Green Ridgewood-Green Team Meeting Minutes 20211007

Held in-person at Village Hall, Senior Lounge

Attendance:

Green Ridgewood: Bob Upton, George Wolfson, Christine Amundsen, Yvone Nava, Beth Creller, Jill Fasano (Village Staff Rep), Pam Perron (Village Council Liaison).

Green Team: Justin Manger, George Wolfson, Bob Upton, Anthea Zito, Mike Faherty, Michael Sedon (Village Council Liaison).

Additional: Miles Luo (RHS), Delfina Cinco.

1. Welcome/Introductions/Apologies

Apologies for absence had been received from Ellie, Tony, and Mary.

We were pleased to welcome guests Delfina Cinco and Miles Luo.

Following a long succession of our meetings held by Zoom as a Covid precaution we have held in-person meetings in July in the Senior Lounge and in August and September out doors at the Stable. Tonight, back in the Senior Lounge, even though well spaced and following Village policy, in view of the threat of the Covid Delta variant we discussed other options. A hybrid Zoom/in-person format is not technically feasible so it was concluded to hold next month’s meeting via Zoom and perhaps alternate in-person and Zoom after that.

2. Approve July, August and September Meeting Minutes

The July, August and September draft minutes were distributed to members by e-mail on July 10th, August 9th and Sept 9th respectively. It was noted that the September minutes showed the next meeting date incorrectly which was changed to Oct 7th. Christine made a motion to approve the July, August and September minutes, as amended, seconded by Pam and approved unanimously. 

3. Membership/Recruitment/Leadership

It is expected that Village Council & Administration will follow past practice and solicit applications for new committee members as required during November so we need to determine which members wish to continue their membership into 2022 and which of those need to be reappointed and thus determine vacancies. Bob will send an e-mail to all members to verify their positions before our next meeting.

We again appealed to our Council liaisons to encourage promotion of all the volunteer committees on the Village website year round.

Leadership positions are elected by the committee members for annual terms and we have established the practice of holding those elections at the January meeting. Both Bob and George believe that involvement in leadership by other members would serve to provide leadership into the future, especially as we have no green Team Chair at present. It has been suggested that the election of a Green Ridgewood Committee secretary might make the Chair role less onerous. Members are asked to give thought to this issue.

4. Communications:

Justin has submitted for reimbursement the annual costs he incurred for the operation of our website, hosting ($144) and domain ($29.95), total $173.95. Since this is an annual renewal of an ongoing expense the committee considers it pre-approved.

5. Discussion of Goals and Priorities

Since George was away for our discussion of goals and priorities last month he asked to present his thoughts at this meeting. He offered the following thoughts:

When he joined Green Ridgewood (then REAC) 13 years ago there was little interest from residents and council members in sustainability and less focus on it in the schools. Whereas today we have Village council members who support environmental issues and a more aware and concerned citizenry, many of whom are involved professionally, and active green clubs and activities in our schools as well as inclusion in the curriculum.

So now we have the opportunity to shift our emphasis from education and suggestion to initiating action and becoming more vocal, soliciting feedback from residents and local businesses and reacting to it. Become the focal point for environmental activities in the community with other organizations and clubs, the library, churches and Village departments. Make Climate Change the sole focus.

Promote actions: Add EV’s to municipal fleets, promote alternative energy sources, reduce vehicular use, change operational habits thru AI.

We must evolve our on-line and social media presence by creation of a communications committee. Also bring about change through carbon saving techniques and efforts within Village departments and institutions and use Earth Day to both inform and survey residents on environmental issues.

6. Green Team/Sustainable Jersey

Silver Recertification: While Mike Sedon had submitted our re-certification application and SJ had approved many Actions the total for Silver level was not assured. So we have taken advantage of SJ’s offer to extend our current certification thru 2022. Therefore our application will now be due in June next year. Mike offered to lead our effort starting after the Nov 2nd elections.

7. Sustainable Bergen Hub

(a) There was no Hub meeting in August and September. Wyckoff will host a meeting on October 25th when Tracy Zur, Bergen County Commissioner, is scheduled to attend. The agenda is available on Basecamp.

(b) The Single Use Plastics sub-committee meeting on October 6th focused on Oakland GT’s plastic reduction efforts.

(b) EV Sub-Committee: The Upper Saddle River event on October 2nd was highly successful. The variety of exhibits included EV manufacturers offering test drives and a number of individual owners exhibited their vehicles. Our own Green Ridgewood EV sub-committee with support from Glen Rock members will hold an event at the Ridgewood Farmers Market on October 17th.  Justin has created an informational handout and Beth will produce a promotional flyer.

8. EAGER (Encouraging Alternative Green Energy for Ridgewood)

The RGEA sub-committee will again have a table promoting the EAGER proposal at the Ridgewood Farmers Market on October 17th in conjunction with the EV event.

9. EPS/Styrofoam Collection

Following our September meeting where we had no quorum Bob requested by e-mail a vote to approve expenditure up to $300 to conduct an EPS/Styrofoam collection in October or November. Pam proposed and Yvone seconded the proposal and “yes” votes were received from George, Ellie, Mary, Jill, Beth and Bob. No “no” votes were received. Mike F and Mike S also indicated support. So the motion passed which should be moot as the Recycling Department has offered to sponsor (i.e. cover the costs of) the event.

The collection is scheduled for Saturday, October 16th, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, with a rain date of October 23rd. It will be at the Graydon parking lot and open to Ridgewood residents only. It has been widely publicized by the Village administration, Recycling Department and on social media and will operate in the same way as previous collections except we have scheduled same day drop-off at Poly Molding in Haskell.

Thanks to Yvone who will administer the event as she did in April and we need volunteers to respond to her. So far two appeals to committee members for volunteers have resulted in 5 unavailable for Oct 16th, 4 available and 3 unsure or part time. Miles offered volunteers from RHS and we also have an offer from Ramapo HS so we expect to be OK but would appreciate more adults.

10. Earth Day Fair

Rich Calbi (Ridgewood Water and Recycling Dept) has extended an invitation to Nancy Bigos (Parks & Recreation), Cynthia Halaby (Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands) and George & Bob from Green Ridgewood to a October 12th meeting to start planning the Ridgewood Daffodil Festival and Earth Day Fair 2022. Beth has agreed to join us. The event is scheduled for Sunday, April 10th.  Christine has approached the BPU/Clean Energy NJ for participation. George reminded us that the Earth Day Fair is the only source of funding for Green Ridgewood activities.

11. Sustainable Yard Maintenance (Leaf Blowers, Lawn Chemicals, etc)

Mike F and Anthea submitted a pre-read document to members by e-mail on October 4th and Ellie submitted a proposal document, also by e-mail on October 4th. Both are attached for convenience. Also Bob had provided a link to an AGZA webinar about Sustainable Land Care, (see September minutes).

Bob commented that the webinar was targeted at landscapers but Mike F said there was useful information about electric equipment.

Ellie’s proposal, aimed at limiting gas powered lawn equipment, suggests working with other like-minded groups and starting with a presentation to Village Council. While expressing general support the committees suggest Ellie first present the proposal to these committees and perhaps research and conduct outreach before addressing the Council.

Mike F agreed that Ellie’s proposal fits as a component of his & Anthea’s campaign. Summarizing his remarks he pointed to concerns associated with poor yard maintenance practices of GHG emissions, high water consumption in summer, pesticide use and flow-off into rivers, harm to beneficial insects and lack of shade, suggesting retaining grass clippings and leaves. They suggest creating a sustainable yard standard.

They suggest as next steps:

Review the Village Code, definitions in particular, and enforcement and suggest revisions.

  • Creating a sustainable yard standard.
  • Establish best practices and award plaques to appropriately maintained properties.
  • Consider creating example landscapes in public spaces, e.g. Twinney Pond, Memorial Park, etc.
  • Research and apply for suitable grants to fund these initiatives.
  • Incorporate practices in environmental science education in schools.
  • Develop promotional/marketing strategy using yard signs, social media, other groups and Earth Day events.

Pam suggested collaborating/involving Women Gardeners, Ridgewood Conservancy and Village code enforcement. Perhaps solicit support from Ridgewood Water.

Mike, Anthea and Justin expressed interest developing this topic together with Ellie.

12. Letter to EPA Administrator Regan

Ellie had sent to committee members on Sep 29th an e-mail suggesting she sign , on behalf of Green Ridgewood, a letter titled “Petition to Enforce the Noise Abatement and Control Act and the Quiet Communities Act” created by Quiet Communities Inc. In Ellie’s absence and due to shortage of time and that apparently few had read the letter or petition no decision was taken.

13. Ridgewood Adopt-A-Drain

Delfina and Nancy Mancison are continuing to try to develop this program for Ridgewood. Some issues need to be addressed regarding interaction of different web sites. Since some coordination with Village administration will be necessary pam will try to set up a meeting of interested parties.

14. Planning Board/Master Plan

As noted previously, the September 21st Planning Board meeting included a public meeting for information & discussion about Phase II of the Master Plan. The Plan will include a Green building and Environmental Sustainability Element. Another public meeting will take place on October 19th.

It was also reported that, at its October 5th meeting, the Planning Board discussed the latest State requirements for EV charging stations.

15. Tree Protection Ordinance

The ordinance is still being written.

16. Schools

Congratulations were extended to the 5 Ridgewood schools receiving Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification. They are RHS, BFMS and Ridge, Somerville and Travell elementary schools.

17. New Business

a. Bob had forwarded Ellie’s proposal to cooperate with the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood to screen the movie “The Sacrifice Zone”. The consensus was favorable with some wishing to learn more before making a decision. It was understood a suitable speaker would be sought to accompany the movie.

b. Several people have expressed concern about damage to the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook from recent storms and the need for a longer term plan. We will endeavor to learn if this will be addressed in the Master Plan but also understand there are problems establishing responsibility for maintenance of the rivers.

c. It was noted that Ridgewood Water had conducted two information sessions about PFAS and in spite of their laudable efforts in addressing this issue it has raised substantial concerns in the community.

20. Next Joint Meeting will be Thursday November 4th at 7:00 pm, via Zoom.

Minutes submitted by: Bob Upton, October 10th, 2021.

(See 2 attachments)

 

 

 

Request for Green Ridgewood Committee support:

I am asking for support from Green Ridgewood to present an educational campaign to stop the noise and pollution from our lawn equipment.

There is a national movement to ban gas-powered lawn equipment.  I belong to a statewide group called:  Advocates for Transforming Landscaping in New Jersey  (ATL-NJ), and we are all part of Quiet Communities, a national scientific resource. 

In brief, the nose, the pollution and harm to our environment caused by these machines are finally getting the attention of audiologists and scientists. 

Glen Rock is also part of ATl-NJ and has proposed a ban on leaf blowers.  I believe we should ban all gas powered lawn equipment, but many towns feel that leaf blowers with their 2 stroke motors do a tremendous amount of damage and we should concentrate on this.  Many towns have restricted the hours and days they operate, and recently a court decision supported Montclair’s law over the objection of a landscaper.  Princeton reaches out in Spanish and English to meet with landscapers.

I would like permission to work with the League of Voters and the Climate Committee to begin an educational campaign.  The first part of the campaign is to make a presentation to the Council at a work session, similar to the one we did to ban single use plastic bags in Ridgewood. Bob Upton, Lisa Summers and I made the presentation, and it did take over a year.  As a result of our and many other towns, the NJ Legislature passed a even more stringent law, effective March 2022, due to the number of towns restricting plastics and Styrofoam.

So we have a precedent for reaching out to the Council, who ultimately make the decisions, and we have no illusions that this will be done quickly.

I hope you will support this effort.  If you go to quietcommunities.org and look at the research, I hope you will agree that the larger and larger mowers, and more powerful gas leaf blowers are not doing us or the people who operate them, any good.

 

Thanks, sorry I can’t be there in person tonight.  But if you say yes, I will give more detailed presentation at the next meeting.

Ellie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sustainable Residential Landscaping For Ridgewood

Background/Imperative:

“Americans devote 70 hours annually to pushing petrol-powered spinning death blades over aggressively pointless

green carpets to meet an embarrassingly destructive beauty standard based on specious homogeneity.” — Ian

Graber-Stiehl

Lawns cover forty million acres in the United States, the equivalent of eighteen Yellowstone parks. They are the

largest irrigated crop in the country, with municipalities devoting almost half of their water use in support. Lawns

consume seventy million pounds of fertilizer each year. The conversion of natural gas to nitrogen fertilizer for lawns

leads to 70,000 tons of CO2 emissions per annum. Seventy-eight million homes in the United States use lawn

pesticides. Lawn pesticides are used at two times the rate of pesticides on food crops. Manufacturers sell five million

lawnmowers per year to maintain the national lawn-scape. Lawnmowers use over five hundred million gallons of

gas and emit five and a half million tons of carbon dioxide yearly into the atmosphere. Leaf-blowers add to this total.

Lawnmowers and leaf-blowers both operate above seventy decibels, beyond the considered safe level of fifty-five.

Just listen to the machining of your neighborhood on any weekday. That is the death toll of us wasting water to

create ecological deserts that contribute to global warming so we can enjoy a meaningless 19th century aesthetic.

Green Team/Council Opportunity:

Promote sustainably landscaped yards for Ridgewood residences.

Key Ideas:

1. Review village code to update definitions of “blight” and “weeds” to allow for conversion of portions or

entire yards to trees/wildflowers. (see summary of relevant Village Code below)

2. Determine policy/code on native versus invasive species.

3. Review village code to ensure proper/reduced use of motorized lawn equipment: time of day, decibel, twostroke

vs. four. Align with the ATL-NJ group and noise-abatement/EPA effort (Ellie’s email).

4. Determine if code should include imperatives around electric yard equipment and fertilizer type.

5. Create volunteer “Ridgewood Sustainable Yard Standards”: reduced acreage dedicated to lawn (max 40%?),

elimination of pesticides, elimination of nitrate-based fertilizers, electric power equipment, composting,

retention of leaf/clippings, native trees, composting. Align with work done for SJ, Cut it and Leave it. Align

with any efforts at composting.

6. Ensure Sustainable Yard Standards are aligned with science/EPA/NJ-state consensus, and that Standards

jibe with AP Environmental Science class in high school (connect with ML).

7. Create role-model for Sustainable Yard Standards in one or more town parks, or portion of parks (grant

funding).

8. Create plaque for residences that adhere to Sustainable Yard Standards (similar to LEED) (grant funding).

9. Fund #6 and #7 via grant from SJ (or Anjec)...SJ seminar 10/5.

10. Align/coordinate with Sustainable Ridgewood: add guidelines to site?

11. Promote via social media and website.

12. Rollout first half next year…promote at Earth Day.

Next Steps:

A. Discuss feasibility of ideas, and builds in Green Team/Council meeting: alignment with other actions, incl.

noise abatement.

B. Link with SJ programs/points? Align Sustainable Ridgewood? Align ATL-NJ.

C. TBD discussions Ridgewood Council and Ridgewood Parks.

D. Grant application process November.

E. Incorporate into Earth Day planning.

-------------------

Background: Ridgewood Village Code relevant to residential landscaping.

175-14

The exterior of any building shall be maintained so that the appearance of the premises and all buildings thereon

shall reflect a level of maintenance in keeping with the standards of the neighborhood and such that the

appearance of the premises and structures shall not constitute a blighting factor for adjoining property owners nor

an element leading to the progressive deterioration and downgrading of the neighborhood with the accompanying

diminution of property values. Failure to do so shall constitute a nuisance and shall be subject to the penalties

outlined in this article.

223-59

All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of 10 inches. All

"noxious weeds," which are hereby defined as poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac and ragweed, shall be

prohibited. "Weeds" shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation other than trees or shrubs;

provided, however, that this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens.

172-6

The following specific acts or omissions or the maintenance or allowance of any of the following conditions is hereby

prohibited and is declared to be or to constitute a nuisance:

….

(11)

Permitting a growth of or failing to remove goldenrod, ragweed and other noxious weeds, poison ivy, poison oak or

poison sumac, contact with or the pollen from which is capable of causing discomfort or injury to health.

115-2

In the event that the Director of Buildings and Inspections or his designated agent finds that it is necessary and

expedient for the preservation of the public health, safety or general welfare, or to eliminate a fire hazard, to remove

from any lands situate in the Village of Ridgewood or destroy thereon any brush, weeds, including ragweed, dead

and dying trees, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, filth, garbage, trash and debris, the Director of Buildings and

Inspections or his designated agent is hereby authorized and directed to notify, in writing, the owner and, if occupied

by a tenant, the tenant or tenants thereof, to remove or destroy the same. The notice shall contain a copy of this

chapter. If the owner or tenant does not remove or destroy the same within 10 days after written notice from the

Department of Buildings and Inspections, the Department of Buildings and Inspections is hereby authorized and

directed to cause the offending material to be removed or destroyed.

275-2

Yard Waste

Grass clippings, brush, leaves, and other vegetative debris removed from a property by the occupant or owner, or

employee or contractor of such owner or occupant engaged to provide lawn care, tree or shrub care, or

landscaping services.

222-1

Commercial use of power tools or landscaping and yard maintenance equipment and motorized construction

equipment is permitted in the Village of Ridgewood in all residential zones or within 200 feet of a residential property

line when such use is conducted on a commercial or industrial property during the following times only:

(1) From Monday to Friday, between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.; and

(2) On Saturday, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

(3) Such operation is prohibited entirely on Sundays.

(4) Such operation is entirely prohibited on all federal holidays. The federal holidays are: New Year's Day; Birthday

of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Washington's Birthday; Memorial Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Columbus Day;

Veterans Day; Thanksgiving Day; and Christmas Day.

[Added 7-12-2017 by Ord. No. 3602]

B.

The Village Manager shall have the authority to permit the otherwise prohibited uses in the case of an emergency

and on Sundays pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated by the Manager and approved by the Village Council.

175-11

No person shall occupy as owner or occupant or rent to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit for

the purpose of living therein which does not conform to the provisions of this article and the Uniform Construction

Code and the BOCA National Property Maintenance Code, established hereby as the standard to be used in

determining whether a dwelling is safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation.

BOCA: Building Officials and Code Adminstrators International

PM-303.4 Weeds.

All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or, plant growth in excess of eight (8)

inches. All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. Weeds shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation,

other than trees or shrubs provided; however, this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens.

PM-308.4

d. The exterior of the premises and the condition of accessory structures shall be maintained so that the

appearance of the premises and all buildings thereon shall reflect a level of maintenance in keeping with the

standards of the neighborhood, and such that the appearance of the premises and structures shall not constitute a

blighting factor for adjoining property owners nor an element leading to the progressive deterioration and

downgrading of the neighborhood with the accompanying diminution of property value.

 

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Green Ridgewood-Green Team Meeting Minutes 20211104 - DRAFT

Held on Zoom

Attendance:

Green Ridgewood: Bob Upton, George Wolfson, Ellie Gruber, Yvone Nava, Mary Mogerley (Parks & Recreation Rep), Jill Fasano (Village Staff Rep), Pam Perron (Village Council Liaison).

Green Team: Justin Manger, George Wolfson, Ellie Gruber, Bob Upton, Tony Mauriello, Mike Faherty.

Guests: Miles Luo (RHS), Carolyn Jacoby (STC), David Refkin, Dianne Kidwell.

1. Welcome/Introductions/Apologies

Apologies for absence had been received from Beth, Christine, Saurabh, and Anthea.

We were pleased to welcome our guests.

2. Approve October Meeting Minutes

The October draft minutes had been distributed to members by e-mail on October 14th. Pam motioned to approve the October minutes, seconded by Mary and passed unanimously. 

3. Membership/Recruitment/Leadership

Bob conducted an e-mail survey of those members whose terms are expiring or of which we have no record. Responses were as follows:

George - reappoint to Green Team, NOT to Green Ridgewood

Ellie - reappoint to Green Ridgewood, NOT to Green Team

Bob – reappoint to Green Ridgewood and Green Team

Justin and Tony - reappoint to Green Team

Diala - did not respond so her Green Team membership will expire.

 

Miles and Pam reported some interest in the Student Liaison position to the Green Team and candidates are encouraged to submit an application.

 

4. Communications:

Nothing to report.

5. Green Team/Sustainable Jersey

Silver Recertification: We will take this up after the holidays.

6. Sustainable Bergen Hub

(a) Wyckoff hosted a Zoom Hub meeting in on October 25th attended by Tracy Zur, Bergen County Commissioner. The minutes are available on Basecamp. Next Hub meetings November 22nd hosted by Ridgefield Park and January 25th hosted by Glen Rock.

(b) Styrofoam sub-committee has not met. Collections are being undertaken by individual towns with advice from the Hub but no financial support.

(c) Single Use Plastics sub-committee will meet November 9th.

(b) EV Sub-Committee: No Hub events or meetings but Green Ridgewood and Glen Rock  held an EV education event at the Ridgewood Farmers Market on October 17th.  The committee voted by consensus to reimburse Justin for $48 for posters. He will submit a claim.

7. EAGER (Encouraging Alternative Green Energy for Ridgewood)

The RGEA sub-committee held its second educational event promoting EAGER and collecting signatures of support at the Ridgewood Farmers Market on October 17th.

8. EPS/Styrofoam Collection

The Styrofoam collection on Saturday, October 16th went off very smoothly thanks to our own volunteers and especially volunteers from Ridgewood and Ramapo High Schools’ Project Interact teams and GWMS Green Team. We are grateful to Ridgewood Recycling for sponsoring the event which resulted in wider publicity. One and a half 20 foot truckloads of Styrofoam were delivered for recycling. The Recycling Department has proposed holding regular Styrofoam collections with Green Ridgewood coordinating volunteers. They proposed Jan 8th or 22nd for the next event and we suggest Jan 8th with 22nd as rain date.

9. Earth Day Fair

The Earth Day organizing committee met on Oct 12th and is working on materials to promote the event to local businesses and seek corporate sponsors by appealing to their interest in ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance). The committee will meet again on November 23rd. There is a need for someone to lead an effort to “green” the event.

10. Sustainable Yard Maintenance (Leaf Blowers, Lawn Chemicals, etc)

Mike F is leading an active sub-committee working on the project as outlined at the October meeting.

11. Movie “The Sacrifice Zone”

Several members took advantage of the virtual screening and discussion presented by Sustainable Jersey. The movie focusses on environmental injustice centered on the Newark Ironbound section and its exposure to pollution sources, in particular the garbage incinerator. The question was left open of whether to try to coordinate a local screening/discussion with other groups. Ellie will follow-up.

12. Ridgewood Adopt-A-Drain

The development of this proposed program is paused waiting for a suitable volunteer to lead it.

13. Rivers & Flooding

So far attempts to determine which organization, if any, is addressing river maintenance in and beyond Ridgewood have been unsuccessful. The Village Engineering Division is holding a Flood Education Seminar on November 17th which may shed some light on this issue.

14. Resiliency

David Refkin had asked to address the committees on this topic. He expressed concern that the Village is not prepared for future escalation of natural events caused by rain and temperature extremes and public health emergencies and encouraged an assessment of infrastructure, emergency preparedness, vulnerability of power & water supply etc, in particular his own experience with PSE&G’s recent inadequate response. Again the Flood Seminar may prove informative and he was also referred to the Village’s Office of Emergency Management.

15. Planning Board/Master Plan/ERI

No issues of environmental concern have been raised at recent Planning Board meetings. The Planning Board Master Plan Sub-committee continues to work on the new Plan and the next public update is scheduled for January 18th.

Meantime the Village has engaged the Land Conservancy of NJ to update the Open Space Plan and they will also create an ERI (Environmental Resource Inventory) for the Village, something long sought by our committees. Barbara Davis, VP of LCNJ, has asked to attend our next meeting to discuss this project and will provide some info ahead of the meeting.

15. Village Council Update

Pam provided a brief summary of Village Council activity of interest to the committees including recent discussion of purchase of an EV or hybrid version Ford Escape and plantings in downtown tree wells. The Tree Protection ordinance is still being written.

20. Next Joint Meeting will be Thursday December 2nd at 7:00 pm, via Zoom. (Note: Venue was switched from in-person to Zoom to facilitate the ERI presentation/discussion).

Minutes submitted by: Bob Upton, November 19th, 2021.

 

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Green Ridgewood-Green Team Meeting Minutes 20210805

Held in-person at the Stable

Attendance:

Green Ridgewood: Bob Upton, Christine Amundsen, Saurabh Dani (School Board Rep), Mary Mogerley (Parks & Recreation Rep), Pam Perron (Village Council Liaison).

Green Team: Justin Manger, Bob Upton, Anthea Zito, Mike Sedon (Village Council Liaison).

Additional: Miles Luo (RHS).

1. Welcome/Introductions:

As anticipated, many of our members are away; apologies for absence had been received from most of those absent. Therefore, as planned and lacking a quorum, we adopted an informal format for most of the meeting.

2. Approve July Meeting Minutes:

The July draft minutes were distributed to members by e-mail on July 10th. The vote to approve them was postponed until the next meeting due to lack of quorum.

3. Membership/Recruitment:

It was noted that a number of committee memberships will expire at the end of the year and yet there is no active effort on the Village website to make residents aware of committee opportunities except for Planning, Zoning and CBD. It was suggested perhaps add Volunteer Opportunities to the Employment Opportunities button on the home page. Pam and Mike took note of this suggestion. We need always to be inviting participation from residents who may be interested in joining the committees.

Bob encouraged all members to give thought to the future leadership of both committees. Green Team is currently without a Chair and Bob is exploring relocation outside the Village.

4. Green Team/Sustainable Jersey:

(a) Silver Recertification: Mike & Justin reported on the response from SJ to our application for recertification. They say we are in good shape with the one required action approved, three priority actions approved and nine categories out of eight needed for silver certification. We have 145 approved points and need 205 more for silver certification with 100 more than that in our application. Mike will forward the details of the required revisions to the person responsible for each Action.

A question was asked if the RHS Water Bottle project can be included in any action. Too late for this year.

(b) Green Business Subcommittee: Members are reminded that George requested suggestions for questions and issues to include in qualifying non-restaurant businesses.  For guidance Pam e-mailed the restaurant questionnaire to members on July 22nd.

5. Sustainable Bergen Hub:

(a) Glen Rock hosted a Zoom Hub meeting on July 26th attended by Mike F and Bob. It included a presentation “Accelerating the Transition to Sustainable Landscaping in New Jersey” by Lois Kraus of ATL-NJ (Advocates for Transforming Landscaping), a review of the recent efforts of the Styrofoam Sub-Committee to get support from BCUA and County leaders, and brief reports from other sub-committees and green teams. EV Sub-Committee still hope to hold an event at the Ridgewood Farmers Market, date tbd, and participate in the Ridgewood Auto Show.

Next Hub meeting dates would be 8/23 if someone volunteers, 9/27 and Wyckoff will host 10/25 when Tracy Zur, Bergen County Commissioner is scheduled to attend.

(b) Single Use Plastics Sub-Committee has not met.

(c) The Styrofoam Sub-Committee: See (a) above.

(d) Creative Bergen: The 2022 Arts Amble is scheduled for June 9th – 11th. Board to meet soon.

(e) EV Sub-Committee: See (a) above.

(f) Solar Sub-Committee: Hasn’t met but hope to schedule live info session at a solar-powered private home.

6. Open Discussion

E.A.G.E.R. (Encouraging Alternative Green Energy for Ridgewood): Pam distributed a Summary (info) sheet and FAQ document prepared by the RGEA sub-committee using this new name for the proposal. These will be distributed at a table at Sunday’s (8/8) Farmers Market. They will ask for names and e-mails of supporters.

Tree Protection Ordinance: Pam reported she, George, Mike & Carolyn Jacoby (Shade Tree Comm) are working on proposed ordinance. Appropriate penalties were discussed. The document will go to the Village Engineer then Attorney for comment and then to this group for review.

Planning Board/Master Plan: Pam advised their September 21st meeting will include Heyer Gruel Associates, consultants, and a discussion of the Resiliency component of the Master plan.

Village Council: Pam reported the Village will purchase a street sweeper machine which will help keep storm drains clear and has started the process to create a park at the Town Garage site on Franklin Ave. The Council also is considering whether to support Food and Water Watch in opposition to a proposed Gas-Fired Power Plant for Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission. Pam will pass on info to us.

Tree Issues: Unfortunately $80K from the $100K budgeted for tree planting has had to be reallocated to the removal of diseased ash trees. A suggestion has been made to create an internship program for college or high school age students to maintain tree wells during the summer months. Miles will explore this idea.

Bob apologized that he forgot to forward a notification from Ellie about a webinar by AGZA, the American Green Zone Alliance, about battery powered landscaping equipment, organic lawn care and other topics. He will check to see if a recording is offered and advise.

We extended an invitation to Sean Hamlin to attend a future meeting to discuss Styrofoam collection (October?), Clean Communities program, Food Waste program and diverting curbside items to organizations seeking donations. Our meeting dates don’t work well for Sean so a meeting with a few members will be suggested. Christine, Pam, Justin, Bob & Miles expressed interest in participating if available.

It was noted that Beth and George plan to explore her suggestion of an Earth Day project with Ridgewood’s schools. Several people offered to assist and await next steps.

In some previous years we have taken the opportunity after summer absences to consider our goals and priorities. We noted that there are a number of topics which might be brought to the Council so we need to review and prioritize. Examples are:

E.A.G.E.R. – all agreed this project is in motion so it has a priority position.

Tree Protection Ordinance – also in process, see above.

Leaf Blowers noise and pollution.

Restrictions on Multiple Balloon Releases.

Restrictions on Lawn Chemicals.

17. Next Joint Meeting will be Thursday September 2nd at 7:00 pm at The Stable.

Minutes submitted by: Bob Upton, August 9, 2021.

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Green Ridgewood-Green Team Meeting Minutes 20210902

Held in-person at the Stable

Attendance:

Green Ridgewood: Bob Upton, Ellie Gruber, Christine Amundsen, Beth Creller, Pam Perron (Village Council Liaison).

Green Team: Justin Manger, Ellie Gruber, Bob Upton, Anthea Zito, Mike Faherty, Michael Sedon (Village Council Liaison).

Additional: Miles Luo (RHS).

1. Welcome/Introductions/Apologies

Green Ridgewood attendees did not constitute a quorum while Green Team attendees did. Apologies for absence had been received from Tony, Mary, Yvone and Jill.

2. Approve July and August Meeting Minutes

The July and August draft minutes were distributed to members by e-mail on July 10th and August 9th respectively. The vote to approve them was postponed until the next meeting due to lack of a quorum of Green Ridgewood.

3. Membership/Recruitment

Pam has suggested at a Village Council meeting that Volunteer Opportunities be added to the Employment Opportunities button on the Village website home page. She noted that the Village opens applications for committee memberships for a four week period each year and she has suggested it be extended. The committees suggest that this process should be made clear on the Village website and interested residents encouraged to attend committees even outside the recruiting window.

The committees expressed appreciation to Nancy Mancison and Delfina Cinco who have volunteered to develop the Adopt-A-Drain program in Ridgewood on behalf of Green Ridgewood and who may wish to apply to join the committees.

4. Discussion of Goals and Priorities

For those of us who found even the summary of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 2021 Report too daunting (and depressing) Mike F had distributed his own key selection of excerpts. Village management continues to implement actions to reduce energy consumption, support EVs, promote recycling and waste reduction, etc. How can we support and encourage further effort in the Village? The discussion of a variety of topics distilled down to a focus on educational efforts to move from fossil fuels to electricity while reducing energy consumption. Our plans for Earth Day should incorporate this theme.

Christine will contact the BPU/Clean Energy NJ program to see if they can provide resources to assist us. Mike F will investigate other government programs.

5. Green Team/Sustainable Jersey

Silver Recertification: Mike S has reviewed SJ’s response to our resubmission and will send details of the required revisions to the person responsible for each Action by 9/6. Our response to SJ is due by 9/10.

6. Sustainable Bergen Hub

(a) There has been no Hub meeting since the July 26th meeting reported last month. Next Hub meeting dates 9/27, details tba, and Wyckoff will host 10/25 when Tracy Zur, Bergen County Commissioner is scheduled to attend.

(b) EV Sub-Committee: Several towns are planning individual EV events. Upper Saddle River is planning for 10/9. Beth and Justin representing Green Ridgewood with support from Glen Rock members plan to hold an event at the Ridgewood Farmers Market on 10/17 or possibly 10/24, expecting to exhibit several EV models.  They also plan to participate in the Ridgewood Auto Show.

7. EAGER (Encouraging Alternative Green Energy for Ridgewood)

The RGEA sub-committee had a table at the Ridgewood Farmers Market on 8/8 with over 100 residents signing a support petition. They will do so again in conjunction with the 10/17 EV event.

8. Meeting with Sean Hamlin

Sean is Ridgewood’s Supervisor of Sanitation & Recycling and he graciously agreed to join a group of members for an informal conversation. He supports our plan to hold two EPS (“Styrofoam”) collection a year and will provide assistance as best he is able. He continues to be interested in obtaining an EPS densifier for the Village. Sean is also the Village’s Clean Communities Coordinator and confirmed that the Village is receiving Clean Communities funding to which it is entitled which is correctly utilized to support appropriate Village programs. He also reviewed successes and challenges to the Village’s recycling program.

9. EPS (“Styrofoam”) Collections

At our July meeting we discussed holding EPS collections twice a year starting in October but did not vote to approve funds. With Sean’s support assured we will move ahead. Suggested dates are October 16th or 23rd. Yvone has again offered to lead planning for the event. Bob will contact Sean and Nancy Bigos to obtain agreement on the dates and availability of the Graydon lot. He will also conduct a vote by e-mail by Green Ridgewood members to approve the event and funding for it.

10. Earth Day Fair

To be discussed at our next meeting.

11. Ridgewood Adopt-A-Drain

As noted above, paragraph 3, Nancy and Delfina have proposed developing this program in Ridgewood. So far they have “met” virtually with Bob and Pam to gain background, they are looking into successful programs in Westfield & Ramsey, they have obtained locations of storm drains in the Village and will talk to Justin about using the Green Ridgewood website for the program. Some issues such as safety, age limits for participation, etc will be discussed before submitting the plan to the Village Council for approval.

12. Planning Board/Master Plan/ERI

Recent Planning Board meetings have covered issues not of major concern to our committees. The Village has announced Phase II of the Master Plan and scheduled a public meeting for information & discussion for Sept 21st at 7:30 pm at Village Hall. Bob will forward the Village’s announcement to members. Also, as noted previously, the Village is contracting for the creation of an ERI.

13. Town Garage Property Acquisition

As Pam advised members by e-mail Aug 28th, the Village is proposing to acquire the Town Garage property at 120 Franklin Street for the purpose of redeveloping the property and/or establishing a public park. She provided the owner’s environmental report and advised that the Village will conduct its own study. She reminded us that, before voting on the measure, the Village Council will conduct a public hearing on the ordinance on September 8th  at which committee members can make comments.

14. PVSC Power Plant Resolution

In e-mails dated Aug 17th & 19th Bob had provided members with Food and Water Watch’s position and suggested resolution about this issue and the response from Passaic Valley Sewage Commission (PVSC). Ellie and colleagues from LWV have been working on an improved resolution which she will share with us for discussion at our next meeting.

15. NJ Green Amendment

On May 7th Ellie e-mailed members links to the proposed State Assembly and Senate bills on this topic and a suggested resolution of support. In discussion some concerns were expressed about the unintended consequences of this legislation however it was stated that the resolution only calls for discussion of the amendment so it was agreed Bob would request from members a vote of support for the resolution. (Subsequently, on reading the resolution Bob concluded it does in fact call to support the amendment so clarification is needed at a future meeting before calling for a vote).

16. Tree Protection Ordinance

A draft has been submitted to the Village Manager, Attorney, Engineer and Parks Director for review

17. NJ Conservation Blueprint Interactive Mapping Tool

Information was distributed with the August minutes. No further discussion took place.

18. Sustainable Yard Maintenance (Leaf Blowers, Lawn Chemicals, etc)

Time did not allow full discussion of this topic. Mike F remarked that, like many towns, Ridgewood’s code for yard maintenance is based on BOCA(?) guidelines. He will distribute this information to members. Thoughts were expressed about how to educate and incentivize residents about yard maintenance. It was noted the AM Rotary Club plans improvements including a showpiece area at Twinney Pond. Also noted, Bob had sent members a link to the AGZA (American Green Zone Alliance) Sustainable Land Care Webinar -see  https://youtu.be/Uuu33d39F4s.

19. New Business

Pam drew the committees’ attention to recent information shared by Ridgewood Water about PFAS and reviewed actions being taken in that regard.

20. Next Joint Meeting will be Thursday October 7th at 7:00 pm, venue tba.

Minutes submitted by: Bob Upton, September 7th, 2021.

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Green Ridgewood-Green Team Virtual Meeting Minutes 20210603

Attendance:

Green Ridgewood: Bob Upton, George Wolfson, Christine Amundsen, Beth Creller, Mary Mogerley (Parks & Recreation Rep),Saurabh Dani (School Board Rep), Pam Perron (Village Council Liaison).

Green Team: Justin Manger, George Wolfson, Bob Upton, Mike Faherty, Abby Clothier (Student liaison), Mike Sedon (Village Council Liaison).

Additional: Miles Luo (RHS).

1. Welcome/Introductions:

Apologies had been received from Diala, Ellie, Yvone, and Jill. Diala has advised that her Thursday conflict will have ended before our next meeting.

Again, we extend thanks to Dylan Hansen for hosting us on Zoom.

2. Approve April and May Meeting Minutes:

The “3rd draft” minutes from the April meeting and the “3rd draft” minutes from the May meeting had been e-mailed to members on May 29th and June 1st respectively. A correction to attendance was noted and an addition to paragraph 3 of the May minutes had been requested. Both were approved unanimously as amended.

3. Membership/Recruitment:

Nothing to report.

4. Communications: Website, Social Media:

Yvone & Beth continue to post on our Facebook and Instagram pages and info for posting can be sent to them.

5. Green Team/Sustainable Jersey:

Silver Recertification: Justin and Mike have been gathering and entering information prepared by committee members responsible for SJ Actions to meet the June 6th submission deadline. Justin will provide a status report after that date. We will have the opportunity to supplement the application later.

The Sustainable Jersey Annual Summit took place virtually again this year during May and the segments can be viewed on their website. Bob reported on the “Road ahead” session, including that a new Gold Star Standard “Water” is now available with “Health” to be added next.

6. Sustainable Bergen Hub:

(a) Upper Saddle River hosted a Zoom Hub meeting on May 24th which included a discussion about the mission and goals, concluding only that further wider discussion is needed. Bob will host next meeting July 28th. The agenda will continue that discussion and James Pfeiffer of Green Waste Energy is invited to speak. Meetings will probably continue on the 4th Monday each month, probably to exclude August & December.

(b) The Single Use Plastics sub-committee has not met.

(c) The Styrofoam Sub-Committee has not met. Next meeting expected to focus on game plan now the grant is exhausted. Mostly Styrofoam collections will be conducted by individual towns for their own residents only. We will have to consider our own plans for Ridgewood in due course.

(d) Creative Bergen – The county wide Arts Amble event is being publicized and Pam reported Anthea has provided brochures and posters for distribution. The Ridgewood dance performance and art exhibit are as reported last month. Art of Motion has provided an insurance certificate so hopefully all Village requirements have now been met. Thanks to Anthea for her hard work putting this event together.

(e) EV Sub-Committee – As reported last month this group is interested in holding a small EV car show in Ridgewood but specifics plans are awaited.

(f) Solar Sub-Committee – Bob reported that this new sub-committee has been formed.

7. RGEA (Renewable Government Energy Aggregation) Sub-Committee:

The Sub-Committee is compiling a list of FAQs and answers for education purposes.

8. Planning Board/Master Plan:

Following the Board’s review of the Hopper ridge Condominium project Bob had distributed a public notice received by Green Ridgewood which we agreed required no action.

The only project addressed by the Board in one meeting since our last meeting was 315 East Glen. Some of our members expressed concern with the removal of trees and we reviewed past unsuccessful efforts to pass a tree ordinance, still ongoing. Depletion of trees is especially of concern given the vulnerability of the ash trees and the necessary removal of many.

9. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA):

It was felt that the availability of delivery programs from some CSAs and issues with handling refrigerated items probably prevent a drop-off program being worthwhile unless it could serve people who are homebound.

10. Adopt-a-Drain:

Miles has not yet had an opportunity to discuss this with the RHS Green Club. Another option may be to approach Boy/Girl Scouts.

11. CBD Balloons:

Bob spoke at the May 12th Village Council work session on behalf of Green Ridgewood expressing general opposition to single use plastics in general and balloons in particular. We were advised the CBD Committee is considering reusable balloons.

12. NJ Green Amendment:

Copies of the NJ Assembly and Senate Bills ACR80 and SCR30 known as Green Amendment Bills and a suggested resolution supporting them were distributed to members and will be discussed at next month’s meeting.

13. ERI (Environmental Resource Inventory):

It was noted that during a proposal to the Village Council by the Land Conservancy of NJ about developing the Open Space Plan they also listed among their capabilities the creation of ERIs. The benefits of having an ERI on record and its inclusion in the Master Plan have been discussed previously. We believe the cost might be expected to lie in the $15 – 20K range.

14. New Business:

Also at the latest Village Council meeting the possibility of creating a thrift shop in Ridgewood was mentioned. This suggestion was applauded but with the caution that a suitable location would need adequate parking for drop-off.

17. Next Joint Meeting will be Thursday July 1st at 7:00 PM, venue to be advised.

We believe an in-person meeting will be possible. Bob will check availability of a larger space than the Garden Room. In the past we have skipped a meeting in one of the summer months. A decision about the August meeting will be made at the July meeting.

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