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 27, 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
Nanette Rosenthal, Assistant Manager at Ridgewood Day Spa, stated that she currently works five days a week and averages 35 plus hours a week and she spends $100 a month on the employee parking pass and $25 yearly for the window sticker. She added that equates to 73 cents an hour. She has to buy the hang tag because there are days she works nine or more hours, and the Cottage Place and Walnut parking lots have an eight hour and thirteen minimum/maximum parking time on the app. Many businesses in the Village are retail and many employees make minimum wage or a bit above it. Minimum wage in NJ is $8.85, for someone who works 35 hours a week that comes to $1,239 a month before taxes, and after tax that comes to $1,060 a month. Ms. Rosenthal stated that means that a monthly parking pass is roughly 10% of the take home monthly income. She asked why it is that employees who work hard to make the Village what it is, have to sacrifice 10% of their salary to work here. This means that after paying parking they are left with $960 a month for all expenses. Numerous friends have considered working in Ridgewood but because the parking situation is so expensive they have been forced to decline.
Ms. Rosenthal stated that the employees support the Village commerce and spend their hard earned money by shopping and dining in town, and that targeting the most disadvantaged contributors of value to the Village is unfair and unacceptable. She added that she would like to propose that for Non-Resident employees of Village businesses who can verify this by showing current pay stubs, should not have to pay for parking. This serves those individuals, but also those businesses who need to hire employees because it makes employment more financially acceptable.
Ryan and Sue Marie, members from the World Missions Society Church of God on Godwin Avenue, stated that they do a lot of community services throughout town, and had an idea that they could do snow removal for 45 and older or elderly individuals who don’t have family to help them with snow removal. Ryan added that they wanted to come and present their idea and asked if their flyer could be sent out throughout the community. Sue Marie asked if there were ways that they could impact students in the community and want to work with the schools to show them the importance of helping others. They have been invited to the United Nations, and one of their goals is to fulfill one of the 17 goals that the UN has to make the world a better place for everyone.
Mayor Hache asked if they would share the flyer, and asked if there was an email to send a message to. Councilwoman Knudsen added this way they could start a correspondence.
Margaret Tracy, 130 Prospect Street, stated that she had an article that she wanted to share regarding a type of affordable housing that she felt was a great idea and provided the article for the Village Council.
Serena Iacoviello, 363 Downs Street, stated that as an environmentalist, she was excited to hear about the proposed ban on plastic bags, and she also wanted to encourage that they also consider placing a fee on the paper bags, similar to the Hoboken ordinance. She added that plastic bags are needing to be banned and paper bags should also be reduced as they are not the solution. Paper bags have a larger carbon footprint that plastic bags, as the production is very water intensive, and during the shipping phase it takes a lot of energy to ship them out. She added that the purpose should be to reduce the pollution by all single use bags, and to encourage consumers to bring their own reusable bags.
Ms. Iacoviello added that it is important to recognize that for businesses it is more expensive to produce paper bags than plastic bags, so by letting them take the fee for the bags they would be happy to comply with the ordinance. She suggested removing from the Hoboken ordinance the bags that are 2.25 mils thick that are compliant for the fee because that seems to undermine the intent of the ordinance, which could cause increased plastic pollution.
Pamela Perron, 123 Kenilworth Road, stated that she commended the Village Council for considering an ordinance to limit the use of single use plastic bags, adding that she asked that they include the mandatory fee for people who forget their bags and need to use a paper bag. In California, they tried that and it didn’t work. She added that it really is past time to restrict the use of these plastics, and this is just the beginning of what we have to do as there is so much more plastic out there. Our retailers are already so beleaguered, lets make this easy for them as the fee will offset their costs. Finally, Ms. Perron added that while the Village Council is considering the environment, look at the resolution that the League of Women Voters suggested to stop the use of funds to purchase single use plastic water bottles.
Paul Vaggianos, 280 Rivara Court, stated that for a year and a half at his restaurant, they have been using paper straws, and got rid of plastic straws. In this country we use 500 million plastic straws a day and he thinks that the Village should be aware that this is a viable option. It is slightly more expensive, but the more people use them the more the price will go down and it is certainly not prohibitive.
There were no additional comments from the public.
Mayor Hache stated that there was a comment about the parking and an eight hour limit on the app for Cottage Place, but Cottage Place is open during the active meter hours, and he asked Ms. Mailander to look into it as it made no sense to have an eight hour limit on a lot that is all day parking.
- MANAGERS REPORT
GovDeals to auction off surplus property – Ms. Mailander stated today the Village sold three surplus vehicles that were in very poor condition and received $3,500 for them. At the end of last year, they sold two pieces of large heavy equipment and received $15,000. As they declare property surplus, they will continue to use the website auctions to get the best possible price.
Senior Bus – Ms. Mailander stated that the current senior bus is ten years old and in need of replacement. This morning, the Village opened bids for a new bus that they hope is as reliable as the current bus. The bus driver, Billy, will remain the same.
Board of Education Election April 16th – Ms. Mailander stated that polls will be open 6:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. March 26th is the last day for voter registration. The Village Clerks has someone in the lobby of the library taking voter registrations from 4:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. This is for any new voters, any young adults who have turned 18, and/or people who have moved within Ridgewood because you may end up in a different polling location at your new address.
“Meet the Mayor” – Ms. Mailander stated that Mayor Hache would meet with residents on an appointment-only basis on Saturday, March 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.
Super Science Saturday March 2nd – Ms. Mailander stated Super Science Saturday is from 9:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. This is the 31st year that it is being held. Students are encouraged to share their own science experiments and enjoy free presentations made by the Liberty Science Center. They will also have indoor and outdoor drone racing, the 30 foot egg drop challenge, and a live rocket launch.
Annual Weight Loss Challenge Postcards – Ms. Mailander stated that the postcards will be mailed soon, and the Challenge begins on March 24th.
Dogs in Memorial Park at Van Neste Square – Ms. Mailander stated that there have been some dogs off leash on Memorial Park at Van Neste Square and she wanted to remind everyone that the only place that dogs are allowed on leash is at Habernickel Park.
Geese Problem – Ms. Mailander stated that geese are a problem, and if anyone finds geese nesting on their property, please call the Health Department to report them. Geese Peace volunteers should call the Health Department as well.
- COUNCIL REPORTS
Ridgewood Environmental Action Committee and The Green Team – Councilman Sedon stated that REAC and The Green Team met last week. There was a presentation by NV5, the firm that is doing the Visioning Process for the Village’s Master Plan, and there is an opportunity to craft a lot of sustainability in the Master Plan moving forward.
On March 20th from 6:45 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. REAC is sponsoring a workshop in composting, so residents can learn how to compost the correct way so there is no smell and it doesn’t attract pests. This can help reduce food waste in the garbage stream and it’s better for the environment and soil health.
On May 18th from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. in the Graydon Pool parking lot, Ridgewood will be hosting a Styrofoam collection. This was brought to them as being part of the Sustainable Jersey Bergen County Hub, which applied for a $20,000 grant to kick this program off. Two other towns are participating in this, and one already held a drive.
Earth Day will be on April 14th in Memorial Park at Van Neste Square from 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.
April 22nd at 4:00 P.M. in the Library there will be a presentation for children, School House Rocks: Earth, which is about the environment and what kids can do to participate in sustainability.
Shade Tree Commission – Councilman Sedon stated that the Shade Tree Commission met on Monday, but he was unable to attend as it was a rescheduled meeting and he was in a Budget Hearing.
Ridgewood Arts Council – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the Ridgewood Arts Council would be hosting its next Artist Talk on March 12th featuring Dana Glaser, a film director who will speak about the making of his upcoming film, ‘A Case of Blue.’ The talk will be held at the Upper Ridgewood Tennis Club at 915 Glenview Road, from 6:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. Artists Talks are free and open to the public. Email RAC@ridgewoodnj.net for more information.
Master Plan – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that NV5 completed all of the edits this past Monday, and every home and business in the Village will receive the ‘Our Village, Our Future’ visioning postcard which will invite everyone to go to their website and participate. The Visioning Process is the very first step to the creation of a Master Plan. Go to visionRidgewood.org to participate. The Master Plan is a guidance document that sets goals, policies, and priorities for investing in the physical, environmental, economic, and social future of the community. It is an important forward-looking document for generations to come.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that if residents receive the postcard and they are uncomfortable with computers, they can contact Village Hall and request a hard copy survey. They can mail it back to be collected and manually input by NV5.
Library Board – Councilwoman Walsh stated that they had their meeting last night and the Author Luncheon was sold out. The Reading Marathon is wrapping up, and it is a wonderful program encouraging kids to read as much as possible and they get a certificate when they finish.
The Library Trustees, and the Library Friends, are working on a Capital Campaign for the Reimagine Project, so they have formed a committee to explore different options and how to get donations to help with that process. They will be coming to the Village next Friday for their budget presentation to the Village Council.
Citizen Safety Advisory Committee – Councilman Voigt stated that the Citizen Safety Advisory Committee Board met last Thursday. There were a couple of suggestions for the Village. To consider a No Left Turn sign at the Starbucks exit as there is currently only a Right Turn Only on the right hand side, and the suggestion is to remove that and place two No Left Turn signs. There was a request to repaint the faded arrows on Union Street, as well. There also continues to be the issue of people going the wrong way down Union Street. Some of the issues they have are with the Physicians office, which goes down the wrong way so they should put signs there to make sure they are only turning right. Councilman Voigt stated that there continues to be issues with the drainage on Union Street which should be looked at.
NV5 is meeting with CSAC on March 21st to go over the Visioning Process.
They will be putting sidewalks in as you go west along Glen up to Hillcrest. As students and children go to Willard walking up that street, they will probably cross at Hillcrest which is a dangerous intersection because of the hill. So, they should look into options for that particular intersection when they fix the sidewalks.
Bergen County – Mayor Hache stated that he had some notes from the County. He had some discussion about the Duck Pond project as it is to restore the lining in the pond and an overall project of ecological restoration. Saddle River no longer provides a stable source of water for the Duck Pond. The construction project is looking to renovate the existing connection of the pond to its water source. They want to improve the passive gravity fed system that is there with an improved mechanical system to be used as water conditions necessitate. In addition to these modifications, other improvements are being considered to increase habitat value and function, including the placement of native aquatic and terrestrial plants along the ponds edge and to install a wetland feature. Ultimately, by improving the sites hydrology, water quality will be improved for diversity of flora and fauna. The facility plan is quite extensive, and the funding was secured a few months ago for a total of $2.35 million and they are also seeking some Green Acres funding to supplement. It looks like the project will be ready for bidding in September of 2019 as the County has had some problems with the DEP with the hydraulic and river flow calculations. The plan is to have the project completed for the 2020 season. Doing most of the work in the late fall/winter months allows the park to be used without closing sections during the busy part of the season.
Ridgewood Water – Mayor Hache stated that Ridgewood Water filed a complaint in Superior Court of Bergen County on Monday, which is one of the many steps that Ridgewood Water is taking to protect the drinking water from PFAS and to protect the ratepayers from the cost of removing the chemical. The defendants in this case are companies that manufactured, sold, and promoted the products containing PFAS even though they knew that these products would contaminate the water. Under the leadership of Rich Calbi, Ridgewood Water is treating the water and removing these chemicals to provide its customers with the cleanest water possible, but the defendants in this case also have a responsibility and that is to reimburse Ridgewood for the cost of getting the job done. This is what lies at the heart of the lawsuit, as companies created the problem knowingly, the responsibility will be on the ratepayers, or should it go on the companies that created the problem and should be accountable for it. Mayor Hache added that the list of companies is available on the Ridgewood Water website.
- Ridgewood Water
- Award Change Order – SCADA System Software
Ms. Mailander stated that in 2016, Village Council awarded an Extraordinary and Unspecified Services Agreement with Emerson Process Management Power and Water Solutions, Inc. for the provision of software and services to upgrade the existing SCADA System Software. At this time, an additional $10,665 is required for work completed beyond the original scope. This includes Emerson supplying two additional remote telemetry unit cabinets. This change should have been incorporated into Change Order #1 which was processed in December of 2017, but was not included. This is now Change Order #2 which brings the contract total to $391,847.96. It is allocated in the Water Capital Budget.
- Award Sole Source Contract – Corrosion Inhibitor
Ms. Mailander stated that the Lead and Copper rule from NJDEP mandates that a Corrosion Control Program be established, and that is the treatment process in which small amounts of phosphate inhibitors are added to the water to prevent corrosion. The inhibitor is injected into the water stream prior to it entering the distribution system. The phosphates create a thin coating on the inside of plumbing materials, effectively preventing the corrosion of lead and copper in the water. In 2013, Ridgewood Water implemented a pilot program, utilizing poly-orthophosphate to control corrosion in the system. Based on the pilot program’s success, Ridgewood Water installed the inhibitor ESC 532 at the active treatment facilities. The installation was completed in April of 2016.
ESC Environmental uses a unique blend of polyphosphates and orthophosphates that is developed and distributed solely through their company. Utilizing a consistent formula via the same blend is important for Ridgewood Water to maintain corrosion control. This is the recommendation to award a sole source contract to ESC Environmental out of Glenville, NY in the amount of $210,000 for the year 2019. This is in the Operating Budget.
- Award NJPA Co-Op Contract – Purchase of Backhoe Loader – Revised Resolution
Ms. Mailander stated that in February at the Public Meeting, the Village Council approved a Resolution for the purchase of a Caterpillar Backhoe Loader. The Resolution was approved with funds coming from the Operating Budget, which is incorrect. The funding is actually in the Capital Budget, so they will redo the Resolution to account for that error.
- Review Parking in All Lots after 6:00 P.M.
Ms. Mailander stated that she and Mayor Hache had a discussion as they approved having anyone be able to park in the train station lot after 6:00 P.M. and they have to pay the meters until 8:00 P.M. So, as commuters leave the lot, it frees up those spaces for people who want to shop or dine. The suggestion was to allow that in all of the parking lots after 6:00 P.M. That was so people can park in the commuter spots, which is especially important in the Hudson Street lot, and many times those commuter spots have been emptied and then diners are parking there not realizing that they can’t park there because that is only for commuters.
Mayor Hache stated that was a great suggestion that was brought up, as it started with the train station parking lot as a lot of diners use that lot at night. Looking at Hudson Street and other lots it made no sense having the spots until 8:00 P.M. as the commuters don’t come back to claim their spots and they were depriving these spots to the shoppers and diners. This would not require the use of a parking permit.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she thought that it might be prudent to just say that after 3:00 P.M. because by that time either commuters have vacated the spaces or are in the spaces. After that time, she doesn’t think anyone is going to park there to commute to work, so why wouldn’t they make those spaces available at an earlier time, kind of like the flex spot that they did at Cottage Place.
Mayor Hache stated that the issue he has is that they come up with a lot of great ideas, but enforcement becomes a big issue and adding another layer of confusion. The dead zone begins at 3:00 P.M., when a lot of the downtown goes to sleep until the restaurants open at 6:00 P.M. Until then, there is plenty of parking around. From 3:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. there is a drop in usage.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she doesn’t think changing it adds another layer changing the time to 3:00 P.M. or 6:00 P.M. You are saying that those spots that are typically for commuters all day, are going to be set back to 6:00 P.M. as opposed to setting it back to 3:00 P.M. Mayor Hache stated that he didn’t think it was anything considerable, but there were already so many changes and it was a lot for the public to keep in mind, as well as for enforcement.
Councilman Voigt stated that his wife parked in Hudson Street at 2:00 P.M. and got a ticket. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she must have parked in a commuter spot that was empty. Councilman Voigt stated that he understood Councilwoman Knudsen’s point as maybe 3:00 P.M. might be reasonable. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that if the spaces are empty and there is no allowance for utilization of spaces, it is 100% lost revenue and if you make the allowance for people to come in and park, it might make additional revenue.
Councilman Sedon stated that he felt the same as Councilman Voigt and Councilwoman Knudsen except that he was going to say 4:00 P.M. instead of 3:00 P.M. He added that it’s almost like taking away that layer of enforcement because now you don’t have to go through and look if someone has a tag and consider the time, but also what would be the difference between doing that at 6:00 P.M. or 4:00 P.M.
Ms. Mailander asked if everyone was in agreement at 3:00 P.M. Mayor Hache asked if this would go for all of the lots. Ms. Mailander stated that they would now have to change the train station also because right now it goes into effect on March 5th, and then it would change to 3:00 P.M. some time in late April when this ordinance would be adopted.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that she would imagine that those that bought the permits might feel a little slighted that they are basically paying for the full day and then somebody is going in afterwards. If they are requiring people that commute to buy the permits, but then as soon as they pull out someone would pull in there during their time. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that you have to exploit that opportunity any way you can, and to have people get tickets in the afternoon. If they come back there will be other spaces, there are flex spaces. Councilwoman Walsh stated that they charged them extra so they could park there all day, but now they are going to pull out of their spot and the town would be double dipping when someone else pulls in right after.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that they have to leave the parking space for it to be vacated, then they shouldn’t argue to change the time limit to 6:00 P.M. because they should be entitled to the parking space to 8:00 P.M. Councilman Voigt asked if they could a week’s worth of evaluations to see which spots are open. His guess is that a lot of spots may be open. Mayor Hache stated that Hudson Street has a lot of open spots. Councilman Voigt stated if that is the case, then they should take advantage of that.
Councilman Sedon stated that if you commute, and buy the pass, and are in New York City for 12 hours, then you’re still going to be there. So, it is a value to have the pass in the morning, but if you have a half day and leave, he doesn’t think anyone will feel slighted if they left the commuter spot, came back downtown for dinner at 5:30 P.M., and expected to get back in that spot and had to park somewhere else. Councilwoman Walsh stated that she didn’t think they would be slighted about leaving the spot, she thought they would be slighted about charging them extra to park there. Councilman Sedon stated that they could park there for as long as they want, and if he was commuting he would want his spot there in the morning. Whether he is at work for four or ten hours, his car would be there, but if he only uses the spot for three hours then maybe he should rethink paying for the annual pass.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she thought it was the exact same scenario with the flex spaces at Cottage Place as they sold passes for employee parking and at a certain point if those spaces remain empty, anyone could go and park and pay the meter. All too often during the day, many spaces remained empty. In metered spaces, she watched six cars in a row get tickets because they were in employee spaces but were shopping right around the corner. All of the spaces were empty, and they had created another problem. The flex spaces create an opportunity for someone to park. If another commuter comes along and parks in the parking space then, they still wouldn’t have their place.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that whether they go at 6:00 A.M. and leave at 4:00 P.M., they just charged them extra to have this parking at the train, so why did they charge them extra if anyone can park in the spot from 3:00 P.M. on. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that they charged them extra because the rates went up and the extra cost went into the increase in parking rates. Her understand is that a piece of that was reflective of the actual parking rates, because when it is broken down they are getting a discount on the overall cost. If they were to use that 100% of the time it would actually cost them more, so they increased the price of the pass because of the increase on the meter rates. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she felt it was important that they leave themselves some flexibility and options.
Councilman Voigt stated that he was okay with 3:00 P.M. Ms. Mailander stated that they would use 3:00 P.M. but requested that they keep it at that for the rest of the year on behalf of the Police Department and the Parking Enforcement Officers as it makes people confused. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she heard what Ms. Mailander was saying, but she thinks they have come a long way from when she first came on the Village Council and every lot was full at 7:30 A.M. with commuters and they have worked hard to strike a good balance and unfortunately they are tweaking a little at times. Ms. Mailander agreed but added that she would like it to stay as is for the benefit of everyone for the rest of this year.
- Award Contract – Road Resurfacing of Various Village Streets
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village accepted bids on February 20th. There were 13 plan holders eligible to bid and the Village received 11 bids. The low bid was from American Asphalt and Milling Services of Kearny at $2,662,604.76. They submitted a complete bid package with all necessary information. They have checked references which were favorable. The work is to be funded for the 2019 Capital Budget. The bid is greater than the funds available, but they are recommending a partial award to the contractor in the amount of $1,800,000 to start the paving work as soon as possible. The Village has applied for an NJDOT grant which may offset some of the cost.
- Award Change Order – Village Hall HVAC System
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village hired a firm to work on the HVAC system, which is much improved. Change Order #2 is for $5,500 which is required to repair additional variable air volume units. It utilizes the unit cost for repair in the original contract bid at $1,700 per unit repaired. One unit only needed a new transducer, therefore a reduced price of $400 was agreed upon. This increases the total contract to $283,400. The heat is at a good place throughout the building, and when the air conditioning comes on hopefully that will be well balanced as well.
Councilman Voigt asked if they could get an update on what is going on in the Community Center as there had been complaints that at sometimes it was too cold. Ms. Mailander stated that she didn’t think they were getting those complaints any more and had gotten a good balance, but she would double check.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked if all the original bids for the HVAC work had involved the work for the Change Orders, would this bid have been higher than the others. Mr. Calbi stated that each of the bids had a requirement to quote a unit price for this work because they knew that there would be some units that needed repair, and he doesn’t know the specifics, but overall this company had the lowest bid price. He added that overall, there may have been a company that had a lower bid price for that unit, but their base bid was higher. Councilwoman Knudsen asked that on this $5,500 on this piece, is it possible that it was anticipated by another bidder. Mr. Calbi stated that wouldn’t be the case, as it was anticipated that they needed repair and got a price upfront.
Mayor Hache asked what the next lowest bid was. Mr. Calbi stated that he was unsure but he would get that information. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she was interested in grouping all of that paperwork and maybe sending that to her so she could take a look.
- Award Payment – Emergency Construction – Demarest Pump Station
Ms. Mailander stated that the Demarest Pump Station experienced a failure of the pumps during a period of heavy inflow and infiltration. The pumps could not be installed because of the inflow and infiltration in the inflow pipe, therefore they had to bypass to avoid flooding the residents on the street that drain into the pump station. To avoid an NJDEP fine, they awarded the emergency repair to a local contractor that has worked with the Village in the past to construct a buried bypass pipeline from the Pump Station to a nearby receiving manhole.
Now that the buried bypass pipe is in place, they are in the process of bidding out the repair by lining of the inflow pipe. The resolution is to pay for the contractor’s efforts to install a buried bypass pipeline.
- Award Payment – Emergency Construction – Andover Pump Station
Ms. Mailander stated that the Andover Pump Station’s force main recently sprung a leak in front of 953 Andover Terrace, resulting in effluent running over the resident’s lawn and then down the street. This required an immediate response to stop the release of sewage into the storm water collection system. J.F. Creamer and Son of Hackensack was hired to repair it. The resolution is to pay for their efforts to fix the leak.
- Proposed Amendment to Smoking Ordinance
Ms. Mailander stated that it will say that all parts of the cannabis plant will be prohibited except only those that contain the compound of the chemical THC. Mr. Rogers stated that when this ordinance was enacted they were talking about the restrictions with regard to marijuana use. There are certain compounds of the cannabis sativa plant that do not contain THC, one of which is hemp and in the way that the definition in the ordinance was written it included all parts. So those are still included, and anything with THC is restricted and prohibited, but just those that don’t contain THC can be sold. He added that it was important to make that distinction, as hemp doesn’t contain THC.
Mayor Hache asked if CBD oils are okay. Mr. Rogers stated that CBD oils are okay and they want to be able to allow them to be sold in the Village.
- Proposed Amendment to Ordinance for Landscaper Services and Fees
Ms. Mailander stated that the first proposed ordinance updates the Village’s regulations governing landscapers and landscaping services. This new ordinance would require landscapers to register with the Village only if they would like to bring yard waste materials from residents to the Village’ Lakeview Compost Facility during the Village’s defined and announced leaf collection season. Deposited materials are paid for with Facility Acceptance Tickets. Currently, they register all landscapers which conflicts with the State of New Jersey Contractors’ Registration Act.
Ms. Mailander stated that the second ordinance increases the fee for registering with the Village. It was $25 and they are recommending $50 per year. The last time the fee was increased was in 2006. The price of Facility Acceptance Tickets for Lakeview is not being changed, which is $30 per ticket. In 2016, they received 1,318 cubic yards charging $4,350. In 2017, they received 2,799 cubic yards for $5,850. In 2018, Lakeview Compost Facility took in 4,091 cubic yards of material charging $7,200 from landscapers.
Ms. Mailander added that they are going to indicate that each vehicle that has a license plate from a motor vehicle agency will need to be registered.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked if they knew how many registered landscapers the Village has now. Ms. Mailander stated that she wouldn’t know off the top of her head. Councilwoman Knudsen asked how many of those registered landscapers brought material to the composting facility. Ms. Mailander stated that she could get this information and bring it back next week.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that on the actual ordinance, item A speaks about landscaping firms desiring to bring yard waste to the facility. Should it contain specific language referring to Village property owners. Mr. Rutishauser stated that he could take another look at it and see if the additional language could make it clearer. Their goal is that they will only accept material generated within the Village. They look at their load sometimes and ask what addresses they came from. He gave the example that if someone is coming from Hillcrest you should see a lot of Red Oak, and if it is full of Gum Trees it is a bit suspicious and they have that skill set amongst the staff.
Councilman Voigt asked how come it has increased more dramatically over the past three years. Mr. Rutishauser stated that with the enforcement of curb side leaf depositing and the pickup schedule, a lot of people have been instructing their landscapers to take it away so as not to risk a ticket.
Mayor Hache asked if since they haven’t increased the fees as well, could that lead to the increase. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they were very cost efficient and that’s why the proposal is to increase it slightly, and it may have been advantageous to landscapers to do it. The leaves that a landscaper brings to Lakeview do not have to be collected by the Village staff as well.
- Outdoor Café Ordinance Revisions
Ms. Mailander stated that at the Public Meeting in February, there were several items that the Village Council wished to discuss further. The barriers must be weighted and cannot be bolted into the sidewalks. The recommendation from the Building Department and Code Enforcement Officer is that the weight shall be proportional to the size and weight of the barrier, and in the event of high winds, all barriers must be removed from the sidewalk until the wind advisory is lifted. She added that this would be in hurricane type conditions or very high anticipated winds.
Mr. Yotka stated that they had witness of that Monday morning with the high winds with various barriers on North Broad Street being knocked over and planting materials ending up in the street. They are recommending that the barriers are weighted down, perhaps with a sand bag, as long as they are not secured to the sidewalks or curbs. Councilman Voigt stated that this was a laundry list of issues that were brought up by some of the restaurant owners who came to the meeting, and the suggestion would be to have a subcommittee of some of the Councilmembers and restaurant owners to make sure that they have a comprehensive list and maybe hammer out some of these issues and then come back.
Mayor Hache stated that he personally has walked the sidewalks, with a tape measure, and his conscience is clean. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the importance of this is that they get it wrapped up to make certain that the obstructions that have occurred in the past are cleaned up so they can issue permits. She added that she was good with the ordinance.
Ms. Mailander stated that they have already said that where there is no parking, or a loading zone, the outdoor café can be six inches from the lip of the curb. Someone asked about angled parking, and the recommendation from the Building Department is that it be twelve inches from the lip of the curb because there are meters there. No barriers can be placed in the required three foot openings between the barriers. Mayor Hache asked if they were looking for a problem, because now they have no minimum requirements in terms of distance from the curb on angled streets but they haven’t had an issue. In the not so distant future, they will be taking out the meters, and so far there have been no issues. Councilwoman Knudsen added that she agreed and she never had a problem with the angled parking, and that should be a wash as long as they are adhering to the sidewalk spacing necessary for pedestrians.
Ms. Mailander stated that currently the only one that is six inches is the parallel parking, so did they want to change the 45 degrees to six inches as well. Mayor Hache asked if they could leave it as is. Ms. Mailander stated that it was at 30 inches, because everyone except parallel parking is 30 inches. Mayor Hache asked what it was today. Ms. Mailander stated that it was 30 inches. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that it should be whatever they need to do to make it six inches. Ms. Mailander added that there can be nothing placed in the barriers in the required three foot openings because that allows people to get to the sidewalk.
Ms. Mailander stated that next was the height of the planters, which was originally three feet, and was increased to four feet. One restaurant commented that they wanted it higher than that. Mayor Hache has a visual. There was agreement to leave the height at four feet.
Ms. Mailander stated that next was whether the dates for the outdoor cafes should remain at March 1st through November 30th as this allows there to be a time during the winter months to clear the snow and ice and look at the sidewalk to see if any improvements need to be made. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she liked the idea of having that time to clean up, but maybe they should do it to the end of December because winter starts December 21st and that might be a plus to leave through the holidays.
Councilman Voigt added that he was in favor of having it all year, and if there is an opportunity to do business, they should have the opportunity to do that. Councilwoman Walsh stated that they didn’t know when the weather was going to be good or bad, but they may have a cold December and then warm January and February. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that December was the fourth quarter and a busy season, and she understands keeping everything clear for a couple months to make sure that the snow is cleared properly and the staff can make sure any sidewalk repairs are noted.
Mr. Yotka stated that he thought January and February would probably give them ample time to survey East Ridgewood Avenue and the other areas that are effected by the outdoor dining. Councilwoman Walsh stated that she thought that was fair. Councilman Sedon stated that if they could get everything done in January and February, he was good with the two months.
Ms. Mailander stated that the last issue was whether private property outdoor cafes should be held to the same standards as those on public sidewalks. She added that the fee has always been charged for outdoor cafes on private property. She added that Tracy Jeffery indicated that for the other standards on private property, she wants the 52 inches for strollers and wheelchairs to be able to travel, but the barriers could be any height as long as it doesn’t create an obstruction for either pedestrians or for vehicles. There are seven properties on private property that have outdoor cafes. Of those, there are one or two who, because they are a corner, couldn’t have an eight foot high planter because it would be an obstruction. They have never had a height restriction with planters in the past. Ms. Mailander suggested that they should still have the 52 inches and then make sure that whatever barrier they use, have to be one of the approved barriers. If it was a planter that they want to be larger, they could do so as long as it doesn’t create an obstruction.
Mayor Hache stated that he wasn’t sure he liked the idea of charging for the private property cafes and the issue that he has is the 52 inch, and when they started doing the modifications it was to protect the public and not to get into dictating what happens inside a private property. Ms. Mailander stated that outdoor cafes were started in 1993 and since that time they have always licensed the ones on private property, but if they don’t license them then they can’t enforce either. Mayor Hache stated that he felt licensing was fine, but he had an issue with the 52 inch requirement. Ms. Mailander stated that most of them have it. Mayor Hache added that he felt it was overkill.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she agreed with Mayor Hache and suggested providing these locations with requirements; however, since there are a couple of private outdoor cafes on corners, there has to be some specificity on obstructions on a corner, no different then if it was a corner property that can’t have shrubbery at a certain height. Mr. Yotka stated that they would require the same standards. Ms. Mailander stated that it should say that as long as it does not create a sight obstruction for pedestrians or vehicles. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she felt it should be more specific and they should confirm the wording with Mr. Rogers.
Mr. Rogers stated that if it doesn’t protrude into the public right of way and is still on private property, then the next thing you worry about are the sight distances, and as long as it isn’t an obstruction, then it should be clean. There isn’t much they can regulate from there as the rest is safety and health. Mr. Yotka suggested extracting that section of the ordinance that already exists and inserting it there. There was some additional discussion and a consensus that the wording would be inserted into that section.
Ms. Mailander stated that those were the items that were brought up last week. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that there was no more tweaking. Ms. Mailander stated that they would put together an ordinance and Mr. Rogers would look at the wording for obstructions on private property. They have agreed that anything that they do introduce before the Village Council, will go by these new guidelines. It will be adopted but some people may want outdoor cafes prior to May, and we do not want to hold them back pending this ordinance. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if they needed to adopt a resolution to permit that to be applied beforehand. Ms. Mailander stated that she was unsure if they could do a resolution to wait until the ordinance is adopted for enforcement. Mr. Rogers stated that it couldn’t be enforced until it is a law.
- Award Contract – SCADA System Software – Water Pollution Control Facility
Ms. Mailander stated that this is an ongoing program to upgrade and maintain the computer controlled operating system that runs the plant operations. The Village hired Keystone Engineering Group several years ago, and they assist in assessing the problems and fixing the SCADA system. The SCADA system controls the operation of pumps, blowers, and other equipment at the water pollution control facility. Keystone has successfully assisted WPCF for the past several years on a time and material basis and so they would like to award a contract on a time and materials basis in the amount not to exceed $25,000. This is in the Capital Budget.
- Proposed Ordinance to Ban Single Use Plastic Bags
Ms. Mailander stated that this was discussed, and the Hoboken ordinance was provided to the Village Council. Councilman Sedon stated that this was supported by REAC and The Green Team, and he has gone through the ordinance as an example. The definitions would need to be defined for Ridgewood, and some of the things that came up were the fee for paper bags and some people have tried that and it hasn’t worked out all that well. It is something that is up for discussion and he wasn’t sure they needed to dictate what the fee is, but suggested allowing businesses to dictate that. The remedies section talks about how the City of Hoboken shall assist operators and retail establishments by directing them to the websites for information. Councilman Sedon suggested that for Ridgewood, REAC and The Green Team would be willing to direct businesses to helpful resources to be in compliance with the ordinance. In terms of enforcement, it would be Code Enforcement or a Zoning Officer who would enforce this. There is also a six month lag, so instead of 20 days if the ordinance should pass, the Village would like to use the six months to begin to engage the community. He added that they should remove the 2.25 mils thickness, because people might get a slightly thicker plastic bag if they wanted a way around that. Paper bags shouldn’t have the post-consumer recycled material amounts required for businesses to offer.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she appreciated the paper bag and the five cents cost, but she wholly disagreed with requiring the five cent fee. Stores used to give five cents for every regular bag that was brought in and when they stopped doing that she felt bad as it was important to her. She doesn’t think that while she always brings reusable bags, she doesn’t know that five cents was an incentive enough either way. She stated that the businesses should decide whether or not they want to charge, but if the Village Council does that, then they are dictating a tax on residents for using a paper bag.
Councilman Sedon added that the exemption for individuals on Federal assistance or the SNAP program should be included if you are requiring the fee for a paper bag. If it is left open ended, that business could charge a fee if they felt it was necessary, then it would need to be included.
Councilman Voigt asked if it was five cents per paper bag, so if it was a double paper bag it would be ten cents. He agreed with Councilwoman Knudsen that people shouldn’t be charged for the paper bags. He suggested that when there is a warning and first, second, third violation, he wondered if they should consider a time frame of two weeks to adjust if they violate again.
Mayor Hache stated that he loved the idea of the six month lag, as this is a cultural shift and takes time. He added that the more that they educate the public, the better. There was some discussion about distributing reusable bags. He was conflicted about the fee, because he saw it from the point of view of the consumer and the grocer. By forcing people to pay for the bags that they need to use, and then they are also having to pay for the bags. Paper bags also have a lower adverse impact, but there is an impact on the grocer as well in needing to buy more expensive bags. He added that a happy medium could be that if you bring your own bags you aren’t charged the fee. Councilman Sedon suggested that there might be something in the exemptions that you could bring any type of bag to carry out the groceries without being charged for it.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that in Suffolk County, Long Island it is a law and people just pay the fee, but the grocery store only has paper bags and the reusable plastic bags. The grocery stores could switch to that type of bag as their plastic, but there is a cost that will be passed on to the consumer. She suggested changing the behavior and getting the bags available.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that if the grocery store was going to charge five cents a bag, because they were imposing the fee, then she would be sure to remember her bags the next time. Councilman Sedon stated that instead of putting in a range they should put in that an establishment may charge for bags. There was some discussion about the wording regarding allowing for the charge of bags. Councilwoman Knudsen asked why even have the line saying that they may charge. There was a decision to leave it open ended.
Ms. Mailander stated that she was hearing different things, so with the paper bags she understands saying “may” so at least then it’s in there. In Hoboken they made it no more than 25 cents a bag, and asked if the Council wanted to give a price, or let someone charge $1.00 for a paper bag. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she felt they should ban the plastic bags and let the retailer charge whatever they want for the paper bags as the market would define what could be charged for the bag. There was agreement to remove the line about charging for paper bags.
Councilwoman Walsh asked if they heard back from the supermarkets, but there was no contact yet. Councilman Sedon stated that the subcommittee tried to reach out to them, too. Whole Foods is already there, and Kings is halfway there, but Stop and Shop is corporate, so it is hard to get in touch to discuss anything local. There are Stop and Shops in Massachusetts where they have such a ban, so they would probably just apply what they already do there to here.
Ms. Mailander stated that the Hoboken ordinance states that the retail establishment may provide a reusable bag at their own fee, and asked if that was something to include. There was an agreement that the price didn’t have to be dictated. She added that there was a section about exemptions and that it would go before the Mayor and Council. Councilman Sedon agreed that he had lines through it, the only thing he left was Federal assistance.
Ms. Mailander stated that the execution assistance would come from REAC and The Green Team, and she would talk to Mr. Rogers about who would enforce. She asked if the Village Council was okay with the fines that are being charged based on the violations. Mayor Hache stated that in talking about the exemptions, the fee for exemption requests he wanted to make sure that was removed. There was agreement that the fines were okay. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she agreed you had to have some teeth in this. Councilman Sedon asked if there was a standard fee schedule. Mr. Rogers stated that it depends upon the nature of the violation and how serious you consider it. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that $500 was high. Ms. Mailander asked if everyone was alright with $100, $200, $300 for the violations. Councilman Sedon stated that there should be time to allow them to correct their behavior. Ms. Mailander stated that the Hoboken violation allows them to be day after day.
Mr. Rogers stated that you won’t be able to go there each day to enforce this because there are too many to cover, so you have to understand that giving the Judge the opportunity to use his discretion depending on the nature of the circumstances with each of the summonses will dictate the fines that are given out. Ms. Mailander asked if a court appearance would be required. Mr. Rogers stated that if it was contested, a court appearance would be required. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if they could require a court appearance on the third violation. Mr. Rogers stated that they would look into it and see if that could be included as part of the ordinance and what the best way to do that would be.
Ms. Mailander stated that they would bring back a reworked ordinance for review and then go from there. Councilman Sedon stated that would give REAC and The Green Team time to come back as well. Ms. Mailander stated that her guess was that they would introduce this in April or May, giving time for REAC and The Green Team to review it.
- Berm Designs for Schedler Property
Ms. Mailander stated that this was to discuss how the Village Council wanted to berm and fence, and that way they would know how to proceed to go out for bid.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that he was coming back with some of the instruction that the Village Council gave him for the berm design. To finalize the design, one of the key issues would be how tall it should be. Ms. Mailander suggested going through each design. Mr. Rutishauser provided a handout to the Village Council showing berm designs that were earth sloped without stone facing or concrete block facing. One was depicted at six feet and the other at three and a half feet, he added that they showed the fence that was suggested by Councilwoman Walsh, however he didn’t recall if there was a preferred height at four feet or six feet. The fence they are considering is similar to the Graydon Pool fence, which would look relatively attractive in the background.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that the third page has an earth and berm cross section but they are facing it along Route 17 with boulders which they got from one of the multifamily housing projects and this would be a nice way to reutilize them. It also provides a hardened face so if a vehicle were to collide with this, the boulders would help slow it down. Councilman Sedon asked if they had enough boulders to line the whole area right now. Mr. Rutishauser stated that he didn’t believe so, but they have been collecting them.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that the next design is a six point seven foot high berm that has a concrete block facing along Route 17 to create a wall. These are precast concrete clocks that would be assembled, facing the berm.
Mr. Rutishauser added that he left in the timber barrier as a reference point as he believes the Village Council was not in favor of it last time.
Councilman Sedon asked if they could do a more solid fence on the berm. Mr. Rutishauser stated that could be done, but if you put a six foot stockade fence you wont see the trees that are being planted at the top of the berm. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if the trees were going in front of the fence. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they show the fence in front, and they could put the fence behind the trees, but the fence was intended to stop a wayward child and once they get on top of the berm they are already out of parental sight. Mayor Hache stated that he thought it was more difficult to climb a fence if you were going up at an angle than on flat surface.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she liked the idea of the boulders and reusing something. She asked when they would know whether or not they had enough. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they would have to count them, as they are spread out in a pile at the construction yard and they would have to be transported to the property to be counted. They can also face as much of the berm as they can and if they run out of boulders they would then have the berm slope down to the highway edge. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that they could get creative with the boulders as well. Mr. Rutishauser stated that the boulders would look more scenic in the landscape design sense.
Ms. Mailander asked what height the Village Council wanted for the berm. There was consensus regarding the six foot berm with a six foot fence. They type of berm will be earth cross-section with the boulder facing on the Route 17 side. Ms. Mailander added that there would be guardrail, as well. Mr. Rutishauser stated that the fence would be Graydon style. Ms. Mailander added that the trees and stumps along the highway would be removed and then replaced with new trees. Mr. Rutishauser stated that he would prepare what was discussed into a resolution for the Village Council’s discussion.
- Approve Grant Application – Sustainable Jersey Composting Pilot Program
Councilman Sedon stated that REAC has been looking at ways to compost food waste for two years and they realized that it would be very difficult to implement it Village-wide and there is really no infrastructure in Bergen County right now to accept food waste and compost it. They found a company in Long Island that would be willing to come to New Jersey to collect some composted material but they needed at least 120 households to participate. They were able to go out and speak with some surrounding communities. Glen Rock and Fair Lawn were interested in joining in the pilot which would have two 48 gallon bins at the recycling center and Ridgewood would pull in 60 residents for a pilot program and then Glen Rock and Fair Lawn would have 30 residents in each town. This would also give them some metrics as to how much food waster we are able to take out of the waste stream and there is a potential that the tipping fees would be reduced. Councilman Sedon added that they could potentially save money if the pilot program works and there are ways to expand it. If they get the grant from Sustainable Jersey it wouldn’t cost the Village any additional money.
- Traffic Signal Improvements with Bergen County – Franklin Avenue
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village met with the County a couple weeks ago and they discussed this and she brought it to a Public Meeting so that the public will be aware of what will be happening.
Mayor Hache stated that this has been many years in the works, and the preliminary plan for Franklin Avenue in terms of improvements and bump outs for the curbs and narrowing the crosswalks. Some of the improvements are at the corners and curbs to allow for a greater turning radius. At Franklin and Maple, now there are problems with buses making turns as they have taken out part of the curb on a few occasions. This is looking at Franklin Avenue from the improvements that were needed before, but also the impact of the development that is going to be happening on or around Franklin with the increases in traffic flow and changes in the traffic pattern. Part of the discussion was about improving the crosswalks for that area as there have been some pedestrian strikes. They also talked about design elements that would make the crosswalks more visible. He questioned how pedestrian traffic would be impacted once KS Broad was completed.
Mayor Hache stated that they still have to determine the allocation, as part of the cost involves the Village, another part is the County, and what the developers would be responsible for.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that this discussion started in 2016 and some of the areas that they were discussing, as Councilman Voigt will recall, part of the site plan application for the development projects and particularly the Ken Smith site. They endeavored to take a look at the Ridgewood Avenue, Franklin, Oak, Broad, intersections, under the trestle and West Ridgewood Avenue as one corridor, and how were they going to make this work with all of the new development and all of the past issues they had before the development. She stated that they have worked out a lot of details, such as how wide the street would be and where pedestrian crosswalks would be. She thanked Chris Rutishauser and Jovan Mehandzig because they came to this meeting with the Village Manager and she felt they have a really good product here. At this point they are also going to work out the details with the County, and everyone would take their piece of the work as they move forward and see how to get this funded in the most efficient manner. This is all on hold until the development projects are completed.
Ms. Mailander stated that the County would be responsible for traffic design, electrical, and preparing the specification for bidding. The Village would be responsible for the survey, the acquisition of property, the construction plans and possibly bidding it out, although the County said they may do that. In addition, the County did say it could take a couple of years before it is bid out because we are one of many projects throughout the County. If the Village continues to move this along, then maybe we would move ahead of someone that isn’t moving as quickly, then the Village may get it done sooner.
Councilman Voigt asked if they considered Wilsey/Garber Square as part of this. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that it was a part of the discussions but they decided to leave it at this corridor and then will work their way to that piece of it, primarily because no matter what they do they have to wait for these projects. They are waiting for certain things with the Enclave, Ken Smith property, and the Chestnut Village to come to completion. The first part of this is the obligations of each party. Whatever the Village’s cost is, they would take the money from the developers and then assign it to these. It will all be incorporated ultimately.
Councilman Voigt stated that his other concern was about changes in administration and what if someone comes in who isn’t in favor of this project. He asked if they could get this etched in stone so no matter what happens with the political climate, they are able to get it done. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that a couple of years ago, the County wanted to do Linwood Avenue and they asked to hold it and apply it to this job, so that funding will also be there. They are working with the County to get this moved forward, and the County has a vested interest in seeing this go through. She added that they seemed to be sincere and she didn’t know if a change in administration would change much. Councilman Voigt stated that the Village had a situation where they were promised four lights and then got just one.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that the County had an obligation to make this a safe road as they own the road. The developments are coming and are going to be completed and they can’t be completed with an unfinished road, as you can’t have that volume come in and have an unfinished road. Councilwoman Knudsen added that the County had to approve the site plans as well, so they see this. She added that in one of the site plans there was an encroachment into the easement and the County had them correct it. She stated it was important for the Village Council to reinforce the concept that this wasn’t a political issue but it was public safety issue.
Mr. Rogers stated that he wasn’t part of the discussions before, so he doesn’t know how far the County committed on these things; however, they did sign off and the County had to approve the applications because Ken Smith is on a County road. The other side of this is that these really are negotiation issues and he thinks they ought to take them from the standpoint of how they are going to approach the County and what they are going to do. He suggested discussing it in Closed Session.
Ms. Mailander stated that the County would be sending a Shared Services Agreement for the Village to review. Mr. Rogers stated that Shared Services is a statutory agreement that expresses the contractual relationship between two governmental entities and it is really what you look for. Councilman Voigt stated that he assumed that would guarantee this project was going to happen. Mr. Rogers and Mayor Hache were in agreement that a Shared Services Agreement was what you look for in this situation as it binds the County as much as you can, to this project.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that crosswalk locations were part of developing the plan and now they were at that point to move forward.
Councilman Sedon asked how the bike lanes would function with the parking spaces and traffic lanes. Mr. Rutishauser stated that the corridor from Broad Street to Franklin Avenue will not have delineated bike lanes because they have on-street parking as marking them makes it confusing for all parties. There are bike lanes on streets that have parking, and the County has a concern and it was one of the discussion items. They agreed not to address it at this time. The County agreed on the bump outs, which are a big pedestrian safety feature, but they also have to maintain some of the parking on Franklin because of the dire need for parking in the Village.
- Intersections and East Ridgewood Avenue/North Maple Avenue Intersection
- Parking Lot and Patio Design for Schedler Property
Mr. Rutishauser stated that a portion of the project development is renovating the historic Schedler home which is expected to go to bid in the next couple of months and is anticipated to be completed this year. Part of making the house a useful, viable asset for the community is providing parking for the potential users. They developed a parking lot and also have a patio area to the south of the building from which the home’s primary entrance would face and open up to. This was developed with Nancy Bigos, with a patio area and a trellis over it for anybody renting the home to have an event.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that the parking has 54 spaces, and they may have to add one or two more handicapped spaces, as there were just two at this time.
Councilman Sedon stated that he liked the patio idea, and that it would be a good feature at the house, which he mentioned a few months ago at a meeting. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that adding the patio is a nice detail because it is consistent with those discussions that they had with Margaret Hickey about the way this house could be used as a rental for small parties, showers, and meetings, and brings in the outdoor piece that is a nice touch.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked how the 54 parking spaces were determined. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they anticipated that number of spaces for the use of the facility, also for the small field which the younger kids will play on and there are usually more parents coming to their games.
Councilman Voigt asked if there was a size restriction on the cars going into the parking lot. Mr. Rutishauser stated that there wasn’t a restriction. They would probably use the 9 by 20 space, or 9 by 18 depth and a two foot overhang at the curb.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked if they could discuss the park area and the structure that was on the map. Mr. Rutishauser stated that was a restroom area as a placeholder on the site map. He stated that if someone comes in, they can pull along the sidewalk and discharge their children for playing on the field on the passenger side. There is room there for five or six vehicles. Councilwoman Knudsen asked how big the bathroom structure is. Mr. Rutishauser stated that it was just a blob right now and nothing has been discussed, but he thinks the committee discussed two unisex seats. Councilman Sedon stated that they decided to go with two unisex rooms with a roof that has an overhang so if there is a storm somebody could run under there to seek shelter. Mayor Hache stated that they had spoken about a six foot overhang as a lightening shelter.
Councilwoman Knudsen suggested that as they are starting to work on that, she would suggest moving the structure back, closer to along the walkway by the highway, and moving the play area back into that spot as that the kid spot is too close to West Saddle River Road. Mayor Hache added that there would be a fence around it. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she just felt that it was too close even with a fence. Mr. Rutishauser stated that these locations are being used as placeholders at the moment and will still go through discussion before the final locations are determined.
Ms. Mailander asked if everyone approved of the parking lot and patio area. There was consensus among the Village Council.
- COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Before opening for public comment, Mr. Rogers stated that he thought the Village Council might like to make an announcement regarding the Settlement Agreement between the Village and Fair Share Housing Center. On Monday, they were in Court for the Fairness Hearing with regard to the Settlement Agreement between the Village and the Fair Share Housing Center. Every town has an obligation to provide low and moderate income housing within its boundaries. The Settlement Agreement embodies the commitment that the Village makes toward providing affordable housing to low and moderate income families and persons in the Village. That agreement was spelled out in a multipage agreement that the Village entered into in December. The Court scheduled a Fairness Hearing this past Monday, and the Court issued its decision of approval which says that the agreement is a fair and reasonable method for the Village to provide a realistic opportunity for low and moderate income housing in the Village to promote housing for people with low and moderate income levels. He added that this was a significant step towards satisfying our obligation and getting the certification for this round which has been overseen by the Courts. Mr. Rogers stated that every town has to go through this to satisfy its mandate. They will go forward to approve some ordinances to permit affordable housing.
Mayor Hache stated that the Village Council talked about the Village celebrating 125 years this year. One of the challenges is that the actual date is November 20th. So, if they want to have people come out and use the outdoor space, they should do it during nicer weather, and he suggested summer or early fall. They will put out a casting call for volunteers to help with the planning, adding that Glen Rock is doing something similar with a weekend of celebration. He spoke to the Chamber of Commerce to get a group from the Chamber and Guild to come up with some ideas and how to raise the funds to have the celebrations. He asked Ms. Mailander to put something on the website regarding interested volunteers.
Bill McCandless, 71 Ridge Road, stated that every six months he writes an email to the Village Council reminding them of the issues at Garber Square which continues to be a disaster and it need not be so. In May 2014, the Village began its degradation of that intersection and has done nothing to improve it since. For years the Village denied it was a problem, but thankfully the Village Council brought in some traffic experts that proved that it is the most crowded of the Village intersections, but nothing has happened to make it better. He added that he was happy to hear that it was part of the corridor discussions but those resolutions sounded years away and won’t help tomorrow morning at 7:30 A.M. when traffic is backed up on Ridgewood Avenue.
Mr. McCandless added that it would cost zero to change the timing of the light to allow cars on Ridgewood Avenue to make a left turn. This was done on Van Dien at the high school several years ago. Also, in the last several years, it has been discussed removing the single parking spot in the right hand lane on Ridgewood Avenue, but it hasn’t happened. He added that it is beyond him why they choose not to do things that cost nothing and allow this to fester. Emails are not responded to when there are requests for this problem to be solved. It is unfathomable that the Village will not address this problem at the most congested intersection in town.
Serena Iacoviello, 363 Downs Street, thanked the Village Council for discussing the ban on plastic bags as well as the fee on paper bags. It is estimated that the average American family uses 1,500 single use plastic bags every single year. In order to provide those plastic bags, you are using 12 million barrels of oil. She stated that in terms of convenience, people are unwilling to consider the repercussions of their actions. Ms. Iacoviello stated that the fee on paper bags is an important aspect of this ordinance as in order to enact it in a strong way, they need to incorporate it to get consumers to change their behavior. To assume that people wouldn’t change their behavior based on the fee is to assume that the Village couldn’t educate the public on these issues. She said that they shouldn’t be seeing an overall decrease in profits of the businesses just to reduce the wastes of this town and she asked that the Village Council act responsibly to omit any loopholes from this proposed ordinance. She asked that Ridgewood enact some strong environmental policies. She seemed encouraged about the ban on plastic bags and asked that they reconsider the fee on paper bags.
Anne Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that the Village Manager was explaining that there is a Board of Education election and she asked if they could get clarification if that was for the BOE budget proposal or for electing BOE trustees. She added that regarding the train station parking lot that was approved months ago and they were told that it wasn’t going to start for a while and she didn’t understand why and asked for an update on that project.
Bob Upton, 172 West Glen Avenue, REAC Chair, thanked the Village Council for considering the plastic bag ban. He stated that plastic bags are the main issue and the big concern that they wanted to address. Like the Mayor, he was conflicted about how forceful they would need to be about the fee on the paper bags. He shared the thoughts with the other members of the committee, and they have all forcefully persuaded him that it is important to push for a fee on the paper bags because after they consider plastic the paper bags themselves, although they are recyclable, they are still a single use product and contributing to the waste stream. He added that they want to change people’s habits and while some feel that they don’t need to legislate in order to change people’s habits, it was pointed out to him that the method to change people’s habits about smoking, seat belts, and lawn sprinklers is to legislate. Mr. Upton added that they felt it was an important part of the legislation, and most of the other ordinances have, in addition to the ban, included a fee for the single use paper bag.
Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that he noted that two times within the last 30 days the Village Manager has felt a need to make a comment regarding dogs at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square. He stated that he does not advocate unleashed dogs anywhere in the Village, but there seems to be some confusion as to which parks dogs are allowed in and looking at the Village Code 212-29, there is some confusion about this. It says that dogs are prohibited at Citizens, Graydon, Pleasant Park, Twinney Pond, Memorial Park at Van Neste, and Veterans Memorial Field. That is not a complete listing of the parks in Ridgewood. The code goes on to read that dogs are only permitted at Irene Habernickel and Schedler. There are some parks that are not noted in here, but yet, it says that it is only permitted at those two locations, and he wasn’t sure about the Dunham Trail as people walk their dogs on leash there all the time. Mr. Loving asked that the Code be clarified to include all of the parks.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked Ms. Mailander for clarification on the parks, for an update on the train station parking lot, and she felt that the points that Mr. McCandless raised were fair and something they could look at. Mayor Hache stated that the Board of Education is a budget vote in April, and the next elections will not be until April 2020 for candidates and budget.
Ms. Mailander told Mr. McCandless that she would be meeting with the Village Engineer to discuss what they can do quickly to try to fix those easy things as he indicated. They have not yet had a chance to meet this week, but she appreciated his comments and they would see what they could do. She asked Mr. Rutishauser to speak about the train station parking lot as she know that the plans have been finalized but she didn’t know if the specs had been written for the bid.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that they have been in touch with the contractor, and he is ready to come to work but it has to be above freezing for the concrete. The request has been sent to the Parks Department to get the trees removed. They have to coordinate with the farmers market which generally occupies the northern corner of the parking lot and they will mostly be working in the southern and central parts. Councilwoman Knudsen asked what the timeline was to get everything done when the weather breaks. Mr. Rutishauser stated that he was guessing it would be about two months and they were coordinating to have this done before the garage.
Mayor Hache closed public comments, but added that the observation about the dogs is important to clarify.
- RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION
Deputy Village Clerk, Donna Jackson read Resolution #19-60 to go into Closed Session as follows:
There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Sedon, seconded by Councilwoman Walsh, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Work Session was adjourned at 10:11 P.M.
Ramon M. Hache, Sr.
Donna M. Jackson
Deputy Village Clerk
- Hits: 723