20201105 - Green Ridgewood-Green Team Virtual Meeting Minutes

Green Ridgewood-Green Team Virtual Meeting Minutes 20201105


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

Green Team: Justin Manger, George Wolfson, Ellie Gruber, Bob Upton, Anthea Zito, Diala Pharaon, Tony Mauriello, Michael Sedon (Village Council Liaison).

Additional: Miles Luo (RHS), Joanna Hanrahan.

1. Welcome/Introductions:

Once more we appreciate Dylan Hansen hosting us on Zoom. The committees were pleased to welcome new members Beth Creller, Diala Pharaon and Tony Mauriello.

We also welcomed guest presenters Bob Chilton EVP, Jesse Castellanos and Loren Altshuler of Gabel Associates.

2. Approve September and October meeting minutes:

Pam proposed and Christine seconded approval of the draft minutes from the September and October meetings which had been e-mailed to members on 9/29 and 10/19 respectively. Both minutes were approved with no objections.

3. Membership/Recruitment:

With recent appointments by the Village Council Green Ridgewood committee membership is full. Fortunately there were more applicants than positions and unsuccessful applicants have been contacted and invited to participate. The Green Team now has 9 members but it is believed 10 is a full complement. There were additional applicants so Mike expects the Council will make another appointment shortly.

4. RGEA (Renewable Government Energy Aggregation) sub-committee:

Christine introduced this topic and Bob Chiltern and his colleagues. Bob expanded on Christine’s remarks and answered questions about the steps in setting up an RGEA, costs (most borne by consultant/3rd party supplier), ordinances, negotiation, duration, etc. and how they promote growth of sustainable electricity production.

The sub-committee (Pam & Christine) will introduce a proposal for discussion at our next meeting to determine next steps, if any.

5. Planning Board activity:

The Planning Board met on Tuesday October 6th and started hearing the application by Hopper Ridge Condo Assoc. It continued at the November 3rd meeting and will continue at the December 1st meeting. A meeting is also scheduled for November 17th. These hearings present an opportunity for members to become familiar with the operation of the Board but there appears to be no reason to contribute to the discussion at this time.

6. Communications, Social Media, Website, etc:

At different points during our meeting the need to promote our activities on social media was addressed. Saurabh and Beth offered to assist in this respect. Justin had had to leave the meeting and Yvone was not present so we need to prepare to discuss this topic at our next meeting.

We have discussed with Joanna Hanrahan of Sustainable Ridgewood how we identify each other’s organizations on our websites and Justin has established a Partners page on our website and made additions to it and the home page. Sustainable Ridgewood’s website is still in development.

7. Future events/Geothermal presentation:

We were not able to conclude a satisfactory plan for a geothermal presentation with the Geo Group and some incentive was lost when it became apparent that the new Ridgewood Water HQ will not be a candidate. Meantime Ridgewood Library is cooperating with Sustainable Ridgewood to put on a Sustainability Series of events including one on geothermal (date tbd). We have indicated willingness to work with them if we are able to contribute.

8. Green Team/Sustainable Jersey

Silver Recertification: Justin had indicated he will be sending out the latest spreadsheet of Actions. It is unclear if Ridgewood held any drug collection days this year. The Village did not participate in the national collection day. Mike & Pam will follow up.

Green Business Program: George and Pam have produced certificates and a cover letter to be presented to each of the 12 certified restaurants. Unfortunately one may be closing due to difficulties created by the pandemic.

Wildlife Action Plan: At the next work session Mike will ask the Council to adopt the plan by resolution.

Bergen Hub: (i) Upper Saddle River hosted a Zoom meeting on October 26th with a presentation by Tracey Woods of SJ about Community Solar. Her slides are available on Basecamp. Some questions were left unanswered but SJ expect to release a how-to guide shortly. Next Hub meeting will be in December, probably on the 7th or 8th.

(ii) The Creative Bergen group continues to develop its plan including an Arts Amble next summer.

(iii) The newly formed Single Use Plastics (Film?) sub-committee will meet via Zoom on Nov 11th. Bob will try to determine if this group will administer the remaining Styrofoam grant funds and how it will be assigned. In any case we have generally agreed that there is an ongoing interest in the community for Styrofoam collections and it was proposed that we schedule one, perhaps early next year, using Hub funds if available otherwise our own funds. George’s suggestion to solicit donations to support future drives was well received. To be discussed and decided next meeting.

YMCA Teen Voices: Bob has again e-mailed and phoned the Y proposing cooperation.

9. Sustainable Families/Households Proposal:

Ellie has been talking with Joanna at Sustainable Ridgewood about a cooperative program. They will work on specifics. This is an area where the use of short videos promoted on social media was suggested. And Saurabh and Beth offered help.

10. ERI (Environmental Resource Inventory):

Rob was not present so no update. It was again agreed that this is a major undertaking but we appreciate any part that Rob and his team can develop. It was noted that the Tree Inventory (which could be incorporated into the ERI) is to be presented to the Council soon.

11. Leaf blowers sub-committee:

This topic had been proposed by Alice Diamond but she could not be available. Ellie, Miles and others had expressed interest. Pam and Justin had met with Mike Tarleton, landscaper, who advised that modern professional grade leaf blowers are more sophisticated and less polluting (but expensive) than in the past. Doubtful if electric ones are up to the task with respect to hours of use. Due to shortage of time discussion was discontinued.

12. Schools:

The RHS Green Club was congratulated having completed some clean-ups at Habernickel Park.

Saurabh reported shade tree planting at Somerville and suggested future efforts to do more.

16. NJ Plastics Pollution Reduction Act:

It was just reported the Governor has signed this bill into State law.

17. New Business:

Pam suggested a tour of the Village’s leaf composting facility. Bob has already made a request for a tour on behalf of Glen Rock EC and will follow up.

18. NJ Transit Gas Fired Power Plant:

It has been reported in the press that the MTA will now go green with this project but we understand there may be some fine print. 

19. NJCC Organic Waste Management Summit (Virtual) November 19th 2020.

This will be the second annual summit. Bob advised last year’s event was most informative. Ellie has signed up. Bob will forward info about the event.

Agenda items 13, 14, 15 and 20 were omitted due to time constraints.

21. Next Joint Meeting will be Thursday December 3rd at 7:00 PM, details to be advised.

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