Mahwah May 20, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • Page 5 Judge invalidates wellness center ordinance by Frank J. McMahon Superior Court Judge Jonathan N. Harris has invalidated a township ordinance adopted in September 2007 to allow wellness centers and health clubs in the township’s GI-80 and IP-120 industrial zones. The ruling by Harris that the ordinance was “invalid and ineffective” was issued as a result of a lawsuit filed against the township by the NY Sports Club and its landlord, Mahwah Realty Associates, Inc., which owns the sports club property on Leighton Place. The lawsuit challenged the township’s ordinance, which permitted both “health and wellness centers” and “fitness and health clubs” to locate in the township’s industrial zones. In the 19 page ruling by Harris, the judge described the positions of both sides in the case. He pointed out that the ordinance “unexpectedly” added the same uses to the township’s B-40 highway business district zone and that Mahwah’s officials did not recognize that the addition of these two uses in the IP-120 industrial zone automatically would cause them to be treated as permitted principal uses in the B-40 zone. According to Harris, the township conceded that it neglected to alert interested parties in the B-40 zone when it gave notice of the ordinance adoption hearing to the property owners in the industrial zones, but considered that to be immaterial because the ordinance otherwise substantially complied with state law. But Harris stated that the lack of realization that the B-40 zone would be affected by the ordinance cannot be overlooked or understated. Harris pointed out that a court may declare an ordinance invalid if a municipality failed to comply with the state’s municipal land use law when it enacted the measure, but he did not find the Mahwah ordinance to be arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable. He did, however, find that the township council and the township’s planning board did not appropriately consider the ordinance’s effect on the B-40 zone, and that failure to do so supports his conclusion that the ordinance lacked the oversight required by the municipal land use law. Megan Fraser, vice president of communications and marketing for the Valley Hospital, advised that the hospital would not appeal the ruling and would drop plans for a fitness and wellness center in Mahwah. “We are disappointed that we will not be able to go forward with our plans,” Fraser said when asked about the ruling, “But, in light of the judge’s decision and the fact that we are focusing on renewing our campus in Ridgewood at this time, we will not make any appeal regarding the decision, or go forward with any additional plans to open a center in Mahwah.” The NY Sports Club and its predecessors have been located in a GI-80 industrial zone in the Fardale section of the township since 1976 when the board of adjustment granted a variance to permit a non-conforming use in that zone. The ordinance the club challenged would have permitted a facility named The Valley Fitness and Wellness Center, which is affiliated with the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, to operate a health and wellness center in the GI-80 zone on McKee Drive off Island Road east of Route 17. Prior to the adoption of the ordinance, the township’s planning board (continued on page 31) �������������������������� ����������� ��� In Home PERSONAL TRAINING • Flexible Scheduling • Nutrition Guidance • Sports Specific Training • Men, Women, Children & Couples ����������������������������� ���������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ ������������������������ ������������������������������������ ��������������������� ����������������������������������� �������������������������������� ���������������������������������� With Brad Non-Medical Home Care Services ������������������ ��������������������� ������������������� ��������� �������������� �������������� ��������������� �������� �������� ���������� �������� ��������������� ���������������������� � ����������� �������� � ���������� Lose 20 lbs in 10 Weeks Insured Degreed & Certified For Free Consultation call: TONE UP/LOSE FAT/ FEEL GREAT 201-925-0381 345 Route 17 South • Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 • 1-201-962-3222 ComForcare Services For Peace of Mind Call Today ������ ������ ������ ������ ������ ������ ������ ����������������������������� ��������������������������������� Coupon All Savings Nursery ���������������������������� Stock ��� Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Recession 5-6-09 Pat/Janine CeeKayDesign2x2(5-6-09) 2 x 2” COUPON MUST BE PRESENTED AT TIME OF PURCHASE ������ ������������������������������������������� �� ������ � ������ ������ � ���� ����� Evergreens, Junipers and more �������������� ��������� ������ 800 Wyckoff Ave • Mahwah, NJ • 201-847-8999 ������ ������ ������ ������