Central Business District Advisor Committee Minutes
March 21, 2019
 
In attendance: Michael Velicu, Philip Davis, Michael Pickholz, Mary Jane Shinozuka, Kathryn Schmidt, Lorraine Reynolds, Councilman Ramon Hache
Absent: Chris Rustishauser, Chief Luthcke, Gary Kolesaire, Bill Gilsenan, Amy Borque. Gail McCarthy
The minutes from February 14 were circulated for approval.
Council Hache updated the group on recent legislation that has been passed:
• Outdoor Café Dining including setbacks, clearance, umbrella height, barrier height
• Salons and Cosmetologists including annual local inspections and advisement
There was significant conversation among the group, both pro and con, on the ramifications and impact of these regulations on both business owners and customers of these establishments and the CBD.  
Website Update: Michael and Gail followed up on recent bids and made a recommendation. Fine-tuning of and comparison of deliverables among vendors is still underway.
Van Neste Lighting Project: Philip Davis updated the group on the status of the project and requested that the Village use the installation, expected by June, as an opportunity to promote the Village in a significant way. Once completed, the lighting and audio enhancements to the park will enable additional events to be s that can draw residents and non-residents to the CBD.
 
This led to additional discussion and debate on the following:
• The Village does not do a good job of promoting itself when there is news to share, i.e. free parking on Saturdays during holiday season, upcoming 125th anniversary.
• A PR/marketing firm could help get our message out more effectively.  Towns like Westfield and Red Bank appear to be able to fund such support.
• The value of the CBD to contribute to the tax base of the village is not well communicated to residents. 
• No celebratory events or announcements seem to be underway for this year’s 125thanniversary of Ridgewood.  Will we have time to do this justice and capitalize on this milestone?
The garage construction has been slightly delayed due to a construction material deficit.
The process for enforcement of ordinances was debated as there is a perception that some businesses are constantly receiving summonses or receiving summonses without time to address the issue, while others are allowed to remain out of compliance for long periods of time.  The committee recommends that the enforcement process consist of 1) a warning, and if no redress within a designated timeframe, then 2) a summons, and if no redress within a designated timeframe, then, 3) revocation of the business’ license.
It was requested that the following items be included in the next CBDAC meeting:
• Establishment of a Van Neste Park Committee
• PR/Marketing for the Village
• 2% allocation for CBD improvements
• Attendance at CBDAC meetings
• Better utilization of office space in the Village
• Mandate and objectives of the CBDAC
Submitted by,
Kathryn Schmidt
April 2, 2019
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Central Business District Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes
June 13, 2019

In attendance: Ramon Hache, Gary Kolesaire, Chief Jaqueline Luthcke, Michael Pickholz, MJ Shinozuka
Absent: Chris Rutishauser, Philip Davis, Bill Gilsenan, Lorraine Reynolds, Kathryn Schmidt, Michael Velicu
 
Business Improvement Districts: 
• Presentation by Patrice Foresman (Executive Director, Hackensack Main Street Business Alliance)
Patrice provided an overview of how BIDs function. Municipalities set up BIDs to promote investment and stimulus to specific districts, typically central business districts. BIDs are created as an independent board under the leadership of an Executive Director. The ED is a paid position. The BID conducts an assessment based on various factors including the current condition, infrastructure, tenant mix, and zoning of the district. The BID will then make a recommendation to the municipality of the necessary changes and policies to be implemented to drive investment and commercial activity. Most importantly, the BID will actively market the district and, in turn, seek the appropriate commercial tenants and investments. 
CBD Website

• Presentation by Omar Kozarsky (Creative Director, Bower Web Solutions)
After a second round of RFPs, the Village awarded the contract for the development of the CBD website to Bower Web Solutions. Omar briefly walked us through the scope of the project and received input from the Committee.
 
Respectfully submitted,
Ramon M. Hache, Sr.
August 8, 2019
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CBDAC 
January 10, 2019
 
1) Approval of the minutes- m/s/a/u
 
2) Mayor Hache listed several of the recent changes impacting the CBD- change in zoning ordinances for B-1 and B-2, improved sign ordinance, addition of 36 new parking spaces, Parking Garage- there has been a slight reduction in interest rates from 12 months ago and savings may allow the postponement of parking fee increases
 
3) NV5 Presentation
a. Neil Desai- Senior Planner- 15 years’ experience
b. Visioning Process will take place first and then those results will be incorporated into  the creation of the Master Plan
c. Began the process in September 2018- working with the Master Plan sub-committee (members of the Planning Board)
d. A major goal is to increase the number of individuals who take the survey
e. Engage the existing groups/committees/organizations within the Village to provide access to their membership databases.
f. Resident Discussion Groups -  5 residents have already agreed to hold discussion groups to facilitate the process.   Age Friendly Ridgewood is one of those groups-
 
4) Neil has reviewed the initial results of the Visioning Questionnaire-  574 responses to date broken down into respondents demographics.  Need help in promoting the questionnaire.
a. Future of Ridgewood – negative opinion on the future of business and economic development also land use and development were negative
b. Need to encourage residents to look 10 years forward.  Current projects in development will yield 235 new residents.  Will bring both good and negative issues.  Need to expand beyond goals and visions but need a physical example of the proposed ideas and thoughts to improve the Village (ideas not policies)
 
5) Reviewed December 5th letter for Council member liaisons to bring to their committees. 
 
6) What is the role of the CBDAC within the Village- created the 4th quarter of 2016- review all issues that can improve the foot traffic, zoning, signage, bring families into downtown, improve parking issues, increase walking throughout the Village.  
a. There are a lot of entities that work to improve the downtown, working and not working together,  (there is a sense of order already) surprised that there is not a “Business Improvement District” (BID)
b. CBDAC brought in commercial property owners to get their input. CBD taxes paid to the Village are not invested back into CBD.  Did not want to bring in a new entity that would add new taxes to CBD property owners, there is no buy in for a BID now.  Need to improve CBD first.
c. Website for CBD- fell by the wayside but will be up in first quarter of 2019
d. Conducted 3 forums- 1 property owners and 2 business owners
e. Updated B-1 B-2 zoning ordinance
f. CBCAC recognizes need to provide the Concept of Experience retail (Nationwide online sales represent  only 9% of all retail sales)
 
7) Future goal would be for CBDAC to be the point of contact and interfaces with other committees within the Village i.e. the Arts Council
 
8) Increase foot traffic in the CBD is a primary goal.  Lighting in Van Neste is a key upgrade to CBD and needs to be fully utilized
 
9) CBDAC along with the Conservancy for Ridgewood Public land will need to create a usage committee and guidelines for Van Neste once lighting project is complete.
 
10) Downtown for the Holidays- approximately 5,000 people only 1,100 parking spaces, and no problem. Ridgewood Ave becomes a pedestrian walkway and most retailer close early and miss the opportunity to showcase their business to the participants.
 
11) Most retailers are closed during the evening hours when restaurants are busy and foot traffic is heavy.
 
12) Every member is encouraged to share the Facebook link for the Visioning Survey
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Central Business District Advisory Committee

Meeting Minutes

May 9, 2019

 

In attendance: Ramon Hache, Michel Pickholz, Gail McCarthy, Kathryn Schmidt, Jacqueline Luthcke, Michael Velicu, Phillip Davis, Gary Kolesaire, Lorraine Reynolds

 

Not attending: Mary Jane Shinozuka, Bill Gilsenan, Chris Rutishauser

 

Others in attendance: Joan Groom, Paul Vagianos

 

Minutes of the April 11, 2019 meeting were approved.

 

Outdoor Seating Ordinances:  Michael Velicu raised concerns about changes to outdoor seating ordinances that owners may not be aware of.  Mayor Hache noted that the ordinances themselves had not been changed but that they were now being enforced more rigorously.

 

It was acknowledged that the ordinances are complex and sometimes subject to different interpretations.   Paul Vagianos noted that owners can call the building Department to work out best solutions if there is confusion about interpretation.

 

It was requested that the village adopt a process of warning, then a summons (without court appearance), before court appearances are required since court appearances take significant time out of the business day. If violations continue then it was recommended that the business license be revoked.  The warning phase is considered especially important given the complexity of the ordinances and in light of the fact that ordinances that may not have been enforced in the past are now being enforced diligently.  Ramon and Michael Velicu will review the ordinances.

 

Another example of a difficult ordinance is snow removal by 9:00 am.  The concern is that this imposes a hardship on small business owners who may receive a summons for not clearing their sidewalks in time while weather and road conditions may have prevented them from getting to their businesses.  Gary will review how other municipalities are managing this. 

 

Van Neste Park Enhancement:  A number of organizations are interested in participating in Van Neste events, e.g. The Guild, Jamboree, Schools, the Chamber, Dad’s Night and others.  It was suggested that an ongoing committee, similar to the Kasshau Committee, or a dedicated “Event Management” job, should be established for Van Neste to optimize its usage, perhaps under a 501c3 structure.

 

 

There is a financial shortfall for electrical work to complete the lighting in Van Neste.  Lighting the park has been delayed till the fall. It was noted that the old lampposts will NOT be removed but instead new light bulbs more compatible with the desired lighting will be installed.

 

Budget: In preparation for the next budget cycle the Committee agreed to prioritize and price items that were important to the enhancement of the CBD in time to send a recommendation to the Village Council by early 2020 for consideration in the 2020 budget.  One of those recommendations is that the Village engage a PR firm to publicize who we are and what we offer.

 

Website: Proposals have come in and Ramon will review and update the group as to next steps.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Kathryn Schmidt

June 12, 2019

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Central Business District Advisory Committee

Meeting Minutes

April 11, 2019

 

 

In attendance: Ramon Hache, Gary Kolesaire, Chief Jaqueline Luthcke, Lorrain Reynolds, Michael Velicu, Gail McCarthy, Kathryn Schmidt, Michael Pickholz, Philip Davis, Bill Gilsenan

 

Absent: Amy Borque, Chris Rutishauser, Mary Jane Shinozuka

 

Also attending: Scott Lief, Joan Groom, Tom Hillman

 

Minutes of March 21 meeting were accepted.

 

Parking Update: 

  • Commuter-designated spaces now available to anyone after 3:00.
  • It was requested that we create temporary parking signage during these construction years to help commuters better understand parking options.
  • Agreed overall that parking signage needs to be simpler and better. 
  • North Broad Street parking revenue has increased as a result of changes to parking regulations, reflective of turnover of spaces.
  • Kiosks still are a source of complaint for some visitors.

 

Truck Deliveries

  • Gary had convened interested merchants to discuss solutions.  Suggestions included moving loading zones to the ends of streets, setting deliveries for earlier in the day, but no solution is perfect.
  • Discussed whether loading zone problems are universal throughout the CBD or particular to specific stores or restaurants.
  • Ramon will talk to landlords in question.

 

125th Anniversary

  • Committee has been set up.  November 20 is the actual anniversary date. Gail will research and provide more information.
  • It was recommended that the Village engage a PR firm to publicize and communicate the 125th anniversary of the Village in a significant way.  Such a PR investment could continue for the village in general.
  • Joan shared that the Chamber spends several thousands of dollars annually to advertise in newspapers with significant payoff.
  • Phillip and Joan will work together on an overall strategic PR plan and coordinate with the Van Neste team.  Meeting set for April 17 at 9:30 in Village Hall.  Ideas to include:
    • June Kick-off
    • Shovel in the (Garage) Ground in June
    • 4th of July
    • Car Show
    • November Anniversary
    • Tree Lighting

 

Website Update: Specs out again with a listing of requirements to aid with consistency of bids.

 

Van Neste Project Update: Looking to set up a committee that mirrors the Kasschau Shell committee to plan events in the park.

 

Items for next month’s agenda:

  • Budget process and timetable so we ensure to get our projects consideration
  • Van Neste Events Committee.

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Kathryn Schmidt

May 7, 2019

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