RIDGEWOOD — Barring any unforeseen developments, the village will soon be home to a new residential complex on Chestnut Street.
Chestnut Village, a 43-unit apartment complex, will include seven units set aside for affordable housing. It will be built at the site of the old state inspection station, near the village’s central garage.
The development is the first of four housing applications to emerge from the public hearing process in front of the Planning Board. Final approval lies in the hands of the Village Council.
The project has drawn little public opposition. While several Planning Board members expressed some safety concerns, particularly regarding pedestrians, it was generally agreed the applicant had made a good-faith effort to address those matters.
Ultimately, the site plan was approved by the seven eligible voting members, with one recusal, from Vice Chairman Joel Torielli.
Board member Dave Scheibner said, “Based on the extras that have gone in, particularly the sidewalk on Robinson Lane, to me indicate willingness on the part of this applicant to be a good neighbor, so I’m inclined to be in favor of this application.”
Thomas Wells, the attorney for developer Two Forty Associates, laid out some of the conditions they have agreed to meet, including additional screening for the parking lot and a sidewalk on Robinson Lane from Chestnut Street to Oak Street next to the YM/YWCA. A full list of conditions is typically memorialized in the resolution passed at a future Planning Board meeting.
The project received a boost from local advocates of special-needs housing, who say there is a shortage of options in Ridgewood.
Lesley Linker, a village woman with multiple sclerosis, shared with the board her story of attempting to find an affordable apartment for herself and her two children. It had become difficult for her to manage her home, but she wanted to remain in the village so her children could stay in their school and be near friends.
“It’s very sad there’s nothing in Ridgewood for someone to look at,” said Linker.
Wells responded that the applicant is committed to helping provide such housing in Ridgewood.
“The applicant certainly hopes we can find a way to work with the village to accommodate those with special needs,” said Wells.
With regard to any improvements the village sees fit to make with a connection or “nexus” to the Chestnut Village project, Wells said the applicant, J.T. Bolger, is willing to “do the right thing” and pointed out the Bolger family’s long history of philanthropy. A fitness center at the YMCA and a local history room at the Ridgewood Public Library bear the Bolger name.