Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgewood Neighbors Wary of Valley's Experts

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgewood Neighbors Wary of Valley's Experts

Article excerpt

RIDGEWOOD -- Despite assurances by experts hired by The Valley Hospital, residents remain skeptical that a plan to double the size of the hospital won't harm their neighborhood.

Residents continue to criticize the professionals testifying for the hospital before the village Planning Board. They have balked at a traffic expert's assertion that traffic will decrease when the hospital expands and have questioned a report by another expert that the significant excavation required for the construction won't harm the old foundations of the homes that surround the hospital.

On Tuesday night, residents made it clear they didn't believe Shannon Magari of Colden Corp., an environmental consulting firm, when she repeated for more than two hours that no hazards will leave the site as buildings are dismantled and new ones erected.

The expansion project calls for the hospital to grow by 77 percent, from 562,000 square feet to 995,000 square feet, and have 454 rooms, all private, and updated treatment centers. The finished complex will add a 245,000-square-foot garage and stand 94 feet high, including rooftop mechanicals.

Valley officials have repeatedly said the hospital needs to upgrade to remain competitive. Valley has grown beyond its beginnings as a community hospital and competes against other top hospitals with its expertise in cardiac surgery, brain tumor clinical trials, maternity and other areas.

Magari explained how workers on the project would use state-of- the-art monitors to watch for lead, carbon monoxide, asbestos and other toxic substances. Most of these minute particles can't be seen but are hazardous if inhaled, and some are considered to be carcinogens. Magari also said that construction workers would keep "nuisance dust" -- which she said is visible and "annoying" but not dangerous -- from spreading to nearby homes and the neighboring middle school by spraying water over it. …

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