Page 4 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • May 20, 2009 Mahwah Non-profit group seeks single family zoning approval by Frank J. McMahon Chai Lifeline Inc., a Jewish not-for-profit organization with offices in Manhattan and a regional office in Lakewood, has applied to the Mahwah Zoning Board of Adjustment for approval to use a single family house on Ramapo Valley Road as a retreat for widows and families. In July 2007, the house and property was given to Chai Lifeline as a gift by the previous owners, Pamela and Craig Goldman. Since that time, the organization has been using the house for multi-day periods of grief counseling of families with children who suffer from serious illnesses, mothers whose children have died, young widows, or those who share a common family crisis. The township’s former zoning officer determined last year that the use did not meet the requirements of the local zoning ordinance for residential single family use. Chai Lifeline subsequently asked the zoning board for relief from that determination. If that relief is not granted, the organization has asked the board to grant a use variance to permit the group to continue to use the house in such a manner. Specifically, Chai Lifeline wants permission to allow up to 10 people to occupy the house at one time provided that 10 beds are maintained on the premises and the 10 people are related to each other. It also wants permission to use the house for gatherings of grieving people who are served by the organization with no more than 10 recently widowed women, or 10 women who share a common family crisis for multi-day grief counseling. The 4.4 acre property is located on a site overlooking the Ramapo River in the R-80 residential zone which requires lots of at least 80,000 square feet. The site is accessed by a private driveway that serves as the access for seven lots between Ramapo Valley Road and the river. Only two of those lots have frontage on Ramapo Valley Road. At a recent public hearing of their application before the zoning board, Rabbi Avroham Cohen and Chai Lifeline attorney Marc Leibman recounted the number families who have used the home and the number of days they stayed there since 2007. Rabbi Cohen emphasized that there is no more than one family at the site on any given day, and the groups of women who use the home on a weekend have found it a “wonderful opportunity” to interact and exchange ideas about how they deal with their children. “It provides a haven from Manhattan,” he said, adding, “It is a wonderful, gorgeous piece of property that allows families time to spend as a family unit in an unbelievable setting, something they are not able to afford.” Township Planner Joseph Burgis pointed out in a report to the board, however, that the township’s zoning officer had concluded that use of the site is not a permitted one. Burgis explained that the township’s zoning ordinance permits detached single family dwellings in this zone, and the ordinance is designed to promote orderly development, protect the character of the community, and prohibit (continued on page 31) Helpful Hints Helpful Hints from ome “Heat and dry conditions can cause the tips of house plant leaves to turn brown. If this occurs, use scissors to cut the browned tips off at an angle.” 27 Franklin Tpk, Waldwick Open Sundays 9-3 201-652-5666 Mary Says... Advertise in the YOUR COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER ���������� ennials ������������ Per ��������������� ������ ���������������� �������������� ���������������������������������������� ������������������������������������� ����������� ��������������� 201-652-0744 4-29-09 joan/janine RamapoNursery3x2(4-29-09) 3 x 2”