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
Central Business District Advisory Committee
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.
June 12, 2019