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Vista's Fate May Be Decided at Zoning Board Hearing

A vote by Wyckoff zoners scheduled for Tuesday night will likely decide what will become of the long-deliberated "Vista" project

The future of the Christian Health Care Center Vista project may be decided at a Wyckoff Zoning Board meeting Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.

It is widely expected that the seventeenth hearing for the application to build a senior housing facility on existing CHCC property would find zoners forced to choose whether or not to green light the application.

At a zoning board meeting in October CHCC representatives presented a vision of a revised and reduced plan for the Vista project. 

The building's footprint was shrunk by approximately 30,000 square feet, the number of housing units there decreased from 258 to 199, and an entire wing had been sheared off plans, a CHCC engineer said of the plan at the October meeting.

CHCC CEO and President Doug Struyk also discussed the revision of a cost structure for potential Vista residents, which would lower entry cost there from $400,000 to somewhere between $250,000 and $300,000 for 10 percent of the units, he said.

The changes to the Vista application came on the heels of a Wyckoff Zoning Board-generated list of perceived negative aspects of the original application. 

SAVE Wyckoff Attorney Ira Weiner was taciturn upon the CHCC's initial reveal of its revised plans, but said there was much more to look into before Tuesday's meeting.

"This issue with the intersection is still on the table," Weiner said in October, indicating a much-debated traffic light that may be installed on a county road at the intersection of Sicomac and Cedar Hill Avenue. "If the intersection is still going in we are still not satisfied."

Weiner is expected to present a letter detailing his reaction to the revised CHCC presentation Tuesday night.

The Wyckoff Zoning Board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Town Hall.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Gary Rabinowitz November 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM
I refer back to my and other commenters' objections of a few months ago. http://wyckoff.patch.com/articles/zoning-board-chcc-vista-project I would note that what seems like "compromise" or good faith "modifications" by CHCC is a tried and true tactic -- "2 steps forward, 1 step back": make the initial proposal so extreme and unprecedented (2 steps forward), that the subsequent revision (which has the sham look of compromise...1 step back) looks reasonable, as if we should then agree to this monstrosity. I'm not buying it, and neither should you. It's timely that we have this meeting just 2 weeks after Sandy. Imagine the additional hardship and burden on our DPW, fire dept and police, all who did an incredible job helping our community, if they also had to look after another 300 to 400 seniors who lacked heat or electricity? We would have a small humanitarian crisis on our hands. Zoning Board -- don't take this decision lightly. Finally, since I cannot attend tonight's meeting, what steps are being taken to make sure that ZB members will not personally benefit from CHCC Vista if it gets approved? Affiliated landscaping companies (BOrst), appliance retailers (Yudin) and banks (Lombardo who sits on board of Pascack Bank) should all be disqualified from having CHCC be a client of theirs should this get approved. Cheers, GXR
E. K. Deutsch November 13, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I don't understand why it seems SAVE is now fine with this project with the exception of the intersection. I agree with Gary that the CHCC most likely pulled a major "blue sky" proposal, received the ire of residents and seemed to capitulate and pull back. This resulted in chastened detractors who fell meekly in line. In my opinion, this project is wrong from beginning to end for a multitude of reasons. When I make any important decision, I make a list of pros and cons. This project's pros benefit only the CHCC and their builders, bankers and developers, the cons fall in the laps of Wyckoff and Hawthorne residents. There is absolutely no "inherently beneficial use" when it comes to residents. Whatever financial bounty may come from this behemoth on the hill will have no beneficial impact on residents. Why are Zoning Board members entitled to make such an important decision, given they are not elected officials? Shouldn't this undertaking be decided by ballot? Better lawyer up if this goes through, CHCC, because lawsuits will come fast and furious. Mother Nature, blasting, noise and air pollution will make sure of that. This is a project conceived in a tunnel within a time warp. It makes absolutely no sense in today's world. E. K. Deutsch
Ed November 13, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Agree whole-heartedly, EKD!! Enough already of the Zoning Board rubber stamping another project and screwing up this once bucolic town. The citizens of Wyckoff should decide not only this issue but also who sits on the Zoning Board.!!!
Leaving November 14, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Excellent idea! The people should be able to directly approve or disapprove a project of this magnitude. This project will affect so many citizens in at 3 different towns, really. We should have the chance to VOTE! By vote, I mean directly; not "through" APPOINTED members of the Zoning Board (s).
NLTITAN November 14, 2012 at 02:06 PM
What was the outcome Patch??? I'm surprised you don't have the results of last night's meeting.
Joseph M. Gerace (Editor) November 14, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Linda... The zoning board didn't vote. The board and the applicant were a million miles apart on a number of issues, and from the outset of the meeting it was apparent there would be no vote. Now it looks like they won't get to a vote at the next meeting either... maybe on December 11. (Realistically, they COULD vote at the Nov. 27 meeting, but there's still a lot of ground to cover.) Regarding my story, it's coming. There are some issues that need to be researched regarding cost reductions, combustible v non-combustible materials, etc.
Gary Rabinowitz November 14, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Thanks Joe Gerace for this pre-update update. We look forward to your article. Did any Wyckoff patch readers attend last night's meeting? If so, would be interested to hear your take on what happened. Cheers, GXR
M. Terry November 14, 2012 at 08:48 PM
I was appalled to hear last night that CHCC decided against using noncombustible materials to save money. According to CHCC's attorney, because of the reduction in size of the project (which, btw, mostly affects Hawthorne rather than Wyckoff), they needed to cut costs elsewhere. The attorney's remarks brought to mind the May 2012 house fire that killed a Larchmont, NY Police chief, his wife, and two children. Here's what was reported about the cause of the fire: "Carmel Fire Chief Lipton said that the house collapsed about 10 minutes after responders arrived. He said that materials used to build the home contributed to the rate at which flames engulfed the Sullivan house. Tompkins echoed those sentiments, adding that increased flammability is a 'nationwide situation with all new construction.' More glue, presswood and vinyl—and fewer nails and sheets of plywood—make for a structure that's more likely to burn.Tompkins said that although the house complied with building codes, its modern, light construction contributed to the speed of the fire once it got inside." CHCC's attorney kept referring to the revised "stick" construction as being within or surpassing building code. Unlike this tragic situation cited above, we have a choice going forward. Shouldn't we insist on Wyckoff Fire Chief Rose's recommendations? My guess is that potential purchasers of units within Vista would opt for safety any day. Shouldn't revised construction go back to the Design Review Board?
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Joanne Domingo November 16, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I'm very concerned about a fire developing within that proposed complex. With scaling down the costs of building materials, that is sure to be a catastophy waiting to happen ! I believe the residents of all three towns should vote pro and con instead of leaving the decision of our fate in the hands of the zoning board.


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