A REGULAR WORK SESSION OF THE VILLAGE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD HELD IN THE SYDNEY V. STOLDT, JR. COURT ROOM OF THE RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE HALL, 131 NORTH MAPLE AVENUE, RIDGEWOD, NEW JERSEY ON FEBRUARY 6, 2019 AT 7:30 P.M.
- CALL TO ORDER – OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT – ROLL CALL – FLAG SALUTE
Mayor Hache called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act. At roll call the following were present: Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache. Also present were Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney; and Donna Jackson, Deputy Village Clerk.
Mayor Hache led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag as well as in a Moment of Silence to honor the brave men and women serving in our armed forces and all our first responders.
- COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Rurik Halaby, 374 Evergreen Place, stated that he wrote an email to the Village Manager concerning the Village website and he wanted to make sure that it was included in the records of the meeting. He stated that it was embarrassing that we have such a mediocre website, and asked that in the Closed Session, the Village Council ask Councilwoman Knudsen to cease and desist with her involvement in the process of developing the website. He asked that the Village Manager work with Dylan Hansen to get the work done uses the resources of an outside professional service. Mr. Halaby recommended the Village Council look at the website of Franklin Lakes and Westfield, which he feels are two websites that are far superior to that of the Village of Ridgewood. Both of these websites are run by GovOffice, a company that specializes in municipal websites, and the charge is $5,000 on the front end plus $1,000 annually for their services. He also suggested that Mr. Rogers has a session with the Village Council explaining what the Faulkner Act is all about.
Mr. Halaby added that he had an email sent by Mayor Hache regarding the activities of the Village Council this past year. In principle, he appreciates communications of the sort, and it is important that the Mayor follows in the footsteps of Mayor Aronsohn by keeping the residents up to date on what’s going on. He added that the letter came across as that of a College senior padding his or her resume, and how to lay the groundwork for a politician seeking higher office. He stated that whatever achievements this Council can claim are more than offset by their dismal failures.
Mr. Halaby stated that the Hudson Street garage should have been finished three years ago, which would have been a garage that has 100 more spaces for the same amount of money. To cover their tracks for the delay and the fewer spaces, they proceed to vandalize a historic pocket park, cutting down seventeen mostly healthy, mature trees for a measly 38 compact spaces. He added that each of these trees produces enough oxygen in a year to supply six of us for a year. He then went through the different types of parking throughout the Village.
Mr. Halaby stated that one achievement that the Village Council can claim is that apartments are finally going up, only when it became clear COAH and the courts had a gun to the Council’s head.
- MANAGERS REPORT
2019 First Quarter Property Taxes – Ms. Mailander stated that she wanted to remind everyone that the 2019 first quarter property taxes were due February 1st. There is a ten day grace period, and they are due in the Tax Collectors office no later than Monday, February 11th. A postmark is not acceptable, and it has to be received by that date. It can be mailed to the Tax Collector in Village Hall, or dropped in the yellow mailbox located at the main entrance by the lobby door. She added that you may also pay taxes online at www.ridgewoodnj.net. Ms. Mailander stated that office hours are 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
Meet the Mayor – Ms. Mailander stated that Mayor Hache would meet with residents on an appointment-only basis on Saturday, February 9th, from 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. She encouraged interested residents to contact the Village Clerk’s Office to make an appointment. If there are no scheduled appointments, the session will be rescheduled to the next month.
Jamboree – Ms. Mailander stated that Jamboree is an annual fundraiser supporting scholarships for graduates of Ridgewood High School. The program is an original show that includes volunteer parents singing and dancing. February 6th is the dress rehearsal which is free to the public, and the shows on the 7th, 8th and 9th at Ben Franklin Middle School.
Village Hall Closure – Ms. Mailander stated that Village Hall and all Village Offices would be closed Tuesday, February 12th and Monday, February 18th in observance of Lincoln’s Birthday and the Presidents Day holidays. There will be no sanitation or recycling pickup on these days, and the Recycling Center will also be closed.
- COUNCIL REPORTS
Jamboree – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that Jamboree is a great show with a lot of surprises. They have two Broadway stars this year singing two pieces, and it is really amazing and exciting, held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. This fundraiser is a need-based scholarship program and gives opportunities to students to attend college. The Jamboree has given away over a million dollars to students who otherwise would not be able to afford college.
Interfaith Religious Leaders of Ridgewood – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that yesterday morning, she and Mayor Hache attended the Interfaith Religious Leaders of Ridgewood meeting, and Michael Tozzolini from West Bergen Mental Healthcare was there as a special speaker, and spoke about all of their offerings which is really a great resource for the Village. She added that Michael handed out cards listing some of the services provided at 120 Chestnut. West Bergen Mental Healthcare was founded in 1963, and as the needs of the community grew, so did West Bergen. Some of their services include anxiety disorders program, attention deficit, hyperactivity disorders, community resource program, depression, developing social skills, divorce counseling, individuals and couples counseling, psychiatric services, rainbow resources, school based education resources, and more.
Do Politics Belong in the Congregation: Peace and Justice Forum, will be held Tuesday, February 26th at 7:00 P.M. at Emmanuel in Ridgewood on Hope Street. Everyone who would like to attend was invited to become part of the conversation, listen to the panel discussion, and join in.
Master Plan – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the Master Plan Visioning Process continues. Everyone can log on to visionridgewood.org, and they will be doing a Village wide mailer within the next two to three weeks which will invite everyone to log on and take the survey, which takes about 10 to 12 minutes to complete. If anyone does not have access to a computer, they should contact the Village Clerk to get a hard copy survey mailed to their home address.
Chamber of Commerce – Councilwoman Walsh stated that a Chamber member made a call to her the other day in light of the Village Council looking at the ordinances for the outdoor café and the distances mentioned. The topic came up regarding warm days and individuals that want to dine out in the winter. With the possible ordinance change, the sidewalks have to be clear. Is there the possibility that during nice weather, tables could be set up and individuals can be seated outside. She added that the Village Council members received an email from Paul Vaggianos talking about that.
Councilwoman Walsh added that there was a question about the distances regarding opening car doors, and if they were going to have the 30 and 52 inch distance. What would be the happy medium with tree wells which may block some areas.
Mayor Hache stated that the narrowing of the space comes into play when you have 52 inches and then a planter close to the sidewalk. A tree well wouldn’t affect the ordinance, you are only effected in areas where there isn’t a tree well and then you have tables and a planter close to the curb. Councilwoman Walsh stated that if you have a 30 inch distance from the curb so that you can open the door, in some areas it would move the barrier.
Councilman Voigt asked how many businesses are effected because some of the angle parking spaces on Broad Street don’t have the issue of 30 inches, but it’s the people who have parallel parking. He asked whether they were unintentionally biasing those businesses and suggested it should be discussed.
Mayor Hache stated in the way the ordinance is written now, it is really for the businesses that have no parking spaces in front of the curb, and they shouldn’t need to have a 30 inch clearance from the door in those cases. If they kept the 30 inch minimum where there isn’t a parking spot, there are at least two or three businesses that would be effected.
Councilwoman Walsh asked if they would leave it to the property owner or shop proprietor to come to the Village Council with specific instances. Mayor Hache stated that for simplicity purposes it was going to be across the board because the inside edge of the break band is 30 inches, which would be easy for violation officers. However, for businesses that don’t have parking in front they are suggesting eliminating that requirement. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that this issue was on the agenda, so they could discuss it later.
Library Scoop Night – Councilwoman Walsh stated that the Library would be hosting a Scoop Night at Ben and Jerry’s tonight or tomorrow night. They will have Story Time on Thursday February 7th Pajama Party; Thursday, March 7th a Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss; and Thursday, April 11th Love Your Library.
Master Plan – Mayor Hache stated that the Visioning Process continues, on February 20th at the Library Auditorium, when they will have two round table discussions. The first discussion with business owners and commercial property owners, and the second with realtors.
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration – Mayor Hache stated that the Committee of Ridgewood and Glen Rock will be hosting the gospel concert, this is an event that was supposed to have taken place during MLK Jr. weekend, but because of the weather it was moved to Sunday, February 17th, featuring the voices of Mount Bethel, guest choirs, and more at 4:00 P.M. at Mount Bethel.
- REAC – Ban on Single Use Plastic Bags
Councilman Sedon stated that Lisa Sommers and Bob Upton were there to give a wrap up regarding the proposed ban on single use plastic bags of this year-long study of what other towns are doing and reaching out to various groups in Ridgewood, the Chamber, and the Guild. He added that they wanted to give the final presentation with their findings, and to wrap it all up to let everyone know what they have discovered.
Bob Upton, Chair of REAC, stated that Lisa Sommers and Ellie Gruber did a lot of the work on the project and made the original representation to the Council a little over a year ago. He stated that they were proposing that the Village Council introduce an ordinance banning single use plastic bags in the Village. There is a pending State law, but its future is uncertain. Various environmental organizations are recommending that individual municipalities should move ahead with their own regulations to provide an indication to the State government that they are behind this. He added that after the initial meeting it was suggested that they get some input from the community. They did a survey with the Chamber of Commerce and the Guild, and received four replies, three of them saying they supported an ordinance to restrict or reduce the use of plastic bags. One of the asked for more information and subsequently agreed this was an acceptable proposal. They also made a presentation to the Central Business District. Mr. Upton added that Ms. Sommers and Ms. Gruber also spoke to The Stablehands. In each case they got support from those groups. He added that they handed a letter to the three main supermarkets in town, making them aware that they were proposing this and asking for comments and questions. They got no response from them.
Mr. Upton stated that they have gathered a number of facts, and a fact sheet was included in the documents for the Village Council this evening. It describes some statistics and the harm caused both environmental and economic by plastic bags. As an example, plastic bags contribute to the Village’s waste stream that we have to pay to have hauled away. Anything that can be removed from the waste stream helps us in that respect. He added that plastic bags being improperly placed in recycling bins reduces the quality of our plastic recycling which reduces its value and makes it more difficult to recycle. It also ties up any equipment used for processing the plastic. Plastic bags cause litter in public parks, and eventually a lot of them end up in the rivers and work their way to the oceans. He referenced a report produced for the State of New York, adding that Governor Cuomo, in his recent budget proposal for 2019, has recommended that NY State should adopt a state-wide ban on plastic bags. Mr. Upton also referenced the Surfriders Foundation Activist Toolkit, which is an impressive compilation of facts and figures, and references regarding problems associated with plastic bags.
Mr. Upton stated that they were proposing that the Village should pass an ordinance along the line of the one that has been passed in Hoboken, which bans retailers and businesses from handing out single use plastic bags to their customers. It places a fee on single use paper bags which are made available to any customers that require those bags, and the fee can by anywhere from ten to twenty five cents per bag at the discretion of the business, and the business gets to keep that fee. The ordinance encourages the use of reusable bags, and requires a fee to be imposed if reusable bags are handed out because there is the danger that some people try to circumvent the bag ban by using thicker plastic. Mr. Upton stated that he has seen some regulations that allow temporary exemptions in certain circumstances. He added that they asked the Ridgewood Recycling Department for comment, and they said they were pleased to support the proposal of this important recycling endeavor.
Ms. Sommers stated that there are a number of ordinances they could have chosen as models, but they particularly like Hoboken’s because in addition to what Mr. Upton stated, people who really have financial issues are exempt. She added that it takes into account a customer who is participating in any welfare program.
Councilman Sedon stated that when plastic bags get into the waste stream and go to the processing plant, if they get caught in the machines it could shut down the entire line for a couple of hours. He added that the facts show how bad plastic bags eventually are.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she was glad Ms. Sommers raised the issue about the low income concern. She stated that Stop and Shop added the turnstiles, which makes it more difficult to bag when she goes to the stores with the cloth bags. She asked if there was a concern about what impact there would be using paper bags. Mr. Upton stated that they hadn’t received any concerns expressed by the stores, but the entire state of California has banned plastic bags and they seem to be getting along okay. He added that it is a matter of reeducation, and you get into the habit of bringing your own bags to the store. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that you used to get a nickel for using your own cloth bags, but they stopped doing it which removed the incentive for using them.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked what the difference in the weight of the single use versus multiple use paper bags. Mr. Upton stated that it was in the proposed ordinance. Councilman Sedon stated that the minimum was 2.25 mls thick. Mr. Upton stated that might be equivalent to the type of bag that you would get from a department store, but its possible that grocery stores would determine that they could buy those bags more cheaply than paper bags.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the green produce bags and then the bags for the meat department were not in the ordinance. Mr. Upton stated that anything that you would use within the store are included in the ordinance and don’t count, rather it’s those that are given to you at the checkout. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that those are the same material. Mr. Upton stated they were the same material and they wouldn’t reduce either.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that the heavier weight plastic bag is used by a grocery store that she goes to on Long Island, and if you don’t bring your own bags with you, you pay a nickel and it doesn’t seem to have effected anybody. She added that the bag is a heavy weight and can be used over and over. This is a behavior change, and the residents have to realize that you don’t just have one bag, but you may need to bring four or five bags with you. Mr. Upton stated that his son and daughter got something from Amazon that is a small pouch stuffed with bags.
Ms. Sommers added that there are so many communities where this has been done, and there is enough time to see how people are going to react. Follow up data tends to be very positive for behavior, and that after awhile it’s not a big deal for people. Mr. Upton stated that some of the statistics that are quoted in the studies have shown that if you are trying to discourage people from using plastic bags by charging a fee, but still allowing them, it hasn’t effected behavior.
Councilman Voigt stated that he supported what they were trying to do, adding that he was surprised that the supermarkets didn’t get back to them. Understanding what their issues might be and getting this fixed for them would be important in getting this implemented much quicker. He encouraged them to get some feedback from the grocery stores in town to see what their issues are. Mr. Upton stated that Ms. Sommers and Ms. Gruber took letters to the stores and didn’t get a response. He added that he visited the stores when they were trying to get people to participate in the Earth Day event and the response was to send an email that they would send the information to the head office. One of the other concerns that people raise is that if they do this in Ridgewood aren’t people just going to go to Midland Park to do their shopping. A lot of people have said that they have their habits for where they prefer to go to shop, and this won’t change.
Mr. Upton stated that they are working with other communities in the area, and Glen Rock is very supportive but they don’t have a major grocery store. He added that he was trying to contact people in Midland Park and Ho-Ho-Kus, but they don’t have environmental committees as far as he can determine. Ms. Sommers stated that Whole Foods does not offer plastic, and Kings encouraged them to do the ban in the beginning of the process. She added that there are times when you have to do what’s best even if people resist. This is an issue that is pretty straightforward and the question is not why should we have a ban but what possible reason is there not to, given the overwhelming consequences. Councilman Voigt stated that he was thinking along the lines of getting it implemented as soon as possible, so if they could find out the issues from the supermarkets, then they could address them more quickly.
Councilman Voigt stated that the provided ordinance was very helpful. Mr. Upton stated that they were all along similar lines, but the one provided seemed to be a good starting point.
Mayor Hache stated that it is eye opening when you read all of the facts. He stated that naturally, people resist change, but he didn’t think people were going to go to Midland Park to shop. Whole Foods uses paper bags, and he is surprised, because in a lot of supermarkets they sell the reusable plastic bags. The Mayor thinks this is going to be a positive thing and what they are trying to do now a lot of other municipalities will follow. Mr. Upton stated that they spoke about the possibility of buying some bags handing them out through a promotion, but they felt that if they were going to do that, it would be better to do it when an ordinance is passed by way of publicizing and promoting it. He added that several people said that there seem to be so many of the reusable bags around that people don’t need more of them.
Mayor Hache stated that one of the things Councilman Sedon mentioned was that they adopt an ordinance but delay the enforcement to allow a period for education purposes and then possibly distribute the reusable bags and start driving the behavior that way. Mr. Upton stated that Hoboken’s took six months. Ms. Sommers stated that she felt six months would be enough time. Mayor Hache asked if they mapped out what this awareness campaign would look like. Mr. Upton stated that they have attempted to get to the groups, and there are some groups that Councilman Sedon extended invitations to. He added that Earth Day is a good opportunity to promote something like this, but they also felt it was a good idea to bring this to the Council to raise awareness and invite comment.
Councilman Sedon added that if they were going to take this up, they would have to discuss at a work session exactly what this would look like for Ridgewood, and then discuss it at two public meetings. He stated that now if they were looking for this to move forward, it would take at least two or two and a half months if they did it as fast as they possibly could, and in that timespan they allow for meetings to come up with a plan knowing that this is going forward.
Ms. Mailander asked if the Council was planning to look at a proposed ordinance at the February 27th meeting and then possibly introduce it in March and discuss it more fully at that time. Mr. Rogers stated that he would like to meet with the members of REAC to make sure that they covered everything in the ordinance.
- Ridgewood Water
- Award Cooperative Purchasing Contract - Grainger
Ms. Mailander stated that Ridgewood Water anticipates that they will reach the statutory limit of $17,500 for these materials and therefore is in need of a Council resolution to purchase these items for 2019. Funding will be in the Water Operating Budget, and it will be awarded to Grainger in South Plainfield, in an amount not to exceed $85,000 for various materials and supplies that they need during the year.
- Name of Parking Garage
Ms. Mailander stated that she wanted a consensus from the Village Council because the name will be precast into the concrete. Some suggested names are: Hudson Street Parking Garage; The Hudson Street Parking Garage; Hudson Street Garage; The Hudson Street Garage; The Parking Garage at Hudson Street; Hudson Street; or anything the Village Council may come up with.
There was consensus from the Village Council that the name should be Hudson Street Garage. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that maybe it should say Hudson Garage, because when they precast, depending on the size, they may get a bigger bolder Hudson Garage, where they would get a narrower Hudson Street Garage. Mayor Hache stated that Hudson Street Garage was fine. Councilwoman Walsh asked what the Fire House was called. Ms. Mailander stated that it was probably Hudson Street Fire House.
Mr. Rogers stated that they should ask Epic how large the area is, and how small Hudson Street Garage would look compared to Hudson Garage. Ms. Mailander stated that if it is big enough the would do Hudson Street Garage, but if it wasn’t Hudson Garage. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that it sounded better as Hudson Street Garage, however, given the size the visual may be better. There was some discussion among the Councilmembers, with a determination that Hudson Street Garage was best.
- Parking Garage Bond Sale – Summary of Bids
Mr. Rooney stated that the Village got an outstanding rate on the sale of their bonds. They had eleven bids, which is very unusual for a municipality. Of the eleven bids, they had eight who submitted proposals for the bonds. The successful bidder was Citigroup Global Markets with a net interest charge of 3.309, premium of about $300,000 and these numbers were adjusted after the award to get it to conform to even numbers for their maturity schedules. In essence, they had a $11.6 million par; $540,000 premium; for a total of $12,140,000 of which the Village will get $12,00,907 proceeds for the sale.
- Parking Garage Bond Sale – Source and Use of Funds
Mr. Rooney stated that he provided the Village Council with the source and use of funds. It showed how the funds would be applied to construction costs, and some of the amounts that they put into the ordinance for funding. He also showed the amortization of debt up to 2048, so the coupons range from 5 to 3.5, but after the premium that results in the 3.3 rate. The financial advisors told the Village after the sale that was the lowest rate they had seen and was an outstanding result due to the Village’s AAA rating that it has been able to maintain.
Councilman Voigt asked about the annual debt service maximum average of $661,000 and average debt of $645,000 and how they would allocate yearly for an expense for the garage when they go through budgets. Mr. Rooney stated that in the first two years they have capitalized interest that gets charged to the ordinance, after that the operating budget picks up the principle and interest. Walker, in their study, indicated when they have to have rate increases based upon the debt service at the time, and he would provide this to them to put it into concrete what the debt service is and find out if there are any modifications that have to be made.
- Award Additional Contract – Infrared Asphalt Restoration
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village awarded a contract through June 30, 2018. With that they received three bid packages, and the low bidder was J. Fletcher Creamer Construction. They would like to award additional work for the second year of the contract in an amount not to exceed $200,000 through June 30, 2019. The intent is to have available means to restore Village streets and streets in the Water Company’s service areas to a “new condition” after there has been an excavation.
- Proposed Amendment to Dumpster Ordinance
Ms. Mailander stated that there is currently an ordinance for refuse containers that are on public property. They defined private property in the amendments, and require a permit for both placing on public and private. For private property, a permit is supposed to be received after a week of it being there. The first issuance is for 30 days, after that there are two possible renewals for up to 6 months each. There is no limit in size, however, they do have areas where they can and cannot be placed.
Ms. Mailander stated that it was one refuse container per property at one time. It has to be located within ten feet of the property line unless its located on a driveway. It should have a decal from the Building Department saying that it has a permit. It must remain in good repair and there must be no leakage from the container. It must be removed prior to the expiration of the permit unless another permit is obtained, if not, then the Village can remove it from the property.
There are penalties for non-compliance. The permit fee for private property is proposed at $25 per month. If they get the second renewal after 30 days then that is when they pay the $25 per month up to six months.
Councilman Voigt asked if they were suggesting to the applicant where the dumpster should be. Mr. Yotka stated that they took excerpts from the temporary storage container ordinance, so a survey is going to be required and they would place it in an area agreeable to the contractor and to comply with the ordinance. They will maintain distances from the property line and principle structure, with no obstruction to pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Councilman Voigt asked if there were fines for them not putting the dumpster in the correct location. Mr. Yotka stated that they didn’t expressly address that in the ordinance but they could.
Ms. Mailander stated that any violation of and provision of the chapter is $150 to $2,000. Councilman Voigt stated that if they put the dumpster somewhere else on the property there is no way to say that they have to move it or get fined. He asked if they could put in language that expressly addresses that. Councilwoman Knudsen clarified Councilman Voigt’s concerns. Mayor Hache stated that with the range, what constitutes the amounts.
Councilman Voigt stated that the dumpster is not being limited in size. He didn’t know how big they get, but if someone could get a humongous one , could they set it in their front lawn. Mr. Yotka said that typically what they see are thirty yard containers, but they can go up to forty yards. Mayor Hache stated that the only thing that could limit it would be how big it would be before its within the ten feet of the property line. Councilman Voigt stated that he was concerned about the length of time and was wondering if it could be shortened. Mayor Hache stated that construction projects take quite a bit of time. Mr. Yotka stated that the size and scope of the project would mandate the amount of time. He suggested the first renewal for six months and the subsequent monthly renewals, so that it stays under a twelve month period.
Councilman Voigt stated that the violations subsequent to a fine of $250 to $2,000, and asked if it meant they could get eight violations and then not be charged afterwards. Mr. Yotka stated that it said in the ordinance that each violation would be considered a separate offense, which would be at the discretion of the Judge.
Ms. Mailander asked how often a construction project goes past nine months, because after nine months, what would they do if they still need a refuse container. Mr. Yotka stated that they would have to reapply, and start the process again. He didn’t have a definitive timeline for the length of a construction project, and there have been residential projects that last for eighteen to twenty-four months. Mr. Rogers stated that a contingency could be added that as long as the work is continuous they could reapply every six months. There are times when the issue arises and you have a job that all of a sudden halts for a period of time.
- Berm Designs for Schedler Property
Ms. Mailander stated that Mr. Rutishauser indicated that a berm would provide screenings, sound attenuation, and protection to the park area. There are two types of trees, either Blue Spruce or Leland cypress, which would be planted on top of the berm. There are a few different proposed designs, which Ms. Mailander reviewed.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that there were a couple of options for berm design. He added that there was one other option, similar to the ready rock, with some glaciated stones that they have in the Construction yard. He stated that the two tree species that they were considered need to be looked at in terms of how they would handle the wildlife. Mayor Hache stated that the Leland Cypress you would see berm with a tree on top, while with the Spruce you may see more green than the actual berm. Mr. Rutishauser stated that was an option for the Village Council’s consideration. Mayor Hache asked if either type of tree provided better sound protection. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they are all about the same in terms of sound attenuation as they are conifers and won’t drop their needles. He added that even the last option, a timber wall, has to be looked at carefully because it may reflect the sound.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that in the first berm, there is spruce that they could swap with cypress. Mr. Rutishauser stated that none of the examples of the berm are particularly committed to a particular type of tree. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the berm would then have some growth. Mr. Rutishauser stated that if it gets too weedy the Parks Department may trim it. They were also planning to put woodchips down to keep the weeds away.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that there was no fencing in any of the designs, and when her son was young he would have been able to climb this without a problem. Mr. Rutishauser stated that the only design that provided a semblance of fencing would be the timber wall. Councilwoman Walsh stated that her concern was the highway. Mr. Rutishauser stated that kids can scale it but there is a slope downwards, then an open area and a guide rail before you get into traffic lanes. They could put a chain-link fence up, then it becomes a question of how tall a fence would work best. To secure the wayward child it may be six feet tall with the mini mesh, so it’s hard to get a grip on to scale over.
Mayor Hache stated that on the Saddle River Road side, it calls for fencing that is similar to what is seen at Graydon, and he asked if that could be put on the other side as well. Mr. Rutishauser agreed, however, to Councilwoman Walsh’s consent, at Vet’s field the fence is 42 inches high, designed to keep younger kids in the playground. Councilwoman Walsh stated that her preference would be the fence because this is the highway and the Village doesn’t have any other parks on the highway, Ho-Ho-Kus has fencing which looks to be about six feet, and other towns definitely have the fencing as well.
Councilman Sedon asked if they would have a berm with trees on top, and then instead of trees inside there would be a fence. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that they would have the berm with a fence on top and then trees in front of the fence, and the fence would be closer to the highway. Mr. Rogers asked if the Village had that property on the far side of the berm or if that was the State highway right of way. Mr. Rutishauser stated that this would be on the Village’s property.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked about the soil accumulation for the berm. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they did quite well. Mayor Hache asked if they were going to use the soil for grading the property. Mr. Rutishauser agreed. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if there was enough soil for berm and grading. Mr. Rutishauser stated that he didn’t believe so. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if the most current project was going to test their soil. Mr. Rutishauser stated that Ken Smith has a few environmental issues and he would not recommend their soil.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked if the black chain-link fence becomes invisible with the environment. Mr. Rutishauser stated that black vinyl coated mini mesh can fade well into the background and provide the measure of security that is sought. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she thinks Councilwoman Walsh’s idea about the fence is good, and then closest to the highway and then trees. There was agreement that the Village Council liked the Spruce trees. Mr. Rutishauser stated that there would be staggered spruce, and black vinyl fencing on the highway side of the tree line.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked what the proposed walkway was. Mr. Rutishauser stated that it would probably be an exposed aggregate concrete walkway, eight feet wide and seven inches thick which is helpful for plowing after snow and allows a patrol car to circumvent through the park. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that at the High School, the walkway is a rubberized material and asked if that was something they would want to use. Mr. Rutishauser stated that he believed the cost to be more than concrete, and that it wouldn’t tolerate a plow blade.
Councilman Sedon asked if he could take the tree suggestions to the Shade Tree Commission as there are people that have some expertise as to trees that may last longer. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if the deer eat the spruce. Mr. Rutishauser stated that generally they don’t, however if they are very hungry there is very little that they won’t eat.
Councilman Voigt asked about the row of trees closest to the walkway, and if their roots would cause an issue with raising up the concrete walk. Mr. Rutishauser stated that it wasn’t likely for at least the first ten to twenty years as there would be a distance between where the trees are planted and the edge of the walkway. He added that they would leave a bit of green space to give the trees room so they can spread and not impede the walkway.
- Renewal of The Estate Card Agreement
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village has had the Estate Card since 2017. She heard that over this past year they experienced that the bank no longer accepted them, and so this will be a Visa and they will relaunch it and have a dedicated person for the New York – New Jersey – Metropolitan area. They would like the Village to maintain a two year renewal from July 2019 to July 2021. This is an optional opportunity for residents to possibly save some tax dollars. She added that they are looking at a credit card as opposed to just a debit card. They will be coming to speak at Village Hall to explain more about the program and this was up to the Village Council whether they would like to renew it. Ms. Mailander stated that she would anticipate maybe more stores participating.
Mayor Hache stated that he felt they should speak to them first. Councilwoman Knudsen asked how many people signed up. Ms. Mailander stated that there were not many who signed up, however there weren’t many stores participating and there wasn’t a lot of advertising. Councilwoman Knudsen asked for a specific number, and if they were going to continue they might base that determination on how many folks are really interested. Ms. Mailander stated that she would find out that information.
- Sidewalk Closure – Franklin Avenue
Ms. Mailander stated that the sidewalk closure is along Franklin Avenue between Chestnut Street and the train trestle bridge, along the Ken Smith site frontage. They are requesting that this be closed to protect pedestrians. She added that Mr. Rutishauser has reviewed it and found it acceptable, and that it will be closed for the next three to four months.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that the crosswalk from the Northwest corner of Franklin and Chestnut will still be open, and the only path that will be closed is along the north side of Franklin Avenue and then across at the Broad Street light.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked if there was any reason that anyone would be walking there. Mr. Rutishauser stated that it could just be force of habit and where they initiate that crossing movement.
- Amendment to Outdoor Café Ordinance
Ms. Mailander stated that the outdoor café ordinance is up for Public Hearing next week, however, as they started to discuss it, there are some concerns as to where the moveable barrier is placed. The proposal has been that if there is parallel parking but no public meter or no public parking there because it is a loading zone, they could have it from the edge of the curb to the inside part of the brick. Mayor Hache stated that the outside edge of the brick band is six inches of curb.
Ms. Mailander stated that the other suggested change was for the height of planters for the barriers at three feet. Mayor Hache suggested four feet for the height of the planter. Ms. Mailander stated that was up to the Village Council.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that as a concern, as much as it’s a visual barrier, its also a barrier for vehicles seeing that there are people on the other side of it. She was concerned that a vehicle may not see someone. Ms. Mailander stated that the planters are somewhat elevated as it is. Councilwoman Knudsen asked the average height of the barriers. Mayor Hache stated that it was about four feet at Steel Wheel, and the ones that would be impacted would be Finca, Pearl, and Raymond’s.
Councilman Voigt asked about year-round outdoor dining. Ms. Mailander stated that they had previously said March 1st through November 30th. They wanted the sidewalk to be clear if it snows during that time and it was a nice ability to be able to walk on the sidewalks when there could be other impediments. Ms. Mailander stated that there are sporadic warm days here and there, but this way they can be put out continuously from March 1st through November 30th. Councilman Voigt stated that he was okay with year round as it is extra business for the restaurants. Ms. Mailander stated the issue then is not removing the chairs and tables completely at all. Councilman Sedon stated that he was worried about people taking advantage of that. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that it prevents staff examining the sidewalk for cracks.
Mayor Hache stated that it has worked out so far. Ms. Mailander stated that the concern with Code Enforcement is that there is never a time when the tables and barriers aren’t out. She added that in December a lot of people are out shopping and dining. Mayor Hache asked what they were trying to accomplish keeping the sidewalks clear for three months. Ms. Mailander stated that it is to clear snow and ice. Councilman Voigt asked if they had a problem with the sidewalks not being clear. Ms. Mailander stated that the Code Enforcement Officer requested it because she felt like it was an issue that there is never a time when it is clear. Mr. Rogers stated that there had been a couple of slip and falls as well. Mayor Hache stated that in that case he was in agreement.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that with the height of the planters were they going to go with four feet. There was some discussion regarding height. Mayor Hache stated that five feet would be too high, so he agreed with four feet. Ms. Mailander stated that she would talk to Mr. Rogers to see if it was substantive and if they would have to do an amendment. There was additional discussion about the height of the plantings. Mayor Hache stated that three feet for sure as he measured outside Raymond’s. Ms. Mailander stated that they would go out and measure and would let the Village Council know.
- REVIEW OF FEBRUARY 13, 2019 PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA
Ms. Mailander stated that this was a review of the February 13, 2019 Public Meeting Agenda.
Proclamations include: Dad’s Night Days – Hawes School and Somerville School; Read Across America Day; and Super Science Saturday.
Police Department Awards.
Resolutions for Ridgewood Water: Title 59 Approval – Pipe, Appurtenances and Service Materials; Award Contract – Pipe, Appurtenances and Service Materials; Award Contract under National Joint Powers Alliance Program – Purchase of Backhoe Loader; Award Contract under National Joint Powers Alliance Program – Grainger; Award Sole Source Provider Contract – Software Support of SCADA System; Award Professional Services Contract – Hydrogeologic Consulting; Authorize Change Order – Distribution Improvements and Lakeview Extension Study; Declare Property Surplus – Backhoes; and Authorize Cancellation of Taxes for 451 Goffle Road.
The following ordinances are scheduled for introduction: 3704 – Amend Chapter 145 – Fees – Significant Sewer Discharger Fees.
Ordinances for Public Hearing include: 3698 – Bond Ordinance – Street Paving and Streetscape, Purchase of Senior Bus; 3699 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Parking at Train Station Lot after 6:00 p.m.; 3700 – Amend Chapter 156 – Food and Food Handling Establishments – Outdoor Café Regulations; 3701 – Amend Chapter 145 – Fees – Outdoor Cafes; 3702 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Ridgewood Premium Parking Permit for Hudson Street Parking Lot and Use of Rideshare Program; and 3703 – Amend Chapter 145 – Fees – Ridgewood Parking Permit for Hudson Street Lot.
Resolutions include: Approve 2018 Budget Reserve Transfers; Award Professional Services Contract – 2019 Land Surveying Services Retainer for Preparation of Tax Assessment Map; Authorize Change Order – Infrared Asphalt Restoration; Increase 2018 Deferred School Taxes; Declare Property Surplus – Police Department Vehicles and Miscellaneous Equipment; Endorse Stop, Look, and Wave Campaign for Pedestrian Safety; Oppose Meadowlands Power Plant; and Authorize Settlement – PSE&G.
- COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Justin Manger, 590 Cliff Street, stated that he was happy to see the Council’s positive response to the single use plastic bag ban idea as he supports it. He felt some people may be upset about it, but given no option people may change their behavior. He added that regarding the Schedler property, he asked if they looked at a possible permeable substance so that you can still get a shovel or plow across it when it snows, however this way the water can seep down to the water table. He added that he applied for the Estate Card a couple of years ago, however he never used it, but if more businesses are getting involved and the $400 is gone it might be a decent idea.
Rurik Halaby, 374 Evergreen Place, stated that he supported REAC’s efforts to reduce the use of single use plastic bags. He added they should go further to reduce the use of plastic water bottles. He stated that it is critically important to tell people what they should do and why, which is the role of education. He added that they have to be careful about banning the use of plastic bags period, and gave the example of grapes and a roasted chicken which may need a plastic bag. Mr. Halaby added that if they could work with the supermarkets in a positive way, putting up signs telling people why they should not use plastic bags or give them some incentive. He stated that if they had a user-friendly website that people look at and use, that would be a great way to educate the public as to issues they would be facing. He added that he got a mailing by the Recycling Department about what can be recycled, and there was a lot to learn from it.
Mr. Halaby encouraged Mayor Hache to have a mailing in the next few weeks that talks about the cost of plastic as there are many people in the Village that are very knowledgeable about this subject. He added that the important thing is to not tell people what not to do but to help them do the right thing by educating them.
Mr. Halaby stated that when Mr. Rutishauser was talking he had things that they did not see about various designs, and listening to Councilwoman Walsh, kids are very creative in terms of climbing but also kicking the ball. He encouraged them not to be cheap and to have a wall and a net to catch things. He added that the berm and the wall would be a great sound barrier even though they may block the light.
Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that he supported the proposed ordinance on the banning of single use plastic bags. He added that the ordinance being enacted in Hoboken is very do-able and has reduced the amount of trash on the streets. He stated that they frequent a deli there and they charge eleven cents for a paper bag. He added that it would protect the environment in Ridgewood and protect the community.
Mr. Loving stated that even if you do a bank transfer for tax payments there is a $1.05 charge. He added that he made a comment regarding the water bill as well, charging for a bank transfer. He pointed out that a bank transfer is actually more convenient for the Village and he did not understand why there was a charge. He added that the charge was done away with in the Water Department after he made a comment about it, and he thinks that it should be investigated and also done away with here.
Mr. Loving stated that a comment that was made by someone that an item should be added to the Closed Session. He felt that shouldn’t be allowed and that an item can’t be added. The topic doesn’t qualify for Closed Session discussion, and if they spoke about things in Closed Session that should be done in open public session it wouldn’t be right.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the suggestion of something on the Closed Session earlier, she has been working on the website with the Village Manager and Mr. Hansen for quite some time, and if the Village Manager had something to say to her she would have done so. She wanted to address the insults that were hurled at the Mayor for his hard work on the newsletter. We would all agree that whether we appreciate the writing style or not, this is something he’s doing for the community that otherwise doesn’t exist. We should say thank you for doing this and doing something to better communications in the Village.
- RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION
Deputy Village Clerk, Donna Jackson read Resolution #19-40 to go into Closed Session as follows:
There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilwoman Knudsen, seconded by Councilman Sedon, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Work Session was adjourned at 9:15 P.M.
Ramon M. Hache, Sr.
Donna M. Jackson
Deputy Village Clerk
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