Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgefield Senior Housing Plan Advances

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgefield Senior Housing Plan Advances

Article excerpt

RIDGEFIELD -- A large portion of parkland along Shaler Boulevard will soon be the location of the borough's first affordable housing complex for seniors over 62.

The project was given preliminary site plan approval last week by the Planning Board after about two hours of testimony from representatives of the Bergen County Housing Authority, the developer and its architect, engineer and professional planner. The 5-3 vote to approve the project followed brief statements by residents who spoke against developing the land, and after several board members weighed the borough's need for open space against its need for senior housing.

"If you listen to the voice of this town which are these people who turned out, it's a great project, but the wrong location," board member Isabel Plascencia said before voting no.

Harold Nebbia countered that although some residents who attended the meeting spoke against the project, there were others who supported the idea.

"I think we should take a step for people that want it, and try to give them something the town does not have," he said. "I think there are people in town that do want it."

The vote came a day after the Democratic-controlled Borough Council introduced an ordinance that would convert a large portion of Slocum Path, where the project will be built, from designated parkland to a site for affordable senior housing. A final vote on that measure is scheduled for May 28.

A recently approved 99-year lease agreement between the borough and the Housing Authority of Bergen County will allow the authority to construct the approximately $10 million complex on the 1.26-acre tract near the Ridgefield Nature Center, and in turn pay the borough $1 in rent. Ridgefield will also receive tax from the rentals, officials said.

The rental apartments will be available for those who meet age and certain income qualifications, said Domingo Sinande, executive director of the Bergen County Housing Authority. He said based on his experience with such a development, it will attract people 70 years and older from the area. …

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