WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - The Borough of Wood-Ridge passed two new ordinances as well as three applications during a lengthy session of the Borough’s Land Use Board on Wednesday evening.  

The meeting opened with the Board agreeing to break from the printed agenda and hear the application from Wood-Ridge Development, LLC, in regards to the Wesmont Station Redevelopment, with the preliminary and final site plan, subdivision and height variances for the final 10.42 acres in the southwest part of the Wesmont Redevelopment Area.

There were several residents in attendance, expressing particular concerns about the tree line that currently exists and provides a buffer to the Wesmont development.  Borough Administrator Chris Eilert addressed those concerns, on several occasions, by noting that the issues of over-cutting the trees associated with phase 1 of the project was the result of PSE&G cutting trees they were not supposed to when they were cutting around the upgraded electrical overhead wires.    

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Eilert noted that the township is working with the utility company to repair that damage with new plantings, and that the township and developers will try to remove as few trees as possible.  Eilert also noted that not all the trees are 100 percent healthy, as the borough has been called to clean up downed branches after storms.  

Residents were concerned because of the height of the new buildings that are going in, as they will not only be visible to them from their residences, but afford residents in corner units a view into the yards as well, as they will be above the grade by approximately 11 feet. 

Residents also expressed concerns about Burma Road.  Eilert limited the conversation, as it was not part of the application, and noted there will be future hearings about the Boroughs plans.  He did however, offer that they were considering several options, including closing it to traffic entirely, but there are safety concerns pertaining to the ability of larger vehicles to turn around either Sussex Road or Innis Road.  But that would be discussed at a later meeting.

Residents also questioned the traffic study that was produced by the applicant, which suggested that 70 percent of the vehicle traffic from the 190 new units would be heading out of Wesmont towards Passaic Avenue.  More than likely it was suggested, the traffic would be headed towards Highland Avenue, as parents with children in schools would be heading towards the Doyle School, the Intermediate School and the Junior/Senior High School.  

All variances were approved by the members in attendance. (Chairman Frank Finke, Vice Chair Kevin Trotter, Class IV member Robert Ruhle, Class I member Chris Eilert, and Class IV alternates Michael Donato and Anthony Iacovino.)

After a 10 minute recess, the Board met, after a lengthy discussion, approved the application of Wood-Ridge resident Rocci Pasquinucci, by a 4-1 vote. (Iacovino recused himself from the hearing of the application and Chairman Finke voted against Eilert’s resolution to grant the application as requested.) 

The request for sub-division was agreed upon as the lot in question, was originally two separate lots, which were combined for tax purposes after the owner razed the existing house on one of the properties. He now wishes to sub-divide and build a new home on the second lot.  A variance however, would be required for the current plans for the home for the sideyard setback. (Plans were to give an 8-foot setback, where code is for 12 feet on a corner property.) 

Pasquinucci purchased the property following the passing of the previous owner, and had it razed as the property had fallen into disrepair, and made improvements to the property. As part of his plan, he was changing the facing of his house from Fritsch Ave to Rose Ave.

As Eilert noted while making his application, Pasquinncci deserved consideration from the Borough as an existing homeowner and not an outside developer looking to build a house for a quick flip.  

The application of 370 Route 17 Realty LLC (Car Wash) was granted, giving approval to the site plan for a Car Detailing Building on the lot next to it.  Currently the property is two separate non-conforming lots that are owned by the same individuals but individually.The owners of the building, agreed to a few stipulations in the plans, including an easement for a shared driveway for both lots. It was approved unanimously. 

Two ordinances, both approving previously Council approved resolutions were also passed.  One pertained to fencing, the second authorizing undertaking of the 2019 road resurfacing plan.  Both passed unanimously.


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