20191211 Regular Public Meeting Village Council

A REGULAR PUBLIC MEETING 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, RIDGEWOOD, NEW JERSEY ON DECEMBER 11, 2019 AT 8:00 P.M.

 

  1. CALL TO ORDER – OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT – ROLL CALL – FLAG     SALUTE

 

Mayor Hache called the meeting to order at 8:02 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; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney. 

 

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, as well as the victims of the recent shooting in Jersey City, including Police Officer Joseph Seals.

 

  1. ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORTS

 

Mayor Hache moved the Bills, Claims, and Vouchers, and Statement of Funds on Hand as of November 30, 2019, be accepted as submitted.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. ACCEPTANCE OF MINUTES

 

Mayor Hache moved that the Village Council minutes of November 13, 2019 having been reviewed by the Village Council and now available in the Village Clerk’s Office be approved as submitted.  Councilman Voigt seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. PROCLAMATIONS – None

 

At this point, Mayor Hache stated that the recent tragedy in Jersey City reminds us of a few things.  One of them is how precious human life is, and the other just how fortunate we are to count on the protection of our brave men and women in blue, our Police.  And a special appreciation for the fact that when they get dressed to go to work in the morning they don’t know what they are going to encounter that day, or even if they will return to their families at the end of the day.  Statistically, most of us hopefully won’t be the victims of an active shooter, it is more probable that we will at some point be in harm’s way and we will need the protection of the Police to do that.  They protect us in many ways, they keep our community safe, by preventing crimes, by making drunk driving less, preventing tragedy, and when we are in peril they can rescue us, such as being trapped inside a motor vehicle after an accident.  Mayor Hache stated that tonight, there will be a series of recognitions, the first of which is going to be the swearing in of Police Officer James Bigos.  Mayor Hache asked his Village Council colleagues to meet him on the floor.

 

  1. SWEARING-IN OF POLICE OFFICER JAMES BIGOS

 

Mayor Hache swore in Police Officer James Bigos, while his mother, Nancy Bigos, held the Bible.

 

  1. AWARDS TO POLICE OFFICERS

 

  1. Service at Motor Vehicle Accident – Sgt. Kyle Finch, Patrol Officers Jack Knudsen, Brandon Donnelly, Kyle Monton, Patrick Daly, Christopher Mormino, and Glen Rock Police Sgt. Greg Carter

 

Councilwoman Knudsen acknowledged Sgt. Kyle Finch, Patrol Officers Jack Knudsen, Brandon Donnelly, Kyle Monton, Patrick Daly, Christopher Mormino, and Glen Rock Police Sgt. Greg Carter for their service at a motor vehicle accident and asked them to come up. 

 

Chief Jacqueline Luthcke thanked the Village Council for the opportunity to highlight the incredibly brave action taken by our Police Officers, which led to the saving of a person’s life, who was in significant danger.  On July 13, 2019 a motor vehicle accident occurred on the border of Glen Rock and Ridgewood.  The accident was severe and both vehicles were very heavily damaged.  One of the drivers was trapped inside a vehicle and sustained significant injuries.  Due to the impact, the other vehicle involved began to smoke and catch fire.  The two vehicles came to rest within a few feet of each other, and the trapped driver was in grave danger.

 

Glen Rock Officers responded to the scene and asked for assistance in the rescue efforts.  Sgt. Kyle Finch, the Ridgewood Officer in charge at the time, began to respond and he directed other Ridgewood personnel to do the same.  As Sgt. Finch and Officer Knudsen arrived on the scene, they acted without hesitation to begin working to remove the victim from the car.  All of the officers on scene were exposed to the flames from the burning vehicle, yet they continued to work to get the victim to safety.  Chief Luthcke stated that the damage to the vehicle was extensive and the victim was severely entangled in the wreckage.  He was injured and unable to assist in any way.  The victim was also very large at approximately 6’7” and over 250 pounds, adding to the difficulty of the removal.  After several tense moments and exhaustive work by the officers, the victim was removed from the vehicle after the officers were able to pry the metal open with their bare hands and the makeshift tools they had available to them.

Chief Luthcke stated that this type of work is commonly done by hydraulic tools, known as the Jaws of Life.  For their actions on that date, Sgt. Kyle Finch and Officer Jack Knudsen are being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which is the second highest honor the Ridgewood Police Department can bestow on its officers, and can be awarded for an act of heroism and bravery with an imminent risk of injury and/or death.  Officer Brandon Donnelly, Detective Kyle Monton, Officer Chris Mormino, and Officer Patrick Daly, are to be awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for their actions on that day.  These officers provided an almost continuous stream of fire extinguishers to Glen Rock Sergeant Greg Carter who was fighting to keep the flames at bay and away from the Ridgewood Police Officers.  Each time the officers brought a new extinguisher, they were within feet of the burning vehicle and in very close proximity to the flames.

 

Chief Luthcke stated that the Police Officers further aided in securing the scene and re-routing traffic, providing for the safety of the general public and personnel working the scene.  All officers involved worked as one impressive unit, despite the dangers, and they were able to rescue the victim and remove him from harm’s way.  Therefore, all officers will also be awarded the Unit Citation, for their combined unit action whose coordinated efforts resulted in the saving of the life of a victim, at great personal danger. 

 

Finally, the Ridgewood Police Department recently approved an award named to honor Chief Frederick Blackshaw, who was a founding member of the Ridgewood Police Department.  He died suddenly while in service to the Ridgewood Police Department, on March 10, 1932.  The award is awarded for exceptional leadership and was created to honor his memory.  Sgt. Kyle Finch showed exceptional leadership by his actions, orders, and the example he set for his officers on the scene that day.  Chief Luthcke stated that Sgt. Finch brings incredible value to the Police Department through his courtesy, dependability, knowledge, fairness, professionalism, and outstanding leadership during times of distress.  Sgt. Finch’s leadership in directing his officers to the scene that day directly led to a man’s life being saved, and for this reason Sgt. Finch is to be awarded the first Chief Frederick Blackshaw Leadership Medal, not only for his actions that day, but also for his continued leadership in the Ridgewood Police Department.

 

  1. MADD Awards – Most DWI Arrests in Ridgewood – Police Officers: Keith Killion, Kyle Monton, and Kyle Scarpa

 

Mayor Hache stated that there was a special recognition for the most DWI arrests in Ridgewood for Police Officers Keith Killion, Kyle Monton, and Kyle Scarpa.

 

  1. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

Grace Freeborn, 456 Beverly Road; Molly Hanrahan, 456 Hawthorne Place; and Josephine Suozzo, 16 North Irving Street, from Benjamin Franklin Middle School, and Nicole Gondris, 30 South Murray, from George Washington Middle School introduced themselves.  They stated that climate change is not something that will occur in the future, it is happening right now.  It is very real in the USA.  We must reflect on the crisis we are facing.  Those equipped with the knowledge and in positions of leadership have the moral responsibility to take action for the next generation.

 

Millions of children are already affected by climate change, around the world and in the US.  By virtue of its sea levels, more frequent and severe hurricanes, droughts, air pollution, forest fires, and increased infectious diseases, climate change is already affecting where children live.  Climate change and air pollution are depriving children of nature’s beauty, clean air, safe drinking and nutritional water, nutritious food supplies, and safe shelter.  They asked for climate change to be made a priority and to please plant trees in Ridgewood, one for one.

 

They stated that trees are so important, because they provide shade to cool homes, streets, and the entire village.  Cooler homes require less air conditioning, which reduces energy costs and its impact on the environment.  Shade trees also clean the air and reduce ozone and carbon dioxide levels.  They generate oxygen for fresher and healthier air, and will reduce rainwater runoff, erosion, and stream pollution.  They also provide habitats for our wildlife and increase the beauty and serenity of our Village.  They also increase property values in the sense of Ridgewood’s beauty and commitment.  In order to keep the Village a beautiful place for the children of Ridgewood today and tomorrow, they asked the Village Council to allocate $150,000 to plant new shade trees.

 

Melanie Stern, 299 Highland Avenue, stated that she moved to Ridgewood in 1997 and the significant draw was the Library.  She had two daughters at that time in elementary school, and she found the Library in Ridgewood to be even better than Englewood, where she previously lived, and it has constantly improved.  She became involved in the Library Foundation because she wanted to help raise funds for enhancements over and above what she expected the town could underwrite.  She feels the Foundation has been successful in getting their message and value to the community, over the years.  Her interests have evolved over this period as well, and she is now looking for different kinds of programs and services from the town.

 

Ms. Stern stated that she has a friend who recently retired and was looking at other communities and felt that the Library could offer her more than the age 55+ communities could.  She was hoping that this was what the Library would say to her as well.  Ms. Stern said that Ridgewood has an opportunity for the State to help finance further improvements to the library.  There is a generous matching gift from the Bolger Foundation for $1 million, and they have matched that.  She is hoping that the Village will approve $2 million to match what they have raised privately, and to keep the Library as a valuable investment for future generations.

 

Renu Vitale, 171 Bellair Road, stated that she saw someone draw a chart about the Library on Ridgewood Moms and Dads Facebook, and it was about the renovation, and they drew a flat line about the renovation and said that the programs and services will be the same, the difference is a bigger Library so why bother.  She kept thinking about this and it occurred to her that the last library renovation was in 1998, and if the same chart was drawn using 1998 as the data point, an exponential growth in programs and services would be seen.  The Library has kept pace to deliver programs and services that have supported the community in ways they couldn’t have imagined in 1998.  If the renovation is not done, then the line will be stagnant.  She asked the Village Council to help them continue to help the line grow exponentially, in order to help serve the community.

 

Katie Gelshenen, 231 Lotte Road, stated that she is a sophomore at Ridgewood High School, and she is one of the many high schoolers who uses the Library on a frequent basis, especially because it is so close to the high school and is one of the best places in town to actually study and learn.  One of the major problems with the library is that there is never any room to sit, do group projects, or study.  There is a Teen Room, but it is not even as big as some bedrooms, so instead they go upstairs in the Library, where they can’t talk, and then there is no room for the adults.  It would benefit the school system and the students if there was a bigger Library.  During finals week and AP test week, there is no way that you can actually get a place to sit in the Library unless you go first thing in the morning.  Expanding the Library would give more opportunities for students to actually sit there and work.

 

Ms. Friedman, 339 Cedar Avenue, stated that she wholeheartedly supports the renovation project at the Library as it plays an important role in the community.  She thinks they need to respond to how the role of the Library needs to morph with 21st century needs.  This is a golden opportunity to take advantage of grants from the State that might not be seen again for a very long time, if ever. She keeps asking herself what residents care about and what residents value in this community, and she thinks they need to invest in the Public Library, which is truly valued.

 

Noelle Kokoletsos, 221 Claremont Road, and her husband Marshall Crane, stated that they were born and raised in this town, and have lived here all of their lives, and have two children.  Her eldest is 17 and is on the autistic spectrum.  She is a huge fan of the Library, but was at the meeting tonight to speak about Healthbarn.  She wanted to make the Village Council aware of all the amazing things that the Healthbarn is doing for the special needs community.  Her son is 17 and as the kids get older their social opportunities become greatly restricted, not to mention the economic opportunities.  Healthbarn teaches wellness and healthy lifestyles to all kids, but for these kids, it’s more important because as they get older and become underutilized, they need much healthier lifestyle training.

 

Ms. Kokoletsos stated that she approached Stacey Antine, the founder of Healthbarn, about a year ago for a social event called Teen Chef Night, and it became a huge hit.  The kids go on Friday nights, and it is co-ed, they cook and then sit at a table and break bread together.  They chat and eat the food they make and talk about things, and they laugh.  This program has been such a success that the Ridgewood High School Transition Coordinator, Michael Kilcullen, has incorporated the Teen Chef Night and made it part of his social group at the High School, called the Squadrilaterals.  She stated that she recently approached Ms. Antine because they were trying to create an economic aspect for this group of kids.  She suggested having an event where they invite the general public and the kids work the night, and it was a magical night and everyone who came said it was phenomenal.  The kids were all paid at the end of the night.

 

Ms. Kokoletsos stated that Healthbarn is unique, as she doesn’t know of another venue in the Village where the kids could be in the kitchen helping to cook food and serving.  Mr. Crane stated that without the generosity and openness of Healthbarn, these kids would have spent another night at home being isolated.  It was one night, but it was a great night.  He wanted to say thank you to Healthbarn, because without them, this great event wouldn’t have happened.

 

Ji Anne Muhammad, 528 Amsterdam Avenue, stated that she has been a resident of Ridgewood for 28 years and started working in the Library, which she held for ten years.  She saw how the Library served the community, from newborns to older residents.  She participated in presenting workshops for seniors that needed help with technology.  She once observed at the Reference Department, one of the Librarians helping out a lady who was hard of hearing, on the phone, the woman needed assistance filling out a form and it took the Librarian half an hour to do so.  It was something that stuck with her, because this is what the Library is all about.  The Library helped her shelving books, and now she has a Doctorate Degree in Library Science and is a College Professor.  The Library must constantly adapt to the changing demand of the Village community.

 

Ms. Muhammad stated that it wasn’t about the numbers, but was about the quality of those services.  If the Library does not meet the need of the Village’s youth, who are more social learners due to technology, she wondered who else would.  She asked the Village Council to think about their children and grandchildren, because if the Library needed to meet their needs, she asked where they would go.

 

Judy Mac, 330 Eastbrook Road, stated that she wanted to voice her frustration regarding the four Glen School pickleball courts.  At any point in time, up to 16 people can play at the courts from 8:00 A.M. to dusk.  In addition to the pickleball sound, the traffic and parking will increase significantly.  This will cause major noise pollution in the area and lower the quality of life for residents in the area permanently.  Not only will everyone from Ridgewood come here to play, people from other towns will also come when they find out that the four courts are there.  She stated that what was upsetting was that everyone was not informed ahead of this decision, and nobody in Salem Ridge was given the opportunity to vote on this decision.  She asked why their quality of life should be lowered, while someone else is having fun at their expense.

 

Ms. Mac stated that pickleball courts should not be located right next to residents’ backyards, side yards, or front yards.  The plan to erect three sound barriers around the courts in an attempt to lower the noise by 50% to 80%, is a bandage solution and is unacceptable.  Ms. Mac said she pays high taxes to afford a tranquil neighborhood, and she wants to be able to open her windows during the spring and summer to enjoy the fresh air, sit in her backyard, walk her pets, stroll in the neighborhood, swim in the pool, and ride her bike without having to hear the constant irritating pickleball sound.  She emphasized that their neighborhood will never be the same with four pickleball courts.  This is something they do not want to endure forever. 

 

Ms. Mac encouraged the Village Council to please consider the following immediate action to address this issue.  The neighborhood wants to clearly understand what the process is for making this decision and who made this decision.  They want a sign that states that muted balls are required to be used at all times, and that there will be no pickleball play after 6:00 P.M., with no exceptions.  She also stated that the courts should be locked until the issues are addressed satisfactorily.  They want these actions to be taken immediately.  She asked the Village Council to consider that the Village must notify residents when they plan to put pickleball courts in a neighborhood.  Finally, she asked that the four Glen School pickleball courts be removed and that the tennis courts be returned.

 

John Saraceno, 17 Coventry Court, stated that he attended the Healthbarn event on Friday night, and it was a special night.  It was a joy to watch the kids do that.  He was here to speak about the Library.  He was a past Board Member and President of the Library Board, and is actively involved in the Capital Campaign to raise the money privately to make the improvements.  To him, it is not about the Library; instead, this is clearly a fiscal issue.  The fiscal issue is that it’s a Village-owned piece of property and a Village building, and when someone offers $2 million to be invested into a Village-owned asset, he doesn’t see how the Village Council could reject that offer.  If this doesn’t get approved this time, he doesn’t know if it ever will happen again.  Getting a two for one grant is something that we all have to take very seriously.  Secondarily, if that two for one grant happens to become a four for one grant, due to the State grant, he asked how they walk away from $8 million to improve a Village asset.

 

Mr. Saraceno stated that the Library building isn’t getting any younger, and it will only continue to fail and cost money.  He respects the fact that the Village Council should make the decision with regard to how the money is spent and what improvements will be made.  Their interest should be the improvement of the building, so that 5 or 10 years from now, it’s not causing a problem.  They should maintain the building so that when Hurricane Sandy happens again, they have a building that can actually house people.  This is a chance to take a Village-owned asset and fix it.  This is about being fiscal custodians with regard to assets within this community, since it’s a Village-owned building. 

 

Joanne Beckett and her husband Geoffrey, 429 Quackenbush Place, stated that they wanted to make an objection to the conversion of the Glen School tennis courts to pickleball courts.  They have lived in Ridgewood for over 30 years, have paid some of the highest taxes in New Jersey, and enjoyed peace and quiet in their neighborhood until last year.  Their property abuts the Glen School property and their house is approximately 70 feet from the courts.  It snowed this morning and she was reminded of why they purchased their tree lined property. 

 

Ms. Beckett stated that today, they experienced the quiet, peaceful backyard, which was taken from them by the conversion of the tennis courts at Glen School, into four pickleball courts.  The constant pop-pop-pop of the paddle against ball, yelling and cursing, and other irritating noise that is created by players is of such a character, intensity and duration, as to be detrimental to the life, health and welfare of any individual in their neighborhood.  This noise pollution steadily and intermittently, annoys, disturbs, injures, and endangers the comfort, repose, peace and safety of their family, friends and neighbors.  They can no longer enjoy fresh air on a spring day or listen to the birds chirping in the fall, or a quiet cup of coffee outside with a friend.

 

Ms. Beckett stated that she bought a house next to a tennis court, which she never complained about, but now the Village decided to change the two tennis courts over to four pickleball courts only yards away from her windows.  She said the Village Council does not know what it is like waking up to hearing the sound of gunshot-like pops, which never seem to stop from 8:00 A.M. to dusk, every day of the week.  The intensity of the sounds are followed by screams of enthusiasm and encouragement to go and do it again.  Most players are 50 or older, with diminished hearing, so they have tendency to scream.  Multiply this by four to six players, and then multiply that by four courts.  She said that Councilmembers wouldn’t want it next to their home.  Ms. Beckett asked the Village Council to imagine that they worked all day and then the pickelballers come, which means that the neighbors cannot escape the sound in or around their house where they can’t hear the ball banging against the panel.  It is torturous, and that is what constant noise pollution does to you, it tortures you.

 

Mr. Beckett asked if the Village Council would be able to entertain when all of their guests were hearing the pop-pop-pop of pickelballers.  He said also forget about raising your children or babysitting your grandchildren in this type of environment.  The inescapable sounds of pickleball and its players are a detriment to their neighbors’ health, wellbeing, and property values.  He is most worried about the property value, as they are getting to retire and are looking to sell their house soon.  It is only common decency for everyone to have a right to a peaceful sanctuary.  Anyone living in Ridgewood who wants to put in a fence must apply for permits, wait for approval and then proceed.  For a variance, you must play by the rules and go to your neighbors and asked them to approve the request.  Despite this, no one in Salem Ridge was notified of the plans to repurpose the tennis courts into pickleball courts which would bring people from other towns, and cause a parking hazard for everyone in the Glen School area.

 

Mr. Beckett stated that they feel they can confidently speak for their neighbors in saying that had the Village Council or the Director of Parks and Recreation asked for input from those in the neighborhood, this meeting would not be necessary.  Also, it has been stated by the Director of Parks and Recreation that she plans to erect three acoustical panels around the courts, adjacent to their yards, without informing anyone. This will have an impact on their property values.  This is unacceptable and will absolutely lower their property values.  He asked the Village Council to do everything to stop this from happening.  He asked where else in Ridgewood tennis courts were being repurposed, with the express purpose of garnering permit fees.

 

Sean McCooe, 66 Walthery Avenue, stated that he has been a longtime supporter of Healthbarn, which is on Village-owned property on Hillcrest Road.  He stated that it was a great asset and public-private partnership.  He has been involved with at least two fundraisers for the Village Library and was active on the Committees for both of them.  He appreciated the stewardship that the Village Council maintains over all the buildings.  The Ridgewood Library extends far beyond serving just Ridgewood.  They have to figure out the best way to maintain the services for the citizens of the Village.  He trusts that Nancy Greene and her team know what they are doing and he hopes that the Village Council looks for preventative maintenance of all of our facilities in the same way.

 

Mr. McCooe stated that December 14th is the anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut Sandy Hook school shooting.  Ridgewood is going to host at the Temple an anti-gun violence awareness with Loretta Weinberg, at 12:30 P.M.  At the Ridgewood High School theater, they are presenting the movie, 26 Pebbles, about the 26 people who were killed that day and in remembrance of the ripple effect that those 26 people’s deaths had, which affected the entire United States.  He also spoke about the tragedy in Jersey City yesterday, and that the time for gun control is now.  He emphasized that everyone at the Federal level must be told to get gun control legislation passed, so that these tragedies no longer occur.

 

Steve Kim, 291 Highland Avenue, stated that he was there to talk about dollars and cents.  There are two choices with respect to the Library.  Choice A is estimated to cost $7.7 million, which will include raising $2 million in private donations, bonding $2 million (about $275 in tax assessment per household) and hoping for the best to get $3.7 million from the New Jersey Library Construction Grant.  For every dollar that is available, $3 of demand is going after these grants.  This is what the Library is proposing. 

Choice B would be an alternate plan, which was presented and discussed in 2015.  The estimated cost of Choice B is $4 million, with $2 million raised by donations, and $2 million from the Library Construction Grant.  The result, zero debt and zero hit to the taxpayers.  The services offered, and amenities provided, would be essentially the same between A and B.  Choice B would result in more useable space, since it won’t have a circular hole for a staircase in the middle.  Choice B is the sensible option, for half the price. 

 

Betsy Giordano, 316 Greenway Road, stated that Plan C is that they should go big or go home and why are they only doing $7.7 million.  She is the current President of the Library Foundation which has constantly pushed for open communication, forums, and constant communication with the Village Council and the community.  She hears four issues, number one being the plan.  The plans are conceptual, and the Foundation is committed to being fiscally responsible with the funds, this is why the Library has not been given additional funds to draw up Plan B.  If a circular staircase is the reason why the Village Council will not vote in favor of funding, it will be taken into consideration and they will work with the Village Council to come up with an alternative. 

 

The second issue is parking, as Councilman Sedon had stated that parking was his biggest concern.  Parking available to the Library now is the same as 20 years ago, but hopefully with the Elks Building being purchased by the Village for the Ridgewood Water Department, some of the employees from Ridgewood Water will be parking there, instead of at the Village Hall parking lot.  That being said, they should never use parking as a deterrent to improve the Village’s greatest public asset, the Ridgewood Library.  The Village Council is looking for a show of community support and the Library Foundation’s Mission Statement states that they support the future stability of the Library, while providing financial support to adapt to the changing needs of the community.  The Foundation was started following the last renovation and the new renovation depicts their mission.  The Foundation has over 1,900 unique family donors, with the smallest donation being $5.  The donations reflect almost a quarter of Ridgewood households supporting their mission.

 

Ms. Giordano stated that when JT Bolger announced his family’s decision to support this project he did so as a sign of community support.  They are privileged to have the next generation of the Bolger family support this project, and she feels that the Village Council’s support would support additional donations.  Another concern is expanding the auditorium, they count seats and she stated that the Foundation would encourage the Library to work with the Village Council, to find the best final solution for the auditorium in its final designs.  She stated that she can’t comprehend the fiduciary responsibility that the Village Council has, but she does know that the public Library is public.  The generous donors of the community feel very strongly that it’s not just private dollars that should be committed to this project.  Ms. Giordano stated that they cannot put the entire burden of this needed renovation on the backs of their private donors.  When an opportunity arises for our Village to turn $2 million into $8 million, they must seize this opportunity because it may not happen again.

 

Ivan Kasikulis, 315 East Ridgewood Avenue, stated that he has been a Ridgewood resident for three years and has a three year old son.  Every weekend, they are at the Ridgewood Library reading books and enjoying programs.  He wanted to support the Library and the proposed renovations.  He added that it is a unique opportunity to take advantage of the grant that the State is offering.  If the resolution doesn’t get passed in the current form, he is sure a more modest design would have the support of the Village Council, because he thinks it is clear that the Library is an indispensable part of the cultural and social life of the town.  It is not just a repository of learning but is also a venue where literary and artistic individuals give lectures and where students receive tutoring.  Mr. Kasikulis believes that the Ridgewood Library has proven itself as an indispensable part of the community.  If the Village Council is not in support of the resolution at this time, he would be happy to consider helping the Village of Ridgewood to attain the $6 million in financing to support the intended renovations.

 

There was no additional time for public comments, and Mayor Hache closed public comment.

 

  1. MANAGER’S REPORT

 

Ms. Mailander gave many thanks to the Chamber of Commerce and the many other volunteers who helped make the 34th Annual Downtown for the Holidays a great success last Friday.  She thanked the Parks and Recreation and Fire Department for bringing Winter Fire and Light to the celebration in honor of Ridgewood’s 125th Anniversary.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that Santa would be in his house at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square on Saturdays, December 14th and December 21st from noon to 3:00 P.M.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that there would be free parking in all parking lots in the Central Business District on Saturday, December 14th and December 21st.  This does not include the parking area by the Christmas Tree, or on the west side across from the stores and restaurants.

 

The Parks and Recreation Department is again hosting a collection to assist those in need.  All items can be brought to The Stable, at 259 North Maple Avenue, through December 18th.  Suggested items are new, unwrapped mittens, hats, gloves, scarves, thermal wear, pajamas, new unwrapped toys, boxed cereal, pasta, rice, canned vegetables, canned fish and meats, soups, and personal and household items.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that a program entitled, Senior Scams and Frauds, will be held this Friday at the Ridgewood Library.  This event is co-sponsored by Age Friendly Ridgewood and the New Jersey Division of Community Affairs.  Issues such as IRS, phone, lottery, email, the grandparent scam, phishing, and more will be discussed.

 

Ms. Mailander encouraged people to help the Village help them with emergency preparedness as emergencies can happen at any time. Members of Emergency Services and Age Friendly Ridgewood will be available to assist with compiling important medical information to have ready in the event of an emergency.  Residents are encouraged to attend with a family member at 33 Douglas Place on December 15th between 1:00 P.M. and 3:00 P.M., to learn more about this free program that helps residents age in place.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that the sale of the annual Ridgewood Parking Permits will begin on December 18th at 8:30 A.M. in the lobby of Village Hall.  They will only be selling 160 of the premium annual permits, which allow parking in any lot.  In addition, there are permits for other lots, which will be greater in number.

The celebration of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, will take place on December 22nd at 5:30 P.M. at the corner of Memorial Park at Van Neste Square and East Ridgewood Avenue.  Hanukkah starts the evening of December 22nd and ends the evening of December 30th.  A candle will be lit each night at sundown.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this was the last Village Council meeting in 2019.  In 2020, the Village Council meetings will be on January 8th at 7:30 P.M. with a Work Session and on January 15th at 8:00 P.M. is the first Public Meeting. 

 

All Village offices will be closed December 24th and December 25th in observance of the Christmas holiday.  Sanitation and recycling will be suspended and will resume on December 26th.  They will also be closed on January 1st in observance of the New Year’s Holiday.  They will be open all day on December 31st.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that starting January 1st, there are no single use plastic bags to be provided by supermarkets, street fairs, restaurants, or stores in Ridgewood.  Residents are urged to bring their own shopping bags to the stores.  If you don’t have one, paper bags will be provided to you.  Ridgewood is one of dozens of towns in New Jersey that have already passed such bans, which is in response to the damage to our waterways and sea life.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that all sidewalks in residential zones must have snow removed within 24 hours of the snow falling.  During garbage pickup, if it is snowing overnight or in the morning, residents should bring their garbage cans to the end of their driveway in order to protect the safety of Village employees.  As soon as there is a clear path to garbage cans, they can be left in their usual places in residents’ rear yards. 

 

  1. COUNCIL REPORTS

 

Ridgewood Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that HPC meets on December 12th in the Garden Room.

 

Ridgewood Arts Council – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the Ridgewood Arts Council completed their second annual window display contest.  The winners were: in the retail category, Biltmore Tuxedos; restaurant category, La Tour Restaurant; service category, Lora Celli Salon; and the overall winner was The Table at Latonas.  She stated that the windows downtown are magnificent and encouraged everyone to shop local, visit the historic Central Business District, and take a look at the window displays that everyone put so much time, energy, and effort into.  The Ridgewood Arts Council will regroup in January.

 

ACCESS Committee – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the ACCESS Committee would be meeting again in January.

 

Holiday House Tour – Councilwoman Walsh thanked Jeanne Johnson and Kristen Plumley for putting on the Holiday House Tour this past Sunday.  The money raised went to a worthy cause, and everyone that she saw was having a great time.

 

  1. ORDINANCES – RIDGEWOOD WATER - None

 

  1. RESOLUTIONS – RIDGEWOOD WATER

 

THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTIONS, NUMBERED 19-394 THROUGH 19-409, WERE ADOPTED BY A CONSENT AGENDA WITH ONE VOTE BY THE VILLAGE COUNCIL, AND WERE READ BY TITLE ONLY:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. ORDINANCES

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3762 – Amend Chapter 190 – Establish Rules and Regulations for Winter Door Enclosures for Existing Restaurants

 

Mayor Hache moved the first reading of ordinance 3762.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3762 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 190 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD AT SECTION 190-37B TO ALLOW WINTER DOOR ENCLOSURES ONTO EXISTING RESTAURANTS AS EXEMPT DEVELOPMENTS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE SITE PLAN EXEMPTION COMMITTEE

 

Councilwoman Knudsen moved that ordinance 3762 be adopted on first reading and that January 8, 2020 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion. 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3763 – Amend Chapter 145 – Fees – Parking Rates

 

Mayor Hache moved the first reading of ordinance 3763.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3763 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 145 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, FEES, AT SECTION 145-6 ENUMERATION OF FEES RELATED TO CODE CHAPTERS

           

Ms. Mailander stated that she needed to know which version of the ordinance they were introducing tonight.  Mayor Hache stated that he thought they had said the $1.25/hour on the street and $1.00/hour in the lots.  Councilwoman Knudsen stated that there weren’t enough votes for that.  Mayor Hache said they should put it up and see where it goes.

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that in the pre-meeting they had a discussion and the Village Council is having trouble deciding on an agreeable amount.  They had three different amounts and then to try and get them to come to some sort of resolution she acquiesced and changed to Councilman Sedon’s suggestion, but it does not appear that they have an agreement.  The challenge that she has is that they have a parking garage that is being built, and she feels that if they don’t increase the parking rates or have some sort of agreement soon, they should put a stop work order on the garage because it does not appear that they would have enough money to pay for it.  She stated that she initially wanted to approve $1.25/hour on the streets and $1.25/hour in the lots, but she acquiesced.

 

Councilman Sedon stated that he suggested $1.25/hour on the streets, and $1.00/hour in the lots, because he feels that number gets them to where they need to be, to fund the garage, and it is a comfortable level.  Maybe there is slightly more money than they need, but going the other way, with $.75 in the lots and $1.25/hour on the streets might be a little too close, even with the additional revenue from the kiosks.  He stated that he feels that $1.25/hour on the streets and $1.00/hour in the lots is fair because everyone knew that the rates had to increase and the Walker Report originally suggested that rates would have to go to $1.50 per hour, but that didn’t take into consideration the kiosks.  Trying to factor in all of these unknowns is a difficult decision, but they have to do something because if they keep rates the parking rates the same, they will have a deficit.

 

Councilman Voigt suggested introducing it and seeing how the chips fall.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that she would like to move $1.25/hour on the streets and $1.00/hour in the lots.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

 

Councilman Sedon moved that ordinance 3763 be adopted on first reading and that January 8, 2020 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Before placing his vote, Councilman Voigt stated that they have $150,000 for the 2020 anticipated surplus, which can be used to fund any deficits which may occur.  They also have close to $1.75 million in fund balances sitting on the Parking Utility balance sheet that they can use to fund deficits in the parking utility.  The anticipated shortfall on $1.25/hour/$.75 is $83,000, so they can certainly afford any of the options and they also have the kiosks.  At the Chestnut Street lot with the kiosk, there was a 51% increase in revenue over the previous amount, when there were parking meters.  If they look at the parking meters for 2018, that generated $691,000, or $1,060 per meter.  When the North Broad Street meters were replaced by kiosks, there were 64 meters that have generated $115,000, or about $1,805 per meter.  Councilman Voigt stated that the variance is significant over the average at 70%.  He thinks that the kiosks have a potential for huge revenue, so his vote is no.

 

Before placing her vote, Councilwoman Walsh stated that they were given numbers by Robert Rooney, the CFO, who did not include those numbers in any of the calculations.  There were four different sheets and she was looking at the one that would draw into what they were actually trying to accomplish, so she was voting yes.

 

Mayor Hache stated that his view was to increase to $1.00/hour on both on the streets and in the lots.  Rates need to go up, and going to $1.00/hour is a 33% increase and $1.25/hour is a 63% increase.  His suggestion was to use the revenue from the kiosks to offset any shortfalls.  For a budget to be approved the State, it cannot approve anything based on projections, and it must be based on actual numbers.  They don’t have the precedent of this revenue being realized over 12 months and they need to go with what they actually have.  He stated that they need to move forward, and he was going to vote yes.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Sedon, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            Councilmembers Knudsen and Voigt

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3764 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Parking in Cottage Place and Cottage Place Annex Parking Lots – Establish Open Parking Spots for Both Lots

 

Mayor Hache moved the first reading of ordinance 3764.  Councilwoman Knudsen seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3764 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 265 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC, AT SECTION 265-1 “DEFINITIONS” AND SECTION 265-29, “PARKING METER ZONE DESIGNATED”

           

Councilman Voigt moved that ordinance 3764 be adopted on first reading and that January 8, 2020 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Knudsen seconded the motion. 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3765 – Amend Chapter 190 – Land Use and Development – Permit Instructional Schools in OB-1 and OB-2 Zones

 

Mayor Hache moved the first reading of ordinance 3765.  Councilwoman Knudsen seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3765 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 190 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD AT SECTION 190-112 OB-1 AND OB-2 OFFICE BUILDING DISTRICT TO ALLOW INSTRUCTIONAL SCHOOLS AS A PERMITTED USE

           

Councilman Voigt moved that ordinance 3765 be adopted on first reading and that January 8, 2020 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Knudsen seconded the motion. 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3766 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Establish Village Employee Parking Zone – Chestnut Street

 

Mayor Hache moved the first reading of ordinance 3766.  Councilwoman Knudsen seconded the motion.

 

 

 

 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3766 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 265 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC, AT SECTION 265-33, “PERMIT PARKING”

           

Councilman Voigt moved that ordinance 3766 be adopted on first reading and that January 8, 2020 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Knudsen seconded the motion. 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3767 – Bond Ordinance – Amend Title and Purpose of Previous Bond Ordinance #3392 to Purchase of Pickup Truck with Snowplow and Accessories for Water Pollution Control Facility

 

Mayor Hache moved the first reading of ordinance 3767.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3767 by title:

 

BOND ORDINANCE REAPPROPRIATING $42,000 PROCEEDS OF OBLIGATIONS NOT NEEDED FOR THEIR ORIGINAL PURPOSE IN ORDER TO PROVIDE FOR THE ACQUISITION OF A PICK-UP TRUCK IN AND BY THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, IN THE COUNTY OF BERGEN, NEW JERSEY

           

Councilwoman Knudsen moved that ordinance 3767 be adopted on first reading and that January 8, 2020 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion. 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3768 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Parking Permit for Two-Wheeled Motorized Vehicles in Park and Ride Lot and Garber Square Train Station Lot

 

Mayor Hache moved the first reading of ordinance 3768.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3768 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 265 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC, AT SECTION 265-33, “PERMIT PARKING”

           

Councilwoman Knudsen moved that ordinance 3768 be adopted on first reading and that January 15, 2020 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion. 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3769 – Amend Chapter 145 – Fees – Two-Wheeled Motorized Vehicles

 

Mayor Hache moved the first reading of ordinance 3769.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3769 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 145 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, FEES, AT SECTION 145-6, “ENUMERATION OF FEES RELATING TO CODE CHAPTERS”

           

Councilwoman Knudsen moved that ordinance 3769 be adopted on first reading and that January 15, 2020 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion. 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3770 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Establish Multi-Space Parking Meter Kiosk Sites

 

Mayor Hache moved the first reading of ordinance 3770.  Councilman Voigt seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3770 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 265 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC, AT SECTION 265-29, “PARKING METER ZONE DESIGNATED”

           

Councilwoman Knudsen moved that ordinance 3770 be adopted on first reading and that January 8, 2020 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilman Voigt seconded the motion. 

 

 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

Mayor Hache stated that the newspaper published Ordinances 3755, 3757, 3758, 3759 and 3760 incorrectly, so the Public Hearings will be continued to, and the final adoption of these ordinances will be considered at, a Special Public Meeting on January 8, 2020.  The Public Hearings on these ordinances were advertised for this evening, so the public may comment on them this evening and also on January 8, 2020.

 

  1. PUBLIC HEARING - #3755 – Police Department Salary Ordinance

 

Mayor Hache moved the reading of ordinance 3755 by title on second reading and that the Public Hearing thereon be opened.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

Councilwoman Knudsen recused herself from the vote.

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3755 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO FIX SALARIES, WAGES AND OTHER COMPENSATION OF AND FOR POLICE OFFICERS AND POLICE SUPERIOR OFFICERS OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, COUNTY OF BERGEN, AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

Mayor Hache stated that the Public Hearing was opened.  There were no comments from the public and Mayor Hache moved that the Public Hearing be continued to January 8, 2020.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

Councilwoman Knudsen recused herself from the vote.

 

  1. PUBLIC HEARING - #3757 – Amend Chapter 265, Vehicles and Traffic – Parking Restrictions in Hawes School Area

 

Mayor Hache moved the reading of ordinance 3757 by title on second reading and that the Public Hearing thereon be opened.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3757 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 265 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC, AT SECTION 265-67, “PARKING PROHIBITED CERTAIN HOURS” AND SECTION 265-68, “NO STOPPING OR STANDING CERTAIN HOURS”

 

Mayor Hache stated that the Public Hearing was opened.  There were no comments from the public and Mayor Hache moved that the Public Hearing be continued to January 8, 2020.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  • PUBLIC HEARING - #3758 – Amend Chapter 105 – Animals – Definition of Kennel

 

Mayor Hache moved the reading of ordinance 3758 by title on second reading and that the Public Hearing thereon be opened.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3758 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 105 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, ANIMALS, AT SECTION 105-1, “DEFINITIONS”

 

Mayor Hache stated that the Public Hearing was opened.  There were no comments from the public and Mayor Hache moved that the Public Hearing be continued to January 8, 2020.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. PUBLIC HEARING - #3759 – Amend Chapter 105 – Animals – Cat Licensing

 

Mayor Hache moved the reading of ordinance 3759 by title on second reading and that the Public Hearing thereon be opened.  Councilman Voigt seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3759 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 105 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, ANIMALS, AT SECTION 105-46, “LICENSE REQUIRED”

 

Mayor Hache stated that the Public Hearing was opened.  There were no comments from the public and Mayor Hache moved that the Public Hearing be continued to January 8, 2020.  Councilman Voigt seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  • PUBLIC HEARING - #3760 – Amend Chapter 145 – Fees – Cat Licenses

 

Mayor Hache moved the reading of ordinance 3760 by title on second reading and that the Public Hearing thereon be opened.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3760 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 145 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD ENTITLED, “ENUMERATION OF FEES RELATING TO CODE CHAPTERS”

 

Mayor Hache stated that the Public Hearing was opened.  There were no comments from the public and Mayor Hache moved that the Public Hearing be continued to January 8, 2020.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  • PUBLIC HEARING - #3761 – Amend Chapter 190 – Land Use and Development – Winter Door Enclosures for Restaurants 

 

Mayor Hache moved the reading of ordinance 3761 by title on second reading and that the Public Hearing thereon be opened.  Councilwoman Knudsen seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3761 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 190 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD AT SECTION 190-37B TO ALLOW WINTER DOOR ENCLOSURES ONTO EXISTING RESTAURANTS AS EXEMPT DEVELOPMENTS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE SITE PLAN EXEMPTION COMMITTEE

 

Mayor Hache stated that Ordinance 3761 was sent to the Planning Board, who recommended several changes to the ordinance.  The Village Council discussed the recommended changes at the December 4th Work Session, and decided which recommendations would be put into the ordinance.  The revised ordinance was introduced this evening as Ordinance 3762.  Due to the substantive changes made to Ordinance 3761 by the Village Council, it will be defeated this evening.  However, the Public Hearing on Ordinance 3761 was advertised for this evening, so it will be held at this time.  Mayor Hache stated that the Public Hearing was opened. 

 

Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that he did not read ordinance 3762, but he read 3761 and saw that it made no provisions with respect to the type of materials that can be used in the construction of these type of enclosures.  He sees them in New York City and some have canvas and others have a plastic called Lexan, and he was wondering if 3762 made any provisions for the type of materials that can be used in the construction of these winter door enclosures.

 

Mr. Rogers stated that he didn’t think ordinance 3762 deals with it, but 3761 requires plans be provided to comply with all U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Guidelines for pedestrian facilities within rights of way.  They will be required to put up a structure that would meet those guidelines.  The Building Department is going to be making a decision outside the code requirement.  They deal with safety issues, maybe not aesthetic, but structural integrity and the purpose of the use of the enclosures.  Mr. Loving asked about a canvas tent like material.  Mr. Rogers stated that he wasn’t completely familiar with those guidelines, but the Building Department has the ability to enforce them.

 

Mr. Loving asked if there would be a site plan approval as well.  Mr. Rogers stated that it goes to the Site Plan Exemption Committee.  Mr. Loving wanted to be certain that people are going to look at these plans, and the winter door enclosures are not just going to be installed without being approved.  Mr. Rogers stated that the restaurants would have to get a permit, submit plans, have the plans reviewed by the Building Department and Site Plan Exemption Committee, and then the winter door enclosure might be approved. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the Site Plan Exemption Committee is made up of members of the Planning Board.

 

Mr. Loving stated that he wanted to make sure that people were putting up something that was aesthetically pleasing.  Mr. Rogers stated that the idea is structural integrity, safety, and the materials are certainly a part of that.

 

There were no additional comments from the public and Mayor Hache moved that the Public Hearing be closed.  Councilwoman Knudsen seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

Councilman Sedon moved that ordinance 3761 be defeated.  Councilwoman Knudsen seconded the motion.  Ms. Mailander stated that a yes vote is to defeat.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:             Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. RESOLUTIONS

 

THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTIONS, NUMBERED 19-410 THROUGH 19-440, WERE ADOPTED BY A CONSENT AGENDA WITH ONE VOTE BY THE VILLAGE COUNCIL, AND WERE READ BY TITLE ONLY:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION, NUMBERED 19-441, WAS CONSIDERED SEPARATELY AND READ IN FULL:

 

Before casting her vote on Resolution 19-441, Councilwoman Walsh stated that she had the pleasure of working with the Library Board of Trustees over the past two years, and she has gotten to know all of the members.  It is a Mayor’s appointment and Mayor Hache and Former Mayor Knudsen appointed a couple of people to the Library Board of Trustees and former Mayors appointed everyone else.  When somebody makes comments about the members of the Library Board of Trustees, she takes it personally, because the Village Council appoints people who are wonderful individuals, and who have nothing but the Village’s best interest in their hearts.

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that when she was first appointed to the Library Board of Trustees, she wasn’t familiar with all of the aspects of the project, but she has come to know the reasons why the Board feels so strongly that they should be going ahead with this renovation to the Library.  It is not expanding the Library, but reimagining and working within the structure of the Library.  There had been plans to do something with the auditorium, but over the last few months they have made it clear that the Library Board wants to work with the Village Council to do whatever project is the best for the Village. 

 

The resolutions that the Village Council adopted tonight totaled $2,908,069, so they do approve a large amount of money to be spent, on a regular basis.  It is not common for the Village to approve $2 million in one lump sum and she agrees with Mr. Saraceno that there is probably not another opportunity for the Village to get 1:4 financing, which the grant will provide.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that she wholeheartedly supports this as a resident, reader, user of the Library for the 23 years that she has lived here.  She still has the first book she ever owned, and she went to the Library with her parents almost all of her childhood.  It is near and dear to her heart that they support the Library and she hopes that her Council colleagues will support it as well.

 

Councilman Voigt seconded what Councilwoman Walsh said.  He explained that the function of the Library has changed dramatically over the last five or ten years, and unfortunately, the layout of the Library is not conducive to all of the different activities which are held at the Library.  It has become, and needs to be, a community center, and they need to change the inside layout of the library building to suit their programming needs. It needs a renovation to support that, and he wholeheartedly supports that and is voting yes.

 

Councilman Sedon stated that he remembers this process from early on, and at that time, he was very open and upfront when he said that he did not support the project because he felt that it was too much change and too great a cost.  The Library told him that there would be discussion within the Village, and that all happened, but he thought that some compromise would be made and they could move forward.  Unfortunately, what he is being asked to support is the same plan as before, which he did not support.  He understands that there is a need to renovate the electric, I.T., carpet, paint, furniture, reconfigure rooms, but $7.7 million is a hefty price tag and to bond $2 million on the Village’s end, at least with no guarantee that they would get the grant money from the State, is a lot to ask.  The promise that maybe they will alter the plan or change it as this develops, he’s not seeing a compromise plan in front of him now, so he was voting no.

 

Councilwoman Knudsen stated that this was one of those things that she really wants to support, and for her, personally, as a kid she walked miles to their local library on a regular basis.  She doesn’t know that how someone interacted with or visited the Library or how much time was spent there is indicative of support of the Library today.  The fact that one cares about the Library or sees it as a public facility, doesn’t indicate support, nor is whether or not one votes yes on this resolution, indicative of support of the public Library.

 

Councilwoman Knudsen stated that there were three people who spoke tonight who resonated with her, and the first is John Saraceno, and his comments about the availability of funds and a once in a lifetime chance to get the grant money.  The other two speakers who resonated with her were Betsy Giordano and Steve Kim.  All of those folks resonated with her and there is a lot of information and opportunity; however, she goes back to early on in this process when she attended Library Board of Trustee meetings and stated unequivocally that this would require very expensive structural changes to the Library and she felt it was overambitious and that it should be scaled back.  She stated that she, too, was led to believe that there would be other conceptual plans forthcoming, but she never saw any new plans.

 

Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the resolution reads that this is an endorsement of this particular project, and she has never endorsed this particular project, and has always been absolutely clear on that.  The fact that there has never been another project forthcoming is a concern of hers, and she is also concerned what happens when they have this big project and they get some money from the State, are they then going to be asked to fill in that gap.  While she wants to support this project, she still grapples with the size and scope of it, as there are some parts of the renovation which she believes are unnecessary. 

 

Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she is not going to support this project this evening, but she knows that the application is due on March 31st, and she asked Councilwoman Walsh to confirm the date.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that the deadline is March 31st, but she didn’t know that they would be able to apply for the grant without this resolution.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that the Library Board believes that the application opens January 1st, and they have 90 days to file a grant application, so the last date to file the grant application would be March 31st.  Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she would like to revisit this in early January and see if there is a different approach and way to regroup and find a way forward with this.  She wants to support this project, but as Councilman Sedon said, both of them understood that other options were forthcoming.  Councilwoman Knudsen reiterated that she would like to revisit this subject in early January.

 

Mayor Hache stated that it is amazing when you have something like this, you end up with different sides of the argument and both sides really have the best interests of the Village at heart.  From a dollars and cents standpoint, it’s an opportunity for the Village to get its hands on funding that it would otherwise have to bear on its own.  It may also be looking at a cost in the future that is much greater than what it is today.  When they look at the fact that the last time grants were awarded by the State to libraries was 20 years ago, and Amazon was still selling books on-line and they all bought into the Y2K bug, the world has changed quite a bit.  One of the young students who spoke tonight was describing the environment of the Library as a place for learning.  From a sentimental standpoint, the Library nostalgia builds a love for it.  Mayor Hache emphasized that the Village needs to build the Library of tomorrow, and to move forward with this and at the same time, he is mindful of the fact that they need to come up with a plan that makes sense.  His concern is that they will be caught up with the minutia of the project and lose sight of the overall picture. Mayor Hache stated that regarding the funding, all the Village has to do is put up $2 million to get $4 million to $8 million, but they need to come up with a plan that makes sense for everyone. 

 

Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she had a conversation with Gail Campbell, the President of the Library Board of Trustees, last week, and in that conversation, she shared how she feels about this grant. Councilwoman Knudsen is very cognizant of them going into budget season in Ridgewood and there are a lot of folks saying $16.58 per average household for the library project is not a lot of money.  However, the municipal part of the budget increased 0.9% in 2019, which is $52 per household, so it all adds up.  In addition, there will be a school bond referendum sometime in 2020, and there are a lot of people struggling and SALT deductions, and she fears that while they may end up with a beautiful Library, the overall impact long-term will be really bad.  She added this is the reason she needs time to better understand if there is a different approach to the project, as she was very concerned of the long-term impact to the Village’s homeowners, and this is just one piece of a very large puzzle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

John Saraceno, 17 Coventry Court, stated that sometimes you wonder.  He, too, would love to see a different plan for the library, but there is nothing written in stone and the plans aren’t cheap.  Every time a new plan is drawn up, it costs thousands of dollars.  At tonight’s meeting, Mr. Saraceno heard from the Library Board and the Library Foundation over and over again that they are open to whatever suggestions the Village Council has for the project.  They could get nothing from the State and end up with $4 million, but at the end of the day, it’s the Village Council’s responsibility and they are going to have to fix the building.  The building is not in good shape, which he knows as he ran the building for years while he was President of the Library Board of Trustees.  The Village could spend $2 million just fixing it.  He added that he doesn’t think the Village Council fully appreciates how hard it is to raise private money on a Village-owned building. 

 

Mr. Saraceno stated that the Village Council asked the Library’s administration to go out and front run this money and then ask the Village for a match.  He spoke to enormous numbers of people to raise money for the library project.   He stated that the first comment that potential donors state is that they love the Library because it is not politicized, and the second thing is they ask if the Village is providing any money towards the Library project.  The potential donors ask if the Village is acknowledging its responsibility to maintain the building, and if so, they would donate.  He pointed out that this was one of the reasons that the criteria in the State grant asks whether the Village is supportive of the project, and if so, there must be a resolution of support from the Village Council, in order to get the State grant.  It’s not going away and the building isn’t going to fix itself, and the idea that they are going to work together to find a compromise, they can form a subcommittee of people to talk about a compromise plan.  All the Village Council is doing today is to acknowledge that $2 million has been raised privately, for a Village-owned asset.

 

Mr. Saraceno stated that he would hope that there would be a degree of trust, to them as a committee, as they are always open to discussions.  They have also agreed to go out and try to raise additional money, so that nothing has to be done to the building, for the next 25 years.  Mr. Saraceno emphasized that as a private citizen who supported the Library project, to see people willing to fundraise from private donors is heartwarming and appreciated.  Mr. Saraceno said it would have been wonderful if the Village Council said they supported the project, even if they didn’t like it.  All they had to do tonight was say thanks for raising $2 million from people in the community that didn’t need to do it.

 

Diane Palacios, 342 North Van Dien Avenue, stated that she was watching on television so she assumed that they voted no for the Library.  She wanted to say that she was shocked out of her mind and ready to faint.  When it comes to the parking garage, the Village Council doesn’t care how much they are going to spend and they don’t know what they are doing.  Regarding the parking garage, the Village Council said that before they approved it, they wanted to be responsible and know that they could pay for it, and it turns out they aren’t and they are moving forward with it anyway.  She stated that they should make a personal commitment that if the parking garage goes into the red, the Village Council would make up the difference personally, because that is their responsibility.  Ms. Palacios stated that the parking garage makes Ridgewood ugly aesthetically, and she was not in favor of it. Ms. Palacios stated that there were stores and restaurants in the town, things that she didn’t even want, and the Central Business District has nothing for her.

 

Ms. Palacios stated that the Library has been everything for her, and is pleased that it is developing into a community center, where it gets people together face to face and people get to know their neighbors.  The Library has something for everybody, whatever you are interested in, the Library will provide.  Nancy Greene is aware of what the Library needs, and 20 years ago she was 100% right about the renovation.  People want discussion groups and face to face meetings with people.  Ms. Palacios stated that the Village Council’s values were really horrible, and it was shocking to her. 

 

Nancy Greene, Library Director, stated that she had two questions.  She asked Ms. Mailander and Mr. Rogers if they want to drive toward a unanimous vote, are they able to vote again in January if there is some alteration of the resolution.  Mr. Rogers stated yes.  She asked if it would make a difference if the resolution didn’t say anything about $7.7 million, and if it just said that the Village is willing to commit $2 million to renovate the Library.  Mr. Rogers stated that the Village Council could decide if they want to answer that, as this is a time for Public Comments.

 

Councilwoman Knudsen stated that what she would like to do, is to revisit this whole thing and take a look at it.  It pained her to say no tonight, but it felt like it was an endorsement of a plan that they have had conversations about over and over and over again.  She understands what Mr. Saraceno is saying that it costs money for new plans, but the Village Council has only seen the original plan.  She would like to revisit this and find a way that they can find a unanimous vote in favor of the library project.

 

Renu Vitale, 172 Bel Air, stated that she appreciated Councilwoman Knudsen said that three individuals resonated with her.  Mr. Kim cited a few things, and she heard the same numbers and has her MBA, and his analysis didn’t add up.  Mr. Kim was using a cost quote from a 2015 document, and projects evolve over time.  The evolution involved meeting with the Village Council and the residents, and they are not saying what the project is going to look like, but simply that they need to submit something as an application.  Ms. Vitale said that Mr. Kim was using a 2015 document as a basis, and he was saying that the services at the Library were the same now, and that’s not true.  Every single year since 1998, the Library has evolved its programs and services, so to make such a comment is completely false.  It hasn’t been the same for the last ten years, or the last three.  She asked the Village Council to take her comments into account.

 

Betsy Giordano, 316 Greenway, stated that it was a frustrating evening and she was going to speak on behalf of the fundraising aspect.  She helps to run three businesses, is a mother of three, and a wife, and has given countless hours to a Library that the Village is responsible for maintaining.  She has personally paid to move bookcases in the library because they needed space for tables.  They have tirelessly raised funds for the Library.  She stood before a group of potential donors with a net worth of $1 billion, and not one single donor opted to give the Library one penny without the Village Council’s financial support.  Ms. Giordano added that over half of the $1 million in private donations that was given, was also contingent on the Village’s financial support.  Ms. Giordano emphasized that by not supporting this project, they are sacrificing close to $1 million in private money that has been raised to support a public Library, which is very concerning. 

Ms. Giordano stated that an alternate plan was presented to the Village Council showing what would be cut and what would not be cut from the project, and the resolution did not ask for more than $2 million.  It asked to match the private dollars that were raised in the community, and she takes it as a personal slap in the face that the Village Council is not willing to match the private dollars that Village residents have pledged, in order to improve their Library.  The potential donors are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts and for the betterment of our community.  Ms. Giordano emphasized that she can’t raise the last $63,000 from potential donors to get them to $2 million, because no one wants to put them over $2 million without the Village’s financial support.

 

Rocco Orlando, 316 Allen Place, stated that he was appointed to the Library Board of Trustees two years ago, and volunteered his time because he knows the renovations need to be done to the Library, and he knows what a dollar is worth.  As time goes on, things get more expensive, and they are asking for $2 million from the Village.  The minimum amount needed is $4 million, which can be $2 million from the Village and $2 million from private donors.  There is also an opportunity to get a grant from the State to make the Library even better.  He stated that it was sad to see that the Village Council is not supporting this project.  The Library Board explained that they would modify the plan if necessary and they are hearing the Village Council’s comments.  Mr. Orlando stated that it was thousands of dollars to look at different generations of plans.  He added that he would happily meet with Councilwoman Knudsen separately to see what needs to be done to gain her support for the library project.

 

Gail Campbell, President of the Library Board of Trustees, 221 Greenway Road, stated that she wanted to echo what Mr. Orlando just said, as she knows that everyone has different feelings about the project.  Rationally they should all think about trying to support this project and they are very open to modifying this project.  Right now they are looking to apply for the State grant.  A number of years ago, they spent quite a bit of money hiring an architect and having the original concept drawn up.  The State grant requires them to have a certified architect plan.  Their next step is to apply for that grant and move forward from there.  They are willing to modify the project depending on the total amount of funds they are awarded through the grant, from the Village, and from the donors.  Ms. Campbell stated that they want the donors to continue to pledge money towards this project and feel confident in the Village’s support.  The grant was announced in 2017 and the process has been delayed, and had they known it would take this long, maybe they could have come up with different plans.  She has been overly conservative and hasn’t wanted to spend additional money on funds for an architect to draw up new plans.  She stated that the Library Board of Trustees wants to work with the Village Council to get what they need to apply for the State grant and come up with a plan that everyone can support.

 

Frank Delvecchio, 65 Walthery Avenue, stated that he heard that the Village Council voted to increase parking meters on Ridgewood Avenue to $1.25/hour per hour and he couldn’t tell them how opposed he was to this, as a Ridgewood resident.  He thinks it is going to destroy the downtown, and the ability for people to shop and dine downtown.  He uses downtown Ridgewood and he thinks $1.25/hour is ridiculous.  He added that he knows the need for revenue to support the garage, but there must be a better alternative.  Mr. Delvecchio stated that the kiosks are easy to use, and he can’t imagine that they haven’t brought in increased revenue.  He asked if the Village Council could answer that question.  Mr. Delvecchio emphasized that $1.25/hour is going to hurt the Central Business District, and to exceed $1.00/hour at this point is a mistake.

Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that he spoke at last week’s meeting about the leaf collection issue, and the Village Manager didn’t mention it in her report.  He was happy to say that after he spoke last week, within two days his street was completely clean.  The real issue is that the Village Manager said she would have a revised leaf collection schedule posted on the website, and such a schedule was not up as of 7:30 P.M. tonight, when he walked into the meeting.  He asked if there was going to be a revised schedule, because people are still putting leaves out, and the residents don’t know what the plan is regarding pickup. 

 

There were no additional comments from the public, and Mayor Hache closed public comment.  He stated that it was hard to believe that the year was almost over and he wished everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and Prosperous 2020.

 

  1. RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION

 

Ms. Mailander read Resolution #19-442 to go into Closed Session as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1.         ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Voigt, seconded by Councilwoman Walsh, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Regular Public Meeting was adjourned at 10:20 P.M.

 

 

 

 

 

______________________________

                                                                                                      Ramon M. Hache, Sr.                              

Mayor                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

______________________________

              Heather A. Mailander

      Village Manager/Village Clerk

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