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Developer Proposes 191-Unit Luxury Apartment Complex Near Train Station

Mayor said he has several 'concerns' about the 'major development'

The borough will proceed with caution when considering a proposal for a new 191-unit luxury apartment complex the Carlstadt-based company Russo Development wants to build on Island Road, Mayor Chris Botta said at a Mayor and Council meeting held last week.

“I have some concerns about this development,” Botta said. “This would be a major development in Ramsey.”

The plan being proposed, according to Ed Russo, President and COO of Russo Development, includes the multifamily apartment unit and seven single-family homes along Ferguson Place.

In plans submitted to Ramsey Zoning officials in August, Russo describes the apartment building as a four-story building over a covered parking lot. It would house 51 one-bedroom apartments, 105 two bedrooms, 16 two-bedrooms with a den, and 19 three-bedrooms. The design would be “luxury” and would include a private pool, landscaped courtyard, clubroom, fitness area and management office.

The seven homes along Ferguson Place would make residential lots of vacant property currently used as part of Ramsey Lumber, the proposal said.

According to Russo, the firm chose to build on this property because of its proximity to Route 17 and the Ramsey Train Station. “Many residents in today’s market desire new housing that is close to transit (particularly mass transit) because of the lifestyle and commuting benefits that it provides,” Russo told Patch. “Our vision is to create a high quality, luxury development with extensive landscaping and amenities that will not only benefit future residents of the community, but also provide a needed housing type for the current Ramsey community. We feel our proposed development is the most beneficial and suitable use for the property.”

In order to build the proposed development, Russo will need to apply for several variances from the borough Zoning Board, hearings on which Botta said will be scheduled for future zoning Board meetings. The mayor’s concern about the development, he said, is that its proposal came without warning to borough administration.

“We were given no notice that this major proposal was coming…and then the [developer] had the gall to send out notices about the development to residents who live by the train station without any comment to the mayor, council, building department or anyone at the town,” he said last week. “I am very disturbed by that.”

According to Russo, he did send a letter to residents within 200 feet of the proposed development, inviting them to a preliminary meeting at the Holiday Inn on Route 17 next Wednesday to explain to locals his company’s plan. He called it a “community outreach” meeting.

“Community outreach meetings are relatively common and are a good opportunity for residents to obtain detailed information on a proposed development [and] ask questions or raise comments/concerns regarding a project in an informal setting,” Russo said. He added that the meeting is “no substitute” for the pending public hearings on the project and said he encourages residents to attend those as well.

Botta said he would be investigating the development proposal and would give another report on it at the next council meeting, scheduled for next week.

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Erik Endress September 07, 2012 at 11:12 AM
I agree with Mayor Botta on this, our community continues to become more crowded due to development within it and projects that happen in Mahwah that result in more and more traffic and demand our our services. All ratables are good ratables, but they can't come at the cost of quality of life for all. Certainly, this project is driven by Ramsey Lumber needing to find something to sell to and this make lots of sense for them, but does it make sense for Ramsey, that's the question.
psumba September 07, 2012 at 01:10 PM
A four story building over a parking lot is considered a 5 story building in Ramsey. Ramsey has a strict height restriction of three stories ... for many reasons, including fire rescue. I would have liked to have my office building be greater that three stories and have additional parking under the building, but it was a strict no-no! Also, I'd hate to be a resident of Indian Valley Road ... who will be severely overshadowed by this building!
Macy September 08, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Scale it down a bit but go forward. It would be a big tax boost and in todays ecnonmy it would probably be a better deal than private homes that are pretty difficult to sell. Most of those units would probably go to working couples anyway and be a starter home for people trying to save to actually buy a house. Maybe even add a few low income untis to comply with COAH if the town still needs.
Andy December 01, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I think it would be great if a developer wanted to put in a luxury development in Ramsey. We always talk about how it is important to use smart growth, near the train stations, and develop multi-family housing, and then we retreat to the not in my backyard mentality. It would look a lot nicer than what is there now.
Angie Kelly December 20, 2012 at 12:19 AM
191 units! at least half if not more will have kids.....Tisdale can not handle anymore...my daughters 3rd grade class last year had 25 kids! This can not happen

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