20210429 - CBDAC Minutes

Central Business District Advisory Committee  (CBDAC)

Minutes

Thursday, April 29th, 2021;  Zoom Call: 8:30 – 10:00am

 

Attendees: Pamela Perron, Philip Davis, Max Viola, Gary Kolesaire, Rob Delcalzo, Jordan Kaufman, Michael Pickholz, Anastasia Bamberg, Steve Aspero, Jacqueline Luthcke, Jeanne Johnson, Stacy Tsapatsaris

 

 

Council Update

  • Gatehouse rental request for proposal going out.
  • Grab and go is $250 per month. Agreed in theory to extend it to six months.
  • Transit Village. Mike Sedon asked if this would give leverage to developers. We need to give the council the criteria so that they understand it better. How does this work in tandem with complete streets?  We will not do this if it increases density. Jordan suggested it might be an opportunity to get Mat Rogers involved, although he will bill for it.
  • Cannabis. Six categories of business. If you opt out, you opt out of one, you opt out of all. Council would like to opt out.
  • Town has not been billing for the dining corrals. Town will bill them going forward at the same rate as grab and go. Will be billed for May and June. Will revisit the issue in May. Restaurants know they will have to pay this year and appreciate that they were given a free space in the past. Corrals will not be permanent.
  •  Does the Council view the downtown changes implemented due to COVID as an opportunity going forward?  It's not just about eating outside...it’s about the atmosphere created. Why are we going back to where we were years ago? Council recognizes the success of the pedestrian mall. Town sometimes goes backwards rather than learning and moving forward. This isn’t just a COVID conversation. This is about a successful downtown.
  • New parking regulations in place for residential and downtown.
  • Special needs housing in the old Sealfons building
  • July 4 parade might be on Monday July 5.
  • 5G is coming to Ridgewood. Ordinance to allow 5G was passed. Will be very disruptive to traffic but there will be much more capacity.
  • Bus station relocation--plans were created for it to be moved to the sidewalk near Smoked. Each council member had a different objection to it, including loss of parking for West Side businesses and paving over the green area with impervious surface.

 

Parking Garage

  • Gary mentioned an incident between 9:45 - 10:00 pm on Tuesday night in the garage that was a safety concern. Issue of liability to town if someone gets hurt.
  • Concern that the garage is unattended. It is patrolled hourly. Should we have an attendant or a way to control access?
  • Because the garage is not very utilized, it is not monitored very much by users going in and out. Perhaps we could close off certain areas.

 

Real Estate Forum update

 

  • Paul, Rob and Bill and Stacey attended along with 12 landlords---about 80%-90% were multi-generational landlords.
  • Very collaborative and informative. They agreed to create a Facebook group to collaborate going forward.
  • In the open comment section landlords were asked: what is your greatest concern?
    • Pedestrian plaza--strong support and wondering why it was considered not to go forward.
    • Empty storefront--punitive fines are not the right approach but they are open to ideas on how to beautify. 
    • Landlord hardships--having issues collecting rent, even from businesses that are doing well. PPP money is not flowing to landlords.
    • Parking enforcement is too aggressive with ticketing. Meter increase on the heels of COVID is concerning. How is Glen Rock able to offer free parking? Find a better balance of parking to meet periods of peak demand.  Grab and Go was well received but we need to promote it more. To fill the Parking Garage, displace cars from the street. Perhaps no parking on Ridgewood Avenue.
    • Transparency about the permitting process. Want to meet with the building department quarterly. Have landlord reps attend CDBAC and invite Heather to work together to improve the transparency in the permitting process. There needs to be a lot of oversight on the new building department. Landlords feel there is no prioritization of how permits were processed. Perhaps there should be some kind of weighted average on an application that would control prioritization? Both residents and commercial businesses feel that Ridgewood is a mismanaged town. Ridgewood has a reputation as being difficult to work with. There is a perception that people don’t want to open businesses in Ridgewood. We need to make sure the building department doesn’t revert back to old processes.

 

Other

  • Website committee will be talking to Bauer. We don’t know if this was the first draft...what was proposed and what deliverables were agreed upon. Our goal is to not spend any more money.
  • Rob has moved to Hohokus and can’t be a formal member. We have a vacancy that needs to be filled on the committee.
  • Katherine is working on the brochure for multi-family housing. Will be ready in June. Digital version has content that can be dropped into a website.  The multifamily on Broad is already full.
  • In two weeks we will know the exact dates of the pedestrian mall. Both recent meetings of Welcome Back Ridgewood were canceled at the last minute without explanation.

 

 

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