20210902 - Green Ridgewood/Green Team Meeting Minutes

Green Ridgewood-Green Team Meeting Minutes 20210902

Held in-person at the Stable


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.