Central Business District Advisory Committee
August 13, 2020
In attendance: Councilwoman, Pamela Perron, Bill Gilsenan, Max Viola, Gary Kolesaire, Chief Jacqueline Luthcke, Philip Davis, Michael Pickholz, Michael Velicu, Jordan Kaufman, Kathryn Schmidt
Guests: Jeanne Johnson (Welcome Back Ridgewood), Heather Mailander (Village Manager), Sean Hamlin (Sanitation Coordinator)
Members of the Public: Paul Vagianos
The minutes of the July 23, 2020 meeting were approved.
Curbside Pick-up “Grab and Go”: Councilwoman Perron reported that the Village Ordinance has been modified to suspend the requirement that someone remain in the car while using the grab and go spots. A pilot program will be in effect from August 31 to October 3 at a reduced rate of $75/space/week, compared to the standard cost of $100/space. Fifteen spaces are currently being designated.
The next step is to communicate the program to garner sponsorships from businesses, organizations, or individuals who might wish to underwrite a grab and go space, focusing on the importance of the program to the viability of the downtown. Names of sponsors will be displayed if the program continues beyond the pilot.
Communication suggestions include outreach to the Chamber, the Guild, and other organizations such as Rotary and Newcomers, direct email and phone calls to the businesses, outreach to the public via all aspects of social media including Feed the Frontlines. It is important to have a strong pilot so that the program can be sustained through the winter when restaurants will no longer be able to operate outside. It is important to gauge support soon, i.e. by Labor Day, to understand if the pricing is feasible for ongoing operation. It was also suggested that businesses, specifically restaurants, could add a surcharge to their pricing to help pay for the cost of grab and go.
Cardboard Pickup in the CBD: Sean Hamlin provided background on the current situation indicating that the decision to discontinue picking up the businesses’ cardboard was not made lightly. It was influenced by a number of factors including: the changing international market for cardboard which results in the Village now paying $60/ton to recycle cardboard when previously the Village earned $40/ton on cardboard; significant increase in resident cardboard pick-up (first priority) driven by mail services such as Amazon; the anticipated increase in resident pick-up as a result of the high-density housing that will soon be opening; “contamination” of cardboard (food, grease, wrong mix) that drives down the price that recyclers will pay.
The Village continues to be willing to accept the businesses’ cardboard and dispose of it. The only change is that the businesses now need to get the cardboard to the recycling center. It was also noted that picking up cardboard from the businesses in the CBD was done as a courtesy in the past because there was capacity and the economics worked.
Members of the CBDAC will meet further on this with Sean to see if there are other options, e.g. designated pick-up zones.
Bylaws: The bylaws subcommittee (Philip Davis, Michael Pickholz, Pamela Perron) met and presented the following background. In 2017, the Village Council agreed to provide The CBD Advisory Committee with annual funding from the Village of Ridgewood. The initial funding amount was set at 1% of the prior fiscal year’s gross property tax revenue paid to the Village by the Central Business District, with the Committee granted the right to apply for a larger budget in subsequent years based on the Committee's projected needs.
Therefore, the committee recommended amending the bylaws to include the following statement: “The Committee may apply for funding each year from the Village of Ridgewood by submitting a budget request to pay for anticipated expenses in executing its mission, in accordance with the Village’s annual budget application process.”
A motion to amend the bylaws accordingly was made, seconded and unanimously approved. See attached amended Bylaws.
Michael Pickholz noted that the committee needs to begin pulling their budget requests together to submit the appropriate paperwork in September. Anyone wishing to join the budget sub-committee should reach out to Pamela, Kathryn, Jordon, Michael or Phillip.
Marketing the CBD and High-Density Housing: Following up on our last meeting, Kathryn Schmidt has been in contact with Bill Gilsenan, Joan Groom from the Chamber, Dianne O’Brien (Community Liaison from Newcomers) and Max Viola (representing the Guild) to discuss how we might market the CBD to residents and prospective residents of the high-density housing units.
A two-phase process is being considered. The first would be a brochure or folder with basic information (map, links to relevant sources, Joan suggested a “Guest Card” to get a free coffee, cookie, etc. with participating vendors) distributed through the developers and their real estate representatives to all prospective residents who come to view the apartments. Then Newcomers, in partnership with the Guild, could deliver Welcome “Baskets” to new residents when they move in. Anyone interested in working on this project should contact Kathryn Schmidt.
CBDAC Membership: Councilwoman Perron provided an update on membership and tenure. The CBDAC currently has openings for two resident spots, which includes one delegate from the Citizen Safety Committee. The Village Manger will now advertise the openings so any resident who wants to apply may do so.
The CBDAC listed the following as priorities and action items in the short term:
- Supporting the Curbside Grab and Go amendment including communicating to all relevant constituents.
- Creating a CBD Cardboard Pick-up sub-committee to work with the Village and the businesses to come up with alternatives to the CBD cardboard pick-up concern.
- Identify budget items for submission to the VC by September.
- Marketing the CBD to the high-density housing prospects.
- Deciding next steps on the web-site.
The next meeting is Thursday August 20 at 8:30 am.
The meeting was adjourned.
August 17, 2020
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