20161207 Village Council Work Session Minutes
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, RIDGEWOOD, NEW JERSEY ON WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2016, AT 7:30 P.M.
CALL TO ORDER – OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT – ROLL CALL – FLAG SALUTE
Mayor Knudsen called the meeting to order at 7:35 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act. At roll call, the following were present: Councilmembers Hache, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh and Mayor Knudsen. Also present were Heather Mailander; Acting Village Manager; Donna Jackson, Deputy Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.
Mayor Knudsen led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and asked for a moment of silence in honor of the American men and women serving in our Armed Forces, as well as those serving as first responders.
2. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Mayor Knudsen asked if there were any comments or questions from the public. Chris Reid, 112 Stanley Place, distributed photos to members of the Village Council. He stated that Village Council is considering a traffic study for the George Washington School/Sherman Place/Washington Place and Pomander Walk area. He noted that changes to any of these streets will impact the George Washington school neighborhood along with West Ridgewood Avenue and businesses on Godwin Avenue. Mr. Reid said he is only able to access his house on Stanley Place via Sherman Place and when the Village Council considered the no parking ordinance on Pomander Walk no one on Sherman Avenue, Stanley Place or Washington Place was notified. Residents did their best to convince the prior Village Council to delay the vote in order to conduct a proper study relative to the impact of the new ordinance. They are now living with that impact and the Pomander Walk’s no parking ordinance has had a significant negative impact on parking and traffic on Stanley Place. Mr. Reid stated that businesses on Godwin Avenue have been impacted and the cars that previously parked on Pomander Walk have simply moved to different streets creating new problems and more severe safety issues.
Mr. Reid said that he wants to support local businesses, but reducing parking in this area is bad for local businesses. He questioned whether residents living close to the Central Business District would be successful in preventing parking in the CBD.
Mr. Reid stated that residents from Sherman Place have submitted ideas and met with several Village officials regarding simple ideas that do not eliminate parking. He is confident that Village experts can solve the parking issues without the need for a tax payer funded study. If a traffic study is done, which recommends no parking on Pomander Walk for safety reasons the residents of Washington Place, Sherman Place, Garfield Place and Stanley Avenue should all be designated as no parking zones as well due to safety considerations.
Peter Quinn, 66 Pomander Walk, said he agrees with the previous comments and despite the large numbers of emails sent by the residents of Sherman Place to members of the Village Council this is the first that the residents of Pomander Walk are hearing about this. He is excited to learn that a traffic study is being conducted and he pointed out that there are many streets in Ridgewood where parking is prohibited within a specific time period mainly in proximity to the CBD. The area of Pomander Walk and Sherman Place are unique because in this area the business district directly borders on a residential district. Mr. Quinn pointed out that using these streets for overflow parking creates a safety hazard.
Mr. Quinn has done some research and he found that according to New Jersey State Administrative Code, Sherman Place is not wide enough to support parking on either side of the street. He urged everyone to work together to try to make the street safer. Mr. Quinn said that when safety issues have been brought before the Village Council in the past, the Village Council has been responsive and he asked that the streets around the school and those bordering the business district to be afforded the same responsiveness.
Rei Shinozuka, 825 Norgate Drive said that she and her daughters recently went to the Guggenheim Museum using free passes obtained from the Ridgewood Public Library. Very few people seem to be aware that these passes are available for Ridgewood residents from the Library.
Ms. Shinozuka stated that she is involved with the CBD and the Safety Committee. It is a good idea to take a bigger look at this problem because a large burden has been placed on the residents of Sherman Place. She noted that it is important to understand the big picture and she pointed out that there is no policy that exists in the Village.
Bridget Kong, 69 Sherman Place, said that Ordinance #3556 needs to be repealed and the no parking ban on Pomander Walk should be lifted with legal parking being reinstated. Tonight traffic will be discussed with respect to the grid of the downtown and nearby streets and they need to keep in mind that the Pomander Walk parking restrictions are linked and have impacted an already bad situation on Sherman Place and surrounding streets. Ms. Kong stated that the parking prohibition on Pomander Walk is not practical even for the residents, as demonstrated by the continuing illegal behavior of their guests and service workers as well as themselves. Some limited legal parking is required and the inability to adhere to the parking ban flies in the face of the safety concerns, which were raised as the underlying issue. This behavior highlights that fact that some on-street parking is necessary.
Ms. Kong stated that the no parking ban has exacerbated the genuine safety concerns for parking, walking and driving on Sherman Place and other nearby streets. The ordinance is helping a select few, but hurting businesses. Pedestrian traffic has increased at several intersections and has placed an unfair burden on neighboring streets that have to shoulder the burden of traffic overflow. While Ms. Kong said that she understands that the Engineering Department is working on this problem, it is frustrating to witness the continued preference given to Pomander Walk residents by alerting them to meetings by means of phone calls. She stated that it is difficult to understand how the rights of sixteen property owners have garnered such a privilege while the rights of others are trounced upon. Pomander Walk is a quite dead end street with no through traffic.
Ms. Kong pointed out that Pomander Walk is a typical street size at 50 ft. wide with no parking on either side, while the north end of Sherman Place is 50 ft. wide and supports parking on both sides. She added that in front of her house and others, the street is less than 30 ft. wide with parking allowed on one side of the street. She said that parking should be re-instituted on one if not both sides of Pomander Walk. A traffic safety study is not necessary since common sense and observation will garner the same results. A study will not capture the driving habits, turn arounds and inherent dangers due to blind sight lines and does not account for pedestrian traffic and school children following a safe route to school as well as many other practical realities. A field study is necessary to guage the genuine problems that take place in this neighborhood. Ms. Kong encouraged every resident in Ridgewood to request the same parking prohibitions on their street if the parking ban on Pomander Walk is to remain.
Leigh Warren, 140 Washington Place, said that parking on Sherman Place is out of control and it is sometimes difficult to drive down the street because of all the cars parked there. Residents on Pomander Walk must accept the fact that a no parking ordinance for their street means that it is not permissible for anyone to ever park on that street. Ms. Warren stated that a proper and thorough investigation was never done in the race to solve parking issues and the ordinance needs to be repealed. She pointed out that there is an area of about fifty parking spots to the rear of Whole Foods that could be used for parking. Someone should contact Whole Foods to ask them if employees of other businesses would be able to park in this area.
Paul Smith, 231 Burnside Place, spoke about the area of Glen Avenue between Maple Avenue and North Pleasant Avenue where there is an increasing disregard for the speed limit. He is most concerned about this behavior during school hours and he suggested an increased police presence in this vicinity. Mr. Smith pointed out that people are more likely to obey the speed limit when they see a police car.
Pamela Perron, 1123 Kenilworth Road, said that she is the Director of the Water Committee of the League of Women Voters. The League of Women Voters is concerned about the municipal parking lots on Walnut Street, which have documented petro chemicals and dry cleaning fluids that are contaminating the soil due to underground tanks and other off-site sources. She thanked Village Engineer, Christopher Rutishauser, in advance for his presentation tonight relative to the removal of the tanks on this property.
Gwenn Hauck, 217 Fairmount Road, said that senior citizens make up 20% of the population in Ridgewood. She noted that senior citizens are part of the fabric of every successful community and the value of senior citizens is sometimes forgotten in child oriented communities. She pointed out that it is not as expensive to house senior citizens as it is to house families with children. Ms. Hauck asked that a larger part of the budget be devoted to transportation for seniors, which could be considered as part of the partnership with Uber and ITN. She encouraged the Village Council to do everything possible to keep the two spots for Ridgewood Taxi service available to augment and work in conjunction with the other services being considered. Most senior citizens don’t have smart phones, which means they will not be able to sign up for Uber.
Kathleen Jordan, 250 Oak Street, said she wrote an e-mail to Village Councilmembers on October 11th objecting to a change in the fees for parking at the train station. The only reply she received was from Councilwoman Walsh. Ms. Jordon stated that it appears as though the Village Council is catering to a special interest group and not to the people using this lot in the mornings. All of the lots in Ridgewood should be available on a first come, first served basis and should not be available for purchase through a special permit. Village Councilmembers need to keep in mind that people leave for the train station before 6:00 A.M. and the members of the Village staff will have to be out early to clear ice and snow from the CBD to ensure that people can safely walk to the train station. Ms. Jordan pointed out that her lifestyle will have to change if she chooses to pay an additional $250 for convenient parking. The Village Council should not raise the price to park for a special interest group that wants to park later in the day at the train station parking lot. Ms. Jordan commented that at 6:00 A.M. this is the safest parking lot for most commuters.
Ingrid Richardson, 147 Godwin Avenue, said she walks her dog every day on Sherman Place and feels that the situation on Sherman Place is an accident waiting to happen. The crosswalk is unsafe because of the cars parked on Sherman Place. She decided to stop walking on this street, because she is afraid she will be hit by a car that will swerve in order to avoid being hit by an oncoming car. If something isn’t done, it is only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured.
Luke Freely, 79 Washington Place, echoed Ms. Richardson’s concerns and said he would not walk on Sherman Place either because it is unsafe. The policy needs to be revisited and changes need to be made.
Andy Koontz, 20 Pomander Walk, said that most everyone would agree that residents on Sherman Place, Stanley Place, Pomander Walk, Garfield Place, Washington Place and Godwin Avenue have valid concerns that need to be addressed. Those residents on Pomander Walk have been unfairly accused of trying to make this a private street and Mr. Koontz said that the photos submitted to the newspaper show people, other than residents, who are parking on the street. Anyone who sees illegal parking should report it to the police so tickets can be issued.
Mr. Koontz stated that this ordinance was passed after ample and adequate notice and he is aware that not everyone is happy with the outcome. This problem needs to be resolved rather than shared. Mr. Koontz pointed out that Whole Foods employees are parking on Godwin Avenue, when their lot is empty at 6:00 A.M. and strip mall employees should not stage their deliveries from Pomander Walk or any other nearby street.
Sandy DelAguilo, 102 Stanley Place, said that her house is located on the little corner, which is a difficult and dangerous spot. Her parents’ car was hit in a hit and run incident when it was parked in the driveway last year. It makes no sense that a dead end street has no parking and a cut through street, which is dangerous to start with, has to accommodate additional parking.
Denise DeLucia and Doreen Papathanasiou, owners of Industry Hair Gurus, 88 Godwin Avenue, stated that the parking restrictions on Pomander Walk have negatively impacted their business along with other businesses in the strip mall. Ms. DeLuca said that both their clients and their employees have been ticketed numerous times and she asked the Village Council to look into this situation and consider alternatives.
Adam Fox, 112 Stanley Place, said that he is a customer of the dry cleaners on Godwin Avenue, but parking became difficult and he had to park on Sherman Place due to the restrictions on Pomander Walk. He noted that a pedestrian was hit recently while crossing Godwin Avenue. Mr. Fox said that he now takes his dry cleaning to Midland Park in order to avoid the entire area. He is like many who feel that if there is not a convenient access to a business he will stop frequenting that business. Many in Ridgewood avoid local businesses because they can’t find convenient and safe parking areas. Mr. Fox stated that according to town maps Pomander Walk is 50 feet wide with no parking allowed, as opposed to Sherman Place, which is 30 feet wide, where parking is allowed on one side of the street along with two way traffic.
Mr. Fox asked what special safety needs exist on Pomander Walk, which is a dead end street, that would justify these types of parking restrictions. He hopes that a traffic study will determine that residents of all streets in this area must share the parking burden and the safety needs of all residents needs to be taken into consideration. If not, all residents in this area should demand no parking on their streets for safety reasons and peace of mind. Mr. Fox said that he realizes that streets with parked cars are a normal part of modern life and everyone needs to work together and compromise for the overall well-being of the community. He concluded that the safety of the residents should not be compromised.
John Parillo, owner of Santoni’s Pizzera, 88 Godwin Avenue, said that the parking ban on Pomander Walk is a huge issue for businesses in this area. Mr. Parillo said that the demands of a very few appear to take precedent over the rights of most residents and business owners in the area. The parking prohibition on Pomander Walk has greatly affected his business because his customers have seriously restricted parking options. At his place of business, there is one parking lot consisting of fourteen spaces to be shared by four stores. Mr. Parillo said that he was notified regarding the parking ban only a few days before the initial meeting and he attended Village Council meetings in addition to Citizens Safety Committee (CSC) meetings. He indicated a willingness to work with the residents on Pomander Walk; however, a decision was made too quickly.
Mr. Parillo said he purchased this business with the understanding that his customers would be able to use the side street for parking. He signed a 20 year lease and put all of his savings into this business, which has been successful employing thirteen people whose families rely on his success. Parking is a huge issue in the CBD and the west side and the removal of parking hinders businesses and residents on surrounding streets. Mr. Parillo pointed out that the parking ban on Pomander Walk doesn’t prevent people from driving down the street and any one street in the Village shouldn’t be more important than any other. He stated that at almost any time of day there are landscapers and contractors parked on Pomander Walk with no tickets being issued. On several occasions people visiting Pomander Walk have attempted to park at Mr. Parillo’s lot and he concluded that the residents of Pomander Walk now have their own private street at the expense of everyone else in the community.
Michael Beckerman, 40 Sherman Place, said that the parking burden in this area had been shared equally by all streets prior to the adoption of Ordinance #3556. He asked for the repeal of the ordinance until a better solution is found to serve the entire neighborhood.
An unidentified resident of Pomander Walk said that many people are under the misconception that the residents of Pomander Walk are parking on the street, but this is totally untrue. Most of the parking on the street is for people using the strip mall, including the eight employees of Whole Foods. They have worked over three years with various Village Councils and Safety Committees and they want to help and not hurt residents of surrounding streets. He added that they worked hard to get the ordinance passed and he feels the Pomander Walk residents are not being treated fairly.
Mayor Knudsen apologized to Kathleen Jordan for not responding to her email. She said that this is a decision that weighs heavily on her mind and the Village Council may have to consider accommodations for those who have a handicap or other problems walking to the train station from a parking lot located further away than they have become used to.
3. PUBLIC HEARING
a. Brownfield Grant – N. Walnut Street Parking Lot
Ms. Mailander stated that this is an application for a Brownfield grant from the EPA. The procedure would include an assessment of the grant for the North Walnut Street parking lot and clean-up funding and assistance. This is a public hearing and anyone wishing to comment could do so after an explanation from Village Engineer, Christopher Rutishauser.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that this grant application must be submitted by December 22nd and the endorsement by the Village Council would allow the Village to seek funding to accelerate the clean-up of the North Walnut Street parking lot. There are currently nine underground storage tanks buried below the parking lot, which are part of the remnants of a Texaco gas station identified during the initial North Walnut Street Redevelopment District. The Village is required to remove the tanks. Mr. Rutishauser added that the property is impacted by a plume from a dry cleaners located on Chestnut Street. This plume is being monitored and cleaned up by a licensed mediation professional retained by the owner of the dry cleaning business. There is another clean-up parcel located across the street that has a critical exemption area, which is also being monitored and cleaned up. There is a plume emanating from a parcel at 120 Franklin Avenue, the former Town Garage, where a waste oil tank was removed in 2015. This site is in the slow process of remediation and Mr. Rutishauser stated that if the Village is successful in securing the Brownfield Grant, funds will be available to accelerate the clean-up of this parcel as well.
Councilman Voigt questioned the possibility of cross contamination and Mr. Rutishauser said that this is something that would have to be coordinated by the DEP and the licensed site remediation professionals retained by each of the responsible parties. Mr. Rutishauser stated that eight years ago the DEP outsourced management of contaminant clean-up sites to the private sector rather than using case managers from the DEP because of issues with slow turn-around time and back logs. These issues remain; however, this is the nature of this type of clean-up work. Mr. Rutishauser stated that he has not formulated an amount for the grant application as of yet.
Councilman Sedon asked if someone from the DEP or the other private entity would work with the dry cleaner, the Town Garage and the Village to ensure that everything was being coordinated. Mr. Rutishauser stated that the Village has a licensed site remediation professional on retainer for the North Walnut Street lot and this individual would be instructed to co-ordinate with all the contaminant sites that have been identified within a certain vicinity that could impact the Village’s property.
Councilwoman Walsh questioned the cost to remediate the Village owned sites only. Mr. Rutishauser explained that the Village has just under $900,000 in a budgeted account for the North Walnut Street Redevelopment District to address underground storage tanks. He cautioned that it is difficult to give an accurate assessment not knowing whether or not the tanks had ever leaked. The Village took over the property from Texaco in the early 1960s when the gas station was levelled and made into a parking lot. The tanks may have been cleaned or may have been abandoned in a manner consistent with requirements existing at that time. Current practice would require a detailed cleaning and removal of the tanks and only under extenuating circumstances could a tank be left in the ground. Mr. Rutishauser stated that there would be no reason to leave the tanks buried under the parking lot.
Mayor Knudsen opened the hearing to questions from the public; however, no one came forward at this time.
a. ITN – SENIOR TRANSPORATION
Ms. Mailander explained that ITN is a non-profit cooperation that has been operating since June 2015. Councilman Hache stated that he has been researching the transportation needs of the population of senior citizens in Ridgewood, including the ability to travel to stores and doctor’s appointments. He was directed to ITN by Bergen County and was impressed by this company and the drivers that they employ.
John Boswick, Executive Director of ITN North Jersey and Mary Lyons Kim, Director of Community Outreach, introduced themselves and described the company. Mr. Boswick said that this is a membership organization, which provides transportation for their members, who are either senior citizens or those who are visually impaired. They operate primarily in the northwestern area of Bergen County providing slightly more than 600 rides per month. All rides are provided by approximately 65 volunteer drivers, who use their own vehicles. Mr. Boswick said that this is a national organization with 30 affiliates across the country.
Ms. Kim indicated that rides are offered seven days a week, 24 hours a day, with door to door service. This is a very personal service with 70% of the transportation used for doctor’s appointments or other medical services.
Councilman Voigt questioned funding of the service. Mr. Boswick said they operate using grants from several local foundations. They do some fund raising and also charge $1.50 per mile for those who can afford it. He added that there is an annual membership fee of $90, which covers 50% of the costs at this time and no tips are accepted. Councilman Voigt questioned sustainability and Mr. Boswick replied that resources are provided by volunteers. Fees cover about 60% of the cost with the remaining costs are made up by relationships with local entities. Shortly they will begin to go out to doctors and dialysis centers to see if they would be interested in participating to cover some of the associated costs.
Councilman Sedon asked what type of partnership ITN would be looking for from the Village. Mr. Boswick said that he would be interested in an announcement from the Mayor’s Office relative to the need for volunteers. He added that this has been effective in other communities. Ms. Kim said that a more formal relationship remains to be seen, but at this time she wants the Village to be aware of the services they provide.
Councilman Hache suggested a type of voucher program to help subsidize the rides for senior citizens. Councilwoman Walsh said she would support this great program. Mayor Knudsen agreed and questioned insurance. Ms. Kim said that the rides she provides are covered by her own car insurance policy. She notified her insurance company that she would be participating in volunteer driving. The company has an umbrella liability policy, which covers the passenger from door to door. Mayor Knudsen stated that this is an exciting program and she anticipates there would be a number of people willing to volunteer their time and participate. Ms. Kim said that there are already a number of Ridgewood residents involved.
a. Ridgewood Water
1.) Award Contract – Line Stop and Valve Insertion Services
Ms. Mailander stated that this is the award of the second year of a two year contract to the low bidder for the Line Stop and Valve Insertion Services. The award is recommended to Carner Brothers in the amount of $190,800 and is part of the Water Capital budget for 2016. Rich Calbi explained that this is an on-call contract and is used as needed.
2.) Award Contract – Laboratory Analysis Services
Ms. Mailander explained that this is a two year contract for the provision of Laboratory Analysis Services to Aqua Pro-Tech Labs in the amount of $47,520. This is part of the water utility budget account.
3.) Award Contract – Water System Divestiture Study
Ms. Mailander said that Mott MacDonald will evaluate the existing system to determine the necessary steps needed to separate the system while maintaining a safe, adequate and reliable supply to all customers. This study is the first step towards addressing the Village Council’s request to evaluate their ability to divest portions of the system. Once the options have been determined a financial analysis would be the next step to evaluate each option, including short and long term impacts and feasibility. The proposal is in the amount of $73,500 and there are sufficient funds in the water capital budget for this project.
Councilwoman Walsh asked if this could be discussed in Closed Session. Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney, said this is permissible under contract negotiations. Ms. Mailander said she would list it on next week’s agenda.
Mr. Calbi said that after this step, it is important to identify the options from an engineering perspective in addition to the feasibility and costs involved.
4.) Award Contract – Vance Tank Rehabilitation
Ms. Mailander stated that D.J. Egarian & Associates found four bidders and have recommended hiring the lowest bid submitted by DN Tanks in the amount of $373,710.74.
5.) Award EUS – Repairs to Air Stripping Tower – Main Treatment Facility
Ms. Mailander explained that this is an Extraordinary and Unspecifiable Service (EUS) Award for the air stripping tower on the main treatment facility, which is in need of immediate repairs to ensure clean drinking water and compliance with the EPA. The contract is awarded to Layne Christensen Company in Somerset, N.J. in the amount of $37,480. This award is justified as the services provided by Layne Christensen Company are specialized in nature requiring expertise and extensive training. Funding for this project was budgeted in the operating budget.
6.) Award Change Order – Water Main Stream Crossings
Ms. Mailander said that this is an Award of a Change Order for water main stream crossings. This project was originally awarded to Hatch Mott MacDonald in the amount of $78,000. An additional $44,700 is required to complete the work beyond the original proposal scope that was budgeted for in the capital budget.
Mr. Calbi explained that the design for this project goes back two years. Pipes are in place at the stream crossings; however, the pipes have become visible and stream beds have eroded due to frequent flooding events in recent years. The pipes could break or burst and in an attempt to be pro-active the water utility planned to replace the pipes. When permits are received the utility is prepared to go out to bid for construction early next year. The original proposal did not include construction administration services and assistance will be required to oversee the contractor while work proceeds. Mr. Calbi stated that the change order will cover this work.
7.) Rejection of Bid – Glen Tank Rehabilitation
Ms. Mailander stated that this is a bid rejection for the Glen Tank Rehabilitation. The two bids that were received will be rejected because they exceed the budgeted amount and the cost estimate submitted by the consulting engineers.
1.) CBD Parking Improvements
2.) Central Valet
3.) Parking Garage
Ms. Mailander stated that these three items are intertwined and she introduced Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer, Sgt. Jay Chuck and Robert Rooney, Village CFO, along with Councilman Hache who will discuss a parking solution.
Councilman Hache stated that the Village has a busy downtown area comprised of 23 blocks. For decades the Village has faced an increasing demand for parking, which has become worse due to the proliferation of restaurants. A restaurant has increased parking needs compared to an average retailer. There could be a parking deficit of 300 during the day, which can increase to as many as 700 at peak times during the evening. The total inventory of parking spaces is 3,100, but only 1,140 of those are Village owned, metered parking spots and almost half of this number are used by commuters and restaurant employees. Councilman Hache stated that most off street parking are private lots reserved for employees.
Councilman Hache pointed out that most restaurants are located west of Van Neste Park meaning that parking demand is greatest in this area. The greatest supply of available parking spaces is east of Van Nest Park. The largest municipal parking lot is Cottage Place east of Van Neste Park and capacity is only about 49% during weekdays, weekends, days and evenings. This indicates a parking mismatch as well as a parking distribution problem.
Councilman Hache stated that the Village Council has to concentrate on an improved distribution of parking, while understanding that the availability of parking should also be increased. There have been many studies done over the years offering many stand-alone solutions. There is a relationship between supply and demand for parking and the solution must be comprehensive throughout the entire Central Business District (CBD). Councilman Hache said that after meeting with business owners, employees and residents, the Village Council has concluded that there is no one single solution that will be effective in addressing the parking problem in Ridgewood. However, the Village Council has formulated a Comprehensive Parking Solution Plan that should deliver an effective solution when implemented in its entirety.
Councilman Hache highlighted the various action points some of which have already been put into place. He added that other action points are scheduled to go into effect in early 2017. These components include improved signage directing drivers to the largest municipal lot in the Village on Cottage Place. Existing signs throughout the CBD that were old and weathered have been replaced.
Councilman Hache said that parking enforcement has been stepped up recently. They have found that many employees have been occupying the on-street parking spaces closest to their place of work, which denies patrons the ability to park near the businesses they frequent.
Councilman Hache stated that the redistribution of commuter parking will go into effect on January 1, 2017. Commuters had been occupying the majority of spaces in the Hudson Street and Chestnut Street lots. It is necessary to designate a limited amount of specific spaces for commuters in order to provide parking relief to patrons and businesses in the highest demand area from west of Van Neste Park to the train station. As a result, commuters will be directed to park in the under-utilized public lots on Walnut Street and Cottage Place.
Councilman Hache stated that new prices for parking permits will go into effect on January 1, 2017. This is a work in progress and some of these fees may be changed. Beginning January 1, 2017, employees will be encouraged to park at the Walnut Street and Cottage Place lots at a reduced price of 50 cents an hour. In addition, sixty parking spaces will be allocated for employees at Cottage Place in the CBD at a further reduced rate of 50 cents an hour along with thirty spaces available in the Walnut Street parking lot.
Councilman Hache announced that on January 1, 2017, the Village will launch a pilot program that will allow 50 commuters to participate in a commute from their home to the Ridgewood Train Station using UBER. This will create a virtual garage and the cost to the participant will be capped at $4, with the remaining amount to be subsidized by the Village.
Councilman Hache said that the Village Council is considering the idea of a Central Valet service. Currently, this arrangement is only possible for four restaurants due to traffic and safety issues associated with their locations. This service does not offer the possibility of foot traffic and does not give store owners the incentive to stay open later. Councilman Hache pointed out that the valet parking service is extremely expensive for the participating restaurants, with the cost per vehicle being equal to 15% of the average tab. The idea is to have a Central Valet service located next to Van Neste Park on the west, next to the bus station, where vehicle drop-off and pick-up would take place on the concrete median. This has been determined to be a central location in the CBD. Councilman Hache expects the service to operate on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights between 6:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M., however there has to be some flexibility.
Councilman Hache said that the Village would go out to bid to operate this valet service and companies will bid for the right to operate the business in the Village. He is not sure what the cost would be; however, it will be covered by the patron or perhaps the business would validate for the service. He noted that if only one third of the restaurants in the CBD were to use Central Valet, an estimated 300 cars per night would use this service. Councilman Hache added that after retrieving your car from the valet you would be directed to make a right hand turn onto East Ridgewood Avenue, which takes the traffic away from the busiest portion of the CBD.
Ms. Mailander said that the valet company may find that it would be beneficial to operate this service on a Saturday afternoon as well, when many people have difficulty finding a parking space.
Councilman Voigt said that the Village Council is also considering a van service to a remote area for parking by employees in the CBD. They are also looking at the implementation of kiosks that could help with tickets and increase revenues. Additional enforcement of no repeat parking zones to encourage employees to park further from the CBD is being considered along with the leasing of space at the YMCA as well as the Ken Smith lot. Councilman Voigt said that the Village Council must continue to monitor and evaluate whether these recommendations are working.
Councilman Voigt collected information on parking over the past six weeks and prepared a parking analysis covering the three blocks closest to the train station, including North and South Broad Street, Chestnut Street, Prospect Street, Oak Street and Van Neste Square. He stated that in many nearby towns there is an ordinance requirement that one parking space must be provided for every three restaurant seats. There are fifty restaurants in this six block area with 2,919 seats, which means that over 900 parking spaces would be required for the restaurants alone. There are only 655 parking spaces or a deficit of almost 450 spaces in this area. There are approximately 285 employees of these restaurants, who add to the demand and the deficit of parking spaces. Councilman Voigt stated that if the restaurants are 80% full during the busy days there is a deficit of 133 to 420 spaces on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Even during the day they are looking at deficits of between 50 and 150 spaces for the restaurants alone. Councilman Voigt plans to talk to the businesses over the next few weeks and anticipates that these numbers will get worse.
Councilman Sedon referred to the parking garage component and said that there have been many different designs submitted and considered along with much debate. He said he feels that they could move forward with a garage if an agreement can be reached on the size of the structure. Councilman Sedon presented a brief history of the evolution of the parking garage and he recalled that some of the original requirements included in the original Request for Proposal (RFP) were that the right-of-way access be maintained as well as a net of 300 spaces. The original option called for a total of 382 spaces in the garage and the taking of 12 feet of Hudson Street to be used as part of the garage. The average height was about 45 feet tall with a 60 foot proposed elevator tower. The structure included a covered arcade and a 2 foot cantilever further out over the street. After much debate, this design was followed by another proposal calling for 325 spaces at a height of 47 feet with a 60 foot elevator tower. The arcade and 2 foot cantilever was eliminated. This was followed by a successful resident petition, which halted the funding for the proposal in June. This was followed by a binding referendum with a 26% voter turnout that eventually killed the funding for the project. Councilman Sedon recalled that previously in November 2015, 28% of Ridgewood voters had approved the building of some type of parking structure on Hudson Street by a two to one margin.
Councilman Sedon concluded that the focus of the no vote seemed to be the five feet taking of Hudson Street and that the 45 foot to 47 foot structure was overwhelming in this area. Councilman Sedon reflected on the parking issue and recalled that one of the presentations by Tim Haas uniquely achieved the requirements in the RFP. The proposal treated the right of way access differently by including it in the garage so the garage remained on the property without taking any of Hudson Street. The garage actually extended over the right-of-way meaning that the first floor would be slightly higher. This gives an extra area of garage on the back end, with the levels above being located over the right-of-way access.
Councilman Sedon said that this concept required four levels, with rooftop parking that is still too high. He considered removing the top level, which allows for three levels of parking over the surface parking that would net approximately 302 spaces total. The building would be 39 feet tall and would not eliminate any spaces from Hudson Street or require a change in direction of traffic on the street. This plan does not eliminate any parking spaces from the street.
Councilman Sedon stated that this seems to be the best way to move forward if a parking garage is to be in Ridgewood’s future. He has not been in contact with Tim Haas team before getting a consensus from the Village Council and residents.
Councilman Voigt asked if Mt. Carmel Church had been consulted. Councilman Hache said that initially their concerns had been the loss of parking on the street and the direction of traffic flow. The church understands that there has to be some sort of solution to the parking deficit in Ridgewood and they reiterated that one of their biggest concerns is being the loss of on-street parking. This appears to be an acceptable concept since no on-street parking is lost.
Councilman Hache said he thinks the idea of an additional 302 parking spaces contained in a less imposing parking structure will go a long way to address the parking deficit in the Village and he supports this idea. He is eager to hear more about moving forward from the Village Engineer and the Village CEO. He questioned the timing perspective and other logistical issues.
Councilman Voigt said he fully supports this concept. Councilwoman Walsh stated that at this time everything is just conceptual and this is a work in progress. She said she parks in a parking garage daily when she goes to work; however, there are many people who are not comfortable doing this. Councilwoman Walsh added that the Central Valet idea was not well received by the Citizens Safety Committee.
Mayor Knudsen thanked Councilmembers Voigt, Hache and Sedon for all of their hard work. She added that Councilman’s Voigt’s analysis is critical in preparing a plan that is vital to this process. Mayor Knudsen said she fully supports the idea of a Central Valet and she thinks that the amount of foot traffic will be appreciated by other businesses in the Village. She is thrilled that the Haas plan for the parking garage has been resurrected, because it is a much better idea than the other design, which had a huge, overwhelming garage encroaching onto Hudson Street. This design is much more appropriate and fitting for the Village and Mayor Knudsen asked how best the Village could move forward in this direction.
Ms. Mailander said she had contacted Tim Haas to confirm that their design would fit onto this lot and she asked if they would still be interested in working with the Village. They indicated that the design will work and they would be happy to work with the Village.
Going forward, Mr. Rutishauser recommended that Haas refresh their proposal and address the concerns that have been mentioned this evening as well as providing a revised price for their services. He noted that the Village Council could award this as a non-open competitive professional service award.
Councilwoman Walsh questioned whether or not there would be any eminent domain issues. Mr. Rutishauser did not believe this would come into plan, but he will investigate further with the Village Attorney.
Robert Rooney said that there is a definite need for a parking garage in Ridgewood. He recalled that bids were solicited from five firms to gain a better understanding of the costs involved to build a garage. To date, the Village has a $600,000 investment in the garage and the question for consideration is whether the Village should go back to Desman Associates to ask them to revise their plans similar to the Haas plan. Because the Village is starting from scratch again, Mr. Rooney recommends that they have an estimate of what both Desman Associates and Haas would charge for this design. He said that the Haas design required a fire wall due to ventilation issues, which is an added cost not included in the Desman design. This cost could range from $.5 million to $1 million. Mr. Rooney explained that due to fluctuations in the price of pre-cast concrete the Village could probably get a more specific price on the cost of construction if it could provide an actual date for the commencement of construction. For this reason he suggested a date that would be a year in advance.
Ms. Mailander pointed out that Desman Associates had prepared specifications that were ready to go out to bid, including electrical and plumbing as opposed to Haas who would have to complete this portion of the work. For this reason, she felt the Village might be able to take advantage of a substantial cost saving. Mr. Rooney suggested that both firms be invited in to make a proposal to the Village Council.
Mayor Knudsen was concerned about implications involved in having Desman submit a design that legitimately belongs to Haas.
4.) Amend Valet Parking Fee Ordinance
Ms. Mailander stated that currently there are several valet parking operators in the Village. There is currently a $1,000 annual fee in effect and this ordinance will reduce the fee to $500 if they apply from July 1st. This ordinance also requires that the valet parking operators to keep the signs covered and only uncover the signs when the service is being offered. This is due to the fact that during the day people see the signs and by-pass the parking spaces because they think valet parking is in effect.
5.) Amend CBD Parking Permit Ordinance – Parking Permit for All Parking Lots
Ms. Mailander recalled that previously it had been stated that the $1,000 annual parking permit was to be used exclusively at the Train Station, Hudson Street and Prospect Street. If an individual couldn’t get a parking space at one of those three lots he or she could park in any of the other lots. This will clarify that the $1,000 parking permit is good in all lots in the Village.
6.) Free Last Minute Shopping Parking – December 22nd
Councilman Hache said that this proposal would encourage people to come to the CBD for last minute shopping during the evening of Thursday, December 22nd from 6:00 P.M. He hopes to have carolers on Ridgewood Avenue to create a holiday atmosphere and work with downtown retailers for discounted offers.
Mayor Knudsen said she would like to encourage the stores to stay open later in the holiday season. Councilman Hache will work with the Chamber of Commerce and the Ridgewood Guild on special promotions. He hopes to have a meeting on Saturday morning.
7.) Rental of Parking Spaces on N. Broad Street – Taxi Stand
Ms. Mailander referred to the previous discussions by the Village Council relative to the leasing of the two designated parking spaces near the former taxi stand. One bid package was picked up by E & K Car Services and the minimum bid was $2,000 annually for these two spaces. E & K has indicated that they will honor the senior citizen taxi coupons. If the Village Council agrees to go forward with ITN, people would have the option to choose which company to use. Ms. Mailander said that the Village Council must decide whether or not to award this contract when the spots could be returned as metered spots.
Councilwoman Walsh pointed out that this is the same annual amount the Village would get on the open market for two parking spaces in this prime location. She asked why the Village would charge a business the same price they are charging a resident. Mr. Rutishauser explained that this is one of the last ways to maintain a taxi service in the Village for residents that is willing to honor senior citizens coupons. Mayor Knudsen remarked that there is a disabled population in the Village who also relies on this taxi service using these coupons. Ms. Mailander added that the senior citizens have a certain comfort level using this taxi service and she isn’t sure E & K Taxi service would provide the service if they don’t have these spaces. Mayor Knudsen said that UBER has indicated that they are not able to provide this type of service and no one else responded to this RFP.
1.) Award Contract – Purchase of Ammunition
Ms. Mailander stated that this is the annual purchase and falls under State Contract.
2.) Award Contract –Purchase of Bullet Proof Vests
Ms. Mailander explained that the purchase of bullet proof vests for the Police Department is partially funded by grants and is under State Contract. Each vest must be replaced every five years due to warranty issues and this award is for six vests.
3.) Award Contract – Electronic Ticketing Software
Ms. Mailander said that this is for the purchase of hardware for electronic ticketing software to be
installed in patrol vehicles for use with electronic ticketing. This item is under State Contract and will include several printers, printer stands and mounts, power adapters, charging stations, power converters and a comprehensive extended warranty. Barcode Scanners to scan licenses and vehicle registrations will also come with a warranty. The transition from paper to e-ticketing is beginning in 2017, and this is included in the capital account.
4.) Authorize Shared Services Agreement – Child Health Clinic
Ms. Mailander stated that this is the annual Shared Services Agreement for Child Health Clinics with Fair Lawn and Glen Rock. This is for comprehensive preventative health care of infants and children up to age 18. Each town pays one-third of the cost of the pediatrician.
5.) Award Contract – Professional Services – 2017 Child Health Conference Physician
Ms. Mailander explained that this is the professional services contract for the pediatrician, who administers the above program. Eight quotes were solicited with only one reply received from Dr. Narucki, who has provided this service for the last eight years. The doctor is asking for a $5 per hour increase from last year’s charge, which will cost each municipality $1,900 annually. The clinics run eleven months of the year.
6.) Award Contract – Two Kenworth Sanitation Trucks
Ms. Mailander explained that the Village currently uses sanitation trucks manufactured by Crane Corporation, which seem to experience many mechanical break downs. Parts are not readily available resulting in significant down time. She said that Kenworth is a reliable company and these vehicles can accommodate a snow plow if needed similar to the trucks in New York City. The price is $257,208.38 for two trucks and the Village is going through a national purchasing cooperative. The purchase of these vehicles was allocated in the budget.
Mayor Knudsen asked if this price included the snow plow. Ms. Mailander said it did not. Mr. Rutishauser said they may want to consider it, but the Village has an outside snow removal service to provide assistance. They have been planning to bring all snow removal in-house and they are slowly building up staff and equipment.
7.) Award Change Order – Disposal and Recycling of Vegetative Waste
Ms. Mailander explained that $3,700 needs to be added to this contract due to the unforeseen break down of the tub grinder. This covers the additional charge necessary for the disposal charge of incoming material.
8.) Award Contract – Sanitary Sludge Hauling – Water Pollution Control
Ms. Mailander recalled that last year it was discovered that the fifteen year old truck needed to be replaced and they decided to look into the cost of a sludge hauling service. At that time, it was not as expensive as expected; however, this year the cost has increased considerably. The services will be awarded to the low bidder at a cost of $112,640; however, they will look into the possibility of a replacement truck given the rising cost for sludge hauling.
9.) Award Contract – Edmunds Service Contract
Ms. Mailander said that this is the annual software support contract with Edmunds & Associates for the Finance Department. The 2017 contract amount of $19,989 is for estimated tax billing plus $350 for estimated tax billing and $1,200 for online look up.
10.) Award Contract – 2017 Employee Assistance Program Services
Ms. Mailander stated that this program is offered through West Bergen Mental Health Care for $5,000 and offers confidential assessment, counseling and referral service to assist those confronted with personal difficulties that can affect and individual’s health or work performance. The price has remained the same over the past four years.
11.) Award Contract – 2017 Recreational Program Instruction
Ms. Mailander explained that the Parks and Recreation Department goes out for an annual proposal from vendors for program instruction for the upcoming year. Ten proposals were received this year, all of which are returning vendors, with a successful history. The Recreation Division does not commit to all offerings in any proposal and pricing is negotiable throughout the year.
12.) Award Contact – 2017 Preparation of 2017 Village Council Meeting Minutes
Ms. Mailander stated that seven proposals were picked up with three returned. The current price is $8.50 per page. The three sets of synopsis minutes were reviewed. The charges ranged from $6.00 per page to $20.00 per page. The set of minutes prepared by the individual proposing $6.00 per page contained the necessary detail and Ms. Mailander has chosen to go forward with this candidate.
13.) Budget Transfers
Ms. Mailander stated that budget transfers are done annually. Money is taken from departments that have excess funds and given to other departments that don’t have enough money to cover their costs. Mr. Rooney explained that State law allows transfers to be made during the last two months of the year for accounts that haven fallen short.
14.) 2017 Temporary Budget
Ms. Mailander stated that this is the 2017 Temporary Budget Appropriations, which is 26.2% of last year’s budget. This practice allows the Village to pay bills and salaries during the first three months of the year prior to the adoption of the 2017 budget.
15.) 2017 Cash Management Plan
Ms. Mailander said that the 2017 Cash Management Plan utilizes a guide for depositing and investing Village funds. It must be approved annually by the Village Council.
16.) Cancellation of Grant Receivables and Grant Reserves
Ms. Mailander stated that this is the annual cancellation of grant receivable and reserve balances for the grants which have fulfilled their purpose. These funds go into the general budget.
17.) Approve RFP for Pilot Program for Ridgewood Resident Commuter Transportation to and From Ridgewood Train Station
Ms. Mailander stated that this is approval for an RFP for a Pilot Program for the Ridgewood Resident Commuter Transportation To and From the Ridgewood Train Station. This is an UBER type transportation service to be operational for a six month trial period. Councilwoman Walsh said that she still has an issue with the subsidy to be financed by the Village. Mr. Rutishauser explained that the language he used states that the Village is soliciting a price from a transportation service for two types of ride categories for Village residents only. The intent is to free up parking spaces in the CBD and they will see what the cost is going to be in order to free up the parking spaces. The Village Council will determine the scope of the program, including whether the service should be limited to 50 residents. Mr. Rutishauser explained that commuters using this service would be dropped off at the train station and subsequently picked up from the train station and returned home.
Councilwoman Walsh said that parking spaces will be needed for this ride/taxi service. Mr. Rutishauser stated that pick up is at one spot and drop off is at another spot and the rider will have to determine where they need to be in order to board the train travelling in the appropriate direction. He indicated in the RFP that car-pooling is not an option and this service is offered on an individual basis. Councilwoman Walsh said that it is not known whether or not the Village has the money to subsidize this service. She indicated she is not comfortable with raising parking fees to $1,000 for some of the population while subsidizing transportation for another segment of the population. Mr. Rutishauser said the purpose of the RFP is to find out how much it will cost to implement this type of service going forward. The final decision rests with the Village Council.
Ms. Mailander recalled that UBER’s presentation contained one flat rate. Mr. Rutishauser has fashioned this RFP into two categories, including one to three miles; and three to seven miles. She asked if the RFP should only request one flat rate. Councilwoman Walsh said she that the Village Council should see what the companies might suggest.
18.) Approve RFP for Grant Writer
Ms. Mailander said that the Village Council may want more time to consider this. Mr. Rutishauser stated that the Village would compensate the grant writer or the grant writing firm for grants the Village accepts and wants. The Village is seeking grants in the public and private sector and in locations not normally pursued by Village staff in the past. The usual grants received by the Village such as the Bergen County Development Block grant are exempted in the RFP. The Village is looking for an entity that can find new avenues of money that would be advantageous. Mr. Rutishauser cautioned against going forward with grants that could have hidden costs down the road.
Councilwoman Walsh said it would be wonderful if REAC could be successful in receiving some of the available Sustainable New Jersey grants that can be as much as $1 million. Mr. Rutishauser explained that the grant writer is compensated by receiving a percentage of the grant received by the Village.
Mayor Knudsen said she is anxious to have this service in place by the New Year. Village Councilmembers agreed and Mr. Rutishauser said he would have this advertised in the Bergen Record by Sunday. He will also have the notice sent to bid services that the Village works with on a regular basis.
19.) Authorize Application for Brownfield Grant
Ms. Mailander said that this was discussed earlier this evening and there will be a resolution available at the next meeting.
20.) Authorize Application for Bergen County Municipal Alliance Grant
Ms. Mailander explained that this is the annual Municipal Alliance Grant that is sponsored by the State. The amount of the grant is $11,677 and supplies recreational, social and education programs in support of alcohol and drug abuse prevention.
21.) Surplus Fire Equipment
Ms. Mailander said that surplus equipment is stored in the storage room at the Fire Headquarters, which is now being cleared out in anticipation of the arrival of a female fire fighter in the Ridgewood Fire Department. The storage area would be a good place for a women’s bathroom/locker room.
1.) ITN – Senior Transportation
This was discussed earlier this evening.
2.) Field Policy – Checklist for Recognized Organizations
Ms. Mailander said that this policy concerns civility in sports. Councilman Hache said that this is a Best Practices Checklist of Information that should be made available to the public. This also clarifies 501 C 3 organizations and the code of conduct for athletes, parents and coaches. It also provides guidance as to the operation of each organization.
Mayor Knudsen stated that after some consideration she recommended putting this in the form of a resolution, which could be adopted as a policy relative to the use of Village owned properties. This approach is more sensible than the Fields Policy, because it is now formalized in a policy that everyone is required to follow. This Fields Use Policy will be adopted at the next meeting.
3.) Removed from Agenda
4.) Short Term Rentals of Private Homes
Ms. Mailander said that this ordinance pertains to the short term rental of private homes. Several surrounding municipalities have adopted similar ordinances and Mr. Rogers has drafted an ordinance for Ridgewood.
5.) Board and Committees – FAC, RAC and Planning Board
Mayor Knudsen said that there are a large number of Boards and Committees in the Village and some of these groups have gone outside of the original intention of their resolution. She decided it would be useful to review a few of these committees at each Work Session to see how each of these committees was adopted by resolution, their mission statement and the intent of the committee. The Village Council should compare the original resolution to the by-laws that have been adopted and decide whether those by-laws should be brought to the Village Council for formal adoption and whether or not some of these committees have outlived their usefulness.
Mayor Knudsen referred to the Planning Board and noted that these by-laws were last reviewed and adopted in May, 2001. She noted that many Municipal Land Use Laws have changed and there are other items in the document that are outdated. She said these by-laws should be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure they are consistent with current laws.
Mayor Knudsen spoke about the Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) whose role is to assist the Village Council by enhancing budgetary and financial consideration and review. She went on to read the resolution in full and then pointed out that the by-laws are dramatically different than the intent of the resolution. Mayor Knudsen recommended approving the creation of a document that is in keeping with the original objectives or expands the original resolution.
Councilman Voigt commented that this is a waste of time and he is not sure why these particular by-laws have been singled out. He suggested they should look at the committees that don’t have by-laws. Councilman Voigt stated that the intent of the committees is to get residents involved in government and they have to trust that what is being done by these committees is being done correctly. These committee members are volunteering their time and want the Village to do well.
Councilwoman Walsh said she is the Council liaison to the Ridgewood Arts Council, which is only a few years old. At the meeting last night, it was noted that the Arts Council doesn’t have any by-laws and they need to have something to use as a guide. The idea is to promote volunteerism and there has to be a procedure, process or guide to get things done that is not cumbersome. She noted that each group has a different mission.
Mayor Knudsen stated this is a healthy conversation that is necessary since several committees have encountered problems recently. One of the committees is undergoing growing pains and another is experiencing legal concerns in several sensitive areas. The FAC has expanded beyond advising the Mayor and Village Council and into management, which has caused problems.
Regarding the FAC, Councilman Voigt explained that, unbeknownst to him and the FAC, Mayor Knudsen inserted herself on the chain of emails, which he found disrespectful. The emails related to the FAC attempting to fix a situation that Mayor Knudsen thought was illegal. Councilman Voigt stated that nothing was done, therefore nothing illegal took place. He is concerned that Mayor Knudsen has unilaterally decided to become involved in a situation where she was not invited to participate. He is also upset that Mayor Knudsen wanted to know what was going on at the FAC and went to the extent of putting herself in the mix in order to report on the proceedings of this committee to the Village Council as well as to the community. Councilman Voigt referred to this as lousy politics and he is saddened that this happened.
Mayor Knudsen explained that there have been complaints about the FAC that need to be addressed. She said that the Village Council needs to review the goals and objectives of the FAC and decide whether their expansion into areas of management is appropriate and whether or not to allow the FAC to continue with these by-laws. The Village Council will review each individual committee and determine if they should continue to adhere to the terms under which they were created. Mayor Knudsen said that the question for consideration is whether the committee adheres to their original guidelines or does the committee expand into other areas that may be confidential or sensitive legal areas.
Mr. Rogers referred to the Planning Board by-laws and stated that this is an autonomous committee created under the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law. The municipality has no jurisdiction in their by-laws. Mayor Knudsen said that a letter should be sent to the Planning Board asking them to review and update their by-laws. Mr. Rogers suggested that the Council liaison be asked to convey this message to the Planning Board.
Councilwoman Walsh reiterated that all of these committees are comprised of volunteers and although many people have conflicting opinions, everyone wants to do what is in the best interests of the Village.
Councilman Hache said that it is a good idea to review the objectives of these committees. The challenge seems to be how to balance the mandate and the needs of these committees, while also being respectful of people’s time. The Village Council should take a realistic look at what they expect from the committees and the volunteers.
Councilman Sedon agreed that this is a useful exercise and he pointed out that the Citizens Safety Advisory Committee has no by-laws. Most items of discussion are not controversial, but sometimes there are issues that are contentious requiring a vote and there are no rules on how to do this. It would be helpful to establish some basic by-laws, but he noted that too many by-laws could be overly restrictive. Councilman Sedon suggested a template of by-laws that could be used by all committees, which could be drafted after reviewing the individual resolutions that formed the various committees in existence at this time.
Mayor Knudson said that there are by-laws that the Village Council are not able to access and have never seen. She added that when she read the by-laws of the FAC, she found that members were not acting in accordance with those by-laws. She asked if Village Councilmembers agreed with the idea of a template for all committees or that the by-laws of each committee should be reviewed by the Council liaison. Mayor Knudsen suggested that the Village Council consider approving the by-laws by means of a resolution since the committees were approved by the Mayor and Village Council. She stressed that this practice is not meant to undermine the efforts of the volunteers, but to gain a greater understanding of the procedures and operations of the various committees. Mayor Knudson repeated that going forward, the Village Council would review several of these committees each Work Session and develop a basic template for by-laws as well.
Councilman Voigt recommended that they begin by working with committees that do not have by-laws. Mayor Knudson disagreed stating that they to begin by looking at committees with existing by-laws to determine whether or not those by-laws should remain as drafted. She said they would begin with the three she initially spoke of earlier in the dialogue.
Councilman Voigt stated that there are no problems with the FAC. A healthy conversation was taking place among committee members that did not require the involvement of Mayor Knudsen. She is being unfair to the committee members all of whom she appointed. Councilman Voigt said that these members want to do what is right for the Village, they are not breaking any laws, and singling them out is completely unfair. Councilman Voigt said that Mayor Knudsen does not want this committee to operate and wanted to shut it down six months ago. He suggested that Mayor Knudsen let these committee members do their job.
Mayor Knudsen said that at the time the FAC was formed there was no CFO in the Village, but there is now, and the flow of information has been excellent. She questioned whether or not this committee is still vital because the Village CFO is remarkably capable, qualified and doing an incredible job.
Councilman Voight wanted it noted that he is not in favor of reviewing the purpose and by-laws of each of the committees.
6.) Vacation of Portion of Barrington Road – Paper Street
Ms. Mailander stated that the easterly terminus of Barrington Road at the intersection with Hillcrest Road is a paper street. A neighbor is interested in purchasing this area of property and because of the sloping nature of this parcel it is highly doubtful that it will ever be used. Mr. Rogers explained that the process requires a resolution by the Village Council identifying this parcel and that the property is no longer needed for any public purpose. After this has been completed, a value will be determined and the parcel will be offered to the adjacent property owners. If they are not interested in purchasing the property it will go out to bid. The resolution to be considered by the Village Council tonight would identify the parcel and the fact that the property is not needed by the Village.
1.) Recycling of Electronics Legislation
Ms. Mailander reported that in 2011, the State required that all desktop, personal computers, computer monitors, portable computers or televisions sold had to be recycled. The Village would like to see this continue, but the cost of recycling these electronic devices is rising. The current price for this type of disposal in 2016 is $7,300. Legislation is being proposed that would eliminate the burden of this cost from local government and place it on the manufacturer where it belongs. Ms. Mailander said that John Spano, the Recycling Coordinator, is recommending that the Village Council support this legislation. Village Councilmembers indicated their unanimous support.
2.) No Left Turn – Van Neste Square
Ms. Mailander stated there was a recent inquiry of the Police Department Traffic Bureau asking whether an ordinance existed prohibiting a left turn from the northbound lane of Van Neste Square, where it meets east Ridgewood. It was found that the code does not reflect such an ordinance and this is an important traffic component if the Central Valet service is to be implemented at this location. Village Councilmembers indicated their support of the ordinance.
3.) Glenwood Road Railroad Crossing
Ms. Mailander reported that she and Christopher Rutishauser met with representatives of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Borough of Ho-Ho-Kus regarding Glenwood Road, which accesses the train station in Ho-Ho-Kus. DOT offered the option of closing Glenwood Road completely due to the fact that tractor trailers try to drive up the street and get struck creating a dangerous situation. Railings have been replaced several times in this area. The other option would be to make this area one-way going down the hill. Ms. Mailander said that she and Mr. Rutishauser indicated a preference for one way traffic rather than closing the street altogether. It is hoped that one-way traffic going down the street into Ridgewood would dissuade truck traffic.
Ms. Mailander stated that she wouldn’t expect this change to happen until summer of 2017, at the earliest. The DOT has to secure funding and prepare a design. The tracks in this area will also undergo some improvements. Mr. Rutishauser added that train engineers have observed truck drivers making “K” turns at this crossing area and the DOT feels this is an accident waiting to happen and want to take a pro-active approach.
Councilwoman Walsh commented that the residents in this area will not be too happy at the prospect of travelling home via West Glen Avenue. Ms. Mailander agreed stating that the DOT checked and determined that this was a difference in distance of 1.5 to 2 miles. She said that they are grateful that the DOT will allow this to be a one-way area since they could decide to close the road completely. Ms. Mailander stated that the DOT will provide information to help with the drafting of an ordinance when they get closer to this point in time. She added that the crossing will be closed completely for a week or two when the crossing is being redone.
4.) Donation of Generator for Traffic & Signal Building
Ms. Mailander stated that the Borough of Glen Rock has an extra generator, which they are donating to the Traffic & Signal Department. The generator will power the Traffic & Signal Building in the event of a power outage. Village Councilmembers agreed that this will be beneficial to the Traffic & Signal Division.
5.) Ridge School Traffic Study
Ms. Mailander introduced Sgt. John Chuck, who spoke about the traffic study conducted at the Ridge School area in response to safety concerns from parents, citizens and police officers. Sgt. Chuck said that this school area experiences one of the longest queues for pick-up and drop-off in the Village as well as the most traffic restrictions. He looked at whether these restrictions contributed to the problems along with pedestrian safety concerns.
Sgt. Chuck stated that he addressed South and North Murray Avenues, North Hillside Place, Clinton Avenue and West Ridgewood Avenue separately. The biggest concern is on Clinton Avenue where pedestrian and vehicular traffic is allowed in the same space. This was a concern several years ago and remains a top concern today. The residents on this street drive cautiously; however, children are not always aware of their surroundings. The road is heavily traveled by parents and children during drop off and pick-up times which is a large concern. Another issue is South Murray Avenue where there is no crosswalk and children walk across the street with the road being completely open.
Sgt. Chuck said that the area seems to be over regulated with parking restrictions creating long lines, which are sometimes stagnant. The longest time recorded by a car that did not move was three minutes, which is significant for a line of 40 to 50 cars going uphill travelling next to parked cars. Aggressive driving complaints seem to be the result of people who are not picking up students and who drive around traffic stopped in these stagnant lines.
Sgt. Chuck noted that the speeds on these roads do not seem to be an issue especially during drop-off and pick-up times. He said that Ridge School has a definitive pick-up process. Children remain at or near the school until they see their parents’ car and walk to that car, which makes the long lines worse. He could not offer a solution to that part of the problem.
Sgt. Chuck stated that there are some property maintenance issues in play in the area. Some signs need to be cleaned and there is an area on the corner of North Murray Avenue where bushes need to be trimmed.
Sgt. Chuck mentioned that there are issues at George Washington Middle School including cut throughs on private property and illegal turns.
Councilman Hache questioned the width of Clinton Avenue and South Murray Avenue. Mr. Rutishauser said that both streets have a public right-of-way of 50 feet and there is ample room to accommodate curbs and sidewalks. Councilman Hache pointed out that parking is allowed on West Ridgewood Avenue across from Ridge School. He asked if there is adequate room for a car to pass when cars are queued in front of Ridge School. Sgt. Chuck replied that there really isn’t enough room for a third lane allowing a car to pass by comfortably. Mayor Knudsen pointed out that the maintenance of the shrubbery on the corner of North Murray can be addressed through the property maintenance ordinance, which would be followed by the issuance of a summons if warranted.
Councilman Sedon pointed out that some time ago the CSC had recommended better signage in this area and freshening up of the cross walks. He asked if parking restrictions could be eased anywhere in this vicinity to help with the queuing problem. Sgt. Chuck recommended allowing parking downhill away from West Ridgewood Avenue towards Godwin Avenue. He said that parents should be encouraged to park facing away from the school and walk over with the crossing guard in front of the school in order to pick-up their children and drive away from the congestion.
Councilwoman Walsh suggested that the Board of Education be furnished with a copy of this traffic study if this hasn’t already been done.
Mayor Knudsen asked if consideration has been given to making South Murray Avenue and Clinton Avenue one way streets going in the opposite directions. Sgt. Chuck said that this was considered, but their ultimate goal is to draw traffic away from congested areas, which is why they want the streets to remain two ways.
6.) Sherman Place, Pomander Walk and Washington Place Traffic Study
Ms. Mailander stated that both the Village Council and the neighborhood is interested in conducting a traffic study of this area. Mr. Rutishauser needs direction from the Village Council in order to fashion a Request for Proposals from traffic engineers. Traffic count studies have been conducted in this area and this information will be provided to the firm, who is successful in securing this contract to avoid duplication and costs.
Councilman Voigt suggested that they look at parking in and around the area of the businesses and the parking demand and supply in those areas. Mr. Rutishauser explained that a hodge podge of restrictions exist in these areas and residents are looking to have restrictions eased in some areas and strengthened in others. Councilman Sedon said they should look at the distribution of on-street parking and how that impacts traffic flow. The crux of the issue seems to be how on-street parking is distributed in this area.
Councilwoman Walsh asked what the rationale is behind the fact that there is a total prohibition on parking on some streets in the Village, but not on other streets. Mr. Rutishauser said that many of the streets with parking restrictions are not in the vicinity of the CBD and are a result of requests from residents in response to commuter parking. He added that many of these streets are close to bus stops or schools.
Councilman Voigt said it is important to find out where employees are parking. Mayor Knudsen questioned whether this was an appropriate issue to have studied as part of a parking analysis. Mr. Rutishauser thought this information could be useful in order to determine parking impact that will address the concerns of residents.
Mr. Rutishauser said he would prepare and RFP, which he will forward to Village Councilmembers for review and comment. Councilman Hache asked how a traffic study would address the true needs for area. Mr. Rutishauser said they would do some modeling and would also look at the parking demand.
Mayor Knudsen questioned the turnaround time on the traffic study, analysis and presentation to the Village Council. Mr. Rutishauser said that the RFP could contain a time line. Mayor Knudsen said she could see this taking until next spring and she wondered if the Village Council could consider an option to suspend parking on one side of Pomander Walk only for the time being. It is obvious that this is a case of cause and effect and there is enough evidence to demonstrate that other area streets are bearing the brunt of added traffic.
Mr. Rogers indicated that any action taken by the Village Council must be done by ordinance. Ms. Mailander said that an ordinance can contain a sunset provision for six or eight months followed by a permanent ordinance.
Mayor Knudsen polled the Village Council. Councilman Sedon indicated that he would support this option while waiting for the results of the traffic study, because it would offer some relief for residents on Sherman Place and Stanley Avenue. Councilman Hache asked about enforcement especially relative to employees who are parking on the street rather that in the Whole Foods parking lot. Mr. Rutishauser noted that enforcement cannot be selective.
Mayor Knudsen commented that parking restrictions were imposed without the benefit of a comprehensive traffic study, which has exacerbated an existing parking problem. She asked again if there was support for the implementation of parking restrictions on one side of the street. There was no support by other Village Councilmembers.
7.) New Master Plan Budgeting
Ms. Mailander stated that there has been interest expressed in budgeting funds to hire a professional firm to revise the Village Master Plan over a five year period and Mr. Rooney has prepared a memo detailing the procedure. Mayor Knudsen thanked Mr. Rooney for this opportunity to borrow money to finally make this happen.
6. REVIEW OF DCEMBER 14, 2016 PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA
Ms. Mailander stated that next week at the Public Meeting, there would be a proclamation for Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. There will be the Administration of the Oath of Office and Swearing-In of Fire Lieutenant Jordan Papietro-Zales.
There are no Ordinances for introduction or Public Hearings for Ridgewood Water. Resolutions for Ridgewood Water include: Award Contract for Line Stop and Valve Insertion Services; Award Contract for Laboratory Analysis Services; Award Contract for Vance Tank Rehabilitation; Award Professional Services Contract for Water System Divestiture Study; Award EUS Services Contract for Repairs to Air Stripping Tower at Main Treatment Facility; Authorize Change Order for Water Main Stream Crossing and Reject Bids for Glen Tank Rehabilitation.
Ordinances for Introduction Include: Amending Valet Parking Fee Ordinance; Amending RPP Ordinance – Parking Permit for All Parking Lots of $1,000 and Covering the Signs When Valet Parking is Not in Service; Establishing Regulations for Short Term Rentals of Private Homes; Amending Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Establishing No Left Turn at Van Neste Square.
Ordinances for Public Hearing include: Amendments to Various Salary Ordinances for Non-Union Salary Ordinance; Management Salary Ordinance; Amending Chapter 190 – Land Use and Development – Regulations for A-Frame Signs in Central Business District; Amending Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – No Stopping or Standing – Bogert Avenue and Cambridge; Capital Fund Balance for Replacement of HVAC Unit at Ridgewood Library; Authorizing the Execution of Amended Lease for Social Services Association’s Use of 6 Station Plaza; Amending Chapter 265 – Vehicle and Traffic – Establish No Repeat Parking in Zone Districts in Central Business District; and Amending Chapter 145 – Fees – Fees for A-Frame Signs in Central Business District.
Resolutions include: Annual Resolutions to Approve Village Cash Management Plan; Designate Official Newspapers for 2017; 2017 Annual Meetings Statement; Approve Budget Transfers and Approve 2017 Temporary Budgets. Award Professional Services Contract for Financial Computer Software; Award Professional Services Contract for 2017 Physician for Child Health Conference; Award Professional Services Contract for Risk Management Consultants; Award Contract for Preparation of 2017 Village Council Meeting Minutes; Award Contract for Rental of Parking Spaces on North Broad Street – Taxi Stand; Award Contract for Ammunition – Police Department; Award Contract for Bullet Proof Vests – Police Department; Award Contract for E-Ticketing Software; Award Contract for Sanitation Trucks; Award Contract for 2017 Recreational Program Instruction; title 59 Approval and Award Contract for Dewatered Sewer Sludge Hauling Services; Authorize Shared Services Agreement for Child Health Clinic; Authorize Charge Order for Disposal and Recycling of Vegetative Waster; Approve Participation in wet Bergen Mental Healthcare, Inc. Employee Assistance Program; Authorize Agreement for CDL Drug and Alcohol Counseling; Approve Cancellation of Grant Receivables and Grant Reserves; Approve RFP for Grant Writer; Authorize Application for Brownfield Grant; Authorize Application for Bergen County Municipal Alliance Grant; Resolution to Approve Code of conduct for Ridgewood Sports; Accepting Donation of Generator for Traffic & Signal Building from Borough of Glen Rock; Appoint Public Agency Compliance Officer; Hiring Special Attorney; and Supporting Legislation for Recycling of Electronics.
7. MANAGER’S REPORT
Ms. Mailander thanked the Chamber of Commerce for a wonderful Downtown for the Holidays event including the Tree Lighting that took place last Friday. The weather was good and attendance was fantastic.
Ms. Mailander announced that a second payment of $145,038 has been received in connection with reimbursement resulting from damages caused by Hurricane Sandy. This payment is attributable to the diligence of one of the employees in the Engineering Department, John Mehandzic.
Ms. Mailander announced that she was contacted by PSE&G, who informed her that West Glen Avenue will not be paved until the spring due to County issues.
Regarding leaves, Ms. Mailander stated that the last day to place leaves in the street for areas A&B is December 18th. The date has already passed for areas C&D. After that time leaves must be bagged and taken to the Recycling Center.
Community Events - Ms. Mailander stated that Bergen County Parks is holding a winter Wonderland Event at Van Saun Park now through January 15th featuring ice skating, Santa’s North Pole Workshop, heated hospitality tents, premier food trucks, indoor/outdoor beer garden and a ride on the Bergen Express winter train ride. The fee is $15 and includes skate rental.
Ms. Mailander said that on Wednesday, December 21st, the Village will hold a blood drive at the Village Hall parking lot from 2:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. for Village employees and residents. She encouraged everyone to donate blood, which can be in short supply at this time of the year.
8. COUNCIL REPORTS
Planning Board – Councilman Voigt reported that the Planning Board met on Tuesday November 22nd and heard a presentation on the Library Renovation by the architect. There will be a $4 million renovation of the Main Library. The Board is working with the FAC to determine how this will be funded. Concepts will be presented to the Village Council early next year. Councilman Voigt stated that if the renovation moves forward the Library will have to be relocated for about a year during those renovations. Councilman Voigt noted that the Library has turned into more of a community center recently and the renovation will reflect this changing role.
Councilman Voigt said that the Planning Board has agreed to a review of the Master Plan. Some of the deficiencies to be addressed include Open Space, Environmental Assessments, Re-evaluation of the CBD to include streets, lights parking, business inventory mix and traffic and pedestrian circulation. These items will be used to formulate a budget for the work involved, which will take place over the next several years. There will be a budget of $250,000 and the goal is to make the Master Plan a more forward looking document.
Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) – Councilman Voigt stated that the FAC met several days ago and they are working on remediation grants for the Assessment and Clean-Up of the North Walnut Street parking area. The total is approximately $500,000 and the plan is to submit the plans by December 22nd. Councilman Voigt said that the FAC has reviewed the effects of the parking analysis on the CBD. The FAC will continue to look at demand from patrons, employees and commuters and he hopes to have better numbers than those presented tonight.
Councilman Voigt stated that the FAC is developing new projections for the Parking Utility and he will have this information available to Robert Rooney by early January. The next meeting of the FAC is January 5, 2017.
Open Space Committee – Councilman Voigt stated that the Open Space Committee will meet next week and will be reviewing the survey sent out relative to the Master Plan for Open Space.
Councilman Sedon stated that on Friday he and the Chairperson of the Green Team, Jeffrey Voigt will be visiting businesses in the CBD, who have participated in the Green Business Recognition Program. Certificates will be distributed to the participating businesses.
Councilman Hache stated that in conjunction with Ridgewood Water, the League of Women Voters will be hosting a public forum on issues related to local water resources. Richard Calbi will be discussing how drought affects supply and demand and what people can do to conserve water. The event takes place on Thursday, January 26th from 7:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. at the Senior Center at Village Hall.
Ridgewood Arts Council – Councilwoman Walsh reported on the Arts Council meeting last night. They discussed the first Artist Salon with Arielle Adkins. It was a pleasure to view her art work and gain an understanding of the process. The Council is thinking of what to do next and they are aware that there are many arts grants available. She added that the Arts Council could take immediate advantage of a grant writer.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that they are starting from scratch to work on their by-laws, which is a challenge.
Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) – Mayor Knudsen reported that the HPC meeting is cancelled for tomorrow evening.
Mayor Knudsen thanked the Chamber of Commerce for this year’s tree lighting, which was magical. All of the performances by the musicians and dancers were fabulous. She stated that this wonderful event is supported every year by the Chamber of Commerce, but the residents of the Village need to support these businesses throughout the year in order for this event to continue.
Mayor Knudsen thanked Deputy Mayor Sedon for taking her place at several events this weekend. On behalf of the Village Council and staff of the Village she wished both Matt Rogers and Heather Mailander Happy Birthdays.
Mayor Knudsen said she is thrilled to announce that the Ridgewood High School Maroons football team took the State Championship in their division. She congratulated the players and the coach on this well-deserved accomplishment.
Ms. Mailander announced that supplemental tax bills are being sent out as a result of the Board of Education referendum allowing All-Day Kindergarten. She noted that there will be major changes relative to parking in the CBD for commuters, CBD employees as well as shoppers and diners. Information will be available on the Village website by the end of the year and the permits will be available during the last two weeks of December. Staff will be on-hand to explain the various options.
9. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Mayor Knudsen stated they would again have comments from the public and asked anyone wishing to address the Village Council to come forward.
Tracy Koontz, 20 Pomander Walk, said that they need to remember the fact that 99% of the cars parked in front of the house at the corner of Sherman Place and at the strip mall are for the pizzeria. The problem would be solved if these cars were towed. There shouldn’t be any parking on Sherman Place and she noted that when her husband grew up on Sherman Place a number of years ago there was no parking. Ms. Koontz pointed out that an earlier speaker said that the street was too narrow to accommodate parking and if this is the case, she asked why parking is allowed. Parking on this street is hazardous and needs to be stopped now.
Sheila Brogan, 302 Kensington Drive, said she is a co-Chairperson of the Age Friendly Ridgewood Initiative. She thanked the Village Council for their support of the senior taxi coupon program, which she hopes will continue. Ms. Brogan said that she and Beth Abbott organized a meeting of seniors from Ridgewood and was pleased that Councilman Hache could attend the meeting also. The goal is to help seniors who no longer drive so that they are able to get to doctor’s appointments, go into town, have dinner and attend a movie. Senior citizens should be afforded the ability and flexibility to attend events and appointments. Ms. Brogan commented that a variety of travel options is wonderful and helps senior citizens enjoy life to the fullest.
Peter Quinn, 66 Pomander Walk, said that when you take the sidewalk and easement along with the paved street area of Pomander Walk together it is 50 feet wide. The paved street area of Pomander Walk alone is 28 feet wide and he agreed that Sherman Place is 30 feet wide. Mr. Quinn reiterated that if these streets were treated as per the 2013 Code of the State of New Jersey parking would only be allowed on one side of the street.
Mr. Quinn said he finds the vilification of the residents on Pomander Walk to be unfounded and needs to end. Neighbors should not be making slanderous and libel comments about each other. He said that the reason residents on Pomander Walk petitioned for a prohibition on parking is due to an abuse of parking on the street. There were many complaints of parking abuse and many tickets were issued before the ordinance went into effect and there are very few complaints now.
Mr. Quinn witnessed a landscaping truck parked on the street and he spoke to his neighbor, who asked the landscaper to stop parking on the street and to park on the driveway. There are those who don’t follow the parking laws, which is why there is parking enforcement. Mr. Quinn referred to a list of 54 streets that have parking restrictions.
Gail Conenello, 23 Garfield Place, stated that parking on Pomander Walk must be restored because the concerns of all residents in this area need to be addressed in a fair and equitable manner. To do a study without reinstating parking on Pomander Walk in some fashion will result in a flawed report, because the full inventory of parking is not being considered. She moved to Garfield Place because of the proximity to the schools and the business area of Ridgewood; however, this proximity presents challenges and inconveniences, including increased traffic. She recognizes that these issues come with the convenience of being so close to the CBD and they must be managed in a fair way.
Ms. Conenello said that prohibiting parking on any street is not an appropriate way to address these issues. It only pushes the burden to other streets and Ms. Conenello asked how the same request could be denied to residents of any other street, when they have the same list of grievances. Other measures such as limitations on hours of parking, one side of the street parking, enforcement of parking restrictions and other modifications should be more than adequate and effective at addressing the concerns of parking traffic and safety.
Ms. Conenello spoke regarding safety and stated that any analysis of the parking and traffic problem in this area must also focus on the problems faced by children who walk to George Washington Middle School, which she witnesses daily. Given the traffic and parking issues in front of the school, the school encourages parents to drop their children off a block or two away from the school. The problem is that trying to cross Washington Place, Sherman Place and Garfield Place is dangerous and beyond challenging. Cars speed up and down the streets and there are very few crosswalks. Cars park so close to the intersections that drivers cannot see children trying to cross at these intersections. She knows of one child hit in this area and she has witnessed many near misses.
Ms. Conenello said that traffic that is pushed further into the neighborhood will make these dangerous conditions even worse and any study done in this area must include the safety of these children walking to George Washington School. She again asked that the parking prohibition on Pomander Walk be modified temporarily, because only then can the Village assess and review the entire area. There must be input from everyone concerned relative to the real situation in this area.
Peter Quinn, 66 Pomander Walk, said that for those who are interested, he was quoting New Jersey Administrative Code 55-21, Table 43, which describes the cartway and road width. He referred to Section 265.75, which would allow the Village Manager, after consulting with the Chief of Emergency Management, to declare an emergency. This declaration could remove parking from residential streets temporarily. Mr. Rogers said that this situation would not qualify as an emergency. Mr. Quinn said that if there was a way to stop commercial parking from clogging the streets it would be consistent with the twenty plus streets that don’t allow parking of any kind. He stated that the prohibition of parking on Pomander Walk is time specific and is needed in order to preserve the character of the residential neighborhood.
Bridgit Kong, 69 Sherman Place, believes that on-street parking is needed to accommodate those who serve personal needs. She appreciates the caution used by the Village Council in evaluating this problem, but she is frustrated because people who service homes on Pomander Walk are parking in front of her house. Ms. Kong referred to photos showing cars parked on Pomander Walk and said it is not fair to allow parking on both sides of Sherman Place along with two way traffic. If the parking prohibition is to continue on Pomander Walk, Ms. Kong stated she doesn’t want to have to shoulder the entire burden of parking on Pomander Walk in addition to overflow parking from the CBD. Ms. Kong stated that an unjustified privilege was granted to the residents on Pomander Walk.
Meggan Walthau, 22 Sherman Place, agreed with Ms. Kong and said that residents on her street have brought their concerns to the attention of the CSC and the Village Council for years. The parking ban on Pomander Walk has negatively impacted all other streets in the area. Sherman Place is narrow, with two dangerous intersections, a blind turn, and a business whose entire parking lot exits onto this street, while children walk back and forth to George Washington Middle School. These issues have been made worse by this ordinance.
Ms. Walthau stated that the owner of the business that empties out onto Sherman Place also owns three properties on Pomander Walk. She asked why the quality of life of the residents on Sherman Place is not considered to be valuable. She indicated that every street with safety concerns should be encouraged to ask the Village Council to grant special status to their individual street. Ms. Walthau said that she is sure that no one wants parking eliminated everywhere and asked that the Council to move as quickly as possible to address these problems before something terrible happens.
Chris Reid, 112 Stanley Place, asked for a definition of the CBD. Mr. Reid was told that this is not the time for questions and he responded that he has not been able to have this question answered by anyone.
Alyson McCormack, 51 Sherman Place, said that the situation on Pomander Walk has demonstrated that parking is needed on one side of the street, because landscaping trucks and others are parking there on a daily basis. She added that everyone in the Village needs parking on their streets and Christopher Rutishauser can determine a parking configuration for each of the streets involved. He would look at limiting the hours for parking, parking distance from driveways and other simple measures. Ms. McCormack stated that Mr. Rutishauser should speak to all of the residents and review safety issues before someone on one of these streets is killed.
Jane Remis, 118 Madison Place, said that she is the Safety Chairperson at George Washington Middle School, but she is not speaking in that capacity tonight. She wanted the Village Council to be aware that 200 children walk to the CBD from Washington Place on Fridays after school. Anyone who parks on Sherman Place to cross Godwin Avenue is crossing at a dangerous intersection in order to access Whole Foods.
Ms. Remis recalled that at either a CSC meeting or a Village Council meeting she attended earlier this year, someone said that this is an enforcement issue and they couldn’t understand why a new ordinance was being considered. The reply was that in order to enforce the existing ordinance a police officer would have to be on duty daily and this was too difficult. Ms. Remis stated that this is a wonderful, walkable neighborhood and these residents need to be given some relief from these dangerous situations.
Anne Loving, 342 South Irving Street, said she supports the initiative to help senior citizens to get around town. She was upset to hear a comment made earlier this evening that senior citizens could not negotiate UBER, which is one of the methods that will help alleviate the parking problems in the CBD.
Ms. Loving stated that she supports the idea of reviewing the by-laws of the various committees in the Village. It is alarming that some of the committees don’t have any by-laws and she noted that the five Councilmembers were elected to govern the residents and a committee should not be allowed morph into something it shouldn’t be. Ms. Loving referred to the FAC and stated that she was a supporter of this committee initially; however, it is an advisory committee that may be overstepping its bounds and it may be time to dismantle the FAC.
Ms. Loving is disappointed that the civility on the dais has been curtailed. She said she hoped civility would be the new norm and it was until tonight.
John Parillo, owner of Santoni’s Pizza, 88 Godwin Avenue, stated that he supports the proposed traffic study and he asked why this wasn’t done prior to the parking ban. He said that he and his employees have only used the lot since the parking ban went into effect and he sees landscapers and other service personnel parking on Pomander Walk daily. He suggested reinstating parking on one side of the street in order to ensure an accurate parking study.
Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, referred to the plans revealed by Councilman Voigt relative to the Library. He is dismayed to learn that the Library is planning to close for a year and he asked if this was necessary. This Library is gorgeous and he doesn’t understand what renovations could possibly be planned that would close the entire Library building for such a long time. This is absurd and wasteful and while he understands that the plan may include a performing arts center he still cannot fathom the Library moving somewhere else where there would be ample parking available.
Mr. Loving stated that he was not sure about the relationship between the Library Board and the Village Council, or whether the Village Council has any input into their budget and their grandiose plans, but he asked someone to rethink this entire arrangement because he finds it scary.
On another subject, Mr. Loving asked Councilman Hache where the 300 cars will park that are being handled by the Central Valet. Councilman Hache said that some businesses on Prospect Street have indicated that they would make their parking available. There is also the Walnut Street lot and Cottage Place lot.
Lorraine Reynolds, 550 Wyndemere Avenue, spoke about the possible Hudson Street parking garage, and said that the opportunity to go forward with a design for the scaled down version of the garage should be given to Haas. They were initially the firm smart enough to use the easement and the other design team left a bad taste in peoples’ mouths. She cautioned against using numbers of spaces too early on in this process because numbers can change.
11. RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION
Ms. Jackson read Resolution #16-362 to go into Closed Session, in full as follows:
There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Sedon, seconded by Councilman Hache, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 12:20 A.M. on Thursday, December 8, 2016.
_________________________________ Susan Knudsen Mayor
_________________________________ Donna M. Jackson Deputy Village Clerk