone, they want a building on a scale with Paramus Park - - 6 times the size of our YMCA. This is our version of Valley Hospital, yet it receives little press coverage. Opponents have distributed nearly 400 lawn signs (versus -0- supporting it) and had standing-room-only crowds at every Zoning Board hearing since Dec 2011. And yet the proposal is dancing its way to the finish line. We own our homes, pay taxes, and have absolutely no say in the development of our town. With so little news coverage, most people do not what "those signs" are for. When construction continues for 2-3 years and housing prices drop, everyone will ask, "How could this happen?"
Richard Sorce July 24, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Occupy Wyckoff!!!

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