Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgefield Tables Votes on Senior Housing Plan

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgefield Tables Votes on Senior Housing Plan

Article excerpt

RIDGEFIELD -- Opponents of plans to convert 1.26 acres of open space off Shaler Boulevard into a site for senior public housing claimed a victory Tuesday when the Borough Council tabled votes that would have approved a lease agreement and converted the land to a developable site.

"There is power in the people, and they can influence each other," said Carol Morgado, a resident of more than 30 years. "We are the concerned people that live in this town, and I'm so glad that they are finally listening."

The resolution to table the lease agreement vote came after more than half a dozen residents in the audience of more than 120 listed their objections to the project, and minutes after Planning Board member Harry Pfaff submitted a petition with more than 400 signatures that asked the council to let a non-binding referendum decide if the borough-owned tract, known as Slocum Path, should be developed for the project.

"As citizens of Ridgefield who are concerned about their community, we believe the public should have an opportunity to voice its opinion about major development projects that could forever change the character of the beautiful borough we love," read the petition.

Councilman Javier Acosta, who asked that the measures be tabled, said he hadn't thought about the project's affect on children who walk the tract to and from school, a point raised by residents. He said the council will look for other ways to bring in senior housing.

"I thought it would be something good for seniors. We will go back to the drawing board," he said.

Charlotte Vandervalk, director of development for the Housing Authority of Bergen County, the project's chosen developer, said she was disappointed by the council's decision, but hopeful the project would be reconsidered. She said even though officials could not designate units in the proposed complex for Ridgefield residents, many could have qualified. …

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