Central Business District Advisory Committee

Minutes

June 25, 2020

 

In attendance: Councilman Ramon Hache, Paul Vagianos, Bill Gilsenan , Jordan Kaufman, Pam Perron, MJ Shinozuka, Chief Luthcke, Lorraine Reynolds, Michael Pickholz, Gary Kolesaire, Philip Davis, Kathryn Schmidt, Michael Velicu

 

Jordan Kaufman called the meeting to order and highlighted items on the agenda including curbside delivery and the newly created weekend outdoor pedestrian mall .

 

Ramon Hache shared a parting message given his move off the Village Council and the CBDAC, thanking the committee for their work and highlighting some of the history and lessons learned throughout his 4 years chairing the group.  He cited the importance of funding to implement ideas, and recommended that the current focus should be on engaging residents to support the downtown businesses.    One of the avenues for this is to highlight the importance of the downtown businesses to funding and underwriting events in the village, whether youth sporting events or the 4th of July fireworks.  Likewise, in these tough economic times, how can the village find ways to make it easier for businesses to operate.   He recommended that the CBDAC become even more focused and targeted.

 

Pam Perron, recently elected to the Village Council, introduced herself as the new Council Liaison to the CBDAC.  Pam gave a brief introduction of herself , thanked Ramon for his leadership, and outlined a number of ways she hoped to work with the CBDAC including strengthening relationships through one-on-one meetings, helping with outreach to businesses, and being a conduit to the Village Council to represent the CBDAC’s ideas.

 

CBD Curbside Pick-up. There was significant discussion regarding curbside pick-up. Key points included:

  • A new business model has emerged through and post-pandemic which has allowed many ideas that were posited in the past, such as closing the streets for a pedestrian mall and curbside pick-up, to be implemented quickly. 
  • Residents and other customers like curbside pick-up and would not want to see it go away as the town reopens. 
  • Until there is a vaccine, and regardless of whether businesses begin to open for in-person  sales, many customers will not feel safe and will continue to look for contactless service.
  • Loading zones could be used as pick up points,
  • Curbside pick can create traffic back-ups with double parking ,and be logistically difficult for the police to manage. 
  • Curbside pick-up, in a more open environment, can have safety ramifications.
  • Curbside pickup has gone up significantly and has been important to businesses. It may be difficult for businesses to give this up.
  • More 15- and 30-minute parking meters may be an alternative or parallel solution.
  • Curbside pick-ups reduce parking revenue.
  • Fewer commuters may open up other parking solutions.

 

 

A small sub-group will put a proposal together for review by the CBDAC and then to present to the Village Council.  Members who would like to be part of that sub-group should submit their names to Jordan Kaufman or Kathryn Schmidt.

 

Structure of the CBDAC. A number of recommendations were made to improve the operation of the CBDAC including the following:

 

  • Designate a chair/co-chair who are not members of the Village Council.
  • Ensure a process for “formal” and regular communication between the  VC and the CBDAC.
  • Allow members to nominate other individuals for membership in the CBDAC and/or for leadership roles.  Nominations should be sent to Pam Perron.  (Ramon clarified that the current selection process is that the Council Liaison and the Mayor recommend committee members to the full Council.  The names are then presented to the public at a Council meeting and if there are objections they can be voiced at that time.)
  • Meet more frequently.
  • Establish sub-groups as needed to take a deeper dive into topics outside of the regular CBDAC meeting.
  • Ensure that residents, not just business owners, attend Chamber meetings to represent the customer perspective.
  • Ensure that all current members are still willing and interested in continuing on the committee.

 

Next Steps.  The committee will focus on curbside pick-up and CBDAC structural issue in preparation for the next meeting.

 

No other business was presented.

 

The meeting was adjourned.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Kathryn Schmidt

June 25, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OCTOBER 11, 2019

CBDAC

 

In Attendance: Mayor Hache, Gary Kolesaire , Bill Gilsenan, Jordan Kaufman ,Max Viola

 

September Minutes not available-Mayor Hache Introduced the 2 new members- Max Viola of Pearl Restaurant and Jordan Kaufman as a resident member

 

DOWNTOWN PARKING ISSUES DUE TO GARAGE CONSTRUCTION

  • Max Viola stated that his restaurant business is down by 50% due to the construction of the parking garage.
  • UPS Store cannot do loading zone due to presence of fire hydrant and proximity of cross walk. 
  • There are loading zones at the intersection of N. Broad and ERA and the intersection of Chestnut St and ERA. 
  • Village converted a parking space in front of SCRATCH to 15 minute parking as an alternative to a formal loading zone.
  • Access to private rear parking lot from South Broad St will be via the driveway adjacent to Pearl Restaurant. This driveway must remain closed until the completion of footings for the parking garage.
  • Will investigate the placing an electric billboard at head of ERA directing shoppers parking to either the Walnut Street lot or the Train Station lot.

 

PARKING GARAGE UPDATE

  • Delivery of pre-assembly slabs will be on Hudson St.
  • Cranes will be set up on Hudson St which will be required to be closed for a week.
  • Completion of garage is scheduled for June of 2020
  • Commuter passes will be increased by $25
  • Employees  passes will be increased by $5
  • All meters will be increased to $1.25
  • Cost of Garage and all lots should be less than the on-street parking.
  • All meters will be removed and entire town will be  serviced by kiosks
  • 3 of 4 levels will be for permitted users, commenters and employees

 

WEBSITE

  • Website for the CBD is in progress, review of the first draft required numerous changes
  • There will be a directory for all the businesses in the Village.

 

BIKE RACKS- POSSIBLE OPTIONS

  • Consider Replacing some  meters with bike racks.
  • Garage will have a designated location for approximately 30 bikes. 
  • Build bike pod on North Broad St adjacent to Taxi Stand

 

CBDAC must generate a list of items to improve CBD and submit to Council for inclusion in the next budget.

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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
  • Hits: 621
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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