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Changes to WCL are in the works

Now is the time to keep an eye on the Planning Board, Mayor & Council and Zoning Board meetings. It is crucial to hear what the board members are willing to vote on and to remind them of their commitment to serve the people of this community.
Master

Proposed Master Plan will be presented

The Revised Master Plan will be presented to the Planning Board on Monday, Jan 10th, 2022 at 5:00pm.
See Why We Should Pay Attention

Important Dates

Jan 10, 2022: Planning Board - 5:00pm
On the Agenda: Review and Discussion of Revised Master Plan
Agenda
Zoom Link
Jan 24, 2022: Mayor & Council - 7:00pm
Jan 25, 2022: Zoning Board - 7:30pm
All meetings above are available by the following:
Join on Zoom
Watch Optimum channel 77 - call in # 201-391-4977 ext. 210
Watch for emails from WCL Concerned Residents with links to the agendas and zoom

Why We Should Pay Attention?

  1. Town Planner's preliminary presentation of the Master Plan recommendations include designating sections of Broadway Corridor as "Areas In Need of Re-Development". 
    • WCL Zoning laws can be completely ignored for properties designated "Area in Need of Re-Development".
    • This is a disaster. It means developers will be empowered to do what they want, ignoring all Zoning Laws and negating the Master Plan, as per NJ 40A:12A-7 (..."may adopt a redevelopment plan which is inconsistent with or not designed to effectuate the master plan...")
    • A Redevelopment Plan, once adopted, acts as the zoning on the site.
    • This designation will cause spot zoning. Broadway Corridor could ultimately become a corridor of apartment complexes, possibly worse than our neighboring towns.
    • We should receive alternate solutions from the Town Planner for a cohesive vision regarding standardized density, architecture and design.
  2. Residents made their voices heard in the recent Master Plan Survey
    • Maintain a small town, single family dwelling character
    • Restrict high density/over-development
    • Maintain the visual appeal and design character of the community
    • Don’t allow the developers to cause increases in our municipal and school taxes
    • Protect our best asset: our schools and residential neighborhoods
    • See Pascack Press July 23 article: Apartment, traffic are concerns in master plan survey
  3. Avoid the growing pains which Montvale is currently experiencing due to the increase in rental apartments. A Montvale special election school referendum is scheduled for December to approve an additional $29.4 million to allow for expansion and upgrades to keep the small class sizes, this will increase school taxes.
    • Montvale’s density increase will filter into Pascack Hills H.S. which will impact WCL’s taxes, too.
    • Look at our neighboring towns (Park Ridge, Hillsdale, River Vale, Westwood) and how they are experiencing similar issues with over-development and high density.  See More Housing - More Classrooms

What To Keep An Eye On

Planning Board

The Master Plan Committee will present the revised Master Plan to the members of the Planning Board for review and discussion at the Monday, Jan 10th, 2022 meeting. They will also present to the Zoning Board on Jan 25, 2022. Once the boards have had input, the committee hopes to present to the Mayor & Council for approval. The plan will be available for public viewing at least 10 days before the final M&C approval meetings which could take place on Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 7:00. Note: there is also a M&C meeting on Monday, January 24th at 7:00pm where the public will have a chance to ask questions as well.
  • The community should remind the board of the Master Plan Survey results.
    • They are considering designating parts of the community as “Areas in Need of Redevelopment” – this will allow developers to circumvent the Master Plan and the Zoning Board, and this will cause spot zoning.
      • We are not seeing good recommendations from the Planner, who was hired by the board, regarding Broadway zoning other than suggesting implementing “Areas in Need of Redevelopment”.

Zoning Board:

  • ZB members have unanimously voted against overdevelopment and high density on Broadway with previous applications. A developer’s lawsuit was filed to overturn the Zoning Board decision. The lawsuit is still pending.
  • A new application for 3 additional apartments at 216 Broadway (Faber Bros) is currently before the board. This will bring the total to 6 apartments on .366 acres which, if approved, could raise the market rate density to 16 units per acre, which will set a new precedent for the entire town.

Mayor & Council

  • M&C members are seriously considering high expenditures for the Causeway and the Master Plan.
    • Trying to pass $700,000 allocation for Causeway beautification project.
    • Already passed an increase for the Master Plan from $50k to $70K
  • They will receive the Planning Boards’ Master Plan recommendations and will have the power to approve or not approve the recommendations.
Update: 7-20-21 Zoning Board denied 2nd Application. Click Here to Read Thank You

Key Reasons Why 188 Broadway Application is Bad for Woodcliff Lake

1.
The proposed density for 188 Broadway is 14.68 units per acre (53 unit / 3.609 acres)
The proposed density is extraordinarily high and far exceeds the density of the complaint filed by the WCL Governing Body vs. Saddle River (8 units per acre).
Far exceeds the most recently approved Affordable Housing Development at 230 Broadway / Highview (6.81 units per acre).
Far above 62 Broadway which was approved before WCL became aware of the impacts of high-density development. This property is 10 units per acre (14 units / 1.399 acres).
The current Master Plan prohibits market rate multi-family housing.
2.
The 230 Broadway 100% Affordable Housing Development, which has been approved and settled, is in close proximity to 188 Broadway (it's only 320 feet away). This development will have 16 affordable units on 2.348 acres which equates to 6.81 units per acre
Woodcliff Lake has met its Affordable Housing Development requirements. There is no need for further development to satisfy Affordable Housing.
Why should the 188 Broadway property be allowed to have a much higher density than the most recently approved affordable housing settlement?
3.
At the March 15, 2021 Mayor & Council meeting the public was notified that pursuant to the Mayor & Council's direction, the WCL borough lawyer filed a complaint challenging Saddle River's zoning ordinance seeking to rezone 78 Woodcliff Lake Road from a one-family dwelling to an 8 unit per acre dwelling for a total of 16 units. That challenge has been filed.
From this notification, we can see that the elected officials of WCL feel that 8 units or more per acre does not fit the character of Woodcliff Lake
To ensure uniformity within Woodcliff Lake, the same standards should be applied throughout our town, including 188 Broadway
4.
Over-development on Broadway will affect police, fire and ambulance response times caused by the increased commuter traffic which has been steadily increasing over the years.
Emergency response time will be affected by the increased congestion on Broadway, delays with trains at the station, increased train frequency, and more backups on the causeway.
WCL residents could face life and death situations due to delays in response times for first responders.
5.
The decision made for this application will determine the future of development in Woodcliff Lake. Any piece of open land will be subject to the standards set forth by the zoning board's decision.
The developer's plan to squeeze a second building and 53 apartments onto 3.609 acres does not allow for a live/work/play lifestyle
High-Density is contradictory to the character of Woodcliff Lake
The proposed application will change the character of Woodcliff Lake by opening the floodgates for other similar high-density apartments to be developed.
Woodcliff Lake zoning should not be determined by spot variances.
6.
As per the County of Bergen, the Department of Planning & Engineering's requirements and conditions for approval submitted by the applicant - paragraph 15, the county reserves the right to impose left turn restrictions into and out of the 188 Broadway site if necessary to ensure the safe and efficient movement of traffic along Broadway
Based on the county's paragraph 15 condition, it appears that the county foresees potential traffic problems with the ingress/egress at 188 Broadway. In other words, left turns into and out of 188 Broadway will be difficult to navigate safely.
188 Broadway has only one driveway in and out of the property. The addition of vehicles exiting and entering the proposed complex will cause significant traffic backups due to the nearby traffic light and train stops currently that are occurring at least 28 times a day.
7.
The applicant is requesting a waiver of Section 292-27A of the WCL Borough Code, the applicant is requesting zero (0) interior loading berths, but as per Section 292-27A, this application requires 2 loading berths.
The applicant is claiming only one (1) loading berth is required; however, Section 292-27A requires one berth for the first 20,000 ft. of building size. The applicant's proposed architectural plans propose 59,201sq feet. As per the code footnotes, two (2) interior loading berths are required from 40,000sq feet to 100,000sq feet.
Section 292-27A states "Each loading space shall not be less than 12 feet in width and 50 feet in length; and the height clearance shall not be less than 12 feet...Off-street loading space shall not be included in any fire prevention zone, within 25 feet of any fire hydrant or stand pipe or within 10 feet of any entrance way or pedestrian walkway or any other general means of entry to and from a building...nor shall it block or in any way interfere with the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic in the area..."
Where will all the unloading and uploading for delivery trucks, Fed-Ex, UPS, Amazon, and first responders take place? There is a good reason that the Zoning Code requires off-street loading berths.
8.
WCL Ordinance 19-07 sets design standards for B-1 Broadway District and S-O Special Office District zones. The 188 Broadway application should follow all the rules set forth by Ordinance 19-07.
Ordinance 19-07 6-b "Required Open Space Dedication on Larger Projects" stipulates that  "projects equal to or exceeding one (1) acre in size shall provide a publicly accessible pocket park, courtyard or plaza that meets the following standards: The open space shall be at least 2,000 square feet."
The applicant is proposing zero (0) square feet of interior landscaping.
The applicant could consider one mixed-use building ground floor retail and a few apartments above the retail level. This will make it possible to comply with Ordinance 19-07. 

Do You Know What's Happening On Broadway? 

Approximate Rental Apartments Planned on Broadway

16 Approved Affordable Housing Units - 230 Broadway
12 Approved Affordable Housing Units - VFW 281 Broadway
10 Approved Affordable Housing Units - 1 Coles Crossing*
14 Rental Units Over 5 Retail - 62 Broadway (Built)
18 Affordable Housing Units - Broadway Village (Built approx 20 years ago)
*Coles Crossing could generate 57 market value units in addition to the 10 Affordable units.
70 Affordable Housing Units Approved & Pending on Broadway
53 Rental Market Unit Application to be heard by Zoning Board - May 25
123 up to 180+ Total Rental Units if 188 Broadway is approved  
This could be the beginning. If 188 Broadway is approved, the flood gates will open for other developers.
Developers are taking advantage of the Mt. Laurel decision to force towns to build large numbers of market rate apartments while only setting aside 15% for Affordable Housing.
It appears Woodcliff Lake Officials are pushing for most of the Affordable Housing to be on Broadway, one of the most congested roads in town.
Don't forget to include the current 28 trips per day into the Woodcliff Lake train station. This causes backups not only on Broadway, but on Prospect Avenue, Highview Avenue and the Causeway.
nj-transit-train

78 Woodcliff Lake Road - Saddle River Affordable Housing

78 Woodcliff Lake Road in Saddle River, which abuts Apple Ridge Road in WCL, is designated for Affordable Housing. This property will be re-zoned from a single-family home to a 16 multi-family unit residence with a density of 8 units per acre. 

A complaint has been filed by the WCL Mayor & Council  and the Borough Attorney which challenges Saddle River's zoning ordinance because a density of 8 units per acre is considered too high for WCL. 
Read More About 78 Woodcliff Lake Road
78 Woodcliff Lake Road
WCL Stop Over-Development
Let's Keep the Character of Woodcliff Lake
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