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A REGULAR PUBLIC MEETING OF THE VILLAGE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD HELD IN THE SYDNEY V. STOLDT, JR. COURT ROOM OF THE RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE HALL, 131 NORTH MAPLE AVENUE, RIDGEWOOD, NEW JERSEY ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2021 AT 8:00 P.M.

  1. CALL TO ORDER – OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT – ROLL CALL – FLAG SALUTE – MOMENT OF  SILENCE

Mayor Knudsen called the meeting to order at 8:00 P.M., and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.  At roll call, the following were present:  Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen.  Also present were Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.  

Mayor Knudsen also led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

2.            ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORTS

Mayor Knudsen moved that the Bills, Claims, and Vouchers, and Statement of Funds on hand as of September 30, 2021, be accepted as submitted.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

3.            APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Mayor Knudsen moved that the Village Council minutes of March 24, and September 8, 2021, having been reviewed by the Village Council, and now available in the Village Clerk’s Office be approved as submitted.  Councilwoman Reynolds seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

4.            PROCLAMATIONS

A.            NATIONAL DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH

The following Proclamation was read by Councilwoman Reynolds.

 

 

 

B.            DECLARE OCTOBER NATIONAL BULLYING PREVENTION MONTH

The following Proclamation was read by Councilwoman Perron.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor Knudsen advised that the Proclamation recognizing Family Court Awareness Month will be read at the next Public Meeting of the Mayor and Council.  

5.            COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mayor Knudsen asked if there were any comments or questions from the public this evening.  Ellie Gruber, 229 South Irving Street, responded to a resident’s comment made at a prior meeting, that more playing fields should be installed at Schedler Park because the fields cost Village taxpayers millions of dollars.  Ms. Gruber said that this is not the case.  She explained that the Village purchased the Schedler property for $2.7 million in 2008, upon the recommendation of the Open Space Committee.  Shortly after, the Village received $1 million from the Bergen County Open Space Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.  The Village subsequently received another $600,000 from Bergen County.  The cost to the taxpayer at that time was $1.1 million.  The Village then received an additional $450,000 from Green Acres reducing the cost to $650,000.  Ms. Gruber pointed out that the Village has received several other grants since, making the cost to taxpayers almost nothing.  Ms. Gruber concluded that this is a wonderful purchase and she reiterated that because of the Village’s ability to get all of these grants, the resulting cost to the taxpayer was almost nothing. 

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, asked that the Mayor and Councilmembers speak slowly and clearly into the microphone because he finds it difficult to hear in the back of the room.  Mr. Halaby requested a financial reconciliation of the funds spent on the Schedler property.  He noted that Ms. Gruber was referring to the cost of the property and not the cost of the house.  In the interests of transparency, he asked Mr. Rooney, Village Chief Financial Officer, to provide details on how much money has been spent on each item.  Mr. Halaby indicated that he should not have to file an OPRA request in order to obtain this information. 

Chris Powers, 451 East Saddle River Road, stated that in May 1984, a drainage easement bisecting his property was deeded to the Village of Ridgewood.  A brook runs through the drainage easement and Ridgewood was granted the right to pipe the brook if it was deemed necessary; however, no piping has been installed.  Ridgewood is to restore the adjoining property after it completes any cleaning or clearing of the easement.  Both the easement and the brook are overgrown with bushes, as well as large stones, diseased trees, fallen tree limbs, and other debris that block the flow of the brook.  During heavy rains, the brook overflows, flooding the neighbor’s yard as well as the yard of the neighbor across the street.  This has caused the erosion of the southern earthen wall of the easement, resulting in parts of his driveway breaking and falling off into the easement.  Mr. Powers explained that drainage easements allow access for Village workers to make repairs to prevent water pooling or flooding. 

Mr. Powers stated that Peter Affuso, a Ridgewood Principal Engineering Aide, visited the site on November 8, 2019, and acknowledged his concern about the possible collapse of the driveway.  He concluded that the easement wall requires stabilization work and the Village would need to bring reef rocks, which would have to be transported across the driveway.  Mr. Powers said that recent storms have caused flood waters to climb the easement’s wall, exacerbating the situation.  He pointed out that there have been numerous written and verbal communications with the Village, but nothing has been done.  Mr. Powers asked that the Mayor and Councilmembers witness the damage at his home.  He anticipates communication from the Village regarding their next steps so that he understands how to proceed. 

 

No one else came forward at this time and Mayor Knudsen said she thought that the matter of the easement had been resolved. 

Mayor Knudsen noted that the Village has received approximately another $500,000 grant from the NJ Historic Preservation Trust to assist with funding for the Zabriskie-Schedler House.  This will significantly reduce the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on the project.  Mayor Knudsen stated that the Schedler property has been discussed and the information is available, but she will ask that it be publicized again. 

Ms. Mailander stated that on November 17th, the Engineering Department will be holding a forum at Village Hall to discuss solutions relative to flooding, in addition to questions and answers.  There will be information on the event on the Village website and flyers will also be distributed. 

Mayor Knudsen thanked Ms. Gruber for providing such concise information relative to the funding at the Schedler property. 

The public portion of the meeting was closed.

6.            MANAGER’S REPORT

Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk, explained that there are three ways to vote on Election Day, which is November 2nd.  These options include voting by mail.  Ballets must be mailed back or put into a drop box by November 2nd.  In person early voting is available from October 23rd to October 31st at any of the early bird locations in Bergen County from 10:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M., Monday through Saturday; and 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. on Sunday.  The final option is in person at your polling place on November 2nd.  There are details about voting options on the Village website.  Ms. Mailander stated that the League of Women Voters will be holding two Candidate Forums.  The first is scheduled on Thursday, October 14th at 7:30 P.M., at the Ridgewood Education Center for the Board of Education members.  The incumbents Sheila Brogan, Christopher Kaufman and Hyun Ju Kwak are up for re-election.  Susan Madison and Mohammed Mahmood are also running and the election will be for three available spots for three year terms.  On Wednesday October 20th at 7:30 P.M., another forum will be held in the Court Room of Village Hall for the Village Council term vacated by Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh. Melanie Hooban and Paul Vagianos are running for this three year term.  The Village Council forum is being televised on Fios Channel 33, and the Board of Education forum is being televised on Fios Channel 34.  The Board of Education forum will be televised live on the district’s website.  The Village Council forum can be viewed live on the Village’s YouTube channel, and both events will be archived and can be viewed at a later time.

Ms. Mailander stated that Green Ridgewood is sponsoring a packing Styrofoam collection drive this Saturday, October 16th, at the Graydon Pool parking lot from 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M., or until the truck gets full.  The rain date is October 23rd

Ms. Mailander noted that the Village is sponsoring a free mobile shredding event on Saturday, November 6th, at the Graydon Pool parking lot, from 9:00 A.M. until 12:30 P.M., or until the truck gets full.  This event is rain or shine.  Documents will be securely shredded.  Plastic bags and binder clips must be removed, and the limit is four file boxes per car.  

Ms. Mailander stated that the Ridgewood Farmer’s Market, organized by the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce, continues on Sundays from 8:30 A.M. until 2:00 P.M.  The Market is located at the Ridgewood Train Station Parking lot, and has been extended into November, weather permitting. 

Ms. Mailander announced that the Train Station Coffee Concession has re-opened and looks forward to serving former and new customers. 

Ms. Mailander noted the Halloween Parade sponsored by the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce for kids, parents, grandparents and friends will take place on Saturday, October 30th weather permitting, from 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square. 

Ms. Mailander reported that the annual leaf placement yellow postcard has been sent to all Village homes.  Leaf placement will begin October 18th in area B, followed by other areas.  She stressed that this is for leaf placement only.  The pick-up crews will come through the areas after the expiration of the leaf placement dates.  Ms. Mailander asked residents not to place leaves for pick-up past the pick-up date listed on the postcard.  They must wait for the next leaf placement date to put out additional leaves. 

Ms. Mailander listed the following Village Council meeting dates, which are broadcast live on the Village website and on Fios Channel 34 and YouTube.  The dates are as follows:  October 27th, November 3rd, and December 1st are Village Council Work Sessions beginning at 7:30; and November 10th is a Village Council Public Meeting beginning at 8:00 P.M.

7.            VILLAGE COUNCIL REPORTS

Councilwoman Reynolds had no report this evening.

Councilman Sedon had no report this evening.  He was unable to attend the Shade Tree Commission meeting yesterday; however, he will make a report after reviewing the minutes.

Chamber of Commerce:  Councilwoman Perron reported that the Chamber of Commerce met today.  They have a new guide that will be mailed to every household in Ridgewood on November 1st.  The guide contains useful information about Ridgewood businesses. 

Councilwoman Perron stated that the Chamber discussed repairs of the taxi stand downtown.  Members were interested in what the area would be used for.  They also had questions about snow removal in the business district. 

Councilwoman Perron welcomed three new businesses that have joined the Chamber.  They include Ridgewood Living Magazine; Heart and Health which is a shop on Broad Street; and Shoo Fly, which is a pest exterminates company.

Green Ridgewood:   Councilwoman Perron reported that Green Ridgewood met and recognized that since there are some people who are not comfortable meeting in a group setting, they will alternate between Zoom meetings and in-person meetings.  Green Ridgewood will begin a new program for sustainable yards, which will create a standard and establish best practices to decrease greenhouse gases relative to lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and other equipment.  They will also look at the reduction of pesticides and fertilizer use that causes pollution in the water.  The group will review the approach of other towns concerning the transition to electric vehicles, and she hopes to have recommendations for the Village Council to consider. 

On October 17th, Green Ridgewood will be at the Farmer’s Market with demonstrations of electric vehicles.  There will also be people on hand to answer questions on Encouraging Alternative Green Energy for Ridgewood (EAGER).  Councilwoman Perron said that Green Ridgewood is looking for volunteers and manpower for another new initiative, “Adopt a Drain”.  She invited anyone interested to attend the Green Ridgewood meeting on November 4th at 7:00 P.M., via Zoom.  Please contact Councilwoman Perron if you need more information on the link.     

Councilwoman Perron noted that the closest place to Ridgewood for early voting is Bergen Community College.

Ridgewood Access:  Mayor Knudsen reported that this past weekend was Access Weekend.  She thanked everyone who participated in this amazing event, particularly Inez Bunza and Robin Ritter, in addition to other committee members.  The weekend was kicked off on Thursday, with a ribbon cutting at Ridgewood Commons, which is the new special needs housing at the former Sealfons Building.  Councilwoman Perron and Councilwoman Reynolds also attended.  Mayor Knudson said that they have worked on special needs housing since 2016, and it provides a comfort to parents of special needs children to know that their children will have a safe place to live as adults.  She thanked Village Attorney, Matt Rogers; Village Manager, Heather Mailander; Village Chief Financial Officer, Bob Rooney; and past and present Village Council colleagues for their support in seeing this project through.  Mayor Knudsen said that she hopes these special needs residents will live long and happy lives in Ridgewood.  She also acknowledged Tom Toronto, of United Way; and Sherrie DePalma of Madeline House, for their assistance in establishing the special needs housing.     

Oktoberfest:  Mayor Knudsen stated that Oktoberfest, held on the west side of Ridgewood’s Central Business District, was a success.  She noted that a letter to the residents along the hayride route did not go out as planned, and she thanked Councilwoman Perron for stuffing the envelopes and delivering the notices on foot to every resident.

8.            ORDINANCES – RIDGEWOOD WATER

a.            Introduction - #3874 - Bond Ordinance – Water Utility Improvements due to Damage from Hurricane Ida

Mayor Knudsen moved the first reading of Ordinance 3874.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion. 

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3874 by title:

 

A BOND ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS WATER UTILITY IMPROVEMENTS IN RESPONSE TO DAMAGE CAUSED BY HURRICANE IDA IN AND BY THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, IN THE COUNTY OF BERGEN, NEW JERSEY, APPROPRIATING $75,000 THEREFOR AND AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF $75,000 BONDS OR NOTES OR THE VILLAGE FINANCE THE COST THEREOF

Councilwoman Perron moved that ordinance 3874 be adopted on first reading and that November 10, 2021 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

b.            PUBLIC HEARING – NONE

9.            RESOLUTION – RIDGEWOOD WATER

THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTIONS, NUMBERED 21-298 THROUGH 21-304 WERE ADOPTED BY A CONSENT AGENDA, WITH ONE VOTE BY THE VILLAGE COUNCIL, AND WERE READ BY TITLE ONLY:

Ms. Mailander stated that Resolution 21-302 is for the construction of the PFAS Treatment facility, and not for the design.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.          ORDINANCES

a.            Introduction - #3875- Bond Ordinance – Various Capital Improvements due to Damage Done by Hurricane Ida

Mayor Knudsen moved the first reading of Ordinance 3875.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion.  Councilwoman Perron explained that the Village is bonding these funds in order to make the repairs and address damage from Hurricane Ida.  She explained that it would be extremely expensive to use funds from the 2022 budget; however, if done this way repairs can be paid for over time.  There was great damage done to the filtration system screens at the Water Pollution Control Facility and in the Parks Department.  The Police Department lost many items such as vests, guns and other materials, and Village Hall lost furniture.  She was happy to see that Veterans Field is being utilized again, even though she thought repairs would take much longer. 

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3875 by title:

A BOND ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS IN RESPONSE TO DAMAGE CAUSED BY HURRICANE IDA IN AND BY THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, IN THE COUNTY OF BERGEN, NEW JERSEY, APPROPORIATING $1,564,500 THEREFOR AND AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF $1,490,000 BONDS OR NOTES OF THE VILLAGE TO FINANCE PART OF THE COST THEREOF

Councilman Sedon moved that Ordinance 3875 be adopted on first reading and that November 10, 2021, be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

b.            Introduction - #3876 – Amend Chapter 165 – Garbage, Rubbish, Refuse and Recycling – Definitions of Bulk Refuse

Mayor Knudsen moved the second reading of Ordinance 3876 by title on second reading and that the public hearing be opened.  Councilwoman Reynolds seconded the motion. 

 

 

 

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

 

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3876 by title:

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 165 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, GARBAGE, RUBBISH, REFUSE AND RECYCLING AT SECTION 165-18, “DEFINITIONS”

Councilwoman Perron moved that Ordinance 3876 be adopted on first reading and that November 10, 2021, be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Reynolds seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

c.             Introduction - #3877 – Amend Chapter 165 – Garbage, Rubbish, Refuse and Recycling – Container Specifications and Setout Requirements

Mayor Knudsen moved the second reading of Ordinance 3877 by title on second reading and that the public hearing be opened.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion. 

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

 

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3877 by title:

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 165 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, GARBAGE, RUBBISH, REFUSE AND RECYCLING AT SECTION 165-19, “CONTAINER SPECIFICATIONS & SETOUT REQUIREMENTS“

Councilwoman Reynolds moved that Ordinance 3877 be adopted on first reading and that November 10, 2021, be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

d.            Public Hearing - #3873 – Vacating a Portion of Upper Boulevard and Barrington Road

Mayor Knudsen moved the second reading of Ordinance 3873 by title and that the Public Hearing be opened.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3873 by title:

AN ORDINANCE VACATING THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN A CERTAIN FORTY FOOT RIGHT OF WAY LOCATED AT THE WESTERLY INTERSECTION OF BARRINGTON ROAD AND UPPER BOULEVARD AND TO PROVIDE THE VACATED AREA BE INCORPORATED INTO THE ADJACENT PROPERTIES

Mayor Knudsen announced that the Public Hearing was open.  There were no comments from the public, and Mayor Knudsen moved that the Public Hearing be closed.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion. 

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

Councilman Sedon moved that Ordinance 3873 be adopted on second reading and final publication as required by law.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

11.          RESOLUTIONS

THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTIONS, NUMBERED 21-305 TRHROUGH 21-322, WERE ADOPTED BY A CONSENT AGENDA, WITH ONE VOTE BY THE VILLAGE COUNCIL, AND WERE READ BY TITLE ONLY:

 

 

 

 

10.          COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mayor Knudsen asked if there were any further comments from the public this evening.  No one came forward at this time.

11.          ADOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Sedon, seconded by Councilwoman Perron, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at  8:45 P.M. 

 

 

                                                                                                ___________________________________

                                                                                                                       Susan Knudsen                                                                                                                                                                                         Mayor

 

 

 

 

_____________________________________

   Heather A. Mailander                                                                                                                                                       

Village Manager/Village Clerk

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A REGULAR PUBLIC MEETING OF THE VILLAGE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD HELD IN THE SYDNEY V. STOLDT, JR. COURT ROOM OF THE RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE HALL, 131 NORTH MAPLE AVENUE, RIDGEWOOD, NEW JERSEY ON AUGUST 11, 2021 AT 8:00 P.M.

 

  1. CALL TO ORDER – OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT – ROLL CALL – FLAG     SALUTE

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon called the meeting to order at 8:00 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.  At roll call the following were present: Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Walsh.  Also present were Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.  Mayor Knudsen was absent.

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, as well as in a Moment of Silence for all of our First Responders and our military personnel.

 

  1. ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORTS

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon moved that the Bills, Claims, and Vouchers, and Statement of Funds on Hand as of July 31, 2021, be accepted as submitted.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Walsh

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that as to the bills from the Village Attorney, she approves.  As to the other bills for the month of July, she registered her objection to the bills from McManaman, Scottland, and Bowman for their work on appeal for the One Village, One Vote lawsuit.  They did incur those bills however, and therefore she has to approve.

 

  1. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon moved that the Village Council minutes of February 9, February 17, February 22, March 3, March 8, April 7, April 28, May 5, May 12, May 26, June 2, June 9, and July 14, 2021 having been reviewed by the Village Council and now available in the Village Clerk’s Office, be approved as submitted.  Councilwoman Reynolds seconded the motion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Walsh

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. PROCLAMATIONS

 

  1. DECLARE SEPTEMBER OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

 

Councilwoman Perron read the following proclamation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. DECLARE SEPTEMBER NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH

 

Councilwoman Reynolds read the following proclamation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

Joan Ficke, 396 West End Avenue, stated that she wrote to the Mayor in June and had opportunity to have conversations with her and Mr. Rooney, she also wrote a letter to the Bergen Record and the Ridgewood News regarding real estate tax increases.  She asked that there be some form of communication and transparency between the Village residents and the Village Council regarding tax increases.  She accessed the budget herself, so she does have an idea of what it looks like.  The second issue was the utility of using those persons who reside in the Village who have personal and professional expertise in financial areas that would be useful in the preparation of the budget and other financial matters. 

 

Carolyn Jacoby, 160 Godwin Avenue, stated that she wanted to thank Ms. Mailander on behalf of the Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission for sending out the E-Notice today about the Emerald Ash Borer.  She looks forward to working with the Village Council in planning how they are going to respond to trees and climate change.

 

Ms. Jacoby stated that as a member of the League of Women Voters of Ridgewood, she was here to restate a letter that was sent July 6th to the Village Council regarding the reinstating of remote access to the Village Council meetings.  She read the text of the letter, pointing out that there was increased participation from the public, when the meetings moved to remote access.

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that she appreciated the League of Women Voters’ interest in reinstating remote public comment, and she knows in speaking with the Village Manager that she is working on that.  She urged that if the remote public comment wasn’t up and running by September 1st, she asked to reinstate the email comments, as they allowed when the Village Council meetings were held on Zoom. 

 

There were no additional comments from the public, and Deputy Mayor Sedon closed public comment.

 

  1. MANAGER’S REPORT

 

“You Call the Shots” Back to School Vaccination Event – Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk, stated that on August 19th and September 9th from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. there will be a COVID-19 vaccination event at the Graydon Pool Parking Lot, which will be open to all ages.  Appointments are encouraged, but not required.  Participants ages 12 to 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive the vaccine.  If it is raining, the event will be held in the Patrick A. Mancuso Senior Center.

 

Welcome to Ridgewood, New Jersey – Ms. Mailander stated that the Welcome to Ridgewood, New Jersey Event will be held from now until September 5th, all day Saturday through 10:00 P.M. on Sunday.  The Central Business District from Broad Street to Walnut Street is closed to vehicular traffic and it becomes a pedestrian plaza.  There will be performances on Saturday and Sunday in various locations of the pedestrian plaza.  There will be another Touch a Truck event on August 21st, from noon to 3:00 P.M.  Look for Dorothy’s ruby slippers in a store and eatery and register for a prize.

 

Music in the Night – Ms. Mailander stated that Music in the Night is sponsored by the Ridgewood Guild.  Musical performances are held in various locations throughout the CBD on Friday nights, now through September.

 

Graydon Pool – Ms. Mailander stated that Graydon Pool is open for family, individual, senior citizen, or daily badges.  Details of the pool hours and fees are posted on the Ridgewood Recreation website.  Graydon Pool is looking for lifeguards with a waterfront certification.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that due to the lack of lifeguards, Graydon Pool will be closed on August 24th, and August 30th through September 3rd.  In addition, certain sections of Graydon Pool will be closed every day, depending on the number of lifeguards on duty.

 

Ridgewood Farmers Market – Ms. Mailander stated that the Ridgewood Farmers Market, which is organized by the Chamber of Commerce is open on Sundays from 8:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. and is located in the Ridgewood Train Station Parking Lot.

 

Ridgewood Guild Movies – Ms. Mailander stated they are complimentary movies sponsored by the Ridgewood Guild in Memorial Park at Van Neste Square.  The last movie of the season, Tootsie, will be held on Wednesday, August 25th at 9:00 P.M.

 

Ridgewood Recreation – Ms. Mailander stated that Ridgewood Recreation offers a wide variety of programs mid to late August.  Details and fees are posted on the Recreation website.

 

September 11th 20-Year Commemorative Ceremony – Ms. Mailander stated that the September 11th 20-year Commemorative Ceremony will be held at 11:30 A.M. in Memorial Park at Van Neste Square to remember the 12 Ridgewood residents who were lost on that fateful day.   Twenty years later, those residents are still on our hearts and they will never be forgotten.  In addition, portraits of the 12 residents will be on display in the public library auditorium for the month of September.

 

Parking – Ms. Mailander stated that overnight parking in the Central Business District is open to all Ridgewood residents through December 31st in the Hudson Street Garage Second Floor, Prospect Street Lot, Cottage Place Lot, and the Wilsey Square Lot.  Overnight parking is from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.  The cost is $75 for three months or $150 for six months.  If a resident has family or friends from out of town who wish to take the train from Ridgewood, Ridgewood Parking Permits for commuters are available for non-residents, for the same price as residents.  CBD employees can park on the entire fourth floor of the Hudson Street Garage with CBD employee stickers.  Non-premium parking permit holders may park on the third floor.  24 hour parking spaces are available to all Ridgewood residents in the Train Station lot and the Cottage Place Lot through December 31st, the price is $325 per vehicle, which will be prorated, based on the month of purchase.

 

Upcoming Meetings – Ms. Mailander stated that the next Village Council meetings are: September 1st is a Village Council Public Work Session, September 8th is a Village Council Public Meeting, September 22nd is a Village Council Public Work Session, and October 6th is a Village Council Public Work Session. All Public Work Session meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. and all Public Meetings begin at 8:00 p.m.

 

  1. VILLAGE COUNCIL REPORTS

 

Green Ridgewood – Councilwoman Perron stated that Green Ridgewood met last week, the suggestion came up that on the website where there is a tile regarding employment, perhaps they could change it to state, employment and volunteer opportunities.  Regarding Renewable Government Energy Aggregation, the subcommittee went to the Farmers Market and were speaking to people about the project, and have renamed it Encouraging Alternate Green Energy in Ridgewood (EAGER). 

 

Chamber of Commerce – Councilwoman Perron stated that the Chamber of Commerce met this morning, and the main topic of discussion was the Hudson Street Garage.  They talked about a business card that could be given to restaurant patrons with their check, which would give the address of the Hudson Street Garage.  They also talked about how to publicize the location of the Hudson Street Garage on social media.  They discussed the proposal from Tim Haahs Associates about publicizing the garage through wayfinding signs, and they suggested that $11,000 is not a lot of money to spend to advertise the garage.  One suggestion concerning signage was for people who are driving under the train trestle and up Broad Street, it would be a good idea to have a banner on the garage building, to give people an idea of where the building is located.  The Pedestrian Plaza could also use more advertising.  They also spoke about the purchase of The Town Garage property on Franklin Avenue, and the merchants were not in favor of this idea.

 

Graydon Pool – Councilwoman Walsh stated reminded all Ridgewood residents that they can purchase a day pass at Graydon Pool.

 

American Legion – Councilwoman Walsh stated the American Legion is working on the Hometown Heroes Banners.

 

Ridgewood Green Team – Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that the Green Team met last week and are continuing to go through the edits and revisions necessary to recertify at a silver level with Sustainable Jersey.

 

Ridgewood Arts Council – Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that the Ridgewood Arts Council is working on putting together an event in the Central Business District on October 2nd.  It is going to be a Beatles-themed art fair.

 

Shade Tree Commission – Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that Shade Tree Commission met last night and there was a discussion about budgeting and the ash tree removals, due to the Emerald Ash Borer.  They are putting together a budget proposal of $500,000 for planting new trees, to be presented to the Village Manager, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Director of Parks and Recreation.

 

 

 

  1. Update on Ridgewood Water PFAS Contamination

 

Richard Calbi, Director of Village Water, stated that he wanted to give an update on the groundwater PFAS contamination and a Notice of Violation that Ridgewood Water received from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) on August 3rd.  The notice is regarding exceedance of the new maximum contaminant level that has been set by NJDEP for PFOA.  This is not an emergency, as the exceedance is based on a running annual average of four quarter results taken by the Utility.  Based on the third quarter results, thirteen treatment plants will exceed the maximum contaminant level, regardless of what the fourth quarter result is.  They anticipate that another eight plants will exceed the maximum contaminant level, once the fourth quarter sample is taken. 

 

Mr. Calbi stated that the notice requires that the Utility send out a Tier II Non-Emergency Public Notice to all consumers in the utility.  That public notice has to be postmarked by August 22nd.  In addition to the notice, they have to submit a Remedial Measures Plan detailing proposed remediation by September 2nd.  In compliance with the notice, treatment must be installed by July 23, 2022.  They are likely to enter into some type of consent order with the NJDEP in order to expand the timeline. 

 

Mr. Calbi stated that they try to limit the amount of PFAS going out to consumers, with wells that have the highest concentrations they send out the least amount water.  The public notice will have a summary outlining what the Ridgewood Water Utility is doing with regard to the notice and PFOA in the water, it will have information and resources, tell the consumer what the notice means, what they should do, and what is being done by Ridgewood Water.  He read the Master Plan regarding PFAS.

 

Councilwoman Perron asked if other municipal water departments were in a similar situation.  Mr. Calbi stated that PFAS is prevalent in most of New Jersey and most of the Nation.  Councilwoman Perron thanked Ridgewood Water for all of the work they have done on this.

 

  1. ORDINANCES – RIDGEWOOD WATER

 

  1. INTRODUCTION – NONE

 

  1. PUBLIC HEARING - NONE

 

  1. RESOLUTIONS – RIDGEWOOD WATER – NONE

 

  1. ORDINANCES 

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3869 – Amend Firefighters and Fire Superior Officers Salary Ordinance

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon moved the first reading of ordinance 3869.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Walsh

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3869 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND SALARY ORDINANCE 3835, ADOPTED ON FEBRUARY 10, 2021, TO FIX SALARIES, WAGES AND OTHER COMPENSATION OF AND FOR FIREFIGHTERS AND FIRE SUPERIOR OFFICERS OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, COUNTY OF BERGEN, AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

Councilwoman Reynolds moved that ordinance 3869 be adopted on first reading and that September 8, 2021 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion. 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Walsh

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3870 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Motorcycle Parking at Hudson Street Garage

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon moved the first reading of ordinance 3870.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Walsh

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3870 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 265 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC, AT SECTION 265-33, “PERMIT PARKING”

 

Councilwoman Walsh moved that ordinance 3870 be adopted on first reading and that September 8, 2021 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion. 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Walsh

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3871 – Amend Chapter 145 – Fees – Ridgewood Parking Permit Motorcycle Parking

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon moved the first reading of ordinance 3871.  Councilwoman Reynolds seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Walsh

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3871 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 145 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, FEES, AT SECTION 145-6, “ENUMERATION OF FEES RELATING TO CODE CHAPTERS”

 

Councilwoman Perron moved that ordinance 3871 be adopted on first reading and that September 8, 2021 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Reynolds seconded the motion. 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Walsh

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. INTRODUCTION - #3872 – Authorization of Eminent Domain – Block 3806,

Lot 2

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon moved the first reading of ordinance 3872.  Councilwoman Reynolds seconded the motion.

 

Councilwoman Walsh recused herself from the vote.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, and Sedon

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

RECUSE:       Councilwoman Walsh

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3872 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE ACQUISITION OF CERTAIN REAL PROPERTY WITHIN THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD

 

Councilwoman Perron moved that ordinance 3872 be adopted on first reading and that September 8, 2021 be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Reynolds seconded the motion. 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, and Sedon

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

RECUSE:        Councilwoman Walsh

 

  1. PUBLIC HEARING - #3868 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Establish Stop Signs – Hanks Avenue and Gordon Road at Brookside Avenue

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon moved the reading of ordinance 3868 by title on second reading and that the Public Hearing thereon be opened.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Walsh

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

 

The Village Clerk read ordinance 3868 by title:

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 265 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC, AT SECTION 265-59, SCHEDULE IX: “STOP INTERSECTIONS”

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that the Public Hearing was opened.  There were no comments from the public and Deputy Mayor Sedon moved that the Public Hearing be closed.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Walsh

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

 

Councilwoman Perron moved that ordinance 3868 be adopted on second reading and final publication as required by law.  Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion. 

 

Roll Call Vote

 

AYES:            Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Walsh

NAYS:            None

ABSENT:       Mayor Knudsen

ABSTAIN:      None

 

  1. RESOLUTIONS

 

THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTIONS, NUMBERED 21-244 THROUGH 21-262, WERE ADOPTED BY A CONSENT AGENDA WITH ONE VOTE BY THE VILLAGE COUNCIL, AND WERE READ BY TITLE ONLY:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

Carolyn Jacoby, 160 Godwin Avenue, stated that she wanted to thank Councilwoman Reynolds for her response with what was happening with Project Pride.  She thanked Deputy Mayor Sedon for all of his support with the Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission.  She thanked Councilwoman Perron for her support and Councilwoman Walsh for her years of service.  The Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission is working on a proposal for a test of eight tree wells in the CBD.  She stated that a letter and the ordinance requiring landlords to take care of the tree wells on their properties, should be sent to the landlords to encourage them to comply.

 

There were no additional comments from the Public and Deputy Mayor Sedon closed public comment. 

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that he was informed by the Village Manager that a letter has already gone out to landlords to let them know about their responsibility for the tree wells and there is a meeting with the landlords being scheduled to discuss this, as well as other matters of mutual interest. 

 

Councilwoman Perron state that they know that landlords are listening because a letter was received back from at least one of them.

 

Councilwoman Walsh read a statement that said it was with deep regret that she must resign her Council position, effective at the closing of this evening’s meeting, because her husband is being transferred out of State, and while they will remain taxpayers in Ridgewood, they will no longer be considered legal residents.  She emphasized that she has cherished her time on the Village Council and is saddened that she needs to leave her term early.  She is confident a Village resident will step forward to fill her unexpired term and will serve Ridgewood well. 

 

After reviewing New Jersey law with regard to Municipal Council vacancies, specifically NJSA 40A:16-3, and NJSA 40A:16-5, she must submit her written resignation this evening and vacate the position in order for potential Council candidates to file petitions to be on the November 2, 2021 General Election ballot to fill her unexpired term.  She remains committed to Ridgewood and the causes near and dear to her family, she wishes everyone well, her Council colleagues, Heather Mailander, Matt Rogers, and the entire Village staff.

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon thanked Councilwoman Walsh for her service with distinction and honor, adding that she would be missed and it was an honor to serve with her.  Councilwoman Reynolds thanked her for all of her years of service, and wished her and her family well.  Councilwoman Perron echoed those sentiments, adding that since 2010, Councilwoman Walsh has served the Village on various Boards and Committees and has worked closely with the Veterans.  Councilwoman Perron thanked Councilwoman Walsh for taking her under her wing.  Mr. Rogers stated that he would miss Councilwoman Walsh on the Village Council, as her perspective was very unique and she came forth with that fearlessly, for the benefit of the Village.  Ms. Mailander stated that she has known Councilwoman Walsh for a long time, and the thing about Councilwoman Walsh is she has always voted for what she thought was best for the Village and its residents and Ms. Mailander appreciates that, she will miss that, and wished Councilwoman Walsh luck in the next chapter of her life.

 

  1.         ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilwoman Perron, seconded by Councilwoman Reynolds, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Regular Public Meeting was adjourned at 8:55 P.M.

 

 

 

 

 

______________________________

                                                                                                    Michael Sedon                               

                                                                                                                 Deputy Mayor                                

 

 

 

 

 

______________________________

              Heather A. Mailander

      Village Manager/Village Clerk

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A REGULAR WORK SESSION OF THE VILLAGE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD HELD VIA ZOOM, DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, ON JANUARY 6, 2021 AT 7:30 P.M.

 

  1. CALL TO ORDER – OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT – ROLL CALL – FLAG     SALUTE

 

Mayor Knudsen called the meeting to order at 7:32 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.  Deputy Mayor Sedon read a required announcement regarding the remote meeting format.  At roll call the following were present: Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Walsh, and Mayor Knudsen.  Also present were Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; Donna Jackson, Deputy Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.  

 

Mayor Knudsen led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag as well as in a Moment of Silence for our men and women serving our nation, and our First Responders.

 

  1. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

Jan Philips, 234 Union Street, asked what the procedure and protocol was to fly a flag on the flagpole located in Van Neste Square in the public free speech area.  Mayor Knudsen stated that they would get back to her on that.

 

Neil Sullivan, 335 East Ridgewood Avenue, stated that he plays pickleball and loves the sport and thanked the Village Council and Parks and Recreation for putting in the pickleball courts.  The last meeting he listened to, the Village Council had spoken about pickleball for a long period of time and it was concentrated on the noise level in the road or on the street, but he didn’t hear anyone say that they were in the houses.  Apparently there are three houses where they claim it is really bad and the other houses in proximity to the pickleball court haven’t said anything, so, he guesses they are alright.  He asked if anyone went into the houses that were complaining about the noise when pickleball was being played. 

 

Mr. Sullivan stated that he was sympathetic to homeowners if the noise level is that bad, but he would like to establish objectivity.  He suggested members of the Village Council and possibly some pickleball members go to these houses with the windows closed when pickleball is in play as an objective way of determining the noise level.  He added that the experts who put in the sound barriers for $20,000, have they been contacted to possibly come in to make some suggestions to remediate the situation.

 

Mr. Sullivan added that if, in fact, the noise level is that loud, it would be a shame to have spent close to $100,000 with the courts and the sound barriers and let them be fallow.  Most people are seniors who play in the morning, so he suggested that the time be cut to between 8:00 A.M. and 1:00 P.M.  If someone lives in a house that it near a tennis court or grammar school, at this point his three minute time allowance had expired.

 

Beth Creller, 719 Belmont Drive, stated that she is a recent Ridgewood resident and wanted to comment on the establishment of a Government Energy Aggregation Program that is on the Policy portion of the agenda this evening.  She has a 20 year career in energy and she really feels like they have nothing to lose by trying out this opportunity.  The Village is not “out of pocket” to Gable and Associates and this contract would be for a finite period of time.  Residents can opt out if they are not comfortable with it, and if you happen to sell or move your home this contract does not follow you.  We may end up with a lower rate, but even if we pay a little more, this is making capital investment in future green energy alternatives.  These are sustainable and they are needed to reach lower emission rates.  Ms. Creller stated that overall, this is an opportunity to be an early adopter, not a guinea pig.  Neighboring towns are already doing this, so we are not the first ones to try this out.  Overall, she feels this reinforces our commitment to Sustainable Jersey.

 

Judy Mac, 330 Eastbrook Road, stated that she wanted to reply to Mr. Sullivan’s earlier comment.  She lives in the neighborhood around Glen School, not directly around the court, but a block away.  There are seven to eight houses that are 45 feet away from the pickleball court.  She is very good friends with one of neighbors who moved, and she has been at her house which is one of the ones right around the court.  Her friend had paid about $37,000 for triple pane commercial grade windows and when she was in the house and she can clearly hear the pickleball courts with all the windows closed.  Ms. Mac stated that at her house, across the street from her friend’s house and on the side of the house that is facing away from the courts when she has her windows open she can clearly hear the pickleball courts.  She does not want to be restrained and trapped inside her house.  She has a big yard and pays a lot of taxes, and does not want to not be able to use her yard.  She added that it wasn’t fair for people to come into her neighborhood and have fun and make noise and then go back to their quiet neighborhoods. 

 

Ms. Mac stated that having over 80 people outside of town come and go as they wish is totally unfair.  She is very thankful that he is sympathetic and understands, and she hopes that everybody can have fun but they are suffering here.  People can go back to their home and enjoy the quietness, but the neighbors have to constantly hear this.  As soon as she opens her door to her garage she can hear the pickleball.  She added that there are houses across the soccer ball field that can hear the noise constantly, as well. 

 

Dan Gioia, 447 Fairway Road, stated that he was calling about the Glen School pickleball facility and respectfully asking that it be reopened immediately while we discuss what the long term solution is here.  Closing the facilities early without any notice to the appropriate parties he thinks is inappropriate and was a rug pulled out from under peoples’ feet without any discussion.  Evidently there was a discussion with people in the neighborhood but not with any of the people who are playing pickleball.  The pickleball community as well as the town should understand the breadth and specifics and complaints of the neighbors.

 

Mr. Gioia stated that Ms. Mac was talking about the noise of the pickleball, and he said she should stop by his house near Vets Field on Fourth of July.  On Father’s Day there is no parking for the entire neighborhood because people are parking for the soccer tournament.  He stated that when they moved in they understood that there was a park near them and that there would be some inconveniences because of it and they are dealing with it.  He also asked if the people in that neighborhood heard Route 17, adding that it isn’t a quiet neighborhood.

 

Mr. Gioia stated that they would like to see some actual engagement from the Council and the Mayor with the people who play pickleball.  His understanding is there are some people who tried to create a group but can’t seem to get any mind share and discussion going from the Village Council.  As a taxpayer he would expect, and now he demands that happens.  At the end of the day it is a community and some of the ideas that happened a few weeks ago on the call of having one or two courts here or there doesn’t really work.  It’s a communal activity and multiple courts is much more part of the game. 

 

Mr. Gioia stated that a couple ideas he had on a path forward is to reduce the number of hours.  At this point, Mayor Knudsen stated that Mr. Gioia had run out of time.

 

The following emails were received and read aloud by Donna Jackson.

 

Bob Upton, 172 West Glen Avenue, wrote that he wished to add to his comments at the last meeting about Renewable Government Energy Aggregation Agreements, a topic they will be discussing tonight.  He informed the Village Council that Green Ridgewood wanted the Council to consider the benefits of these programs in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and their associated impact on climate change.  At their subsequent Green Ridgewood meeting, the Committee voted unanimously to recommend that the Council move ahead with the process of passing an ordinance and seeking bids, recognizing that if no acceptable bids are received, there is no obligation on the Village to proceed and no direct cost to the Village.  It should also be noted that bids can be required to include modest cost savings for residents and that residents can opt-out at any time, before or after the contract begins.

 

Gene Solomon, 648 Spring Avenue, wrote asking the Village Council to please reopen the pickleball courts, what are they waiting for.  Since the unilateral decision to padlock the dedicated pickleball courts until March 22nd, the members of the Village Council have received a great deal of specific information which should warrant reassessing the situation.  The players have offered many short and long term suggestions on how to appease the neighbors and mitigate the situation.  With the new policy of the courts being used only by Ridgewood residents and the reduction in the hours of play, attendance and usage will be significantly decreased.  He wrote that the Parks and Recreation Department has received immediate solutions from the manufacturer of Acousti-block to help the noise abatement.

 

Mr. Solomon wrote that it appears there is no sense of urgency on the part of the Councilmembers to resolve this issue.  For the players, many of whom are seniors, there is a tremendous sense of urgency.  The next cold and pandemic restricted months will surely bring increased isolation for them, so time is of the essence.  He asked what they are waiting for, and to please just reopen the courts on February 1st.  This would give them a week to list the new fee schedule and rules.  Then they will witness the difference the reduced attendance brings, and most importantly see the joy, excitement, and appreciation of the Ridgewood citizens who just want to spend some time doing physical activity and having social interaction.

 

Linda McNamara, 575 Knickerbocker Road, wrote that at the last Village Council meeting, Nancy Bigos was prepared to show a PowerPoint presentation that was put together by the Parks and Recreation staff that could not be shown because the Village Council had not seen it prior to the meeting.  She is hoping it can be shown so that residents can be made privy to that information.  She has taken a small, informal survey of about 100 people regarding the status of the HealthBarn and pickleball courts.  Everyone in her survey, and also listening to comments made at Council meetings, are almost unanimously in favor of continuing the lease for the HealthBarn and keeping the pickleball program open for maximum use.  Residents have not been part of the conversation regarding the HealthBarn issues and she believes a public meeting on the subject would be beneficial.  Most of the early-on concerns have been mitigated and residents who had originally voiced concern are no longer against the location of HealthBarn.  Ms. McNamara wrote that we get many benefits from this tenant including renovation of the house and rental fees.

 

Ms. McNamara wrote that regarding pickleball, there are muted paddles and balls that have been purchased, lessening the noise significantly and informal decibel tests have been taken showing minimal noise during the game itself.  Parks and Recreation is in the process of formulating programs for special needs children, and seniors love it.  Hours can be adjusted to best suit everyone’s needs, in fact, they are ready to be implemented as soon as they are permitted to do so.  She asked that they continue moving forward with the continuation of the HealthBarn at its current location, and a robust pickleball program.  We operate on a belief that majority rules, and she believes that in the above two cases the majority has spoken in large numbers.

 

Drewanne Rodney, 125 South Maple Avenue, wrote that she was writing concerning the pickleball courts at Glen School.  This is the second email that she has sent, and as a 30 plus year resident of Ridgewood she is disappointed that she has not received any reply.  As she mentioned earlier, they want to have the courts opened and/or a plan to open them.  Unilaterally closing the courts without any open discussion seems unreasonable, when can our voices be heard?

 

There were no additional written comments, but one more public comment.

 

Walter Sohigian, 31 Ridge Road, stated that he was upset with the lack of transparency in the operation of the Village Council.  He doesn’t know who voted which way on the issue, he doesn’t know what they have been considering, and he has heard from others in favor of continuing with the pickleball they have not been able to get through.  This is inappropriate.  He has another problem with the Village Council even dealing with this issue, last year the tennis courts on Pleasant Avenue were resurfaced.  The far court has so many dead spots that its unplayable.  He doesn’t know what the role of the Village Council was in the payment, approval, and supervision but it can’t be good.  Mr. Sohigian stated that for the future we need more transparency from the Village Council on what’s going on.  He feels that improper attention is being given to the homeowners without taking the rights of the pickleball players into account.  He added that the pickleball players should not have to consider instituting a lawsuit in order to get transparency from the Council, that should be forthcoming.

 

There were no additional comments from the public.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that in response to Jan regarding the flag pole in the public forum space, it is something they will be revisiting at a later date.  Presently there is no ordinance for any rules or regulations pertaining to that.  It was discussed several times by Village Council but they have come to no decision.  She stated that regarding the last comment about transparency, she thinks this Village Council is here week in and week out discussing these matters.  The public has every opportunity to call in and comment, there is nothing that is hidden from any member of the public and she thinks it is a remarkable and unfair comment.  She added that this Village Council is incredibly transparent and they will continue to do that good work.

 

  1. MANAGERS REPORT

 

COVID-19 Vaccine – Ms. Mailander stated that they encourage residents to register and inquire with as many vaccine outlets as possible.  The new State phone number just went live on Monday, January 25th, and is 855-568-0545.  It is staffed with 250 agents from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.  When people tried to call on Monday it was overwhelmed and a recorded message was given, it may have died down by now, so you can always call that number if you need information about vaccine sites or possible information that you have to give to get a vaccine.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that if you are a Ridgewood resident and 65 or older, you can email covid@ridgewoodnj.net.  You do have to fit into the qualification of having that age, underlying health condition, or being a healthcare worker.  They encourage residents to register for as many sites for the vaccine, as the Village has a limited supply of the vaccine and they are doing their best to administer it as quickly as possible.  If the Village can schedule an appointment for you, they will email you.  This can take several weeks and they cannot guarantee you an appointment.  It all depends on how much vaccine they get week to week.

 

Annual Parking Permits – Ms. Mailander stated that they are currently selling annual parking permits at the reception desk in Village Hall.  They are selling the permits Monday through Friday between the hours of 10:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M., and then 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. at the customer service window which is located to the left of the lobby doors.  If you have any questions or can’t make it during those hours, please call the receptionist at (201) 670-5500, extension 200.  To date they have sold 24 Premium Permits, and 13 Non-Premium Permits.  Usually by this time the Premium Permits are sold out and the Non-Premium Permits are higher than 13.

 

Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Week – Ms. Mailander stated that the Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Week ends tomorrow night.  With reduced costs this is a good way to sample restaurants in Ridgewood’s Central Business District.

 

Christmas Tree Pickup – Ms. Mailander stated that the Parks Department will be doing its final pickup of Christmas trees on the west side, curbside, on January 28th between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M.  Please remove all ornaments and lights and do not place the tree in a plastic bag.  If you wish to drop off your Christmas tree at the Graydon Pool parking lot you may do so.  There is a place that is coned off and you may drop it any time through January 29th.  If you need additional information please call the Parks Department at (201) 670-5565.

 

Complimentary Parking Spaces – Ms. Mailander stated that there are complimentary parking spaces in the Central Business District.  These 15-minute spots are located on Oak Street, Chestnut Street, North Broad Street, off of East Ridgewood Avenue, and then also on Wilsey Square.  These parking spaces are limited to 15-minutes only.  They are free of charge to anyone and can be used to do a quick errand, pickup food, or visit a business nearby.  She added to please be aware that if you remain in these spaces for more than 15-minutes you subject yourself to possibly receiving a summons. These spaces have been generously donated and sponsored by several local businesses and Ridgewood residents and those sponsors are acknowledged on the 15-minute parking signs.  

 

Food Recycling Pilot Program – Ms. Mailander stated that the Food Recycling Pilot Program is still accepting applications for their program.  As you know, food is one of the largest parts of our solid waste stream and we pay to send food trash to the landfill and costs are increasing.  Those who participate in the program will be given a 5-gallon food scrap collection container.  The participants will then take that container to the Recycling Center to empty it every week and also provide a weekly data entry to Ridgewood’s Recycling Division so they can monitor how much is being recycled and how much is not going into our solid waste stream.  Anyone interested can sign up on the Ridgewood Recycling website.  There are about 85 residents signed up, and the application deadline is January 31st.  The program will begin a few weeks after that date, and the participants are requested to be in the program for at least 9 months.

 

Snow and Ice Reminder – Ms. Mailander stated that as a reminder, if snow or ice is forecasted please remember to bring your garbage cans to the end of your driveway so that Village employees are safe and don’t become injured trying to get to the backyard.  They will continue to have it curbside until there is a clear path to your garbage cans.  Please remember to keep cars off the streets so plows can do their work.

 

Super Science Saturday – Ms. Mailander stated that Super Science Saturday will be held March 6th in a virtual format.  There will be more information forthcoming when we get closer to that date.

 

Cancellations – Ms. Mailander stated that the Annual Baseball Parade and Family Fun Day Event and Earth Day Fair, Daffodil Festival, and Dog Parade have been canceled, which are in April.

 

Upcoming Village Council Meetings – Ms. Mailander stated that the upcoming Village Council meetings are broadcast live on YouTube, streamed on the Village website, and on the public access channels.  They will be on February 3rd which is a Work Session at 7:30 P.M., February 10th is a Village Council Public Meeting at 8:00 P.M., and February 24th is a Village Council Work Session at 7:30 P.M.  These are all noted on the Village Calendar as well as on the Village website.  There is a 7:30 P.M. meeting before a Public Meeting which anyone can attend, however, if you want your comments to be recorded in the main part of the meeting, wait until 8:00 P.M. for the Public Meeting.

 

  1. COUNCIL REPORTS

 

Open Space Committee – Councilwoman Perron stated that the Open Space Committee met and noted that their suggestion was taken up that each of our open spaces be highlighted in turn on social media.  Deanna Schablik has taken the labor on that and they want to thank her.  She did the feature on Grove Park and it is really delightful.  If you haven’t been to Grove Park, it is one of our gems.  Also, they are seeking to extend members’ terms on the committee from one year to two years and she expects that will be on for discussion at next week’s Council meeting.

Central Business District Advisory Committee – Councilwoman Perron stated that the Central Business District Advisory Committee met and had a presentation from Greenridge Wealth Management regarding innovations and disruptions that one might anticipate from the business world in 2021.  They also discussed other ongoing matters such as what will happen with the pedestrian mall once we get into spring, and hopefully it comes back, and also Village budgeting was discussed.

 

Planning Board – Councilwoman Reynolds stated that the Planning Board met on January 19th.  They listened to an application for 2-4 Garber Square for a minor site plan approval and a parking variance relief to permit a restaurant on the ground level and a 6-room inn on the second floor.  There is already a tailor and a salon on the first floor, so the remainder of the first floor would be the restaurant.  The basement would be used for storage for the restaurant, the kitchen, and for patron bathrooms.  They decided to bifurcate the application into two parts, so they heard one part on January 19th which was the parking variance and they voted to grant them variance relief.  They will hear the site plan application on February 16th.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated that they also heard an application for Piccolo Bistro on Chestnut Street.  They are going to replace their awning, and that was granted.  They reviewed an ordinance incorporating the New Jersey DEP’s requirements for storm water management, which the Village Council is going to be reviewing this evening.  The next Planning Board meeting is February 2nd.

 

Councilwoman Perron asked about the application for Garber Square with a restaurant on the first floor and an inn above.  Councilwoman Reynolds said yes, six rooms.  Mayor Knudsen added that it is a boutique inn and looks beautiful.

 

Mayor Knudsen added that the parking variance that was granted is due to the historic nature of our downtown buildings, and the building owner had contacted a number of downtown businesses to see how they could handle the parking.  It really looks like a fabulous project and they are really excited that this is going to happen downtown.

 

Citizens Safety Advisory Committee (CSAC) – Councilwoman Reynolds stated that CSAC met on January 21st.  It was a fairly quiet meeting because not a lot of progress is being made on items they are working on due to COVID-19.  One thing that was mentioned by Sergeant Chuck is that the Police Department has gotten some complaints regarding New Jersey Transit buses traveling on Ridgewood Avenue in the CBD.  He suggested that the plans to move the bus station to the train station area be looked at again.  He noted that when it was first discussed there were objections, but now he feels there is less traffic and congestion at the train station as more people are working from home and also that the parking garage has been completed.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated that Fair Lawn is rolling out a Street Smart New Jersey Campaign to increase pedestrian safety and they will be looking into this a discussing it at the next meeting which is February 18th.

 

Parks and Recreation – Councilwoman Walsh stated that Parks and Recreation met last night for a long meeting.  There were a lot of people voicing their concerns.  There was a presentation by Stacey Antine from HealthBarn and she explained what HealthBarn does in their calendar year.  They work with seniors, individuals with special needs, children, teenagers, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts.  They discussed the topic of food insecurity, they work with Bergen County Commission Tracey Zur, and it was an overview of everything that HealthBarn does. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that the conversation turned to pickleball and they had a lot of individuals expressing their concerns about pickleball and she wanted to give a little bit of a timeline because there are a lot of people who are either confused about how everything came to be or are playing a game of telephone and the story is changing.  The Council had three meetings in January when the Mayor, Village Manager, Director of Parks, and herself met on December 17th when they were determining what they could do to give the five member Village Council a chance to really review it and make decisions.  They knew that they were having three meetings in January.  They had not sold any badges yet.  They knew that the price of the badges was going to remain the same, but they had not determined whether they were going to sell to residents and non-residents, or if they were going to change the hours.  At that point, they realized that it really had to come to a conversation of all five Councilmembers with the Parks Director and the Village Manager and all the input by the public.  This will be their third meeting talking about it in the public. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh said that they want to be fair to everyone involved.  They made some suggestions at the January 6th meeting, and they will have a meeting tomorrow with some pickleball individuals, so they are trying to gather as much information as possible and to make the smartest decision.  They have had residents write in both pro and con, they have had individuals make suggestions, and the Director of Parks is in touch with Commissioner Hache about some courts that have been unused by the County that we may be able to share use there and turn them into pickleball.  Councilwoman Walsh added that they are really trying their best to listen to all sides and to make a fair decision.  She stated that they do want pickleball in Ridgewood, but they also want to be fair and make the right decision.

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that since Earth Day is cancelled they really want everybody to remember that you can still do something around your own home to celebrate Earth Day.

 

Mayor Knudsen added that regarding pickleball, it is unfortunate when there is a suggestion that something has not been done in the public because they work so hard to really be transparent and they really want to be considerate of the public at large, but also the Village neighbors in the immediate area.  She thinks it is important and is confident they are going to come up with a solution, and will reopen and everyone will be back playing pickleball in the near future.

 

Community Center Advisory Board – Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that tomorrow at 5:00 P.M. the Community Center Advisory Board will meet via Zoom.

 

Ridgewood Arts Council – Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that at 7:30 P.M. tomorrow the Ridgewood Arts Council will meet.

 

Community ACCESS Network – Mayor Knudsen stated that ACCESS met last Thursday via Zoom.  She updated members on the status of the special needs affordable units at 275 East Ridgewood Avenue.  The applications will be available late February/early March.  It is important to keep checking back at BergenUnitedWay.org to see when those applications are available.  She wanted to thank Tom Toronto for updating the website to make sure that everyone was aware of the timing on those applications.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that the special needs community also discussed their concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine availability, especially as it impacts the special needs community and caregivers.  These members of our community are not capable of traveling significant distances to access appointments out of this general area, so it really has been a benefit to have access to the Ridgewood Vaccine Clinic.  She knows that the Village Manager and Dawn Cetrulo from the Health Department have been working tirelessly on this along with Dylan Hansen to get as much information out as quickly as possible.

 

Mayor Knudsen added that the group is also interested in a local database of members of our special needs community so that when our First Responders encounter a member of our special needs community they understand the type of disability, communication issues that might exist, or any issues that may come up with a member of the special needs community encounter a member of Law Enforcement, Fire Department, or EMT’s.  They are likely going to reach out to Councilwoman Walsh on Stigma Free to see how they can organize that as it is very similar to one that the County had at one time.

 

Library Board of Trustees – Mayor Knudsen stated that the Library Board of Trustees met last night.  A number of issues were discussed, but one important topic was the Author Luncheon which will take place in April most likely as a virtual event.  She thinks it is challenging with the number of people that have attended in the past, and the discussion is to whether or not to do an online auction.  Board Members are also reviewing the Reimagine application to see if there is any path forward to better understand what the positives and negatives were with the application to see if there is a way to rethink and advance Reimagine. 

 

The Pease Library lease is almost up, and the one tenant is looking to scale back on the space they are utilizing so they will be looking for a new tenant which will come back to the Village Council.

 

Mayor Knudsen congratulated our Village Attorney for being reappointed as the Library Attorney, as well.

 

Jamboree 2021 Mission Impossible – Mayor Knudsen stated that this will be a virtual musical review extravaganza 2021.  Producers wish to thank the Village of Ridgewood, and especially the Village Manager.  Without her help, this year’s show would not be possible.  This show was entirely filmed at locations downtown and really highlights all the really wonderful places of Ridgewood and its great talent.  Visit RHSJamboree.org, and it is a virtual show February 4th-8th.

 

Fastachi – Mayor Knudsen stated that Monday evening they did the Grand Opening for Fastachi which is on Wilsey Square.  It is nuts and mixed nuts, homemade chocolates, and she encouraged everyone to visit and support our local businesses.

 

  1. PRESENTATION – NONE

 

  1. DISCUSSION

             

  1. Ridgewood Water

 

  1. Award Contract – Annual Laboratory Analysis Services

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this is an annual contract.  One bid specification was picked up with one bid being received from Aqua Pro-Tech Labs of Fairfield.  The bid price is a reduction from the prior year’s pricing.  Aqua Pro-Tech has performed successfully and 2021 will mark their 8th year as the service lab for Ridgewood Water.  Funding for this is in the 2021 Water Utility Operation Budget.

 

  1. Water Utility Interest Rates for Delinquent Accounts

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this is the same amount charged for non-payment of taxes, which is 8% per annum on the first $1,500 and 18% per annum on the balance over $1,500.  For the non-payment of bills beyond the due date for all bills in excess of $50, there is a 30 day grace period.  Any delinquency in excess of $10,000 is 6% per annum penalty.

 

Councilwoman Perron said that she had a question about the interest and penalties of this resolution.  Ms. Mailander stated that it was set by statute and every year it’s the same.

 

  1. Water Administrative Maintenance Fees

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this is an annual resolution which indicates the total amount of tax paid on Ridgewood Water owned land, based on the assessed value of the land.  This amount is paid as an administrative maintenance fee to the Village of Ridgewood.

 

  1. Bond Ordinance – Well Rehabilitation and Treatment Improvements

 

Ms. Mailander stated that Ridgewood Water wants to reactivate the Ravine Well and pumping the yield from the Marr Test Well to the Ravine Treatment Facility.  The Ravine Well is located at 451 Goffle Road in Ridgewood, and in 2018 Ridgewood Water purchased the residential property and house located on the lot fronting the well house at 451 Goffle Road.  The purchase was made to facilitate the installation of treatment for the Ravine Well and Marr Well.  In 2020, Ridgewood Water completed a PFAS treatment feasibility study and it recommends prioritizing this project so the Ravine Well can be placed back into service and meet the requirements of the prior USEPA consent order.  The bond order is for $602,000 and is to fund the design of the new treatment facility and the new treatment facility will provide 1,000,000 gallons of treated water into the system that is currently inactive and unavailable.

 

Councilwoman Walsh asked what is the timing on the well in terms of when it would be up and running.  Mr. Calbi stated that current schedule anticipate two years, about a year of design and then a year of construction.  All in total it is going to be a $3 million project.  They pushed the design ahead of this year’s capital budget to get started on it sooner.

 

  1. Parking

 

  1. Grab and Go Parking Spaces

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that some businesses on South Broad Street are having some difficulty with parking and there are a lot of parking issues there.  Sook has taken up a lot of parking spots with the setup they have outside on the street.  He wanted to gauge the Village Council’s opinion to see if there was another way of looking at this, perhaps adding a Grab and Go spot in the first spot on Hudson Street on the garage side.  He thinks it would be the easiest since they couldn’t use the Sook side and it might be difficult to use the garage, it might be the best option for some of the businesses in that area.

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that she thinks that would be interesting, not only for the businesses on South Broad but also those on Prospect, which have pickups and have no place for their customers to stop.  She didn’t know who would sponsor it, but if it is just designating they could always see if anyone wants to sponsor it, they can.  She added that she would like to hear from Sergeant Chuck as to whether it was safe enough as it is a parallel parking spot.  Deputy Mayor Sedon added that they could designate it and the businesses could figure it out, but first it needs to be designated.  He added he would like to hear what Sergeant Chuck has to say, as well. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that the image from Google Earth isn’t current, but she thinks the first spot is in the same space.  She asked if they were talking about the first spot or two spots.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that she thinks they should start with one, and asked Councilwoman Perron that when they were doing the Grab and Go originally she had asked about doing a spot on Broad Street but it came back that no one was interested.  Councilwoman Perron stated that is what she heard from Paul Vagianos because he polled the businesses on South Broad.  Generally, the most active one is Sook, and they were more interested in having a corral than having a Grab and Go spot.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked Deputy Mayor Sedon if any businesses had approached him about having a Grab and Go.  Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that he has had discussions with Bamboo House and the large majority there of their business is pick up and go and with Sook has their corral there.  It was already a tough spot, so to alleviate that issue and help out some of the other businesses he thinks it would be good to start with that first space on Hudson Street.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that she thinks that area needs a Grab and Go but originally they had heard that the businesses weren’t interested, but maybe they need to check around again.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked if maybe the members of CBDAC should be surveying the area businesses as that may be beneficial to have a community representative.  Councilwoman Perron said that it wouldn’t be a problem to go door to door.  Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that maybe they could designate the space and if nobody sponsors it, then it wouldn’t be a Grab and Go space, but if it is already designated and there was no interest, they wouldn’t need it.  If there was an interest then they could move right into it.  Mayor Knudsen stated that the original point of this conversation was to designate the first one or two spaces so that if there were sponsors they would just be able to move forward.

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that she had an unlucky occurrence when she visited her kids’ dentist on South Broad, and she was coming down Broad and there was a car parked illegally in front of Sook and a car parked illegally in front of the Wine Seller.  She was stopped because the car parked illegally in front of the Wine Seller was parked in the lane, there was a car in the other direction that stopped, a car turning from Hudson, and none of them could move.  They had to all wait until the person came out and got in their car and drove off.  It was a log jam for 5 minutes. She doesn’t think they are going to eliminate that bad behavior by putting the Grab and Go’s on Hudson.  If the spots were on Broad then people will know it’s there, because she doesn’t think as many people are coming down Hudson.

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that he would think it would be on the business, that when someone calls to pick something up the business can say there is a convenient Grab and Go spot on Hudson Street.  Mayor Knudsen stated that it always strikes her that it is one of the most active illegal parking spots in the Village and the worst spot for it too, because it is so tight right there at that intersection.  They started with some enforcement and maybe that is another thing that needs to be started up again because the only way to at least stop it is to let people know they are going to enforce.  She suggested maybe looking at Broad but farther south where the parking spaces are usually empty anyway.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that since Sergeant Chuck is here, maybe they could hear from him and what his thoughts are on this spot.  Sergeant Chuck stated that if the Village Council thinks the grab and Go spot is going to benefit the community, they have ample parking downtown so they could take advantage of those.  They want to keep away from forcing a parallel parking action when possible, so if they are asking Broad Street or Hudson Street, he believes Hudson Street is the better answer.  He believes there are two parking spots on the left that are shorter and easier actions than someone on Broad Street trying to stop right next to the dining.  He thinks the restaurants there have such strong customer base that those customers are going to immediately realize that there is the free Grab and Go on Hudson Street.  Sergeant Chuck added that he agreed with putting parking spots going North on Broad Street although not the worst parking area to do it in, it would encourage a lot of U-turns right in the road.  As far as safety, they started putting cones out as a suggestion and they have seen that if people really want to illegally park they are going to work hard at it. Parking Enforcement first tries to educate people, if the car is vacant they are ticketing it.  He thinks the cones have had a good response.

 

Sergeant Chuck added that this intersection is kind of dark so he has a great solution, which is something that Engineering and Traffic and Signal have been working on.  Mr. Hansen displayed photos of “Operation Light Up” with strong directional lighting being put up downtown.  There are only two lights lighting up the entire intersection showing the entire crosswalk and people across the street.  He thinks that will make the intersection a lot safer, so if they do the Grab and Go spots there he thinks the lights would be a good addition.  They have the ability to mount the lights on a pole and it is something they should certainly add if they are going to do this. 

 

Mayor Knudsen asked about the spots on Hudson Street did he mean on the North side of the street or the South side.  Sergeant Chuck stated that he thinks on the South side in front of the Knights of Columbus.  Mayor Knudsen asked if instead of doing both on the same side what if they did one on the North and one on the South opposite each other.  Sergeant Chuck stated that could do that, but pairs are visually easier to see.  Mayor Knudsen asked how the Knights of Columbus side is better.  Sergeant Chuck stated that there is a large yellow zone in front of those spots and you have the driveway behind the spots.  Mayor Knudsen stated that left side, you are going into the left turn lane, so does that cause a conflict with turning.  Sergeant Chuck stated that he understood, and the volume on that road is traditionally not that great, so trying to sneak across to the right turn lane isn’t going to be that dramatic an issue. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that most of the restaurants are north of that corner, so if they put them on the south side, they are actually causing pedestrians to make two crossing movements as opposed to just one.  Sergeant Chuck stated that they aren’t crossing twice, they may just cross Broad Street and then walk on the sidewalk on Broad Street, and the north crosswalk of that intersection goes right into the Sook area so they are actually walking into an obstruction.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she misspoke, if someone is on the north side of the street and going to businesses on the east side of South Broad then they don’t have to cross at all and then if somebody is going to businesses on the west side of Broad they only have to cross once, so it leaves less pedestrian conflict for her.  Sergeant Chuck stated that he was more concerned about them crossing Broad Street than he is about them crossing Hudson Street, as crossing Hudson Street is not an issue.  The volume is not there and if they add these lights it is going to be very bright.  If they are crossing on the north side, they are crossing with a view obstruction in mind because they have the barriers there and the Sook setup.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked if the crosswalk is on the garage side or on the Knights of Columbus side.  Sergeant Chuck stated that it was on both.  Mayor Knudsen asked the Village Councilmembers which side they wanted the parking on.  Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that he would go with whatever Sergeant Chuck says.  Councilwoman Perron stated that he was concerned about these lights as they seem to be very bright, and asked whether they were planning to have them at the intersection of Ridgewood Avenue and Broad and Hudson and Broad.  Sergeant Chuck stated that the photos show their current location.  They put them at Ridgewood and Broad, Ridgewood and Chestnut, and Ridgewood and Prospect Street, and Ridgewood and Oak Street.  There are tremendous improvements.  They look bright because he made the camera get into the view on purpose, but they are actually aiming down.  They would like to add a set of those lights at this intersection where they have actually had safety issues before, so if they are going to encourage crossing there, he thinks they should add them no matter what. 

 

Councilwoman Perron asked would they be prorated to run concurrent with the six month plan that they have going now.  Ms. Mailander stated she thinks that is what they should do so it didn’t run longer than the current period.  Councilwoman Perron stated that they were three months into this.  Mayor Knudsen and Ms. Mailander agreed that they would prorate it.  Ms. Mailander added that the lights at that intersection would be good too once people use the garage more, because it would let people coming to and from the garage to be seen better.  She added that they have had pedestrian and car conflicts at that intersection several times.

 

Ms. Mailander asked about enforcement of that crosswalk area, adding that she knows that the Police are out there doing that but they have to be vigilant in that area.  Sergeant Chuck stated that they would stay on top of it.

 

  1. Budget

 

  1. Interest Rate for Delinquent Taxes and Non-Payment of Other Municipal Liens

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this is the annual resolution for property taxes and other municipal liens, same amount of interest, same amounts that it is based on.  This is set by statute and in this case it is a ten day grace period.

 

  1. Interest Rate for Other Significant Sewer Discharger Fees

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this is the same percentages and it is a 30 day grace period in this case.

 

  1. Award Contract – New Leasing/Maintenance Program for Police Vehicles

 

Ms. Mailander stated that they have had leasing of Police vehicles from Enterprise over the past six years.  They lease five administrative and detective cars and would like to continue with the program.  The leasing has saved them over $140,000 in costs over the last three years.  Instead of purchasing the vehicles, they continue with equity lease agreements where at the end of the term they return the cars back to Enterprise, they sell them at open auction, and the Village gets a large percentage of the profits.  When the Village returns the current cars they will net at least $2,000 per car.  In 2017 when they traded in the old cars they brought in $21,000.  They are paying a percentage of the cost of the vehicles while utilizing them for the same amount of time. 

 

Ms. Mailander stated that the second part is to utilize the service agreement.  They will pay for all services needed on the vehicles for a monthly fee.  Paying for this service saved the Village almost 80% of the estimated cost incurred by Fleet Services for the Village for a car they would normally service.  The Village has also been able to extend this to a Tahoe, which is not a pursuit-rated vehicle, with great results and return on their investment.  Leasing is now available under Sourcewell.  It is a streamlined process where they can initiate the leasing and return of the cars.  This year they are hoping to replace the administrative and detective cars with three mid-size SUVs, two Durangos, a Jeep Cherokee, a Subaru Legacy, and a Dodge Van.  They are similar to the ones that they currently have.  Estimated yearly costs for these five vehicles, plus one extra vehicle for the service contract is $41,000.  If they were to purchase these vehicles they would need about $191,000.

 

Councilwoman Perron asked what is an administrative car.  Sergeant Chuck stated that the administrative cars are assigned to Captain staffing and the Chief staffing.  Mayor Knudsen asked who that would be.  Sergeant Chuck stated the Chief.

 

  1. Award Contract – Mobizent & E-Ticketing for Police

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this is about the E-ticketing.  Ridgewood’s Police Department have been using Mobizent’s ticket works program for E-ticket purposes for the last two years and have been working with them for the last five years.  The application TicketWorks has been built for the Ridgewood Police Department by the department with Law Enforcement in mind.  This application has been built from the ground up using input from our Police Officers who use it daily.  They use the program in vehicles, on computers, and on Parking Enforcement cellphones.  Chief Luthcke is going to summarize the positive aspects of this application, give a brief history of the approvals that had to be obtained during this process.  She added that it has been a journey and it has taken a long time to get to this point.

 

Chief Luthcke stated that this has been a long journey and Sergeant Chuck and Mr. Hansen will back that up.  Every step took a long time, in part because they had to work with the State and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).  Just getting that permission took a lot of hoops to jump through.  The company Mobizent has been incredibly responsive to them all along the way.  This platform didn’t exist in New Jersey yet, so this was really built by us and for us, for ease of Law Enforcement use.  They have a back office portion of this called TicketWorks which allows Officers, the Court, and Supervisors to be able to look at the data in a variety of ways.  Chief Luthcke stated that it prints from the cars and from the handheld cell phones that the Parking Enforcement Officers use, in addition to being able to print in headquarters.  They can scan a license and it auto populates.  They have Mobizent working right now with another vendor, so that the information can feed from their system right into our reporting system which is another ease step for the Officers.

 

Chief Luthcke stated that right now, they want to sign a contract with Mobizent regarding hosting of their services, which means we become home base and as they sell their product to other Departments, they go through our server because we already have the proper permissions set up to go through the AOC.  It gives them the benefit of sales and we get the benefit of hosting contract services.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that they would set up a Shared Services Agreement to host it, adding that the individual towns would have to buy their own equipment.  Mr. Hansen stated that they would buy their own portable handheld computers and printers, but they would connect to our server as the host.  Chief Luthcke stated that means that while they are inputting the information and getting the driver information, and verifying that the information is correct for the tickets, those communications go back and forth with the AOC.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked if Ridgewood benefits financially at all.  Chief Luthcke said yes.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if there are any estimates, or is it a percentage.  Mr. Hansen stated that he believes it was a per device fee and it was either monthly or yearly.  Chief Luthcke stated that there is the cost to set up the device and then the maintenance aspect of being hooked up to our server.  There are many towns that have been waiting for this type of technology from another vendor, so they think that it will be fairly easy to get additional towns on board with it, but that estimate is based on how many towns sign up.

 

Councilwoman Perron asked if our Code Enforcer could use this.  Chief Luthcke stated that they are working with Mobizent right now to input our ordinances and there may be another way to make a transition.  She doesn’t know if it is the same forms, but it actually is something they can look at down the line.  Councilwoman Perron said under the Benefits of TicketWorks, it says responsive customer service whenever issues arise, and asked if they could give her an example of an issue that may arise.  Chief Luthcke stated that since this was built from scratch, so they had numerous issues, everything from updating the platform to an out of state license, to a new make and model of vehicle that comes out from the AOC code that until they run into it as an issue they don’t know it, but Mobizent is willing to handle whatever it is that they throw at them.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that there were some typos and incorrect dates in the contract, and she would highlight it and send it back to Ms. Mailander, Councilwoman Perron agreed.  Ms. Mailander stated that this has been an ongoing process and Mr. Rogers has reviewed it several times and given his blessing to the contract.  Mr. Rogers stated that from a content standpoint, it is a good form.

 

  1. Amend Towing Ordinance and Fee Schedule

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this is an amendment to the towing ordinance and fee schedule.  It enables the Police Department to have approved tow operators available when they are in need and at established rates.  The Village’s fee structure for towing has not been updated in five years.  Sergeant Chuck stated that Officer Turino managed the entire project.  They haven’t updated this in a long time, and some of the highlights are that they updated and organized the application structure for the towers.   Fees were not up to par, so those were upgraded.  The State put out a huge change in towing fees based on the Parkway and Turnpike.  Officer Turino evaluated what the most common calls for service are, and they adjusted the pay structure in a way that is more responsive to the community.  Not everyday occurrences pay structures are going to be in line with the State structures.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked what a decoupling fee was.  Sergeant Chuck stated that was when there is an attachment to the machines and you have to let go.  Mostly that is involved with large trucks when they have to take apart the drive shafts.  Ms. Mailander thanked Mr. Rutishauser for putting it into the proper format so it could amend the current towing ordinance.  Councilwoman Perron stated that it looks reasonable.

 

  1. Sewer Fees for Significant Dischargers – 2021 Wastewater Collection System

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this establishes a fee structure based upon equivalent dwelling units that are commercial/industrial minor and significant dischargers to the Village’s sanitary sewage collection system.  Non-profit and tax-exempt properties are billed for the sewage treatment services they receive.  The rate has been set at $4.27 per 1,000 gallons of flow in excess of 109,500 gallons per year discharged from commercial properties as measured by water meter consumption during the two winter quarters.  Non-profits are billed from the first gallon of water they consume.  The recommendation is to leave it at $4.27 per 1,000 gallons for 2021.

 

  1. Policy

 

  1. Pledge Supporting NJ Wildlife Action Plan

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this is a pledge supporting the NJ Wildlife Action Plan.  This is something that they have adopted in the past and is for our Sustainable Jersey application.  It is a comprehensive action agenda for the conservation of native wildlife, the restoration of important lands and water, and public education targeting the needs of rare wildlife in New Jersey.

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that this is the first of some of the resolutions that they are going to have to start passing for this year’s delayed Sustainable Jersey application for Silver Certification.  It was passed previously and it notes a lot of things that we are already doing.  We have lost a bunch of points through Sustainable Jersey so they really need the points.

 

  1. NJDEP Required Amendments to the Village’s Stormwater Management Regulations

 

Ms. Mailander stated that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has issued requirements that communities amend their ordinance governing stormwater protection.  The current regulations were adopted by the Village and had an effective date of February 6, 2007.  An ordinance incorporating the NJDEP’s requirements went to the Planning Board and is now coming to the Village Council.  The ordinance has been prepared by the Village Planner Maryann Bucci-Carter with input from Mr. Rutishauser.  The Planning Board has recommended that the Village Council adopt the ordinance.  They want them adopted by March, so they would have to be introduced at the February meeting.

 

  1. Street Opening Permit Regulations

 

Ms. Mailander stated that Mr. Rutishauser had noticed in the Code that a Village Department can perform work in the public right of way without any need to notify the Village’s Public Works Inspector.  Our Public Works Inspector is tasked with tracking excavations and is responsible for them including, backfill settlement, patch paving, final resurface restoration, etc.  Mr. Rutishauser is concerned that this creates a problem in that it removes the Engineering Division’s ability to track excavations in the Village’s streets.  This has been an issue in litigation matters in determining what entity may be culpable when a claim arises, as well as when the excavation’s backfill materials settle and cause a depression or a final pavement restoration is not completed.  This proposed ordinance would require notification by Village Departments proposing to excavate in the public right of way to the Engineering Division of the Department of Public Works in accordance with the Street Opening Permit process.

 

Mr. Rutishauser added that it is a problem with a recent litigation that he has been working with the Village Attorney on where they had a claim against the Village and a question came up with which entities worked in the area most recently and whether they could be enjoined.  That led to research in the Code and the realization that if a Village Department works in the street they may have no way of knowing they had done that work.  That could possibly diminish our defense.

 

  1. Authorizing the Establishment of a Government Energy Aggregation Program

 

Ms. Mailander stated that they had a presentation earlier at a previous Council Meeting and this is based on that presentation.

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that Gable Associates presented that by grouping together our residents, we would be able to get a better price for energy, and also that by getting renewable energy and increasing the amount of renewable energy that residents purchase, we would create more demand for wind, solar, hydro, electric this lets the producers note this is what we want and it expands the industry for renewables.  All we have to do is pass an ordinance and then decide who they would want as a consultant.  They don’t have to pay the consultant; it is the supplier of the electricity that would pay the consultant and that only happens if we decide that we like the contract.  Many towns in New Jersey have tried this and have been able to double the amount of renewable energy that their residents purchase.  It is an opt-out program, so everyone would participate except for those who already purchase renewable energy or those with solar panels on their house. 

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that we would need an education period, public meetings to educate the public, but also send out a mailing before it goes into effect allowing people to opt-out.  Any time during the contract, which is limited to 24 months, people can make a decision as to whether they want to be in or out.  There is also the possibly of joining with other towns that are doing this.  There are five towns in Essex County that have joined together.  Glen Rock is about to join in with them.  Their contract expired in December 2020, so they are looking for their next generation of contract.  You have to increase the amount of renewable energy that you are already getting from PSE&G, and right now their content is 23%.  She suggested we might want to double that.  Glen Rock went for 100% renewable when they first got a contract and now they are changing their focus and want to go in with this other group in Essex County. 

 

Councilwoman Perron added that everything remains the same with billing.  PSE&G is still the delivery mechanism, they are just not the supplier.  Sometimes the first time you go out to bid you don’t like what you see, so you can wait until the market looks good for you.  Sometimes it is difficult to compare because the contract would be for a fixed price whereas PSE&G’s price fluctuates.  You aren’t guaranteed a better price, but the experience of most of these towns is that they have had a modest savings for the households that have remained in the aggregation.

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that Christine Amundson is one of the energy specialists on the Green Team who was there tonight.  She is also the Energy Czar for the Board of Education.  If there are specific questions that Councilwoman Perron can’t answer, Christine can.  Bob Upton, Chair of Green Ridgewood, mentioned in Public Comment that they should try this.

 

Mayor Knudsen greeted Christine.  Ms. Amundson urged the Village Council to consider this proposal because there really is no risk at this point.  Once bids come in, that’s when everything gets looked at and a hard decision would have to be made.  There is no direct or indirect cost to the Village right now.  Gable Associates is a great company, and they worked with them on the Board of Education for gas supply.  Risk is not an issue, she thinks.  Councilwoman Perron stated that the Village uses a third party supplier, and the beauty of this also is for individual residents this is a little safer as it isn’t hard to opt-out and there is no penalty to do so.  Also, we have the benefit of our Village Attorney looking this over so it is more vetted.

 

Ms. Amundson stated that they are doing something for the environment, which is one of the goals of Green Ridgewood to be helping to combat climate change. 

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked if they go ahead and find a contract they like, someone is on for six months and thinks they are going to get a better deal with PSE&G, they can opt-out at any time.  Councilwoman Perron said they could at any time.  Councilwoman Walsh asked if PSE&G is going to mount a counter campaign to stay with PSE&G and how would that impact our message.  Is there going to be a challenge between PSE&G and the message that the Village may put out and how would they navigate that.  Councilwoman Perron stated that she didn’t think that would come to pass, what has been happening is PSE&G has been inching up their content of renewable energy.  Two years ago, they were providing 21% of their supply as renewable, and now it is 23%.  Councilwoman Walsh asked might they be bitter then.  Councilwoman Perron stated that they are only delivery, they don’t supply.  Ms. Amundson stated that they have a small amount of supply but that’s not their main focus.  Energy has been deregulated for years now and so there is not a situation where they are competing with suppliers.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked if anyone has spoken to anyone at Glen Rock and were they happy with what they chose.  Councilwoman Perron stated that they had a meeting last night and she was on it, and they were telling her where they stand.  They presented to Green Ridgewood about a year ago and she speaks with them pretty frequently.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if their residents were happy, as she finds it strange that everyone is in until they opt-out.  There are going to be many people that they may not be able to reach who will be surprised when they get their first bill.  Councilwoman Perron stated that she believes they tried for an opt-in but couldn’t get it to work.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that if someone opts her into something and she is so busy and now has to do something to opt-out she is going to be really mad at the person who opted her in and made her take the steps to opt-out.  She is concerned about the blanket opt-in.  As somebody who has changed her supplier on numerous occasions she doesn’t ever recall seeing anything different on her bill, but she would be concerned that she has to take some action to opt-out and the comment that necessarily the rates could be higher and she doesn’t know what that means.  She is concerned that they are looking at people who are really strapped and these issues wouldn’t be a benefit to the community at large.  Mayor Knudsen asked if Gable Associates every gave the additional information that was requested.  Councilwoman Perron stated that she didn’t remember requesting any information. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that she went online and did her own analysis and comparison and found that PSE&G rates were actually lower than everyone.  She added that she thought they asked for some additional information, including the schedule of rates that they got for other towns.  Also, there is the fact that Glen Rock is going into this consortium with Essex County because they didn’t have the buying power evidently to negotiate a good rate.  Councilwoman Perron stated that is where the aggregation comes in.  Mayor Knudsen stated that the first aggregation is with Village residents as a unified purchasing power, but it is interesting that Glen Rock didn’t have that level to facilitate the purchasing power and now has to move to a larger organization that is doing the bidding on their behalf.  She added that she has some serious concerns herself.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated that we should be able to talk to Glen Rock and see exactly why they decided to go in a different direction, and were they unhappy with what they chose.  Councilwoman Perron stated that she could certainly have Ken Jones come and speak to the Council if they would like to hear from him directly.  He was intimately involved in setting up the deal with the past contract in Glen Rock.  Also, they were very ambitious in their setup that they wanted 100% renewable energy.  You can get a more economical package if you aren’t looking for 100%, and perhaps instead double the current rate of renewables.  Mayor Knudsen added that it would cost our residents more, and likely Glen Rock when they did that 100% buy caused their rates to go up and residents probably started opting-out.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if they knew the percentage of people who opted-out in Glen Rock.  Councilwoman Perron stated that she thinks at one point they were at 70% participation, but they have a lot of people with solar panels and involved in third party contracts, as well.  She added that Ken Jones can come and speak to the Council. 

 

Mayor Knudsen reiterated that they did ask for a rate schedule.  Ms. Mailander agreed, adding that she doesn’t recall receiving it.  Councilwoman Perron stated that she would follow up.  She added that in taking classes with the New Jersey League of Municipalities, they made it clear that with the Energy Plan in place now for the State it does behoove the towns to pursue climate action, to reduce emissions, and to preserve our environment, and we have to take the long look rather than the short look.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she thinks they have to do both, because they have to be cognizant of our residents.  If we engage in something that causes an added burden, as any added cost that has to be shouldered by residents or businesses that cause them further harm, it is something she is going to take really seriously.  So, she has to consider both the short and long term impact and be aware of the impact on residents financially.

 

Ms. Amundson stated that the reason Glen Rock would be aligning themselves with a group of towns, is simply because they are so small of a town that 70% of their aggregate use is not as attractive to the suppliers.  The first project Glen Rock went out on their own, and then for the next renewal of a contract they realized they would be better off aligning themselves with larger towns or a group of towns so the load would be more attractive and the price would be better.

 

  1. Ridgecrest PILOT Program

 

Ms. Mailander stated that the Village charges an annual service charge instead of Ridgecrest paying property taxes.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she wasn’t sure if Rich Barclay was in the queue.  Mr. Hansen brought him in. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that the PILOT is a 30 year PILOT and the last time it was discussed was in 1983.  She discussed this with Rich and wrote some notes down about their conversation.  She felt that the public needed to have some input into the transaction and how this all came to be.  They as a group have only had this before them once, although there may have been some things going on behind the scenes before it got to the Village Council. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh asked if Mr. Barclay could explain how it came to be that this group is purchasing Ridgecrest, because when they had the last meeting it was said some local individuals.  Mr. Barclay stated that the grand overview of the whole thing was that the mortgage on the property is coming to an end and when that mortgage ends the funding they get as a rent subsidy from HUD will also end and that is not funding they want to lose.  They have an Affordable Housing expert consultant that has worked with them for over 20 years, and they asked him what they should do.  His response was that most people would sell the property now, and his question was what does that mean and how does that work.  They would find a buyer, sell the property, the existing non-profit of Ridgecrest would take the proceeds and be able to create a charitable foundation then they would have a new ownership that would come in, get a new mortgage, do some improvements, get a new PILOT, and the facility would continue on. 

 

Mr. Barclay stated that they asked for names of people who do this, and they did not get a lot of glowing reviews from the people who have done this before.  Their other option was to do it themselves.  They would get a new mortgage, keep HUD funding, and still have a foundation that would support local charities, instead of bringing people in from outside of Ridgewood they would have it be people who have volunteered and who wouldn’t cut social services.  There are about 85 residences that have never had any work done since the building was built, so they plan on renovating those kitchens and bathrooms and bringing the building up to current standards.  That way it is a win-win.  So, they have the Foundation and the 40 year relationship with the Village goes on. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh asked how much the new mortgage is going to be.  Mr. Barclay stated that it is still a little bit fluid because they have to get bids for 85 kitchens and bathrooms and he didn’t have the list exactly, but it would be in the $13 to $14 million range.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that it says in the agreement that Ridgecrest sought other investors in the project, and asked if Mr. Barclay could share with them was it offered for sale on the open market outside of the group that is purchasing it or only to current and former Board Members.  Mr. Barclay stated that to keep Ridgecrest at heart, that was their first offering and they were able to raise the money, so that is where they stopped.  Councilwoman Walsh asked if the mortgage is $14 million, what is the overall value that they have come up with.  Mr. Barclay stated that there were two appraisals done.  The building appraised at $11 million and $10 million, and then there was the work to be done and there is some cash involved.  So, $13 million is roughly the purchase price of the property.  Councilwoman Walsh asked if they were getting 100% financing.  Mr. Barclay stated that they have to put money in, depending on how much that final mortgage comes in at, that will be calculated by FHA. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh asked if a condition of the mortgage is signing this PILOT, because when they had talked, Mr. Barclay stated that the PILOT doesn’t expire until 2023.  Mr. Barclay stated that the mortgage would require a new PILOT.  They are not going to give a mortgage knowing that the PILOT would run out in a year.  He’s also not sure if it would be transferable to the new ownership.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that during their conversation, Mr. Barclay said they would have to set up a new Board.  Mr. Barclay stated that there would be a new non-profit Board and the non-profit will be the managing general partner of the renewal entity, so it will be the new Board that functions as the decision makers just like the current Ridgecrest Board functions.  They are trying to put non-investors on that Board to keep conflict of interest at bay, especially because that Board will make decisions about how the facility is operating.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked who prepared the financial agreement.  Mr. Barclay stated that came with the ordinance, so their counsel prepared it at the request of Mr. Rogers and Mr. Rooney after they spoke.  The attorney does this all the time and it was easier to get it done this way.

 

Councilwoman Perron asked if the prior entity is the Ridgewood Senior Citizens Housing Corporation Inc, and the new entity is Ridgecrest Urban Renewal Limited Partnership, is there a reason that they created it as a partnership this time around instead of a corporation.  Mr. Barclay stated that the new non-profit, which will take the place of Ridgewood Senior Citizens Housing Corp Inc., is unincorporated and the new entity is a partnership between the non-profit and the investors.  It is an urban renewal entity because that is a technical term that needs to be in there in order to qualify for things like the PILOT.

 

Mr. Barclay encouraged anyone to call him with any questions, as he volunteered there for over 20 years and the whole purpose of this is to do what is right for the community, keep this as affordable housing and upgrade it for the residents who live there.  It is a fantastic place and they hope to keep it that way for many years to come.

 

Councilwoman Walsh asked if the partnership could sell at any point in time.  Mr. Barclay stated that he didn’t know if it were prohibited or if there was a time period, but certainly if they did sell they would need a new PILOT, HUD approval, and all of that.  He didn’t know if it were prohibited or not but he would get the answers.  Mayor Knudsen stated that Councilwoman Walsh may want to look in the financial agreement item number 8.  Mr. Barclay stated that paragraph talks about their relationship with the Department of Community Affairs, so this document was created based upon the New Jersey Statutes which is exactly where this paragraph comes from.  The statute number is NJSA40A:20-1 and this talks about terminating with the DCA but the real codification to remain affordable is their agreement with HUD which is a Federal Agency and that is where they have a deed agreement with the use restriction.  If one were to be able to get the Commission of the DCA to let them out of the agreement they still wouldn’t be out of it because they have an agreement with HUD that they wouldn’t be able to get out of on a Federal level.

 

Ms. Mailander asked if everyone was ready to move forward with the public hearing and then the adoption on February 10th.  Mr. Rogers suggested that they do have another Work Session before February 10th, why don’t they revisit it next week and see if there are any remaining questions to try to get answered.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that there were some additional questions that she had for the Assessor.

 

  1. Pickleball Regulations

 

Ms. Mailander stated that they had a presentation on January 13th prior to the Public Meeting by Nancy Bigos, Director of Parks and Recreation on various aspects of pickleball.  They ran out of time that night and at this time she is going to summarize where we are now, and what they are doing next week when they discuss this topic again.  They need to agree on hours and days of the week, whether or not it should be rotated between various locations, requirements for paddles and balls, fees for badges, the noise level ordinance, having the County person from Noise Pollution come and measure the decibel levels, court fencing increasing the height and curvature of the top and possibly double wrapped.

 

Ms. Bigos stated that she didn’t know where we are, but this is a beginning for them to continue.  They all have had many conversations within the last week, she has had conversations with their instructional staff, different individuals, she has shared some with our residents, and also sat down with professional staff to be able to present to the Village Council in a synchronized format those areas that the professional staff would like to reintroduce to the Village Council as options for immediate success.  She needs their dialogue and guidance as to how they want to move forward on this. 

 

Ms. Bigos stated that one of the things they have all heard is the enforcement, that they can’t eliminate the non-residents unless they have enforcement.  They can’t change the playing times unless they have enforcement.  They can’t decrease court hours, eliminate non-residents, or enforce the green zone paddles and muted balls unless someone is there to take a look.  She can say that this is something that she can do with the seasonal staff that they have on board who are looking for part time employment.  She added that enforcement is their greatest concern, but that is something that they can take care of within the Department. 

 

Ms. Bigos stated that after that, they need to be able to absolutely agree on some variables.  She would like for them to agree that they need to eliminate the non-residents. Of the 151 pickleball-only badge holders, 82 of them were non-residents.  That brings the number down to 69 residents.  There will be a few more but that almost cuts the number of players in half.  We will be eliminating the non-residents, bringing in enforcement, decreasing the court hours, assessing flexibility with those hours, and using the noise reducing equipment. Then they can move forward next Wednesday at 11:00 A.M. with a demonstration of the two different types of paddles, the three different balls, and have a learning session for themselves to be able to evaluate it.  At that time, Maureen Kelly who is working for the Department of Health in Bergen County as their noise pollution consultant, has agreed to come out to the courts and give them a courtesy review of the before time, evaluate all of the pickleball paddles, the site itself while play is going on, and then do a quick walk around the neighborhood to study the noise.  Ms. Bigos stated that this establishes the baseline, which is no play, and just common community conversation, traffic, Route 17, birds, whatever the noise consists of at that time.  Then, we put the pickleball players on the court to be able to measure.

 

Ms. Bigos stated that those are the immediate solutions that she would like to be able to start with, knowing that this conversation is one that is going to continue as they enter into month number 12 of this pandemic.  Last night at the Parks, Recreation, and Conservation Board, they talked about just how pleased they are with the amount of our residents recreating.  They are seeing residents out and about all the time.  Last Thursday after work, Ms. Mailander asked her to stop by up at Crestview and take a look and she was really taken aback because while she was there. A young adult was sitting on the wall by himself, there were two women and three children walking from Crest Road to the View, there was a couple parked in the driveway of one of the residents, and there were two sets of adults walking with their dog up the hill.  To see that much activity out and about was something that she took awareness of because our residents are out and trying to stay healthy during this pandemic.  They are walking more, biking more, they are trying also to avoid this COVID weary feeling that is creeping in on all of us and getting out of doors every opportunity they have.

 

Ms. Bigos stated that she thinks that our residents need this opportunity for active participation for our mature adults, she doesn’t know how many other options they have out there.  With the Community Center closed as well as some of the facilities and programs that they would be engaging in, they are not able to participate, so this is important to them.  They will continue to research best practices.  She added that Councilwoman Perron is working on a noise ordinance that she is studying with different types of maintenance equipment, and she knows that they have to be thinking long-term with where they go from here.  She reached out to a company and will have a price on the installation of additional courts to be able to discuss that topic with them when it comes time for capital budget.  Ms. Bigos stated that they are working forward to different solutions to the problem, but she wanted to leave it up to the Village Council and ask them for their recommendation.  She added that it is important for her staff to be able to administratively begin the registration process for Graydon, tennis, and pickleball.  They are behind already a month and this is the busiest pre-season planning time of the year for them.

 

Ms. Bigos asked the Village Council to help her find a solution for this, so that they can move forward.  Mayor Knudsen thanked her for going to the View as there are two residents who appreciate it being looked at.  Her thought is that when they go on the 3rd to test out the rackets, they should have a flavor for the experience prior to pickleball.  She thinks they should also add tennis racket and tennis balls into the mix so they can gauge the difference.  The one thing she wanted to point out as they are talking about noise ordinances and the noise that the folks in the neighborhood are complaining about is that it is not necessarily the loudness but the duration of the pop-pop-pop.  It is constant.  So, there were two tennis courts with eight players and two balls, and now there are four pickleball courts with sixteen players and four balls.  They should focus on testing out the noise, but why are they thinking about taping up the other tennis courts.  Ms. Mailander stated that is subject the Village Council’s decision as they need to know what exactly it is they are doing. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that the same way they did the original test of those locations, she thought they were going to redo that to utilize those locations as pickleball courts.  She suggested they be in test mode and then if the sound is mitigated enough, they could at least open up for two days a week at the Glen courts.  Ms. Mailander stated that she needs an agreement from the majority of the Village Council to get to that point.  Once they agree, they also want 200 foot notices sent out.  So, until there is a concise plan as to what they are doing she can’t send out notices or tape up the courts because she didn’t know if they all wanted to rotate it or not.

 

Ms. Mailander asked if the Village Council agreed that they didn’t want to allow non-residents to play pickleball.  There was an agreement from the Village Council.  They have an ordinance that they can introduce February 10th which will allow for that.  She asked if the Village Council agreed to have the seniors pay $20 for the whole year, this is a minimal amount but this allows them to register and to go into CommunityPass and reserve.  Ms. Bigos has told her that none of the seniors she has spoken with have a problem with $20 for the year.  Ms. Mailander stated that the guest pass was $10, and she asked if the Village Council was okay with that amount.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if a guest pass can be a non-resident how does one get the pass and who is going to keep track.  Ms. Bigos stated that the way it works is they have a dropdown feature on CommunityPass that the non-resident are not able to purchase guest passes, only the residents can purchase guest passes which is a drop down on the site.  You are able to then print out that pass for the day.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that they could be playing though and not have a guest pass.  Ms. Bigos added that number one is enforcement and none of this will work unless they have enforcement.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked how they would know that there were only 69 resident pickleball players.  She knows how they got to that number, but her question is prior to all of this they used to have to make a time schedule that they were going to play, so if someone were playing with four people, one person would sign up and did they list the four people or just sign up themselves.  Ms. Bigos stated that was correct.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that there could have been many people that they didn’t know about that were playing.  When she was growing up her parents were big tennis players, and her mom would call to book the court a week in advance.  She played with three other people but she was always the one making the appointment, what she was getting at is that there could be another hundred pickleball players in Ridgewood that they really don’t know about.  Ms. Bigos stated that unless they were playing illegally.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if anyone ever checked badges.  Ms. Bigos stated that there are full time staff that are checking badges on a weekly basis, primarily on the weekends.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if they tended to find people who were playing without badges.  Ms. Bigos stated that in the beginning maybe, she added that once the players became familiar with themselves, they started to self-enforce.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated that she really does feel having four courts at the Glen School, they are not going to be able to mitigate the noise with 16 people.  She visited the court and a woman she plays tennis with recognized her, and she was saying that at 9:00 A.M. that morning all four courts were taken and there were 20 people waiting to play.  That is 36 people.  If they had two pickleball courts at Glen, the sound level would hopefully be acceptable.  She doesn’t think the complaints started until there were four courts, and of course COVID and they were booked from the time they were open to the time they were closed.  The only way to alleviate that is to offer other courts.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that she knows the plan B was to rotate courts, but she still doesn’t think that would be helpful because it is only two pickleball courts per day and she thinks they need four pickleball courts per day.  She added that she isn’t necessarily in agreement with no pickleball on Sunday because it is a day when everybody can get out and play.  She thinks the hours should be limited on a Sunday, and if they gave each of those locations four days, they could have four courts every single day of the week.

 

Ms. Bigos stated that she understands eliminating half of the courts at Glen, but she is not certain with regards to court rotating.  Ms. Mailander stated that she is saying on Monday you would have Glen and Bellair, Tuesday maybe Glen and North Monroe, so each day there are two courts in play at two locations for pickleball.  Ms. Bigos asked why they couldn’t just take the one tennis court at North Monroe and make it two pickleball courts and let them just play seven days a week.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she thinks the whole point to this exercise is that they want residents to be able to go out and play pickleball, so the point in it is to not subject one neighborhood to seven days a week of nonstop pop-pop-pop.  If you have two pickleball courts at each of those locations and rotate so there are two courts at different locations open at the same time, you have the four pickleball courts to satisfy the need.  She added that they appreciate that people want to play pickleball and they are trying to come up with a viable solution without imposing this solution on our neighbors.  They need to be creative, systematic, and efficient.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that at least temporarily they would tape out these other two locations, Monroe and Bellair, into two pickleball courts and encourage feedback from the residents.  This way they can gauge whether or not they are creating another situation where they are denying people the opportunity for some break.  Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that he agreed they need to do something, as right now they are just speculating on things that they really don’t have any answers too.  It is probably a good idea to split them up as two courts in two different location to cut the group of people at each location in half.  That, coupled with eliminating non-residents, would help tremendously in those locations, allowing for some relief in areas.  Until they finally agree on something and try it, nothing is going to happen.  Right now, this is something good to try to get feedback and move on from there.

 

Mayor Knudsen suggested the sooner they test out these rackets and how they are going to stop the pop-pop-pop all day, the sooner the courts are open.  If they can do this on Wednesday, February 3rd, they could be opening at least two courts on February 4th a few times a week and they get people out playing.  The sooner they accelerate this, the sooner they can find a solution that is successful.  Ms. Mailander stated that she was hearing at least three Councilmembers agree on this. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that from the meeting that they had last night, there was a lot of input from pickleball players and they are having another meeting tomorrow.  One of the things that came up in the meeting last night was that they need to retrofit the panels that were put up and raise them a little higher, which may help the situation.  With the three courts, Glen could be Monday, Tuesday Saturday, North Monroe could be Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday, and Bellair Wednesday, Friday, Thursday.  That way everyone is getting three days, each court is alternating so there could be people playing at all those courts.  She recalled from the last meeting that they wanted to tape up the courts, and she believes that they should open Glen so that people can get back to playing.  She mentioned last night in the meeting, they have to make sure that Ms. Bigos is going to have the budget to retrofit those courts and probably sound panels there, as well.  Even though they are limiting the amount of badges, she thinks it is growing and there will be more players.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated that plan wouldn’t give them four courts each day.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that if you did Glen on Monday and Tuesday, North Monroe Tuesday, and Wednesday, and then Bellair Wednesday and Friday, and then you have Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday that you could put on any of those courts, so each court gets three days but alternating.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that there are only three courts, and if you are giving them each three days that only takes care of six slots.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that she was assuming they wouldn’t have Sunday play.  Ms. Mailander stated that if they didn’t do a day it would probably be Monday.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that it would be three days for each court on alternating days so that there is always courts in play but giving each location a break every other day.  Mayor Knudsen stated that in the absence of this testing they are going to be doing on February 3rd, they may have successfully mitigated the sound enough that they could do the four courts, but she didn’t know until they do that test.  It could be such that the paddle, balls, and altering of the panels resolve that issue.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that it will be on the agenda for next week on Wednesday so they can discuss what they found out that day.  She would like to hold off on the taping of the courts so that they can save the expense and time just in case it has been mitigated.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she thinks they should get it done because they want everyone to get in there and play pickleball and she thinks they should put all the irons in the fire. 

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that the idea of rotating to different courts around town, she has heard the pickleballers says that’s ridiculous and that the Village Council just doesn’t understand that the 20 people on line would be rotating into all four games.  Councilwoman Reynolds added that was why they should have all four courts in one spot because it’s just not fair to have 36 people.  Councilwoman Perron added that she would like to try these initial measures first and see if it comes in under 65 decibels and comply with the State law before they start shuttling people all around town.  On the other hand, if it still comes in at above 65 decibels then by all means they should try splitting it up.  To the pickleballers who say that Council doesn’t know what the game is like, they are looking for a compromise.  On February 3rd, if they are having someone come to test, if the homeowners are willing to have the tester come into their homes they should arrange for that.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that it is not the decibel level, they are probably going to find that it is not in excess of 65, but it is in our noise ordinance and in the common law nuisance it is clear that the noise isn’t just about decibels, it’s about the duration.  It is not the decibels as much as it is pop-pop-pop from sun up until sun down.  They have to stop focusing on this idea that somehow the decibel level is the solution if that’s not the problem.  In the Village Code and the common law nuisance from the State, it is not just the noise level but it is a noise that is so constant that the duration of the noise becomes the issue. 

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that she hasn’t heard from the pickleballers what hours of play that are most important to them.  They have just talked about making it 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., but is it more important to them in the morning or afternoon to play, and what days are more important to them.  She hasn’t heard from the homeowners what time of day is the most painful to them to hear this sound.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she was going to go back to the original idea that they have to work on two tracks here, one is noticing the 200 feet and taping out, and the other is to do the test and look at what the options are.  If they are saying they will only play on four courts, that is their prerogative, and everyone is going to feel a little pain in a compromise.  They need to figure out the best way forward as quickly and efficiently as possible.

 

Ms. Mailander asked Ms. Bigos what are the hours of the day that are played the most as they heard someone say today that it is from 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.  Ms. Bigos stated that she would believe it is 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., but she is certain that all they really need to be able to do is ask them.  Ms. Mailander stated that they can ask them tomorrow at the meeting.  Once they hear from them, they will set the hours based on the meeting tomorrow.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked who is at the meeting tomorrow.  Ms. Mailander stated Mayor Knudsen, Councilwoman Walsh, Ms. Bigos, and herself. 

 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated they were going to ask the pickleball players, but shouldn’t the homeowners also be asked.  Ms. Mailander agreed that they could ask the homeowners, too.  Mayor Knudsen stated that they could send an email as the homeowners aren’t in the meeting tomorrow and they are just going to hear the groups thoughts on this.  Councilwoman Perron asked why not have a meeting with the residents and pickleball players together.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that as insight, they had already had meetings with the resident and they expressed some of their grievances.  She knows that the pickleballers were trying to set up some meetings to give their ideas and grievances as well, so they wanted to have an open dialogue as opposed to confrontational dialogue with everyone all in.  The meeting tomorrow is to allow the pickleballers to give their full insight, and they have listened to the meeting tonight and will be able to give some feedback.  Mayor Knudsen added that they are trying to find a good solution that allows the pickleball courts to reopen, but the residents can enjoy their property, and she is sure they will get there.

 

Ms. Mailander stated the schedule for introduction and future dates.  She asked about the $10 for guest passes.  Mayor Knudsen stated that if there are roughly 70 residents that are playing pickleball, if they add to that even 20% guest passes they are inching their way up to those higher numbers.  Her feeling is that she is more interested in getting people back in playing as quickly as possible so she was almost inclined to step back from the guest passes.  Ms. Mailander stated that they would have to do it by ordinance, she added that some of the pickleballers played with their college age children who came home for break and they did that with guest passes.  Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that they could go ahead with the guest passes and if it becomes a problem they could suspend that portion of the ordinance. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that Ms. Bigos needs to be able to start selling the passes, so are they opening the Glen courts as of Monday then.  Ms. Mailander stated that they have to have the demonstration and decide exactly what days they are doing so she can send out to notice to the 200 foot list.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that Glen are already operational courts, so maybe they open them for Mondays and Tuesdays.  Mayor Knudsen stated that they don’t know how the rackets and balls will be yet, and they are testing them on February 3rd.  Councilwoman Walsh asked if Ms. Bigos would have to prorate the badge sales.  Ms. Mailander stated that it was $20 or $40 for the year, they are not going to prorate it as it is very reasonable for an entire year.

 

Councilwoman Perron asked if there was a limit on guest passes, such as a person only having three a day.  Ms. Bigos stated that she didn’t know about a limit, the majority of residents have resident badges and it would only be for guests, so she didn’t know.  If you have three children that are home from college and you want to play with them, or you have company visiting, she isn’t sure about a limit.  Ms. Mailander stated that if they wanted to put a limit on the guest number, they could do that.  Mayor Knudsen stated that Deputy Mayor Sedon was right and they could always suspend it.  Deputy Mayor Sedon agreed, adding that he didn’t see that as being a huge, ongoing problem.  Mayor Knudsen agreed.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated that she thought they had said they were going to take one court from Bellair and North Monroe and tape it out, but now she thinks Ms. Mailander just said they aren’t doing that until they are discussing it again.  Ms. Mailander stated that now that four of the Village Council had said they would like to do that, they are going to, but she needs to also know the days and times which they won’t know until the meeting with the pickleballers and then email the residents as they need their feedback to determine the times and days that it is going to be.  Then she wants to be able to send out to residents within 200 feet, the hours and days they would be at the court, and to ask for feedback.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that she understands that, so they were going to take input from the residents and pickleballers. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated they will meet with the group tomorrow, do some outreach to the neighbors, come up with a schedule, do the testing on the 3rd, and by that point when they come back to Village Council they should be able to have a schedule, have established the noise issue, get the Glen courts back open by Thursday on a part time schedule, hopefully, and get this done.

 

  1. Operations

 

  1. Habernickel Park – 1057 Hillcrest Road

 

Ms. Mailander stated that they have received a profit and loss analysis, a home inspection report, and a structural engineers report on 1057 Hillcrest Road, which are voluminous.  She asked Mr. Rutishauser and Paul Kalksma to review the reports and provide a summary of their determinations.  All of this will be discussed at the February 3rd Work Session, after the Village Council has had a chance to really read all of the material.  At this time, they are not going to discuss it.  If anyone had specific questions they can email her and she would have the appropriate individual respond.

 

  1. Propose Revisions to Dining Corral Concept

 

Ms. Mailander stated that they created dining corrals in the parking spaces in front of some of the areas such as Steel Wheel, Sook and S. Egidio, the next step would be to make then semi-permanent by installing removable pipe bollards.  They are installed into a socket in the pavement to create a delineation around the dining area.  When the bollards are not being used they can be removed from the sockets and stored by the restaurants.  The sockets are then covered by a metal plate that creates a secure surface for traffic and pedestrians.  The bollard corrals could be used year round as long as the weather cooperated.  CBDAC was in favor of this concept, as was the management team of the Police Department. 

 

The bollards can be ordered in black or five other colors with reflective materials.  Mr. Rutishauser suggested that the parking bollards be allowed to occupy Village parking spaces only on select streets and those streets would be selected by the Traffic Bureau.  He also suggested each business utilizing corrals pay the rate for each parking space that they occupy.  Each bollard would cost approximately $450, either they could have the restaurants purchase them or the Village could purchase them in bulk and then the businesses could purchase from them.  The Village can plan for the installation and then the businesses would pay for the number of bollards required for their corral.  Each restaurant would be responsible for managing their bollards in accordance with an approved plan.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that Mr. Rutishauser does have a plan to regulate it, and it would be part of the outdoor café ordinance. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that the one thing that she has been comfortable about when driving past these corrals is that it feels like there is a barrier between pedestrians sitting on the street and automobiles.  She thinks she would feel less comfortable with this type of a bollard.  She didn’t know whether the establishments have the money to be paying for this.  At Steel Wheel you would probably need ten of these, whereas there is currently something in place that isn’t going to cost them anymore.  If they are pinching pennies she didn’t know that this would be the way to move forward. 

 

Mr. Rutishauser stated that the barriers are taking a beating and getting wear and tear.  They just spoke with the restaurant owners regarding using a brine solution so they don’t freeze and it is working very well and is the lowest cost solution that they can implement so that the people with the corrals don’t have that high cost.  He believes the pedestrians will feel safe, as the streets these are being proposed on have speed limits of 25 miles an hour or less.  They are looking at working them out with the Police Department, doubling up in critical areas and a spacing of no more than four feet apart.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked what the cost was to install.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that he would estimate probably in the range of $100.  Mayor Knudsen stated that was in addition to the cost of each bollard.  Mr. Rutishauser agreed, adding that those are approximations because the price is lower the more they buy.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she was looking at Model R 7902, is that cap piece hinged so if you pull the bollard out it just flips down.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that is the intention.  Mayor Knudsen asked what happens to the padlock.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that the padlock could be taken away with the bollard and stored.  Mayor Knudsen asked who would be removing and storing the bollard.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that the intention is for the businesses to remove and store them, but if they didn’t want to do that he would have to charge them for the efforts of our staff, similar to what they did for the Pedestrian Mall.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked if the bollards were heavy.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that they are heavy.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if she is driving down the street and has a medical episode and drives into a bollard, is the bollard going to tip over.  Mr. Rutishauser stated depending on how fast she is going, if she is in excess of 25 mph she will probably hit a couple bollards and rip the sockets out of the pavement.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that as a consumer she doesn’t know that she would ever sit in an area like that. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that no doubt there is a much cleaner look, however, if she had little kids she would be unhappy because that to her would be totally vulnerable.  She read that you can put flower boxes between them but that keeps increasing the costs.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that if a restaurant chooses they can put flower boxes between the bollards as long as it didn’t extend the footprint past the parking space, they could put a chain between the bollards as well.  He added that the driver for this is our current pandemic situation and they have no idea at this time when people will be allowed to dine again in a restaurant.  More importantly, when will people feel comfortable enough to dine inside.  With the corrals, they are creating an environment that people are enjoying going out and eating out.  They also have the bubbles.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked what the spacing is on the bollards.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that he would like to have about a 4 foot spacing between the bollards and a tighter spacing at critical corners in discussion with the Police Department.  Mayor Knudsen asked if this came from Central Business District Advisory Committee (CBDAC).  Councilwoman Perron stated that Mr. Rutishauser brought this to CBDAC and they liked the idea.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that he has seen this other places, specifically in Europe.  He added that this is a great way to give a boost to our businesses.  Mayor Knudsen stated that just a couple agenda items back they were talking about all of the U-turns and double parking and vehicular activity going on, so she shared Councilwoman Walsh’s and Reynold’s concerns about the vulnerability aspect and also about the driving that is being observed downtown.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that as far as he is concerned, they haven’t had any issues with corrals and vehicles out on our streets.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked when Mr. Rutishauser was at CBDAC and this was presented, how many businesses and restaurant owners were there and what was the feedback from those individuals.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that he isn’t sure how many restaurant owners were there, but he knows Paul Vagianos polled the current restaurants that have corrals and they were all in favor of going to a bollard corral.  Councilwoman Perron stated that Randy Carson from Park West Tavern loved the idea. 

 

Mayor Knudsen added that they are nice and look so clean, she would love to see them in black.  Mr. Rutishauser suggested black with reflective material.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that people see orange when they are driving and when it blends in, somebody is going to hit it.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that they come in black, but you can get a multitude of colors and that also is a decision that the Village Council can make, such as allowing restaurants to choose their own color.  Mayor Knudsen stated that offering various colors may add significantly to the cost.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked that what we have now works, is it just for a visual appearance that people want to do this and mentioned that she never heard anyone complain about the existing barriers.  Councilwoman Perron stated that she thinks they are ugly, and this will make installation and removal much less labor intensive.

 

Mr. Rutishauser stated that currently it is a basic jersey barrier, and it gives every appearance of a temporary construction site.  The bollards are a permanent corral and look more permanent and like it belongs in the streetscape.  Councilwoman Perron asked if they could try it in one area and see how it goes.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that they could reach out to one and do them as a pilot study.  Mayor Knudsen asked what happens after they do that and decide they don’t like it.  Mr. Rutishauser stated they could fill it like a pothole. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that she has spent a lot of time on Citizen Safety with Mr. Rutishauser and all she can keep thinking is how many bollards they had to replace at Linwood and North Walnut because people were just turning and driving over them.  She is still concerned that the visibility, even if they are orange, we have put them in front of the Starbucks and people literally dragged them down the street.  They put them in front of the High School and people just drive over them.  Mayor Knudsen stated that they are a different material and are not placed in the street, and are in that sleeve.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that they aren’t filled with anything, they are just hollow.  Mayor Knudsen asked what the weight is on them.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that they are schedule 40 steel pipe and are about 31 pounds each.  Mayor Knudsen stated that seemed like nothing.  Councilwoman Reynolds said that would be versus an SUV.  She added that the listed height is 36 inches, and the base diameter is 4 3/8 inches.

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that the current set up wouldn’t really stop a car anyway, and it’s not permanent.  Maybe if they were reflective and it was less expensive to get basic black ones and wrap them in reflective tape then people can see them.  He said maybe they should just try it out in one location and see how it works instead of all or nothing. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that she thought someone had shared a place where they saw them.  Councilwoman Perron stated that was in Dover.  Mayor Knudsen asked if that was the same setup.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that they didn’t use them as a dining corral, they used them to block off a street that had previously been a cut through at a property that they purchased and redeveloped.  Mayor Knudsen stated that is a different situation and she is going to say she isn’t comfortable with it as a safety issue.  Ms. Mailander stated that they have three who are not comfortable with it, so that’s a majority.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked Mr. Rogers if they were to do this and permit this and then there was an accident that resulted in any injury, by virtue of permitting this what is their liability.  Mr. Rogers stated that he hasn’t seen all of the paperwork and data that is being put out there with regard to the bollards, but as long as they put them in the way they are designed and designed for, they would have that going for them from a liability standpoint.  If they have any inkling that this is really not safe, or anything that it shouldn’t be used alongside a lane of traffic, then they have to take issue with that and he wouldn’t recommend they go ahead and use them.  Mr. Rogers stated that he thinks they have very limited liability in that instance.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that it says to make or pronounce statement on your entry to your streetscape, business, park, school, or stadium.  It’s making a statement on entry according to the general description, it is not being described as a mechanism to block off part of a street.  Mr. Rogers stated that there is probably more information about them, so he thinks they have to look further into it to decide whether or not if they are installed the way they are meant to be installed are they going to be safe for this situation that they have proposed.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she thinks she wants additional information that would come from the manufacturer recommends this item for this use and considers it to be safe.  She would like to know what the recommended usage is and isn’t.  Mr. Rogers stated he would say that is a good plan.  Ms. Mailander stated they would contact the manufacturer.

 

  1. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

Siobhan Crann Winograd, 274 Ivy Place, stated that she wanted to call in earlier but missed the window and wanted to talk during public comment about public comment.  Since October, she has been increasingly frustrated with how the public has shown up and people are writing letters, and in her opinion there hasn’t been as much of a response as she would like to see.  She added that people come to public comment to be heard, but most people come because they want to see something happen.  There has been a rally cry for HealthBarn and for the discussion to occur in public and tonight it is both in public and in private.  Jan Philips called about the flag and the answer was that there is no request mechanism, and that made her even more concerned because for two years since the flag was installed she submitted multiple requests.  With pickleball they are seeing that they need to wait for an ordinance change.

 

Ms. Winograd stated that she has made two requests and the silence is deafening.  Pride is looming and people are asking how they make that request and there is no answer.  They also have the fact that during this time they were requesting the government placed their own flag on the forum flag pole.  This is an opportunity for that public comment to turn into an agenda item and that just isn’t happening.  She added that on social media, people have been calling for three years and it can’t move past public comment. 

 

Ms. Winograd stated that regarding HealthBarn and pickleball, people were getting silence.  When they come to public comment, people want to be heard, and since Ramon Hache has left they are not getting a response.  She doesn’t know if they can speak to this after public comments close, but the issues she would like to see some forward momentum on would be the flagpole and why have none of the requests that have been submitted been responded to.  She also asked where they are with the social media policy, and how many times are people going to call in and be told it’s in the works and then not have a deliverable.

 

Ms. Winograd stated that regarding pickleball, it is very important when they give the 200 foot notice that the Bellair courts back up to Orchard School and many years ago she was the Orchard safety chair and there are a lot of traffic problems there.  Orchard parking is a nightmare, and they should keep that in mind.  She added that the only thing that was left out of the pickleball conversation was the cost of fitting these courts and she thinks whatever solution they can present is great but she thinks it was expensive to make Glen permanent pickleball courts and if Ms. Bigos moves forward with this they are going to have to talk about the budget.

 

Ms. Winograd stated that she really hopes this results in some type of response regarding the two issues, most importantly the flag pole and secondarily the social media policy.

 

There were no additional comments from the public.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that she respectfully disagrees with the comments that were made that suggest that they listen but don’t hear or act.  She believes that they have listened, heard, and acted so she thinks those comments are unwarranted and wrong.  Regarding pickleball they have listened and are taking action; social media is on the February 3rd agenda.  She added that they have a social media policy, and have had one all along.  It is in their HR manual and has been there, exists, and is concise, and it is what our JIF requires us to do.  That policy may or may not need to be expanded upon, and that is something they are going to take up next week.

 

Mayor Knudsen added that when Ms. Philips commented, she responded that she understood and it was something they should take up in the near future.

 

  1. RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION

 

Deputy Village Clerk, Donna Jackson read Resolution #21-16 to go into Closed Session as follows:

  1. ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Deputy Mayor Sedon, seconded by Councilwoman Reynolds, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Work Session was adjourned at 11:07 P.M.

 

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A REGULAR PUBLIC MEETING OF THE VILLAGE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD HELD IN THE SYDNEY V. STOLDT, JR. COURT ROOM OF THE RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE HALL, 131 NORTH MAPLE AVENUE, RIDGEWOOD, NEW JERSEY ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2021 AT 8:00 P.M.

  1. CALL TO ORDER – OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT – ROLL CALL – FLAG SALUTE – MOMENT OF  SILENCE

Mayor Knudsen called the meeting to order at 8:00 P.M., and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.  At roll call, the following were present:  Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen.  Also present were Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.  

Mayor Knudsen also led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.  Mayor Knudsen also asked for a moment of silence for men and women serving our nation; those who were lost in Afghanistan; and those who perished in Hurricane Ida.

2.         ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORTS

Mayor Knudsen moved that the Bills, Claims, and Vouchers, and Statement of Funds on hand as of August 31, 2021, be accepted as submitted.  Councilwoman Reynolds seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

3.         APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Mayor Knudsen moved that the Village Council minutes of August 11, 2021, having been reviewed by the Village Council, and now available in the Village Clerk’s Office be approved as submitted.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         Mayor Knudsen

 

 

4.         PROCLAMATIONS

a.         FIRE PREVENTION WEEK

The following Proclamation was read by Mayor Knudsen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

b.         GOLD STAR MOTHER’S DAY

The following Proclamation was read by Councilman Sedon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.         NATIONAL BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

The following Proclamation was read by Councilwoman Reynolds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

d.         PROCLAIM SEPTEMBER NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS

The following Proclamation was read by Councilwoman Perron.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor Knudsen said that last week’s Village Council Work Session was cancelled due to Hurricane Ida.  The Mayor and Council held their Work Session at 5:30 this evening, prior to a Closed Session. She thanked Councilmembers, the Village Attorney and the Village Manager, in particular, who worked overtime to pare down the 5:30 agenda in order to complete all of tonight’s work.

5.         COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mayor Knudsen asked if there were any comments or questions from the public this evening.  Matthew Lindenberg, 165 Claremont Road, said he would be addressing the public health and transparency issues presented in a recent social media post by Mayor Knudsen.  He asked that the Village Council take specific steps to address these issues.  On August 20th, Mayor Knudsen shared a post on Facebook regarding “Ridgewood’s Back to School Vaccination Event” including a photo of the Mayor receiving a vaccination shot.  Mr. Lindenberg said that the post raises several questions among the community; however, none of these questions have received a public response, and the concerns and questions raised on the Mayor’s Facebook page have been deleted.  He has written to the Mayor and Councilmembers individually, without a response.  Mr. Lindenberg recalled that the Mayor had committed to ensuring transparency, in addition to correcting any misinformation that may spread throughout the community; however, to date this has not happened.  He has concerns over the fact that Mayor Knudsen has appeared without a mask at public meetings despite the importance of minimizing community spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Mr. Lindenberg asked if this vaccine was a first, second, or a booster shot for Mayor Knudsen.  If it was a first or second shot, and Mayor Knudsen was holding meetings with the public and Village staff, it puts everyone’s health at risk, while setting a terrible example.  He asked if other Councilmembers were aware of this.  This is particularly alarming given the shift of Village Council meetings back into Village Hall without any remote access option, despite repeated vocal demands for it.  Mr. Lindenberg stated that the CDC guidance on mask wearing is clear, regardless of whether or not an individual has contracted COVID-19 in the past.  The CDC advises everyone over age two (2) to wear a mask in public spaces unless fully vaccinated.  Mr. Lindenberg said that either the Mayor did not understand the guidance, which is highly unlikely given the warning signs on the door to Village Hall or the Mayor chose to ignore this guidance.  Mr. Lindenberg said that the first option is negligence and the second is malicious.  He asked that this situation be addressed, through proactive and constructive action, using common sense policy changes.  Mr. Lindenberg stated that a full mask mandate should be implemented in all public buildings, given the spread of the Delta variant.  Village Council Meetings should be reinstituted immediately using Zoom, phone calls, emails or some other form of remote participation in this public forum. 

No one else came forward at this time and Mayor Knudsen closed the Public Portion of the meeting.  

Councilwoman Perron said she was unhappy with the rescheduling of the September 1st meeting to this evening, because the 5:30 commencement of that Work Session was within the Rosh Hashanah holiday.  She contacted Rabbi Fein at Temple Israel indicating that the meeting date was beyond their control at this time, and she explained that this was not the Village Council’s choice.

6.         MANAGER’S REPORT

Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk, reported that “You Call The Shots” COVID 19 Back to School event will be held September 9th from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., in the Graydon Pool Parking Lot.  The event is open to all ages, and appointments are encouraged, but not required.  Individuals ages 12 to 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to be eligible for the vaccine.  Activities, prizes and snacks will be provided, and in the event of rain, the event will move to the Patrick Mancuso Senior Center on the ground floor of Village Hall. 

Ms. Mailander stated that due to Hurricane Ida, regular household garbage will be picked up curbside through September 10th and residents may put out bulk waste items, that were damaged or destroyed, on their regular garbage collection days.  Curbside and bulk waste will be picked up at the same time.  Regular rear yard garbage pick-up will resume on September 13th, and the Recycling Center will open tomorrow September 9th

Ms. Mailander said that “Music in the Night” is sponsored by the Ridgewood Guild.  Live music will take place at various locations around the Central Business District (CBD) on Friday nights through September 10th.

Ms. Mailander stated that the Ridgewood Farmer’s Market organized by the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce, is open on Sundays from 8:30 A.M. until 2:00 P.M.  The Market is located at the Ridgewood Train Station Parking lot, and will be open every Sunday through the end of October. 

Ms. Mailander announced that the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce annual Car Show is scheduled for Friday, September 10th from 6:00 P.M until 9:00 P.M., weather permitting, and at this time it looks like the weather will cooperate.  The show is held around Memorial Park at Van Neste Square and along East Ridgewood Avenue.

Ms. Mailander stated that Ridgewood residents received a fall listing of programs, and health offerings available through the Recreation Department for those 55 and over.  Most of the programs are held in the Community Center in the lower level of Village Hall.  She said that reservations should be made by calling the Recreation Department. 

Ms. Mailander spoke about the September 11th Commemorative Ceremony at 7:00 P.M., in Memorial Park at Van Neste Square to remember the twelve Ridgewood residents lost on September 11, 2001, as well as all the other lives that were lost.  Portraits of the residents who perished on that day, are on display in the Public Library Auditorium during the month of September.

Ms. Mailander stated that the Bergen County Utilities Authority will hold their “Household Hazardous Waste Disposal” Saturday, September 11th from 9:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M., at Bergen County Campgaw Reservation, 200 Campgaw Road, Mahwah.  Items accepted for recycling include propane gas cylinders, used motor oil, fire extinguishers, fluorescent lights, insecticides and vehicle batteries.  

Ms. Mailander said that the following upcoming meetings will be broadcast live on the Village website, and channel 34 on FiOS, and are also available on YouTube after the meeting.  Upcoming meetings include: Work Session on September 22nd at 7:30 P.M.; Work Session on October 6th at 7:30 P.M., Public Meeting on October 13th at 8:00 P.M., and a Work Session on October 27th at 7:30 P.M.

Ms. Mailander thanked Village staff members who came in to clean up Village Hall.  There was about 4 inches of water in the ground floor of the building.  She stated that the Streets Department cleared mud from the parking lot, and the Parks and Recreation staff worked diligently to clean up the parks.  The clean-up is ongoing.  Due to the fact that the lower level of Village Hall has five feet of tile, instead of sheetrock on the walls, Village employees were able to clean and sanitize the lower level without having to call in a service company

7.         VILLAGE COUNCIL REPORTS

Chamber of Commerce:  Councilwoman Perron reported that the Chamber of Commerce met today, and discussed the possibility of buying the Town Garage property at 120 Franklin Avenue.  Everyone agreed that it is an eyesore, but no one could agree on what to do with it.

Councilwoman Perron stated that wayfinding signs have been located around Ridgewood to help people find the Hudson Street parking garage.  The signs are in several places, but there is no signage as drivers exit under the railroad trestle, from the west side onto the east side.  It is unfortunate that there is not a good place for a sign.  A comment was made that from the area of the trestle, the garage can be seen, and if a banner was placed on the garage, it would give motorists a sense of direction. 

Councilwoman Perron reminded everyone of the Car Show again.  The Chamber of Commerce has been doing hybrid meetings for networking, which means that some people are appearing in person while others are in a Zoom setting.  It is somewhat of a challenge deciding who to look at, but they are working through it.  

Feed the Frontlines:  Councilwoman Perron said the delivery of 200,000 meals through Feed the Frontlines begins tomorrow, and is funded through the N.J. Economic Development Authority Grant.

Open Space Committee:  Councilwoman Perron stated that the Open Space Committee met.  She pointed out that the Open Space Committee’s webpage has been revamped and includes beautiful photos of open spaces in the Village.  The next meeting will be on September 23 to avoid Yom Kippur.

Green Ridgewood:   Councilwoman Perron reported that Green Ridgewood met on September 2nd.  There are two women working on the “Adopt a Drain” Program, and it is obvious from the last two storms how important a functioning storm water system can be during flooding.  The first draft of the program is now complete.  They also discussed the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, which has affected the Committee’s priorities.  They decided to move forward with education on how to decrease reliance on fossil fuels, and to move toward electrification.  Councilwoman Perron stated that Green Ridgewood is planning an electric vehicle mini car show at the Farmer’s Market on Sunday, October 17th.  There are also plans for another Styrofoam recycling event.

Central Business District Advisory Committee (CBDAC):  Councilwoman Perron stated that the CBDAC met on August 12th, and the Village CFO, Robert Rooney, spoke with the group about publicizing the Hudson Street Garage.  The discussion included wayfinding signs and budgeting.  Mr. Rooney indicated he would be willing to meet with the informal landlord group that has formed as the result of an initiative by the CBDA. 

Green Team:  Councilman Sedon stated that the Green Team met on Thursday.  There are two days left before the next round of deadlines for Sustainable New Jersey.  The Village has been approved up to the bronze level, and they still have to address a few points and comments on the original application.  The goal is to submit the application by the deadline date, in order to be re-certified to the silver level.

Ridgewood Arts Council:  Councilman Sedon has been meeting weekly with the Ridgewood Arts Council in order to prepare for a Beatles themed arts festival event on October 2nd on East Ridgewood Avenue.  There will be singing, dancing and a lot of Beatles music beginning at noon.  There is a rain date of October 9th

Planning Board:  Councilwoman Reynolds reported that the Planning Board has met twice since the last Village Council meeting.  The first meeting was August 17th.  Under a Historic Preservation Commission review, the Board looked at proposed new construction at 19 North Broad Street.  This is the former location of Bagelicious. The proposal calls for ground floor commercial use, and two floors above with each floor having two residential units.  The second proposal was for a sign at 41 North Broad Street, which will be the new location for Bagelicious.  Both items were approved.

Councilwoman Reynolds said that the application for Tasko Enterprises, 315 East Glen Avenue, continued and it has been carried to the October 5th meeting.     

There was further discussion to amend Chapter 190 of the Village code to modify allowed fence heights for residential use.  The Village Planner is still working on some changes for corner properties, and this discussion will be continued on September 7th.  

Councilwoman Reynolds announced that the Planning Board meeting of September 21st will begin discussion on Phase II of the Master Plan process.  This will be the guiding document for the future of Ridgewood.  Everyone is welcome and Councilwoman Reynolds encouraged anyone planning to attend to sign up on www.ridgewoodvillage.mp.org.  There was a Historic Preservation review yesterday evening for signage at 20 Wilsey Square for a new business, Forever Young, which was approved.  Tasko Enterprises was carried again until October 5th, and an application was heard for 142 Kenilworth Road for a minor subdivision that would relocate a lot line between two neighbors.  This application was approved.  The discussion on the modification of fence heights was again carried to the next meeting.

Citizens Safety Advisory Committee:  Councilwoman Reynolds announced that the Citizens Safety Advisory Committee did not meet over the summer, but will hold their first meeting on Thursday, September 16th, at 7:30 P.M., downstairs at Village Hall. 

Historic Preservation Commission – Mayor Knudsen stated that the Historic Preservation Commission will begin meeting in October, and the Planning Board/Zoning Board Secretary has contacted the appointed members.

Ridgewood Community Access:  Mayor Knudsen stated that Ridgewood Community Access 2021 will be virtual.  There are many events planned for Ridgewood Access weekend, and she urged everyone to contact ridgewoodlibrary.org/accessridgewood to learn more.  Events will include Senior Programming, Preparing for Your Health; and a Seeing Eye Dog Educational Program.  The family concert featuring Marlene Kilo, and the Access Ridgewood Fashion Show will be on Facebook Live.  There will be an inter-faith service at the Friends to Friends Church from 7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.  Mayor Knudsen noted that the Village is embracing abilities, disabilities, special needs and special gifts.   

Car Show:  Mayor Knudsen invited everyone to attend the Car Show.  She will be selecting the “Mayor’s Car”, which will receive a special trophy.

8.         PUBLIC HEARING ON ADOPTION OF PREQUALIFICATION REGULATIONS FOR UTILIZATION IN CONNECTION WITH CONTROLLING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS FOR INTERIOR RESTORATION AND REHABILITATION OF THE ZABRISKIE-SCHEDLER HOUSE

Mayor Knudsen stated that the prequalification regulations for prospective bidders for the interior restoration and rehabilitation of the Zabriskie-Schedler house are being considered this evening.  Establishing the prequalification regulations for prospective bidders is required due to the fact that the Village is receiving grant funding for this project from the Bergen County Historic Preservation Trust Fund.  The Public Hearing this evening is specifically on the prequalification regulations for the interior restoration and rehabilitation of the Zabriskie-Schedler House, and the Village Council will listen to comments from the public specifically on these prequalification regulations for the interior restoration and rehabilitation.  Mayor Knudsen moved that the Public Hearing be opened, which was seconded by Councilman Sedon. 

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

There were no comments from the public, and Mayor Knudsen moved that the Public Hearing be closed.   Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION, NUMBERED 21-266 WAS ADOPTED BY A CONSENT AGENDA, WITH ONE VOTE BY THE VILLAGE COUNCIL, AND WAS READ BY TITLE ONLY:

 

9.         ORDINANCES – RIDGEWOOD WATER

a.         INTRODUCTION – NONE

b.         PUBLIC HEARING – NONE

10.       RESOLUTION – RIDGEWOOD WATER

THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION, NUMBERED 21-267 WAS ADOPTED BY A CONSENT AGENDA, WITH ONE VOTE BY THE VILLAGE COUNCIL, AND WAS READ BY TITLE ONLY:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11.       ORDINANCES

a.         Introduction - #3873- Vacating a Portion of Upper Boulevard and Barrington Road

Mayor Knudsen moved the first reading of Ordinance 3873.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion. 

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3873 by title:

AN ORDINANCE VACATING THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN A CERTAIN 40 FT. RIGHT OF WAY LOCATED AT THE WESTERLY INTERSECTION OF BARRINGTON ROAD AND UPPER BOULEVARD AND TO PROVIDE THE VACATED AREA BE INCORPORATED INTO THE ADJACENT PROPERTIES

Councilman Sedon moved that Ordinance 3873 be adopted on first reading and that October 13, 2021, be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

b.         Public Hearing - #3869– Amend Firefighters and Fire Superior Officers Salary Ordinance

Mayor Knudsen recused herself from this agenda item. Deputy Mayor Sedon moved the second reading of Ordinance 3869 by title on second reading and that the public hearing be opened.  Councilwoman Reynolds seconded the motion. 

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

RECUSE:           Mayor Knudsen

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3869 by title:

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND SALARY ORDINANCE 3835 ADOPTED ON FEBRUARY 10, 2021, TO FIX SALARIES, WAGES, AND OTHER COMPENSATION OF AND FOR FIREFIGHTERS AND FIRE SUPERIOR OFFICERS OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, COUNTY OF BERGEN, STATE OF NEW JERSEY

Deputy Mayor Sedon announced that the Public Hearing was open.  There were no comments from the public, and Deputy Mayor Sedon moved that the Public Hearing be closed.  Councilwoman Reynolds seconded the motion. 

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

RECUSE:          Mayor Knudsen

Councilwoman Perron moved that Ordinance 3869 be adopted on second reading and final publication as required by law.  Councilwoman Reynolds seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

RECUSE:           Mayor Knudsen

c.         Public Hearing - #3870 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Motorcycle Parking at Hudson Street Garage

Mayor Knudsen moved the second reading of Ordinance 3870 by title and that the Public Hearing be opened.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3870 by title:

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 265 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC, AT SECTION 265-33, PERMIT PARKING

Mayor Knudsen announced that the Public Hearing was open.  There were no comments from the public, and Mayor Knudsen moved that the Public Hearing be closed.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion. 

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

Councilwoman Reynolds moved that Ordinance 3870 be adopted on second reading and final publication as required by law.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

d.         Public Hearing - #3871 – Amend Chapter 145 – Fees – Ridgewood Parking Permit Motorcycle Parking

Mayor Knudsen moved the second reading of Ordinance 3871.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3871 by title:

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 145 OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, FEES, AT SECTION 145-6, ENUMERATION OF FEES RELATING TO CODE CHAPTERS

Mayor Knudsen announced that the Public Hearing was open.  There were no comments from the public, and Councilman Sedon moved that the Public Hearing be closed.

Councilwoman Perron moved that Ordinance 3871 be adopted on second reading and final publication as required by law.  Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

e.         Public Hearing - #3872–Authorization of Eminent Domain

Mayor Knudsen moved the second reading of Ordinance 3872 and that the Public Hearing be opened.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3872 by title:

AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE ACQUISITION OF CERTAIN REAL PROPERTY WITHIN THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD

Mayor Knudsen announced that the Public Hearing was open.  There were no comments from the public, and Councilwoman Perron moved that the Public Hearing be closed.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

Councilwoman Reynolds moved that Ordinance 3872 be adopted on second reading and final publication as required by law.  Councilwoman Perron seconded the motion.

 

 

 

Roll Call Vote

AYES:               Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Knudsen

NAYS:               None

ABSENT:          None

ABSTAIN:         None

9.         RESOLUTIONS

THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTIONS, NUMBERED 21-268 TRHROUGH 21-286, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF RESOLUTON 21-270 WHICH WAS REMOVED FROM THE AGENDA, WERE ADOPTED BY A CONSENT AGENDA, WITH ONE VOTE BY THE VILLAGE COUNCIL, AND WERE READ BY TITLE ONLY:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.       COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mayor Knudsen asked if there were any further comments from the public this evening.  Catherine Espinol, of Garfield, stated that she has recently opened a business at 223 Chestnut Street.  The business is called Varsity House Personal Training.  The business involves strength conditioning, and training.  The staff of Varsity House Personal Training work with all age groups.  Ms. Espinol said that classes begin at 6:00 A.M., and run through 6:00 P.M.  She invited everyone to go to their website at varsityhousegym.com for more information.

Hans-Jurgen Lehmann, 234 Union Street, referred to the mandate requiring that masks be worn by unvaccinated visitors to Village Hall.  He said that he attended the Village Council meeting of July 14th, when there were about 50 people present to celebrate Donna Jackson’s retirement, along with the swearing in of a new police officer.  These ceremonies were presided over by an individual who was not following basic protocols, and this individual was hugging many of Ms. Jackson’s well-wishers and the young family of the police officer.  The person who was not wearing a mask, and was not vaccinated also spoke into the microphone.  Mr. Lehmann said that he also used the microphone, which had been used by a number of people but never sanitized.  He assumed that all Councilmembers had been vaccinated, and he was shocked to see on a social media post that this individual had not been thoroughly vaccinated until August, well after the July meeting.

Mr. Lehmann referred to the Pride event held in June, at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square.  This Councilmember played a prominent role at this event, and was seen hugging, and getting close to many people.  She also shared the microphone with a large number of people.   Mr. Lehmann stated that this behavior is dangerous to others and generally outrageous for a public official who has received instructions from the Governor, and the President of the United States as well as the Village Health Department.  Mr. Lehmann asked that the Village Council reconsider virtual access in this time of COVID 19.

Jan Phillips, 234 Union Street, asked if the ribbon cutting for the new special needs housing development, located at the former Sealfons Building, is scheduled for September 16th, if it is open to the public, and what time it will be held.  She questioned whether this event is open to the public, and what time the ribbon cutting would take place.  Ms. Phillips asked if Coffee with the Council is scheduled for September 18th.  She inquired as to whether or not the Pride Day Event will appear on the 2022 Village Calendar.  She said she was pleased that the Mayor had indicated that the Access Ridgewood Committee minutes would be available online.  Ms. Phillips requested that events such as Pride Day, Access Weekend, Coffee with the Council, and the ribbon cutting for the special needs housing, be noted on the Village calendar that is posted on the website.

 

 

 

11.       ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Sedon, seconded by Councilwoman Reynolds, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at  8:48 P.M. 

 

 

 

                                                                                    _________________________________                                                                                                                    Susan Knudsen                                                                                                                                           Mayor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_______________________________________

                    Heather A. Mailander

               Village Manager/Village Clerk

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A REGULAR WORK SESSION OF THE VILLAGE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD HELD VIA ZOOM, DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, ON JANUARY 6, 2021 AT 7:30 P.M.

 

  1. CALL TO ORDER – OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT – ROLL CALL – FLAG     SALUTE

 

Mayor Knudsen called the meeting to order at 7:31 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.  Deputy Mayor Sedon read a required announcement regarding the remote meeting format.  At roll call the following were present: Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Walsh, and Mayor Knudsen.  Also present were Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; Donna Jackson, Deputy Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.  

 

Mayor Knudsen led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag as well as in a Moment of Silence for our men and women serving our nation, our Blue Star Families and Gold Star Families, our First Responders, and especially today for our nation.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that several days ago, the Village Council was notified of the passing of a former Councilmember.  She took a moment to acknowledge the passing of Roberta Svarre, Ridgewood’s first woman Mayor.  Roberta served as Deputy Mayor in 1989 and as Mayor 1990-1992.  She was the founder of the Ridgewood Senior Citizens Housing Corporation, filling a need for affordable senior housing in the Village of Ridgewood, which was one of her proudest accomplishments.  During their numerous conversations, they had an opportunity to chat about the challenges of her time as Mayor and Mayor Knudsen’s time as Mayor in 2016, and she expressed a gratitude that she didn’t have to deal with social media.

 

Mayor Knudsen also congratulated our Former Mayor, former Council colleague, Ramon Hache, who just was sworn in by Governor Phil Murphy.  Ramon is now a Bergen County Commissioner.  She congratulated him and said they were extremely proud of him.

 

  1. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

Stacey Antine, Owner of HealthBarn, 1057 Hillcrest Road, thanked the Mayor and Council for this opportunity to speak.  She is glad to see the Habernickel property on the public agenda for discussion.  As the current gatehouse tenant for the past five years, she is eager to learn about the re-bid process and when it will start for the new lease in 2022.  Habernickel Park is the place where nature hikes have replaced video games; freshly grown organic tomatoes and carrots have replaced goldfish crackers; and composting and cooking have replaced bullying and boosted self-confidence for thousands of children and people of all ages and needs.  This is HealthBarn.  Our mission is to empower children and families to lead strong, energetic lives and she is truly honored and grateful to Ridgewood for enabling them to do this necessary work for our community. 

 

Ms. Antine stated that this healthy lifestyle experience and all who participate thrive in the natural beauty of the park thanks to the lease and the public-private partnership with Parks and Recreation.  This partnership has exceeded all expectations and proven to be mutually beneficial to all, including the special needs community through NJ statewide grants.  The professional support by Signal, Engineering, and the Buildings Department have kept the house strong for their award-winning educational and recreational programs and camps.  This year maintaining a COVID-free safe environment to date with guidance from Ms. Mailander, the Health and Fire Departments, were invaluable to keep them viable in these uncertain times.  HealthBarn is part of this inclusive Ridgewood community, proven by the tremendous support of residents and neighbors expressed over the past months at Village Council meetings.

 

Ms. Antine stated that because of this lease provided by the Village Council, they directed 75% of their Foundation’s charitable giving directly back into the community.  She highlighted that this meant over 3,500 meals per year to Ridgecrest and SHARE, received the President’s Gold Award for Volunteerism in 2018, over 100 Ridgewood residents counted as their volunteers, teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce through Feed the Frontlines, facilitated over $100,000 of donations to the Central Business District (CBD) restaurants providing 4,000 meals to local heroes and families, and distributed over 1,500 pounds of sweet potatoes to residents and organizations during Thanksgiving.  They have learned that food insecurity does exist in Ridgewood and they have stepped up to meet this urgent need heightened by the pandemic.

 

Ms. Antine stated that this is what community is all about and they are ready to help when needed.  Five years have passed so quickly with much more to do and give.  She looks forward to continuing the public-private partnership and requests that the Village provide instructions and details for a reasonable and timely re-bid process to secure a new lease at Habernickel Park.

 

Scott Lief, President of the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce, 27 Chestnut Street, stated that he was there to talk about HealthBarn.  He asked that the Village Council bring this issue to a vote so they can put all this behind them because it is certainly time to move forward.  As they get ready for the vote, he wanted to talk about some additional information.  He had informed the Village Council how HealthBarn was applying for a grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.  That grant would help feed the needy right here in our Village.  There are many local restaurants currently operating in our Central Business District.  He was happy to report that application has been completed and submitted.  It is a grant for no less than $100,000.  It would be money spent right in our Central Business District.  He added that this grant may also be significantly higher.

 

Mr. Lief stated that the specific businesses that would benefit from this effort are Chestnut Deli, Santoni’s Pizzeria, Piccolo Bistro, MacMurphy’s, Green Fusion, Finca, Playa Bowls, Lisa’s Mediterranean, Bareburger, The Steel Wheel Tavern, Deli Accent, It’s Greek to Me, The Daily Treat, Park West Tavern, and Pearl.  Every dollar spent right here in Ridgewood.  In the spring at the beginning of the pandemic, the Feed the Frontlines Initiative, raised a little over $100,000 and distributed more than 8,000 meals.  The principals of Feed the Frontlines are back together and they are ready to come together again.  This time the grant money will be supplemented by additional donations.  Mr. Lief stated that this is money that will stay in Ridgewood 100%.  What makes this more poignant is it would be during the difficult winter months when things like outdoor dining cannot happen to keep restaurants going.  He implored the Village Council to find a way to make this work and keep this invaluable business right here in our community, right where they belong.

 

Mr. Lief stated that we all speak about shopping local, and HealthBarn is shopping local at a level never before seen in our community.  What’s most important is that it’s at a time when it’s needed more than ever.

 

Bob Upton, 172 W. Glen Avenue, stated that he is Chair of the Green Ridgewood Environmental Committee, he added that one of the Committee’s principle responsibilities as detailed in the Village Code is to assist the Village Council in long range planning with respect to environmental concerns.  With this in mind, their members have invited Bob Chilton, a consultant with Gable Associates to address the Council on the subject of Renewable Energy Aggregation.  This offers the residents and businesses of municipalities the option to purchase energy from more sustainable sources often at lower cost than current sources ultimately supporting reduced use of fossil fuels and combatting climate change.  Mr. Upton stated that their members encourage the Village Council, on behalf of our residents and in support of New Jersey’s Environmental Objectives, to consider the benefits presented by these agreements. 

 

Monique DeMaio, 50 E. Ridgewood Avenue #304, stated that Ridgewood is an amazing place to live especially in light of COVID, and we are devoted to being an active, great community.  The one place she thinks this greatness is not showing up is in the decision to close the pickleball courts.  We are in a global pandemic and things like pickleball is one of the few places and activities that one can take on without being at risk.  They can play with their friends, family, seniors, and youth.  She is playing pickleball with her 20-year-old son who is home from college right now, who loves the game.  She is equally playing with an 80-yeay-old woman who has nowhere else to go because she can’t play bridge or anything else, and all they have in common is the ability to meet up outside.  Other than the track at Vets, pickleball is the other place to be.

 

Ms. DeMaio stated that from what she gathers, there has been a decision to close the pickleball courts during the winter and she is a little confused, as are about 20 of her close friends as they have all gotten into this pickleball fever.  In the vision and mission of Ridgewood and Ridgewood Recreation and what she has seen her kids grow up with, such as the ability to be outside and thrive, it just doesn’t really match up to what our community stands for.  She asked that they align with this policy and consider reopening the pickleball courts and remain that exemplary community that she knows we are. 

 

Joanne Archer, 241 West End Avenue, asked how something as wonderful as pickleball, that our town provided for us, be a problem.  She is another pickleball person who has been playing this sport for 4 years and she can’t tell them the difference it has made in the lives of so many.  They are all so grateful to the Village Council and to the Parks and Recreation Department who brought this into our lives.  This is the first time that Ridgewood has provided a facility that it geared towards older adults rather than youths.  She knows the Village had a recent Visioning Process for a new Master Plan which highlighted aging in place as a top priority and the Village Council listened, and for this they are truly grateful.  During this pandemic, this is the only place that they can go and they really do want the Village Council to consider their wellbeing, mental health, and physical health.

 

Ms. Archer stated that they are hoping that a number of people in pickleball can work with the Village Council.  They just want to have the Village Council listen to them, and they will listen to the Village Council.  They would love to come together and make pickleball and her tennis friends’ tennis courts open. 

 

Erin Taddei, 419 Bogert Avenue, stated that she really hoped they would drop the lawsuit against One Village, One Vote as she thinks it is a waste of hard-earned taxpayer money.  She added that she has yet to see a social media policy put on their agenda.  She had spoken in August and explained how she was completely cyber bullied by somebody who is currently sitting on the Planning Board.  Her attorney had to get involved and sent a response to the Village Council.  Ms. Mailander responded to her and said that the person’s behavior was abhorrent and unacceptable, but the person is still sitting on the Planning Board and they have yet to implement a social media policy.  To her, the longer it goes where they don’t implement a social media policy they are sending a very strong message that they tolerate and condone bullying and cyber bullying, and that is not okay. 

 

Ms. Taddei stated that she failed to see what the problem was.  It was discussed in August and they said they would rediscuss it in the fall, but nothing happened.  She asked when she can expect something to be put on the Village Council agenda to implement some kind of social media policy, and why the Village Council continues to condone this type of behavior.  Ms. Taddei stated that she is the person that Jeff Voigt was speaking about in his farewell remarks when he said that the Village Council failed a resident when they failed to act when this happened.  She added that she didn’t really like coming forward and saying that publicly, but that is what happened.  She asked what it was going to take for the Village Council to take some action in this matter, adding that she wasn’t going to stop talking about it until something is done so that it doesn’t happen to anyone else who is an innocent resident in this town.

 

Dan Gioia, 447 Fairway Road, stated that he was calling about the pickleball courts.  He and his wife sent a letter to the Village Council about the courts.  They are disappointed that the courts have been closed while the Village tries to figure out some new policy, and they hope they can figure that out in due course so the courts can be reopened.  He added that their letter was self-explanatory about the courts.  Pickleball is an open, fun-loving community that enjoys playing the game.  Mr. Gioia added that they have been in town for a long time and are really enjoying pickleball.  He was very happy that they are putting it on the agenda.  It is definitely something that is enjoyed by many residents in town, for out of town, and people are quite passionate about the game.

 

The following emails were received and read aloud by Donna Jackson.

 

Carolyn Huckmindoff, Texas, wrote that two years ago she had the pleasure of returning to Ridgewood for her 65th High School Reunion during her stay she visited the home she grew up in on Huffman’s Farm, now Habernickel.  They can’t imagine how delighted she was to find that it was being put to good use for sport and teaching children about nature and nutrition.  Her father, the late Mack Huffman, must be smiling down at us seeing how children are having fun there learning about tadpoles and gardening and more.  When he was alive there was never anyone he turned away when they came to see the barns and animals.  The pond was a never-ending source of discovery for everyone, including the neighbors and her classmates.  It is truly satisfying that the house is in use in so many ways.  She had a wonderful day watching the children learn about nature under the tutelage of Stacey Antine. 

 

Ms. Huckmindoff added that they can be proud that Ridgewood is another city that can be included as a site for doing these good works, with no real cost to the town.  As it was explained to her, HealthBarn is really an educational program.  Since the property was purchased with public funds she would expect the property to be used for public good to the fullest, beyond just sports.  She understands there is a question about renewing the next contract with HealthBarn which would leave the house vacant.  What a sacrilege that would be.  Good things are being done there, and remember they are dealing with very young children from diverse backgrounds and are giving them a stepping stone to a better future.  These children may never otherwise be exposed to such things.  To deprive them of this when it doesn’t have to be done could be said to be discrimination at its very worst.  She is proud to be connected, even remotely, to HealthBarn and would be happy to see it continue.

 

Beth Abbott, 174 Union Street, wrote that the Age Friendly Ridgewood team is pleased to be in their fifth year of operation and look forward to a productive 2021 while the Village of Ridgewood continues to enhance its age friendliness.  With this in mind, she encourages the Village Council to bring the New Jersey Future Land Use Implementation Plan Report Resolution for a vote to accept it at the next Village Council meeting.  The report presents detailed plans for investigating ideas that would improve Ridgewood for our older adults.  From November 2017 to August 2020, members of the current and past Village Council and Planning Boards worked with NJ Future to develop this report, along with other government employees and community members.  Participation in this project was approved by Council resolution on June 12, 2019.  This project was funded by Age Friendly Ridgewood’s grant funder, the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation. 

 

Ms. Abbott stated that accepting this report would involve no commitment by the Village moving forward with any of the plans, but it would be an appropriate show of appreciation for those who worked on and funded the report.  It would be a good faith commitment by the Village to continue its work to enhance the Village’s age friendliness and improve the lives of all citizens of Ridgewood.  With the Council’s acceptance of the report they could feel hopeful they can secure funds to support ideas such as traffic calming and pedestrian safety. 

 

Ms. Abbott added that she would like to mention that they received feedback from many residents, older adults who are extremely disappointed about the closing of the pickleball courts.  Pickleball is a healthy, social, and safe activity perfect for this time of year.  So many activities have been restricted due to COVID-19, so it would be a shame to see this viable activity restricted or eliminated.  They look forward to a productive year ahead as they work together for Ridgewood. 

 

Ms. Jackson stated that there were 12 letters written about Pickleball, and in summary, many of them wanted to thank the Village Council or the Village for providing the opportunity to residents for giving them the opportunity to participate in pickleball at the Glen courts.  The overall expression was that it helped them maintain physical, mental, social, and for some marriage wellbeing, during COVID and that it has had a positive impact on their lives.  They have access to an outdoor activity with fresh air, remain active, learn a new sport which is quickly growing in popularity with all ages including teens and kids in their 20’s.  Ridgewood is on the cutting edge for promoting this and making it available to residents.  It is an exercise that can be enjoyed by families, couples, friends, groups, and organizations even in the colder weather when they have limited outdoor activities.  It’s appreciated in a time when they cannot participate in some of their usual safe practices such as travel and volunteerism.  It affords them the opportunity to meet new people, form new friendships, and many feel it reduces the risk of depression as they have been forced to stay more isolated during the virus. 

 

Ms. Jackson read that the Visioning Process and the Master Plan speak of ageing in place as a top priority, and this was referred to in several letters also.  Some residents addressed the noise concerns of the neighbors who live near the courts and acknowledged the sound barrier padding, sound reducing paddles, and muted balls.  They thought it unfair to punish the large number of residents that utilize the facilities by closing the courts.  They expressed very strongly that they wished the courts to open soon.  Some feel there should be an agreeable solution for all, and others feel the noise is part of being a neighbor to a school, field, or court.  M.C. Benitende, 459 Fairway Road; Sherry Bisc, 178 McKinley Place; Erica Blank, 124 North Walnut Street; Lillian Blood, 250 North Maple Avenue; Lynne Cyrne, 180 Lincoln Avenue; Lori Colin, 95 Lawrence Court; Lisa Gilgen, 61 Pershing Avenue; Jeff Goldstein, 469 Bogert Avenue; Drew Rodney, 125 South Maple Avenue; Helen Orr, 542 Van Buren Street; Neil Sullivan, 335 East Ridgewood Avenue; and Mady Soukis, 27 Tanglewood Hollow Road, USR Instructor were the contributors of these comments.

 

Dwin Bohn, 418 Wastena Terrace, wrote that he and his wife are relative newcomers to Ridgewood having retired here 3 years ago from Delaware to be close to family.  They are pleased with their decision to relocate to Ridgewood, as they enjoy the charming Village and all that it has to offer.  They have made an effort to get involved in some of the many activities, events, and experiences in the Village and have met many fellow residents through the programs of the Recreation Department, the Library, the YMCA, Graydon Pool, the College Club, and Ridgewood Walks, to name a few. 

 

Mr. Bohn wrote that it was through the Recreation Department program that he was introduced to pickleball.  With the excellent instruction he received and subsequent play with fellow Ridgewood residents, he formed valued friendships while playing a sport he truly enjoys.  The sport provides a perfect opportunity to exercise, socialize, and be outdoors. 

 

Mr. Bohn wrote that he would like to thank the Village Council and Recreation Department for providing the pickleball facilities at Glen School.  He has played at numerous facilities over the past year, primarily in Cape May County, and he can attest that the Ridgewood courts are well constructed, well maintained, and convenient.  He wrote that they can imagine his disappointment when he received the email notification of the Glen courts closing until late March so that the Council can discuss the use of the pickleball courts and can determine the best use of all Village facilities in 2021.  The Council is to be commended for its efforts to determine a plan for these critical recreational spaces.  He knows that in the past the Village Council has discussed the ability to age in place in Ridgewood, and he hopes that consideration will be given to those in his age group to ensure opportunities that will, in fact, allow them to age actively in the Village they so cherish.

 

Dolores D’Andrea, 106 Pine Street, wrote that she wanted to express how pickleball at Glen School courts has affected her life.  After work, she would stop by Glen School pickleball courts and muse about the day she would be there.  She retired and that day came.  Besides becoming enamored with the game, her circle of friends increased, they learned and laughed.  Two years ago, a friend from college contacted her.  He had moved to Ridgewood, and she took him to Glen School pickleball courts and introduced him to the game and her friends.  He learned and shared in the same laughter and their friendship blossomed into love and eventually marriage.  They were not able to have a wedding reception due to COVID, and so their pickleball friends gave them a mini party on the Glen courts.

 

Ms. D’Andrea wrote that the Glen courts have fostered many new friends, lots of laughter, many memories, and most of all love for the game, friends, and marriage.  She thanked the Village Council for affording her these memories, adding that they will live forever in her heart and she hopes she will have many more.  She is optimistic that the Village can resolve the convoluted issues with which it is confronted.  She believes that all situations can be resolved by compromise and hopes that is possible in this case.

 

L. Delicate, 959 Barnes Drive, wrote that Glen School courts were woefully underutilized as tennis courts.  The Parks and Recreation Department wisely altered them to better fulfill its declared mission statements as presented on the Village website.  To his knowledge, no empirical evidence has been proffered to support complaints made by the supposedly aggrieved parties.  The complaints have been completely subjective, such as: too loud, 10 hours a day, annoying, nerve-wracking, forced to sell my home, etc.  Despite the lack of empirical evidence, the Village has already gone out of its way to appease these homeowners.  The 12 foot high fence at Glen courts has been completely covered with sound-deadening fabric and players are required to use a specific, quieter ball.  Mr. Delicate wrote that to appease the complaining parties without objective, fact-based data will only embolden them.  Until such time as the complainants provide such data, he urged the Village to allow pickleball to resume immediately at Glen School courts.

 

Diane Seitter, 328 Van Emburgh Avenue, wrote that it was with great concern and frustration that she was writing to the Village Council to express her thoughts about the closure of the Glen School pickleball courts.  She has been a resident of Ridgewood and has lived in the neighborhood of the Glen School for 31 years, living so close to the Glen School which hosts many preschool students and also includes a field used by the Maroon’s soccer, Ridgewood Baseball and Softball and town recreational tennis courts.  From her house on Van Emburgh Avenue, they can hear the children playing on the playground, whistles, and coaches on the fields, and yes the sound of residents playing tennis and pickleball.  This has never, ever been an issue for her or her family.

 

Ms. Seitter wrote that she recently joined the town sponsored Ridgewood Pickleball League that began in September which was started to promote the use of the beautifully restored courts at the Glen School and offer the residents a new activity which happens to be the fastest growing sport in the country, and at a time during this pandemic when outdoor activity is greatly needed by all.  She renewed her tennis badge, which she has not done in many years, to join the league.  She has met so many wonderful new friends and residents of Ridgewood that she has never met before.  She even enlisted at least a dozen of her current friends to renew their tennis/Graydon badges and started their own group, “The Pickleball Mamas”.  Everyone has been having such a great time learning and playing the game of pickleball.  They even had a mother/son and daughter day after Thanksgiving.  The fact that college students actually wanted to spend time with their moms playing pickleball shows how much fun people of all ages are having at their new recreational facility. 

 

Ms. Seitter wrote that they are all disappointed that they have not been able to play pickleball with their children who are all home from college for an extended period of time.  On just about any morning you can show up to the courts and be greeted by many senior residents who are extremely welcoming for anyone to join in the fun of playing.  This is so important for our senior residents to be outside, having fun, exercising, and socializing during this pandemic as there are very limited activities that they can participate in at this time.  During the winter months on mild weather days, there is no reason why our residents should not have the ability to use the Glen School courts.  The fact that the courts have been locked for the last few weeks without cited reasons is unacceptable and is a complete contradiction to the Ridgewood Parks and Recreation’s Mission Statement: “The missions statement of the Ridgewood Department of Parks and Recreation is to preserve open space and provide facilities and year round recreational activities that meet the needs of all residents.”

 

Ms. Seitter wrote that as a player and resident, she has not been given any reason why the courts have been closed.  The closure of the courts is clearly not meeting the needs of the many residents who wish to play on the designated pickleball courts in Ridgewood.  She would clearly like to be a resident who is part of a solution to this issue and looks forward to participating in this Wednesday’s meeting regarding the matter.  Closing the courts has not been a solution by any means and has compromised the needs of many more residents/players than the few area residents who are constantly complaining.

 

Doug Rhoten, 120 Melrose Place, wrote that he has been a Ridgewood resident for 50 years, having graduated from Ridgewood High School in 1972.  He thanked the Council, Heather Mailander, Nancy Bigos, Katie Frey, and Parks and Recreation for their support of Ridgewood pickleball, and for all they are doing to get our town through this troubled time.  He wrote that he was in support of reopening the Glen School pickleball courts as soon as possible.  He understands and empathizes with the complicated issues the Village Council is working through, including complaining neighbors, noise level concerns, non-resident access, fee levels, playing time allotment models, COVID, and much more.  

 

Mr. Rhoten wrote that from personal experience, he can attest to the “Glen School Pickleball Community” (GSPC) being respectful of the Glen neighborhood, of the appropriate noise levels and times of play, of the rules of the court usage/access, and good COVID practices.  He is sure they are aware that the leaders of the GSPC work closely with Parks and Recreation to address any infractions and to help evolve the rules and model of access and usage to something that will work for all parties.  The core of the GSPC is mostly “empty nest” senior tax paying residents of Ridgewood, who face the current COVID environment without their historical purpose of raising families and careers.  The GSPC and playing pickleball have become an important part of their mental and physical wellbeing.

 

Mr. Rhoten wrote that having safe and communal environments for our COVID vulnerable senior residents to get physical exercise and to mentally engage should have an important place on their list of priorities.  Many of the GSPC have, to date, resisted using more risky indoor pickleball facilities but will be forced to do so now that Glen is closed.  Having lived in Ridgewood houses across from Valley Hospital, next to the train tracks on Pomander Walk, and now Melrose Place, a couple of houses from Citizens Park and the World Mission Church, he can relate to the minor annoyances of traffic, parking, and noise.  Still, given that he moved to those locations, eyes open, having weighed the costs and benefits, he has yet to complain.  If Ridgewood is to maintain its status as a vibrant active family community with a wonderful downtown, great restaurants, parks, and sports facilities, then every resident will have to deal with the resulting minor annoyances.  He offered any assistance with the situation.

 

Ms. Jackson stated that there were two additional longer letters that she would read during the second public comment section.

 

There were no additional comments from the public at this time.  

 

  1. MANAGERS REPORT

 

Annual Parking Permits – Ms. Mailander stated that they are currently selling annual parking permits at the reception desk in Village Hall.  They are selling the permits Monday through Friday between the hours of 10:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M., and then 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. at the customer service window which is located to the left of the lobby doors.  If you have any questions or can’t make it during those hours, please call the receptionist at (201) 670-550, extension 200.

 

Village of Ridgewood Calendars – Ms. Mailander stated that Village of Ridgewood calendars will be mailed and will be out to residents by next week.  As a reminder, if you turn the December page you will see that January 2020 is located on the back.  The theme is Our Central Business District Events and Working Together.

 

Christmas Tree Pickup – Ms. Mailander stated that the Parks Department will be picking up Christmas trees following the same schedule as last year.  Tuesday on the east side and Thursday on the west side.  Please place your trees curbside.  Tuesdays are January 12th, 19th, and 26th.  Thursdays are January 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th.  The pickup is between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M.  Please remove all ornaments and lights and do not place the tree in a plastic bag.  If you wish to drop off your Christmas tree at the Graydon Pool parking lot you may do so, there is a place that is coned off and you may drop it any time through January 29th.

 

Hudson Street Parking Garage – Ms. Mailander stated that the Hudson Street Parking Garage is open on all levels.  There are different requirements on each level, but every level is open to anyone to park there after 12 noon on any day.  The first level is all three hour parking all the time.  It is $1 per hour. 

 

Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Week – Ms. Mailander stated that Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Week provides discounts for diners.  It will take place January 17th to the 21st, and January 24th to the 28th.  This was revised from the original date that is in the Village calendar.  This is a great time to sample the many varied restaurants in Ridgewood’s Central Business District. 

 

Complimentary Parking Spaces – Ms. Mailander stated that there are complimentary parking spaces in the Central Business District.  These 15-minute spots are located on Oak Street, Chestnut Street, North Broad Street, off of East Ridgewood Avenue, and then also on Wilsey Square.  These parking spaces are limited to 15-minutes only.  They are free of charge to anyone and can be used to do a quick errand, pickup food, or visit a business nearby.  These spaces have been generously donated and sponsored by several local businesses and Ridgewood residents and those sponsors are acknowledged on the 15-minute parking signs.

 

Radon – Ms. Mailander stated that the Ridgewood Health Department has free radon kits available to provide to the public.  Please contact the Health Department at (201) 670-5500, extension 502, for further information.

 

Food Recycling Pilot Program – Ms. Mailander stated that the Food Recycling Pilot Program, which is something that she mentioned in December, is looking for individuals who would like to participate.  The application submission time has been extended to January 31st.  If you are interested, it is going to begin in early February.  It does require a 9 month commitment, and those who participate will be given a 5-gallon food scrap collection container.  The participant will then take that container to the Recycling Center to empty every week and also to provide a weekly data entry to Ridgewood’s Recycling Division so they can monitor how much is being recycled and how much is not going into our solid waste stream.  That will benefit us going forward to determine whether or not it is worthwhile for us to do this with a larger number of people participating, or doing it Village-wide.

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday – Ms. Mailander stated that the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday will be observed with virtual programs on January 15th, 16th, and 18th.  “The Struggle Endures” will be the theme of the presentations.  There will be further details coming.  All Village offices will be closed on that date.  There will be no garbage or recycling pickup, and the Recycling Center will also be closed.

 

Snow and Ice Reminder – Ms. Mailander stated that as a reminder, if snow or ice is forecasted, please remember to bring your garbage cans to the end of your driveway so that Village employees are safe and don’t get injured trying to get to the backyard.  They will continue to have it curbside until there is a clear path to your garbage cans.

 

Upcoming Village Council Meetings – Ms. Mailander stated that the upcoming Village Council meetings are broadcast live on YouTube, streamed on the Village website, and on the public access channels.  January 13th is a Public Meeting at 8:00 P.M., January 27th and February 3rd are both Work Sessions and they begin at 7:30 P.M.  These are all noted on the Village Calendar as well as on the Village website.  There is a 7:30 P.M. meeting before a Public Meeting which anyone can attend, however, if you want your comments to be recorded in the main part of the meeting, wait until 8:00 P.M. for the Public Meeting.

 

  1. COUNCIL REPORTS

 

Open Space Committee – Councilwoman Perron stated that the Open Space Committee met on December 17th and they discussed how they want to change their page on the website to look more like the Shade Tree Commission’s page.  They also discussed that the resident members’ term is only one year, and they would like to bring it on for discussion at the Village Council’s next session to extend the term to two years, and stagger the four members, two and two.  Their next meeting is going to be January 19th and they plan to discuss the criteria being used for identifying properties we are monitoring.  The Parks Department has decided, at the suggestion of Open Space Committee, that they will feature one of the open spaces in town on their Facebook page every week.  There are 13, and there are some that people don’t even know exist.  These are the treasures of our community and they want everybody to know about them. 

 

Green Ridgewood – Councilwoman Perron stated that Green Ridgewood did not meet since the Village Council’s last meeting, but with regard to the Food Recycling Pilot Program, she did want to point out that people can apply for that online.  On the Village website, if you go to Departments, go to the Department of Public Works (DPW), and then to Recycling, then scroll down and you will see both the brochure and the application.

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that Roberta Svarre was a big influence on her and inspired her when Councilwoman Perron moved back to Ridgewood in the early 1990’s.  To see a woman in elected office accomplishing what she accomplished really inspired her.  There are plans at Ridgecrest to either make a garden or plant trees in her honor.  She also congratulated Former Mayor Hache for being sworn in as a Commissioner of Bergen County.

 

Fields Committee – Councilwoman Walsh stated that the Fields Committee met on the 4th.  The Governor changed the status of the winter programs.  They were supposed to not be able to start until February, but they were able to start this week.  They talked about the field closures, so all of our grass fields are closed for the winter, but our joint turf fields are being used for small group sports that are part of our Fields Committee profile.  This is a special circumstance.  Lacrosse is using the roller hockey rink and that is working out really well.  They are starting to advertise some of the summer camps.

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that regarding Maple Park and the lighting, they were able to build up the structure that they needed and they are hoping they are going to have it opened by the spring.  The Orchard Field had to have some renovations and then grass seeding, so it is probably going to be closed until that grass can be used.

 

Library Board of Trustees – Councilwoman Walsh stated that she sat in for the Mayor at the Library Board of Trustees meeting.  They reorganized, and Gail Campbell is the President again.  During COVID they have had a great year, and a lot of people are using all of the resources and continue to do so.  They are reviewing putting in the additional application for the renovation to see if that is possible.  They have reviewed some of the other applications that were approved for funding to see why they were approved and to get a better idea of what is going to help us receive approval for some funding.

 

Stigma Free – Councilwoman Walsh stated that Stigma Free had a very quick meeting and talked about the grants that they received.  They followed up with making sure that everyone stays healthy during these times.  Their bingo card is up on the Stigma Free site.  Anyone who has issues should call their EAP or any of the hotlines available on the Stigma Free site.

 

Planning Board – Councilwoman Reynolds stated that the Planning Board met on December 15th where they heard an application for 235 East Ridgewood Avenue, the Gap building. They approved a minor site plan and parking variance for that.  The lower level is going to be used as Salons by JC, and part of the first floor.  The salon is going to be renting out individual rooms to stylist, cosmetologists, and those people will be responsible for bringing in their own clients.  The other part of the first floor is going to be used by Blue Foundry Bank, and they will be moving into that building.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated that the second Planning Board meeting was last night.  They had heard several meetings about the Hopper Ridge Condominium Association application.  It came to a vote and they approved the variances with a couple of conditions.  The contractors wanted to use the easement on Cedar Avenue, but they are not going to allow that as many neighbors spoke up about that and complained.  The other condition was part of the project is to enlarge the pond and they wanted to make sure that the pond depth was at least as deep, or deeper, than the existing pond because they want to allow water flow and when it is deeper the water is colder which helps to not bring in mosquitos and other unwanted insects.  It also helps it to be less likely for the silt to build up and turn into a bog.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that the Hopper Ridge application, as pointed out by Councilwoman Reynolds, was approved but that will be coming back to the Village Council for a major soil moving permit.  The recommendations pertaining to the truck route will be memorialized by the Village Council and voted on.  She thanked the Planning Board, after all of the applications she has sat through this was one of the most complicated from an engineering perspective and she thanked all of the members.

 

Citizens Safety Advisory Committee – Councilwoman Reynolds stated that they will be meeting on January 21st at 7:30 P.M. via Zoom.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds also congratulated Former Mayor Ramon Hache.  Deputy Mayor Sedon echoed the comments about Ramon Hache who is now a Commissioner for Bergen County and wished him the best.  

 

Fourth of July Committee – Mayor Knudsen stated that they will be kicking off with their first meeting for the Fourth of July.  If anyone has any theme ideas for Fourth of July, please email her. 

 

  1. PRESENTATION – RESIDENTIAL ENERGY AGGREGATION

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that for several months the Green Ridgewood Subcommittee on Energy Aggregating has been considering whether aggregating the supply of renewable energy would work for our residents.  They have had a couple of speakers come in, and most recently had Gable Associates come in to speak with them.  Gable Associates is an energy consulting firm from Highland Park, New Jersey and they have been in business for about 25 years.  They pioneered the first successful government energy aggregation, and they also have been doing renewable energy aggregation for municipal governments for about 9 years and have worked with many towns.

 

Bob Chilton and Loren Altshuler from Gabel Associates were presenting from Gabel Associates.  Ms. Altshuler stated that the term RGEA has been used as Residential Energy Aggregation, also Renewable Government Energy Aggregation.  The programs have been implemented under State law as well as public utility rules and it allows municipalities to pool their resident together and this creates purchasing power.  The intent is to achieve a more favorable power supply price and have terms that are more favorable to the residents, and more favorable than a resident should be able to attain when shopping on their own.  There are several steps in the process, and it starts with the municipality passing an ordinance.  If they choose to do this, they would sign an agreement with the local utility and have a public bid process.  The Rate Council and the BPU review the documents to ensure that there is compliance with BPU rules.  The BPU rules allow municipalities to include enhanced renewable content in the procured supply. 

 

Ms. Altshuler stated that by purchasing for all residents you are creating purchasing power and this is purchasing power that residents wouldn’t have on their own.  It gives the residents power supply with renewable power supply with pricing that is competitive with default power supply.  It depends on the market conditions, and the Village and Council will have the ability to make a decision at the time of getting a bid, whether this a good deal for the town residents. 

 

Ms. Altshuler stated that all suppliers in the State that are supplying power are required to have an amount of renewable energy content in the energy they supply.  Right now, the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) levels are at 23.5% and what they typically do when they go out to procure is to procure higher than the 23.5%.  Sustainable Jersey has endorsed a product with 20% more, or 43.5% at the current levels, and some municipalities have even procured a higher renewable content.  A tradeoff though is price. 

 

Ms. Altshuler stated that other benefits of pursuing a GEA are consumer protections.  Because you are going out for bid for a large pool of customers, you can get more consumer friendly type requirements in the contracts that protect consumers.  The price is established up front, so it is transparent, and the length of the contract is defined and known up front.  There is no fine print, and customers can switch back to PSE&G, or go to another third party supplier, at any point without penalty and fees, and the term is “opt out” for that consideration.

 

Ms. Altshuler stated that there is no additional bill, the customers will continue to get one bill from PSE&G so that is not a change, and the municipality would have the local purchasing control instead of the utility taking over and overseeing the purchase of energy supply.  It is interesting to note, that a number of municipalities have pursued GEA programs in the past 8 years for their residents and the majority of towns have continued with the program even after the first contract. 

 

Ms. Altshuler stated that Gable Associates is an independent energy consultant firm.  They are State registered, and are not affiliated with any supplier.  They work for the municipality and if Ridgewood decides to proceed and go forward with a GEA program, Gable is a resource to the residents to opt in or opt out, for assistance, and they can be reached by telephone/email/internet platform.

 

Ms. Altshuler stated that the timeline to implement this is typically six months.  It starts from the passage of an ordinance and it commences with service with a new supplier.  The steps are Pre-Bid, Bid, and Post-Bid.  During Pre-Bid, you pass the ordinance, sign an agreement with the utility, the utility signs an Aggregate Usage Profile, which is one of the first steps when you can see what the financial impacts are.  The RFP is prepared, and then the BPU and Rate Council review the RFP document to ensure compliance.  The Bid Process has two steps, the Pre-Bid is where the bidders validate themselves and raise questions, and then there is a predetermined time and day when suppliers present their bid proposals.  This is set to coincide on a day of the meeting of the Village Council, as due to market volatility, it is necessary to award the contract on the same day.  It comes to the Village Council for a vote and if they decide they want to award, it is done that same day.  Post-Bid is when materials are prepared to educate and communicate on the program, including opt-out materials, as well.  Then the suppliers would enroll the participants in the utility and the utility would send a confirmation back to residents prior to program start.

 

Ms. Altshuler provided some samples of some of the materials that have been prepared for past programs, including a FAQ sheet, a standard form of information, and a letter from a town to its residents.  Opt-out information shows that residents can opt-out at any time and it is fast and easy.  They can return an opt-out card that is mailed to them within the initial 30 day window, you can choose to opt-out at any time without any penalties or fees.  There are a few groups of residents who would not be included in the initial enrollment; however they can choose to opt-in.  Ms. Altshuler stated that they are two categories, customers that already have a third party supply contract, additionally customers with solar panels.  They should look at their bill as they may have fees or net metering and it may be more beneficial to remain with PSE&G if they have solar panels.

 

Ms. Altshuler stated that the GEA contract is only awarded if the governing body determines that it is beneficial.  The contract price is non-variable, so that is the price for the term of the contract.  The participants receive a separate notice from PSE&G once they are enrolled in the program and there is no further action if they want to participate.  PSE&G continues to deliver the power and residents would still reach out to them for power issues.  If you are on a budget billing plan, you can still participate and there is no effect at all on financial assistance to participate. 

 

Ms. Altshuler opened for questions.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked what the term of the contract was.  Ms. Altshuler stated that they go out for bid for multiple terms and see which bid is the most beneficial and typically, 12, 18, or 24 months is the range.  Councilwoman Perron asked if 24 month is the max.  Ms. Altshuler stated that it is.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if you are on an automatic payment with PSE&G do you have to redo that with the new company.  Ms. Altshuler stated that you are still paying PSE&G, That would stay the same.

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon asked if the energy bill would also be included with the gas bill from PSE&G.  Ms. Altshuler stated that billing stays the same, so this ends up as line items on the existing PSE&G bill.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked why PSE&G allows them to do this.  Ms. Altshuler stated that this is New Jersey Regulatory Requirements and over time there have been efforts run and overseen by the BPU to introduce deregulation for competition. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that she has often over the years gone out shopping for different suppliers and there is nothing that changes on your PSE&G bill.  She asked on the RPS, they have the higher percentage and could Ms. Altshuler define how that relates to the higher cost.  Ms. Altshuler stated that if you were to just go buy plain vanilla power it has a certain market price and there is a premium for renewable power.  You are buying a renewable energy certificate, and there is a market for it, but because you are buying this environmental product to go over the energy there is a premium for it.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she understood, and asked if they were to adopt an ordinance that stated they were going to embark on this and then they choose to adopt a higher percentage that’s the renewable portfolio standard.  Ms. Altshuler stated that right now, there is 23.5% in whatever you are buying from any supplier. Mayor Knudsen asked about the municipalities that adopt 100%.  Ms. Altshuler stated that they typically don’t require 100%.  They go out for bid and then create a program that allows a resident to choose optionally to buy 100%. 

 

Mayor Knudsen asked if it was a completely automatically opt-in for everyone instead of those excluded individuals.  Ms. Altshuler agreed.  Mayor Knudsen asked about the municipalities that opt in, did she have a percentage on what amount ultimately opt-out or get mad because their supplier changed.  Mr. Chilton stated that it varies somewhat by town, but he would say the general percentage is somewhere around 5-10% of individuals who are in the initial eligibility pool who typically opt out in the initial eligibility period so they never get enrolled to begin with.  They usually get a second wave of opt-out after the second notification from PSE&G that they were enrolled.  About 80% of the individuals end up still enrolled in the program after that process comes to an end.  Over time there is a natural attrition, because when people move or relocate the account is closed and so the new person moving in isn’t enrolled.  By the end of a 24 month contract, Mr. Chilton estimates they are down to about 50% participation, or in that range.

 

Councilwoman Walsh asked how many people is the aggregate for it to be impactful.  Mr. Chilton stated to some extent that doesn’t matter, the town is large enough to draw attention from the market suppliers.  The contracts do not have a minimum participation level.  That is the risk of the supplier.  You can be assured that they all have their own internal models based on attrition rate and a risk premium to account for something happening out of the realm of normalcy.  The supplier is pricing the initial pool. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh asked about the REC and if there was any obligations for the Village with the energy credits and would they ever have to pay anything back.  With the property that they had at the WPC, there was an issue with the energy credits.  So, asked what the Village’s obligation would be with the energy credits.  Mr. Chilton stated that was two different situations.  His guess is that they either had ownership of that project, so then it was their responsibility to manage the SREC’s, but this is a different circumstance.  The Village tells the supplier they want 50% of the energy from renewable so they are obligated to go out and buy enough REC’s in the marketplace to meet that obligation and then there is a provision in the contract that impose upon them verification requirements.

 

Councilwoman Walsh asked about the local purchasing controls and how that works.  Mr. Chilton stated that all they mean by that is people don’t realize the utility is buying power in the marketplace just like the town is.  However, the mechanisms for that procurement is dictated by the State of New Jersey.  This is taking power supply to a more local level so they can decide when to go out to bid and its local power over the purchase rather than state mandated as it is over PSE&G.  Councilwoman Walsh asked if the Village was acting as an additional utility by signing this or adopting an ordinance to change.  She asked what the binding vehicle is on the municipality’s end, because residents can just do this on their own.  Ms. Altshuler stated that the main thing is that its not one person shopping, it is for a larger quantity because you are pooling the residents and so suppliers are more interested to bid on a larger volume and are more amenable to giving the customer protections in the contract than they would to one individual resident.  You then also have the opportunity to introduce additional renewable supply for the residents power supply.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked if they knew what the current renewable content is in the basic PSE&G.  Ms. Altshuler stated that the State mandates that all suppliers, including PSE&G, have 23.5%, and that is a number that changes over time and will change in June.  Mayor Knudsen asked what that would be going up to.  Ms. Altshuler stated that it should be about 25 or 26%, to which Mr. Chilton stated that it was actually going to stay at 23.5% for one more year and then will incrementally go up every year, thereafter.  The goal is to be at 50% by 2030 under the Clean Energy Act and the Energy Master Plan put forth by the new Administration.  Whether that gets modified at some point is a possibility, but this is pushing the demand to accelerate renewable energy which is basically driving the demand for the development and construction of new projects quicker than they otherwise were. 

 

Ms. Altshuler stated that if you are buying a higher percentage of renewable content you are therefore required to procure more of these REC’s and take them off the market, you are sending a signal to the market that these are in demand and therefore more renewables are acquired in the economy.  Councilwoman Perron asked if they are, in effect, building out the renewable energy infrastructure.  Ms. Altshuler stated that they are procuring more REC’s that send a signal to the market that there is more interest for renewable energy infrastructure in the economy.  Mr. Chilton added that the requirements are for the supplier to procure and then retire those REC’s.  They are permanently taking RECs out of the marketplace so the only way demand can be met is through the development of new projects.

 

Councilwoman Perron asked if they could explain how Gable Associates gets paid.  Mr. Chilton stated that any town that hires them has either a negotiated or a competitive procurement fee that they would propose and the fee is a very small per kilowatt hour charge that is paid by the supplier.  Presumably, the supplier would include that cost in the bid, so any bid they provide to the Village would include that, also.  If they don’t come back with a positive result and there is no contract award then they don’t get paid at all.  Councilwoman Perron clarified that they could help the Village design an RFP and put it out to bid, but if no decent bids come back, they don’t have to go into a contract.  Mr. Chilton stated that it is the Village’s decision whether to award the contract, they would make recommendations, but their business model is that they know they aren’t going to hit every time, but also they have been around a long time and have many lines of business. 

 

Mayor Knudsen asked what is the actual benefit conveyed to our residents.  They are not necessarily getting a lower electricity rate, in fact, it could actually be higher.  Mr. Chilton stated that in the end it is the Village Council’s call.  They have had contracts where they have been able to land a much greener product at a lower cost, and it is up to each individual municipality.  Many towns are trying to increase sustainability, so using the buying power of the collective town to get a greener product and increase air quality and reduce climate change.  The final weighing of that balancing of priorities is really the governing body’s call.  Is the sustainability aspect important enough and are enough of your residents interested enough in making a contribution to the green power. He added that he has not seen a town award a contract at a higher price than PSE&G even with the sustainability.  He has seen a couple towns accept minimal savings along with meeting their greener priorities but it is up to the balancing of the priorities.  Mr. Chilton added that there is no question that with the collective purchasing power you can get a contract with green energy at a price that is much better than residents who want green power can find on their own.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked if they had any historical comparison charts because when they are talking about the percentages.  If they can get a better price on higher content on that RPS rate but pay a more competitive price for those that want but that could potentially be a higher price for some.  Mr. Chilton stated that he could give a database of prices that they have gotten compared to the PSE&G rate.  The problem is that it’s essentially useless because each town is different, the market changes constantly, so really depending on when you bid and what town you are talking about he can show significant changes to none at all.  The typical scenario is that anything that comes in higher than the PSE&G price, they wouldn’t recommend an award and that isn’t unusual.  In that instance they would go out to bid in 3 to 6 months and then there were significant savings.  His suggestion is that if they are interested, they go through the process, give it a shot, and if the bids don’t come back to their liking they have no obligation to make a contract.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked when they tie into a contract, they are tied into that price for the duration of that contract, however on your PSE&G bill your rate fluctuates monthly, so in the long run those fluctuations could result in a lower cost overall.  Mr. Chilton stated that the PSE&G rate is a mousetrap if you dig into it, so they have a basic generation tariff rate that is approved by the BPU which is reasonably constant.  They also have a reconciliation charge which is the charge that changes monthly and results in the net price to compare.  It has shown a reasonably predictable pattern, so when Mr. Chilton stated that when they evaluate a bid they not only evaluate that posted tariff price that has been approved by the BPU, they also look at that historical reconciliation charge.  That usually averages out over the course of a year to a modest credit of maybe 2-3%.

 

Mr. Rogers asked if they are aware of other towns in this region that have PSE&G coverage that have opted into this program.  Mr. Chilton stated that they have dealt with Glen Rock, and then a consortium of six towns in Essex County, but they have dealt with towns throughout the State.  He estimated they have dealt with 3 dozen towns in New Jersey over the years.  Mr. Rogers asked if they go through the process of adopting an ordinance and then working on a contract to go through a bid process and accept and contract, what are the obligations that the Village has to monitor or maintain it.  Mr. Chilton stated that is the job of Gable Associates, to take off the Village’s plate as much as the Village wants to delegate. 

 

There were no additional questions.

 

 

  1. DISCUSSION

             

  1. Ridgewood Water – NONE

 

  1. Parking – NONE

 

  1. Budget

 

 

  1. Temporary Budget

 

Ms. Mailander stated that the temporary budget is introduced each year which takes the Village through until they adopt the regular budget.  It is for General, Water Utility, and Parking Utility, and it is equal to 26.25% of the prior year’s appropriations. 

 

  1. Resolution for Deferred School Tax

 

Mr. Rooney stated that this is a resolution that is passed every year.  It goes back about 30 years to when the Village elected to defer the school tax for an opportunity given to municipalities to the State of New Jersey to control the rising cost of school taxes.  In the event the Village would decide not to defer, it would automatically have a $700,000 hit to the bottom line.  The school district is on board with this continuing.

 

  1. Award Contract – Kitchen Renovation – Fire Department

 

Ms. Mailander stated that the Fire Chief has asked to use the 2020 Capital money that they have put side for the kitchen renovation at Fire Headquarters.  They went out for three quotes from vendors and the low quote was from Dayson’s Kitchen and Bath of Paramus at a cost of $25,553.00.  Because there is a Qualified Purchasing Agent on staff, they can get approval for purchases up to $44,000 without competitive bidding but they do need the quotes.

 

Councilwoman Walsh asked what this included.  Chief Van Goor stated that it includes them taking the old cabinets out, new cabinets and countertop, tile backsplash, sink, and faucet.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if it included a new floor.  Chief Van Goor stated that they were going to keep the same floor, but he was going to have it cleaned.  Mayor Knudsen asked about the countertop.  Chief Van Goor stated that it was a new quartz countertop.

 

  1. Amendment to Local Supplemental Violations Bureau Schedule of Designated Offenses and Payable Amounts

 

Ms. Mailander stated that they have been approved by the vicinage assignment judge and they now must adopt these new payable amounts by ordinance.  On street commuter parking had been a previous question by Councilwoman Perron, and Ms. Mailander stated that as she looked at that section of the Code it appeared that may have been done during the timeframe where they were doing the renovation of the Train Station so they had to reallocate parking to on street.  Mr. Rutishauser’s recommendation is that they adopt this and then take out that area and look at it and delete the payable offenses that refer to on street commuter parking offenses.  The sooner they adopt the better, but in the meantime, she and Mr. Rutishauser will look at it and find out where to remove it.

 

  1. Street Paving and Streetscape

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this is the annual bond ordinance for street paving and also streetscape, including curbs and drainage.  They would like to introduce a $2.5 million bond ordinance this month, and adopt it in February.  They have done this for the past 4 years and it is very effective.  This way they can go out for bid the end of February and get the bids in by March and they usually award the paving contract in March.  They get a jump on a lot of the other towns doing paving and usually get a good price.

 

  1. Allocation of Funds to United Way for Special Needs Housing

 

Mr. Rogers stated that everyone should recall that the United Way had asked the Village to utilize monies from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund that have been collected over the years to help defray the cost of the construction for the special needs housing.  They had endorsed the plan to give United Way $500,000 from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to assist them with the construction costs and that was done by resolution at an earlier date.  This is just the follow up to authorize the actual agreement that they endorsed and provide the money.  Mayor Knudsen added that it is a really fabulous project.  Mr. Rogers added that this was a major part of their considerations when they got involved with our affordable housing plan so it is finally coming to fruition.

 

  1. Policy

 

  1. Pickleball Rules and Regulations

 

Ms. Mailander stated that she, Mayor Knudsen, Councilwoman Walsh, and Nancy Bigos met with the neighbors on a phone call conference and they discussed their concerns and requests.  Mayor Knudsen stated that they heard from a number of neighbors about the ongoing disruption to their quality of life, their peace, tranquility, and use of their yard based on noise coming from the pickleball courts.  It is something the Village attempted to remedy by the use of the sound barrier panels.  She added that she had to give the pickleball community a lot of credit because they were completely understanding and considerate about the neighbors’ concerns and offered to help.  It’s not just the noise level, and she understands that there have been some visits to the site with decibel readers.  They tried implementing the softer balls, but there is really not a difference, as it is just a different pitch. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that they went from two tennis ball courts to four pickleball courts.  The tennis courts use nylon rackets and tennis balls and these are using graphite and plastic balls, and there is this pop-pop-pop sound that people are hearing with four balls constantly all day long, every day of the week. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that they thought the first order of business was going through the listing of resident and non-resident passes, so they thought they would bring back to the Village Council the option of limiting to just resident passes.  Doug Rhoten has been catching her ear on a couple of the other options that can be explored in terms of other equipment, including soft paddles and softer balls.  He was going to order some and test them.  Mayor Knudsen added that she didn’t know if the hours can be modified, court usage can be modified, but she felt a need to help the neighbors at least have some enjoyment of their property.

 

Ms. Mailander asked Ms. Bigos to give them the number of badges sold in 2019 versus 2020 because it is a huge increase.  Ms. Bigos stated that before giving the figures, what she did want to do this evening is just once again remind them that last year and the beginning of this year, they are very much embroiled in the global health pandemic.  This crisis has truly changed the way our residents are living their lives.  Our schools are closed, our churches are closed, our eateries are closed, and this has created an opportunity for our residents to be able to be out and about enjoying our parks, tennis courts, and open space.  They are not looking at a typical year for last year, and she thinks they should all really be aware of that.  The use of the tennis courts this year has tripled.  Some of this has exacerbated the use of our tennis courts and most certainly, pickleball.  In 2019 they sold 325 tennis and pickleball badges, while in 2020 they sold 947 badges.  The amount of revenue in 2019 was $10,510 and last year $32,600.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked on the breakdown, can she break out non-resident versus resident.  Ms. Bigos stated that in 2019 they sold 28 non-resident badges, and in 2020 they sold 147.  Mayor Knudsen asked since the badges go on sale January 1st, when was the spike in those purchases and did it happen after the pandemic was in full swing.  Ms. Bigos stated that she would have to say that the answer would be yes to that, but she didn’t have the information by date in front of her.  Although they play racket sports during the winter months, later March/ early April is the peak. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that they have received lots of emails regarding this, both pro and con, including phone calls.  Admittedly, when they approved pickleball they were aware that it was gaining a lot of interest, but she did not realize the impact the sound would have on the community.  She has done a little research between the conversations they have had to figure out what is going to be the balance, because they know that they have interest but also have these other issues.  They put the sound barriers up, but she doesn’t know if that was good enough and if that is solving the issue that they have.  They instituted the muted balls, but they still have people that aren’t using them.  Ms. Bigos stated that the instructor has muted balls available as well as three of her staff that go out and check the courts have them available for sale.

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that when they had that meeting, pickleball was going on and the resident called in from their property and all you heard was the sound of the pickleball in the background.  They are trying to figure the way to be fair to everybody, adding that she is on Stigma Free and they talk about mental health, and if she was on her conference calls and heard that sound working from home from 8:00 A.M. to 6:30 P.M. personally she would have a difficult time working.  She thinks that talking about the non-resident passes is a beginning way to start this conversation but she also thinks they really have to talk about the hours of operation for pickleball.  They have residents who are literally at their wits end because they are listening to this from 8:00 A.M. or sooner all day long with no break.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that there are residents saying that they live by a tennis court, but she added that it is definitely a different sound and the pitch is much higher.

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that she has done some research and read about lawsuits all over the country because of pickleball in different communities because of the sound, the criteria for where a pickleball court should be, and she thinks they have to take a longer look at some other solutions.  Whether they have to get more sound barriers, they have to do something to mute the sound more and she doesn’t know what those solutions would be.  She added that when they were on their call, they felt that all five councilmembers really have to be aware of the sound and have to feel it themselves, but also have an open discussion.  She wants people out and doing stuff but they really have to be fair to the residents in the community.

 

Mayor Knudsen added that when she and Councilwoman Reynolds went out, they ran into quite a number of people and it clearly is fun and looks fun, but one of the friends that they ran into had the regular ball and the muted ball and they played with both and there really is no difference it is only a slightly different pitch.  She added that the issue is that these folks are hearing sixteen people with the graphite rackets and the four balls flying and then they also have people waiting to get in.  Not only are they hearing the pop-pop-pop but also the chatter.  From a Village perspective as a municipal government, they own property and have the flexibility and muscle to do what they want but she almost feels like it is their job to not only be a good neighbor to their adjacent residents, it is their job to be an exemplary neighbor and set the bar very high for themselves.  In this instance she feels ashamed that they embarked on this without having the knowledge of the noise level.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated that she was actually surprised when they went there.  She plays and loves tennis, and has been hearing about pickleball.  They walked around the neighborhood and were standing in the street on Eastbrook and could hear clearly the popping sound continually as they were talking. Two neighbors have actually moved because of the noise, which is unacceptable in her opinion.  When she did some research on pickleball, almost every article recommends that a pickleball court not be closer than 400-500 feet to a house.  These courts are less than 50 feet to a house, so it’s a shame. She doesn’t think they did their due diligence before they approved this location for pickleball courts, but they are here.  She agreed with Mayor Knudsen that there was no difference in the sound of the balls, and even the players agreed.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated she did research today and there is something called polymer core paddles that are supposed to be a lot quieter, and something called gamma sports foam tennis balls that people can use for pickleball.  If she lived there she thinks she would lose her mind.  People are home all the time now because of COVID, and the pickleball courts are busier because of COVID.  These people can’t even use their own back or front yards.  They heard it clearly in the street.  She doesn’t think they should close the courts, but she does think they should have limited hours.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked Ms. Bigos if the hours are 8:00 A.M. to dark.  Ms. Bigos said yes.  Councilwoman Reynolds added that was seven days a week.  Ms. Bigos asked what her recommendation would be on the hours.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that it is really difficult, if you have people working from home in those houses, if people are even playing from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. that’s four hours where it would be difficult for them to work.  She added she would like to hear what everyone else thinks about cutting hours.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked when they initially looked at different locations and did some trial runs, did they initially start with two courts for pickleball.  Ms. Bigos stated that when they were doing their instructional program at the time, they did try various locations.  In considering and reviewing the final site, the first place they tried was North Monroe.  They did do a semester there and they found that the parking was insufficient for the number of players.  Mayor Knudsen asked when they started at the Glen courts.  There were two tennis courts and she asked what part of those two tennis courts did they start with.  Ms. Bigos stated that was five years ago and she thinks they were using tape at the time with two.  Mayor Knudsen stated that they must have been using the tennis court closer to the parking lot of the school.  Ms. Bigos stated that there were tennis courts at the time and they had retrofitted them to just be one single pickleball court on each tennis court.  Councilwoman Reynolds explained it as the two tennis courts each became one pickleball court.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that she was thinking back to some of the letters that she had from the residents that have been impacted.  They had discussed the option of looking at splitting the four pickleball courts in half and having them use half sometimes.  If they cut the hours and cut off part of the courts they could stagger the use.  She asked if they established if there was enough space to do that.  Ms. Bigos stated that the challenge with that would be the enforcement, they would have to be able to dismantle two of those courts completely because if they were to open the facility our residents would have accessibility to all four courts.  Mayor Knudsen asked if they could put up a fence to try to make some inaccessible.  Ms. Bigos stated that they try to use fences in the grass fields to keep them inaccessible also when they are off season and it doesn’t work.  Mayor Knudsen asked if there was the space to do that.  Ms. Bigos stated that they have to go out there and measure because the challenge would be the backswing and make sure that there is enough room for them to safely play as a fence would be an obstacle and could be dangerous.

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that they still have a couple of challenges.  One is an overwhelming desire of people to play pickleball.  They have to have some balance and be fair.  They talked about other locations where they could build an additional court that would be built to all the standards and could be built with as much soundproofing as possible while they also limit the hours on these other courts.  She added that she thinks there have to be a number of different scenarios that they look at because there is a desire to play that is not going to go away.  A lot of the people that are playing are senior citizens that have more leisure time and they are going to continue playing and get their friends to play.  This is a multi-pronged issue.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that there weren’t issues in the other locations.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that these were the only pickleball courts.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that they never had complaints when they tested this in other locations, only Glen.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she thinks the reason for that is because it was only instructional and they didn’t have the level of play that they are seeing.  Ms. Bigos added that at the other locations they were only using two courts, and at Glen they are using four.  Councilwoman Reynolds added that it was probably only occasionally and wasn’t continually all day long.  Ms. Bigos agreed.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked if there were any courts where the houses are 250 to 300 feet away, or were there any with houses as close as Glen.  Ms. Bigos stated that she thinks that was part of the challenge, that to find the right court selection would require the Village to put in new courts.  What they are talking about are short term and long term solutions for where they are right now.  She thinks that the long term solution is conversations about additional courts erected somewhere else.  They can brainstorm those ideas, and it is anything from the rooftop at the parking garage, to Schedler Property, to possibly Kings Pond Park, or maybe the Upper Ridgewood Tennis Club. They are talking about purchasing park property and building a facility long term.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked how much it would cost to retrofit the Glen courts.  Ms. Bigos stated that it was $27,600.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked how often the tennis courts around town are filled.  Ms. Bigos stated that there was three times as much last year, so she thinks there have been a lot of badges played.  She lives near North Monroe and she sees people playing.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked about the number of courts.  Ms. Bigos stated that North Monroe has two, Bellair has three, Somerville has four, and the High School has five.  The only other courts are Glen. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh added that to Mayor Knudsen’s suggestion, if there is enough room and you were able to put fencing up between would you be able to sound proof it better.  If you could do one court at Bellair, one court at North Monroe, and one court at Glen, you would spread out the use and if you could put up the barrier in the middle you would be able to stagger the use with hours and then limit it to residents, and then maybe try to see if they could do a shared service with Wyckoff.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked where the Wyckoff courts were and if they were outdoors.  Ms. Bigos said yes.  Mayor Knudsen stated that to Councilwoman Walsh’s point, you could in fact leave one tennis court and have two pickleball courts in that same gated area.  She asked Ms. Bigos if the tennis courts and the two pickleball courts could work and then modify and stagger the hours and then rotate them.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked how they would monitor that.  Councilwoman Perron asked if Mayor Knudsen was saying that each set of pickleball courts would be open on a different day.  Mayor Knudsen stated that it didn’t have to be different days, but she would rotate the hours and rotate out the weekends.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that she thinks enforcement would be complicated.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if they were only to be used until noon one day, would somebody come and lock the courts.  Otherwise, people are going to play all day if it is open.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she thinks they have to address the situation.  Deputy Mayor Sedon asked if they could stagger the days between the courts.  He added that his initial thought was trying to stagger the hours but enforcement is an issue.  His other thought was that if there is fencing going around the courts would there be any wany to try to continue fencing along the top of the court somehow and then sort of enclose it and put some sound attenuation over the courts to keep the sound in. 

 

Councilwoman Perron suggested bringing in a sound engineer to look at it as it is not clear to her where the houses are that are most effected.  One of the houses as you face the courts, the one on the left is all the way at the street on East Glen.  Councilwoman Perron added that if it were just the houses on two sides that were affected, maybe having a sound engineer address some of those ideas, and perhaps if they double blanket that would make it more bearable.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated that she read a bunch of articles today and it honestly didn’t seem like anyone has come up with anything yet, except for distance.  Councilwoman Perron stated that they are beautiful courts and it was kind of a shame not to use them.  She was impressed with the Village Council that someone came in beside themselves, and the Village did something about it immediately.  Mayor Knudsen stated that the sound is going over, and she thinks their best intentions didn’t work.  She added that Deputy Mayor Sedon’s suggestion of doing the full day and then closing probably makes sense once they get to the point where they can place other courts.  They want the air flow and are trying to get away from enclosed courts, so placing fencing and sound attenuation material on the top is an issue. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that she spoke to Mr. Rhoten about the ball that Councilwoman Reynolds mentioned and the soft core paddles.  She suggested testing them out and maybe there is an additional solution just in terms of the type of equipment that is being used.  Ms. Bigos stated that they could certainly do that, adding that would be the easiest fix for everybody.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she would forward the equipment recommendations to Ms. Bigos.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked how difficult it was to set up the temporary pickleball courts.  Ms. Bigos stated that it wasn’t a challenge, they used duct tape which was deteriorated by the weather.  Eventually they went to the water based paint, but they were experimenting along with the residents and trying to provide them an opportunity to play pickleball.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if a tennis net is the same height as a pickleball net.  Ms. Bigos said no, and they lowered the nets.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds suggested that to give these neighbors some immediate relief and open up the courts, could they make one at North Monroe, Bellair, and Somerville a pickleball court temporarily and see if they spread it out how that goes.  Ms. Bigos stated that she thinks that is a viable solution if that is the way the Village Council would like to put some hours together.  She can work with the pickleball group and sit with them, as they are the experts.  She is happy to be able to meet with them and come up with a solution and present that.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that she thinks that in addition to the softer paddles and the softer balls.  Mayor Knudsen stated that would allow them to use Deputy Mayor Sedon’s plan where they stagger the days and look at the equipment.  The other thing, she thinks it is a land use piece, is to do a 200 foot notice that they are going to be installing temporary pickleball courts and encourage feedback.  It brings people into the conversation and she thinks in the future they should always use this approach.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds spoke of the two people that moved.  The one person spent $37,000 on triple pane windows that were supposed to mitigate the sound which she said helped a little, and she put up bushes.  She sold her house and then the person that was going to buy it did his own due diligence about pickleball courts and then pulled out.  Mayor Knudsen stated that the reason she asked which courts were used for the instructional piece five years ago was because the homeowner stated she installed the triple pane windows during that time, but when the four courts were installed and the playing escalated it was closer to her house with the additional courts. Now, it no longer remedied the situation for her. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh asked if they were still going to put permits out to non-residents at this time.  Ms. Mailander stated that she and Ms. Bigos discussed this and they would recommend no.  Councilwoman Reynolds agreed.  Mayor Knudsen asked how quickly Ms. Bigos could come back to them with a plan.  Ms. Bigos stated probably before their meeting next week.  Mayor Knudsen asked if they wanted to have a presentation prior so Ms. Bigos could fill them in.  Ms. Mailander stated that they wouldn’t do that at a Public Meeting, but they could have a Work Session at 7:00 P.M.  Councilwoman Walsh asked if they could do it during the pre-meeting.  Mayor Knudsen asked if Ms. Bigos could come up with a draft plan and circulate it and then they could prepare any 200 foot notices and then 7:30 P.M. next week they could do that and start to get this moving forward.  Ms. Mailander added that the notices wouldn’t go into effect until after the Village Council said that was what they wanted to do.  Ms. Bigos asked if this was one court at each of the four locations.

 

Councilwoman Perron asked if they can be clear that they can say that they would no longer issue badges for non-residents.  Ms. Mailander stated that we own the courts.  Mayor Knudsen stated that they have been fluid with that, and Ms. Bigos agreed.  Councilwoman Reynolds added that with parking passes they don’t sell them to non-residents.  Mr. Rogers added that they did that for many years with Graydon and opened it up for non-resident passes for membership badges so it is something they can do they just have to be consistent with regard to it across the board.  Ms. Mailander stated that she would distribute the email regarding equipment to everyone.

 

  1. Operations

 

  1. Adopt Notice of Tort Claims Form

 

Ms. Mailander stated that the Joint Insurance Fund has requested that all municipalities that belong to the Joint Insurance Fund (JIF) adopt a particular form for the filing of tort claims.  They need a resolution to do this, adding that Councilwoman Perron has proofread it very well and has pointed out some typographical errors and they will correct that on the tort claim itself.  They have a form that was adopted years ago, but this is a more up to date form.

 

  1. Habernickel Park – 1057 Hillcrest Road

 

Ms. Mailander stated that Councilwoman Perron asked for this to be on the agenda.  Councilwoman Perron stated that she asked for this to be on the agenda because a year from now the current lease will expire and they need to plan for what their next steps are and she would like to discuss their options.  She added that she can think of four options, rent it as a residence as it was before, use it for government office, raze the building, or put it out to bid.  Mr. Rogers added that another option is to do nothing with it at all.

 

Deputy Mayor Sedon asked Mr. Rogers since it seems like the current tenant would like to continue and the Village Council should they like to continue with this current tenant because they pay rent on time and are involved in the community, would they be able to circumvent the bidding process with Green Acres and just go directly into negotiations with the current tenant to renegotiate the lease and continue.  Mr. Rogers stated that his understanding is that they are mandated to put it out to bid, not only from the standpoint of Green Acres but also from the standpoint of public contracts, so they would have to put it out for bid one way or another.  Deputy Mayor Sedon asked if there was any way around it, because if you are renting an apartment and you want to continue your lease you just continue and sign the new lease.  Mr. Rogers stated that it was really based out of the fiduciary obligation that the Village Council has for the residents of the municipality.  You have to go and see if you can get the best function for what you want to do and that is why they bid out all of these other items.  They did that with the residential tenant before that was there and so they have to do it again. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that HealthBarn USA that operates out of the Gate House is a business, and just like they are talking about the pickleball courts and residents that are complaining about noise, and they probably have residents that want to play pickleball, but they have an obligation to the residents nearby and their tranquility.  The question for her has always been, HealthBarn is a fabulous, wonderful, thriving, busy business, but the operative word is business and the question is whether or not any business should be placed in the middle of a public park.  A resident called in a couple weeks ago and commented that it’s not the business that creates the parking problems, it’s the sports people.  It is currently quiet over there due to COVID, but on some Saturdays there are back to back birthday parties and so the parking spaces that are allocated to the business displaces the vehicles that are there for recreation.  It’s not the sports people that are causing traffic and parking nightmares, it is the displaced vehicles of the people there to use the public park.  Because there is no enforcement of the parking lot, there is no monitoring of the spaces.  She added that it has always been her position that they failed in a number of ways in 2015 when they did this and they didn’t also do an appropriate 200 foot notice.  They didn’t tell folks, and the business is actually operating outside of the hours of the park.  She thinks the fundamental question is whether or not a business belongs in the middle of a public park in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that she lives on Red Birch and Benjamin Franklin Middle School rents out for recitals, Jamboree, or any function that may require the auditorium, so on her block she can have hundreds of cars.  She doesn’t think it is abnormal for any community function in residential areas to have parking.  Habernickel just happens to have a parking lot, and she isn’t very concerned about the parking because before HealthBarn was even considered they were talking about the parking.  The bigger issue is that they have a program that just like pickleball has an enormous following and because they do take the Green Acres funding they have an obligation to provide park space for the use of everybody.  For us to have that community input is something that helps her in the decision.  Councilwoman Walsh added that the tenant in the current lease did capital improvements to the property.

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that she doesn’t think that they would every go back to renting it as a residence because she doesn’t think that it’s set up and would have to be retrofitted.  With government offices they would have to do additional handicap accessible improvements, she didn’t agree with doing nothing.  Putting it out to bid, in all of the conversations they have had and the mention of their fiduciary duty, she thinks that is why they should do it sooner rather than later.  They can review the pitfalls from the last go around and make sure they go over the details and then they all have an answer.  She was in favor of starting the process right away and putting it out to bid or discussing Deputy Mayor Sedon’s option. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that the problem with putting it out to bid now is that there is only one person who is going to respond to an RFP for a tenancy a year from now and that’s the one tenant that is already there.  You are creating a scenario where there is only one respondent to the RFP because nobody else is going to be able to project out a year.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that she would counter that with how many bids they have throughout any year when they have only one respondent, so they would have to change the way they do everything because if they were to wait to always get respondents they wouldn’t get anything done.  Mayor Knudsen stated that by virtue of timing, Councilwoman Walsh is limiting respondents to one because the premises aren’t available for a year.  She doesn’t even think that would be an open and fair bidding process.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that she knows they talked about the condition of the house, and asked when they would have any report about the interior and exterior, because the last quarterly report was a laundry list of repair work, as well and she didn’t know if a structural engineer looked at the second floor or exterior.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that was why you would do the RFP because you would say it is as is, where is.  She thinks there are a lot of opportunities as you come out of COVID and you never know where opportunity is going to come from.  When they go out to bid and have single bidders, it happens all the time.  Mayor Knudsen stated that this is a tenancy issue.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that it was an RFP.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked who is going to put in a bid for something that they can’t even use for 12 months, she can’t imagine that.  Mr. Rogers stated that he knows in prior discussions they talked about getting an idea of what the condition of the facility is and that certainly is something that doesn’t need a lot of time to get, but it may be advisable because it may have an impact on the type of entity they look for in the RFP or what the price might be if they were going to rent it out as is or some other way.  The idea here is to make sure what they are doing from a fiduciary standpoint in getting this facility ready for any future tenant. 

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked if they could rent something in as-is condition.  Mr. Rogers said in normal private business you see both sides, but the buyer or in this case the renter has to be aware of what they are getting into.  If they want to do a good job of putting together the proposal for the bid they better have an idea of anything that could be problematic from a liability standpoint.  Councilwoman Perron stated that they already have an Engineer’s report as Mr. Rutishauser already did an inspection.  She spoke to him and he told her he doesn’t think a Structural Engineer is needed.  There were some minor things that need to be addressed, but the house has many years of serviceable use ahead of it.  The building maintenance things that are mentioned in the Healthbarn’s quarterly report are chimney venting, window in the sunroom needs to be replaced, the glass storm door, propane heaters for patio permitting, air flow for indoor space, and none of these things are really big deals.  This interior inspection was conducted in October.

 

Mr. Rogers stated that was what he said before, adding that he didn’t see Mr. Rutishauser’s report but they have to get an idea of what the facility is like but that is the basis of what the condition is that they would work off to go forward.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that sounds like a walk around the house.  Mayor Knudsen asked if that report mentioned the buckled floors.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that was somewhere else in the report.  Mayor Knudsen asked if Councilwoman Perron was reading the quarterly report.  Councilwoman Perron stated that she was.  Mayor Knudsen asked if she saw the buckled floors.  Councilwoman Perron stated that she didn’t think it was something that needed immediate repair.  Mr. Rogers stated that he didn’t get the quarterly report, but he thinks that is something they should take a look at from information that they have and put that together to decide what they want to do and how to go about it.  The condition of the property is something that should be taken into consideration for determination of value and possibly even use.  He added that Councilwoman Walsh had asked for a comparison based on costs and receipts from the property to see that analysis.

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that they would also have to have a real estate person come in and look at what the appropriate rent would be.  Mr. Rogers stated they could do that if they want, as well.  Councilwoman Perron stated that they did that the last time around so she thinks it would be appropriate to do that this time.  She added that no one is in favor of razing the building.  Mayor Knudsen cited some of the repairs from the report, adding that there was a laundry list of repairs including Mr. Rutishauser’s report.  Without a full blown inspection they don’t know anything about the warped flooring.

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that she had input here, adding that you can hire a home inspector who also has an engineering degree just as if you were purchasing the home, and they can do a full report in less than a week.  If they want to go that route she can give Ms. Mailander ten different companies that would do that, and she has a report that she can also share so they can see how thorough the report is.  She added that the cost is about $1,000.  Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that he agrees with Councilwoman Walsh, adding that they should have this done sooner rather than later.  They can get all this information done in a week and then make some decisions.  Councilwoman Perron suggested getting this on the agenda for the next work session.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked if anyone cared if it cost the Village money in terms of a profit and loss statement.  Mayor Knudsen stated that was something else.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that if it is costing the Village money every year to rent it out it doesn’t make sense.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that she doesn’t think they are spending about $55,000 in repairs every year and that is what their revenue is.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that they would need the profit and loss statement.  Ms. Mailander stated that Mr. Rooney was working on that and he also needed to look at what recreational programs are done with HealthBarn and Parks and Recreation and what type of revenue they get from that.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that if they are doing this by the book, which is additional revenue that they wouldn’t have with another person leasing it. 

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked Councilwoman Walsh if it made any difference to her what the immediate neighbors feel.  Mayor Knudsen added like the pickleball people.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that it does, but she thinks in this conversation they have exhausted those conversations over the past five years, and they have an obligation to go out to bid and to make the best decision for the Village.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that just in the last two days she has gotten phone calls from three residents saying this is a business and they don’t want a business in their neighborhood, adding that it has affected their quality of life and they feel like they are intruding even though it is a park.  All three people repeated the fact that it is a business, and they really don’t get to enjoy the park as they should.  They feel it should be more passive. 

 

Councilwoman Walsh stated that she would say that is their opinion.  She spends a lot of time at Habernickel walking because she likes the path there and she also likes to go look at the pond.  She has been there with her nieces and nephews at the playground and she has talked to people who have their dogs off leash there, and she has never experienced what was just explained.  She has seen people come from the soccer fields and they are involved in all of the activity on the playground.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that this was the way the resident felt, adding that the lights also shine into the resident’s house until 10:00 P.M.  Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that he thinks the lights would have to be on regardless because he thinks someone is going to claim it’s a security issue.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if there were lights at Citizens, because to her the park closes at dusk.  Mayor Knudsen added that the lights went in at 2016, and up until that point they weren’t there.

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that she thinks they are having a conversation absent some pertinent information.  Her opinion in 2015 she started to question the traffic, cars, and parking, and she did that from the gate.  Hers has nothing to do with who says this or that.  Her opinion from being an exemplary neighbor, they have an obligation to first and foremost the adjacent neighbors.  There are normal activities that are inherent in a public park, so the question is when you are already absorbing all that because you are living next to a park then then add in buses and vehicles from sports groups that are displaced.  The business is lovely and an active busy business, but two nights a week there is a BYOB.  Mayor Knudsen stated that while they await the other information and then get it back on another work session once they have it all compiled.

 

Ms. Mailander asked if they wanted to have the home inspection done that Councilwoman Walsh suggested.  Mayor Knudsen asked Councilwoman Walsh to send the information, as she wanted to look at the key points, because when she read about the flooring she wanted to find out more information.  Councilwoman Walsh asked didn’t they just have the conversation about needing to find out all the information.  Mayor Knudsen agreed.  Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that he wanted all of the information compiled as quickly as possible.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that she would give the information to Ms. Mailander, and she suggested the most thorough report and then you can add the structural and termite on there.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if the inspector would be a Structural Engineer.  Councilwoman Walsh stated that if that’s what you want to order then you make sure they have that certification.  She asked if they were saying that Mr. Rutishauser cannot do a structural inspection.  Councilwoman Perron stated that he is not a Structural Engineer.  Councilwoman Walsh asked if there was anyone on staff that was a Structural Engineer.

 

Councilwoman Perron asked Mr. Rooney when he can get a profit and loss analysis.  Mr. Rooney stated that it would be a couple of days.  Ms. Mailander asked the Village Council to confirm what they want in this profit and loss statement, did they want maintenance of the property, the building, what were they looking at.  Deputy Mayor Sedon stated he imagined just the building, because the fields they have to maintain no matter what.  Mr. Rooney stated that in conjunction with that, they still have roads that have to be paved or maintained, so part of the maintenance of that park is going to have to be allocated over to the house.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if the tenant paid the utilities.  Mr. Rooney said yes.  Ms. Mailander asked if they wanted the breakdown of what kind of revenue besides the rent that they get.  Councilwoman Walsh said to add it all in but put it as a separate line item.  Ms. Mailander stated that it would be on the January 27th Work Session for discussion.

 

  1. Authorize Application for Bergen County Community Development Block Grant – SHARE – 104 Cottage Place

 

Ms. Mailander stated that SHARE, Inc. has two homes, one at 104 Cottage Place and one at 130 Prospect Street.  At 104 Cottage Place they are putting in a Community Development Block Grant for $30,000 and this is for putting in a public bathroom.  This came about because of COVID and not wanting guests to be using the residents’ bathrooms.  The one for 130 Prospect is for $150,000 and that is for renovation of seven bathrooms and a powder room.  Annually non-profits apply for Community Development Block Grants through Bergen County.  All projects require an endorsement from the Village Council, they do not require any funding from the Village.

 

  1. Authorize Application for Bergen County Community Development Block Grant – SHARE – 130 Prospect Street

 

  1. Stop Signs at Albert Place and Maxwell Place at Eastside Avenue

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this was a request from a resident.  Mr. Rutishauser did take a look at it and there were yield signs at the subject intersections.  He concurred that they should be converted to stop signs, so he is recommending that.  This is used often as a cut through for vehicles to avoid the traffic light at Grove Street.

 

  1. REVIEW OF JANUARY 13, 2021 PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this was a review of the January 13, 2021 Public Meeting Agenda.

 

There are no Proclamations.

 

There is a resolution to Authorize Temporary Capital Budget.

 

There are no ordinances for introduction for Ridgewood Water.

 

There are no ordinances for public hearing for Ridgewood Water.

 

There are no resolution for Ridgewood Water.

 

The following ordinances are scheduled for introduction:  3835 – Fire Department Salary Ordinance; 3836 – Supervisors Salary Ordinance; 3837 – Bond Ordinance – Street Paving and Streetscape; 3838 – Amendment to Local Supplemental Violations Bureau Schedule of Designated Offenses and Payable Amounts; and 3839 – Establish Stop Signs at Eastside Avenue, Albert Place and Maxwell Place.

 

The following ordinances are scheduled for public hearing: 3833 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Establish Stop Signs at Shelton Road and Steilen Avenue; and 3834 – Authorize Renewal of PILOT Agreement – Ridgecrest.

 

Resolutions include: Authorize 2021 Temporary Budget; Authorize Tax Assessor/Tax Collector to File Appeals and/or Settlement Stipulations; Award Contract – Kitchen Renovation – Fire Department; Authorize Shared Services Agreement – School Resource Officer; Authorize Shared Services Agreement – Bergen County Police Chiefs Association Mutual Aid Plan and Rapid Deployment Force; Certify Compliance with Federal Civil Rights Requirements; Increase 2021 Deferred School Taxes; Adopt Notice of Tort Claim Form; Endorse Application for Community Development Block Grant – SHARE, Inc. – 104 Cottage Place – Bathroom Addition; Endorse Application for Community Development Block Grant – SHARE, Inc. – 130 Prospect Street – Renovation of Bathrooms and Powder Room; Authorize Tax Appeal Settlement – Pondview Medical; Authorize Disbursement of Funds to United Way for Special Needs Housing; and Appoint Member to Parks, Recreation, and Conservation Board.

 

  1. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

Mayor Knudsen asked if Ms. Jackson wanted to start.  Ms. Jackson stated that there were two letters.

 

Gene Solomon, 648 Spring Avenue, wrote that as a resident of Ridgewood for 44 years and a pickleball enthusiast what is unique about this sport is that it is enjoyed by kids, families, adults, and older adults.  About five years ago the town responded by filling the void of having no courts by painting pickleball lines on the existing Glen School tennis courts.  The Parks and Recreation Department then offered instructional programs to those interested.  Subsequently, the Village Council, with the strong recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Department committed to resurfacing the existing tennis courts.  She was completely flummoxed by the email she received on December 31st announcing all courts would be locked that afternoon and not reopened until March 22nd at the earliest.

 

Ms. Solomon wrote that she fully understands that there have been some unanticipated consequences resulting from the courts popularity, and she empathizes with the neighbors but asked when issues were raised what actions were taken.  What is most upsetting to her and others is why now, this decision quite literally affects the young and not so young residents during this global pandemic.  All medical professionals strongly tout the need to get out and find recreation and socialize.  The past ten months have not been easy, especially for the older members of the community.  Pickleball has given these residents the opportunity to be outside their homes, exercise and share their concerns.  She asked on behalf of herself and many other concerned residents two things of the Village Council.  First, all stakeholders should be brought together in the next week to discuss options for dealing with the issues.  Second, while the discussions are going on, she implored the Village to open all the courts.

 

Ms. Solomon wrote that progress is almost always messy and brings growing pains.  In the end, there are those who are left dissatisfied, but governance has a responsibility to find a solution, not initiate a punishment, a solution based on the greater good.  She added that she is willing to help facilitate the discussion in any way the Village Council would find helpful.

 

John Pfeffer, 146 South Van Dien Avenue, wrote that he is a Ridgewood resident and a pickleball player.  In addition, he is considered a senior.  The recent ordinance enacted by the Mayor is very disappointing.  The Glen School pickleball courts are utilized by residents both young and old, as well as persons from neighboring towns.  While those players have all purchased the required passes there is a Ridgewood PB Association consisting of 153 members.  The bulk of the members are seniors playing PB as their primary form of exercise.  They do not want to go indoors during the COVID times.  People play on the courts during the posted hours, 8:00 A.M. to dusk, with no violations.

 

Mr. Pfeffer wrote that it is his understanding that the neighbors surrounding the courts are complaining of noise.  However, they have no expectation of low or no noise levels.  The courts have been there for 30 years, as has the school.  The tennis courts were converted to pickleball in 2019, and during 2019 the neighbors did not object to the conversion.  Therefore, they have forfeited the right to complain.  Purchasing a home next to an attractive nuisance, a school, baseball field, tennis courts, PB courts, was know at the time of the purchase.  These neighbors paid below market prices to purchase their dwellings, they full well knew there would be noise.  The Village is catering to 30 or so neighbors rather than the 150 or so PB members is very unfair.

 

Mr. Pfeffer wrote that the PB players have used sound reducing balls to reduce the noise level, however, the neighbors remain unsatisfied with the efforts to compromise.  Several PB players went over to the neighbors block.  The real noise was not the sound of the rackets and balls, but was the voices of the people.  That is something one gets when living near a school or court.  It is very unfortunate that the Village singled out PB courts for closure during a time of COVID.  The Village has not closed the tennis courts, nor will they allow PB to be played on the tennis courts.  In addition, the Village hasn’t closed any other outdoor facility.

 

Mr. Pfeffer wrote that Governor Murphy has encouraged people to stay active outdoors, and the actions of the Village are not consistent with this.  It is his understanding that the Village should have given the public two weeks’ notice of a meeting, then had public comment and had a vote.  Instead they acted in a draconian manner and closed the courts.  That is very disappointing, he wrote that citing the fact that the passes expire 12/31 and the fees for 2021 is not a valid excuse.  The fact that the Village had 365 days in advance to provide a fee structure is indicative of the way the Village is managed.

 

Mr. Pfeffer wrote that they would like the Village to open the PB courts immediately while the fee structure for 2021 is being decided.  To work with the Ridgewood PB Association to find a compromise that is acceptable to its members and the community.  He understands the neighbors’ issue, adding that it can be as simple as purchasing a sound machine if the noise is that bothersome.  The spring, summer, and fall pose different issues and will not be easily resolved.  Mr. Pfeffer wrote that the neighbors received a bargain in terms of the purchasing price of their homes and should they choose to move they will be given more money than they dreamed of.  This is all due to COVID.  The Village needs to decide what’s in the greater good for the community, the rights of 30 neighbors, or the rights of hundreds of residents and non-residents that utilize the PB courts.

 

Mr. Pfeffer wrote that he trusted the Village would make the right decision and we can all move forward with this distraction.

 

There were no additional written comments from the public.

 

Hans Jurgen Lehmann, 234 Union Street, stated that during final public comment of the meeting on December 9th a resident asserted that during a number of public comment session speakers have asserted that the Village Council was violating the Open Public Meeting Act where HealthBarn is concerned.  He has listened to all of those comments that the speakers made and at no time to the best of his recollection did anyone say that the Village Council has violated the Open Public Meeting Act.  The only thing that numerous speaker called for was for this Council to move HealthBarn discussions into open meeting.  It seems important to us, the voters and taxpayers, that they know what is going on because of the interest and concern they have for HealthBarn.  For the resident to call public comment slanderous is probably slanderous in its own right.  Calling public comments a bunch of lies sounds not only untruthful but also unhelpful. 

 

Mr. Lehmann stated that asking the Village Attorney to possibly take action seems just as unhelpful.  After the residents’ comments, then comes the Mayor who bemoaned the comments made by the public.  She asserted that it is true that the Village Manager took her direction from the Council to meet with Ms. Antine of HealthBarn and that the conversation between landlord and tenant is just that.  That may be true, but what the Mayor forgets to mention is the nature of that conversation.  There are two people in that conversation, and what the public knows comes only from one side of that conversation, and that conversation was not a conversation but an ultimatum.  A warning that the tenant had better look for new quarters because any discussion about extending the lease beyond 2022 was out of the question.  Mr. Lehmann stated that initially it seemed that even a one year extension was out of the question.  Having said what he said, he thanked the Village Council for moving this issue to the public meeting agenda for tonight.  Also, he asked if Mr. Rooney could tell us how good a tenant HealthBarn has been and would be for many years to come.  He added that by the way, they could put lots of pickleball courts at the Schedler Property.

 

Stacey Antine, owner of HealthBarn, 1057 Hillcrest Road, stated that she wanted to call in with a few clarifications, specifically about the quarterly report.  Under the Building Maintenance which Councilwoman Perron was referring to that is actually completed work.  Those items were done by Signal and that’s why it says it was in need of immediate repair and then handled by Signal within 24 hours, adding that they have an amazing relationship with all of the Village Departments. 

 

Ms. Antine added that to the list of items and maintenance issues that Mayor Knudsen had mentioned, there are two.  That is the warped flooring and the lighting in the back of the house.  Ms. Antine stated that the warped flooring has been an issue for the past year and that was during the capital investment the Village put that flooring in.  She put in the flooring in a different section of the house and put in a subfloor and different types of flooring based on what Dawn had suggested at the Health Department.  The Village chose to put down that flooring without a subfloor, so that’s why it is warped and there have been multiple times that the company that installed it had to come back and actually fix the floor.  Ms. Antine stated that now the floor is warped to the point where it isn’t dangerous, but when you have a child who is five who is running they can trip and fall.  It had nothing to do with the HealthBarn’s capital improvement, it was actually the way the Village installed that property before HealthBarn even got into the building.

 

Ms. Antine stated that she didn’t know why the BYOB has come up, because it has been brought up and addressed multiple times.  There is nothing in her lease that says that she can’t as a business within that tenant have a BYOB.  Green Acres addressed it and said was the resident of that property allowed to drink in their house when they rented that building, and the answer was yes.  So Nancy Lawrence at Green Acres specified that no one is coming to HealthBarn to really drink, they are having a nice dinner at a chef table and enjoying a glass of wine.  That is actually part of a healthy lifestyle, too.  Ms. Antine stated that they addressed this and it is completely legitimate, there is no violation and she is sure Ms. Mailander knows this.  She added that she didn’t want it to be part of the dialogue that they are doing anything wrong.  They have no violations.

 

Ms. Antine stated that regarding the busing situation, it is a story unto itself.

 

Regina McNamara, 974 Hillcrest Road, stated that she wanted to get it straight that the Village Council was suddenly questioning the viability of a structure but are willing to allow children to continue to visit for one year.  She wondered are they really making some of this stuff up.  While she listened to the dozens of pickleball protesters and advocates, the Village Council is trying to seek balance which she admired, but there is no balance with the HealthBarn issue as it seems to be all or nothing.  She asked if any of the Village Council really looked at the petition that she managed.  She collected over 50 names of immediate neighbors who loved HealthBarn, yet they are entertaining three neighbors that are faceless and nameless.  Ms. McNamara asked who they are representing, adding that the neighborhood loves HealthBarn.  She challenged anyone who cannot park on a Saturday to write a letter or speak at one of these meetings and argue that their parking issue for perhaps 30 seconds outweighs the benefits of HealthBarn.

 

Julia Buckley, 323 Graydon Terrace, stated that she is a Ridgewood native, current resident, and a registered dietician specializing in pediatrics.  She has had the pleasure and honor of working with Ms. Antine at HealthBarn over the past few years, and as a community member, mother, and registered dietician, she has a tremendous amount of appreciation for HealthBarn both personally and professionally.  She echoed the support to move quickly with whatever would ensure a renewal of their lease.

 

Ms. Buckley stated that when she moved back to Ridgewood in 2016 to start her own family, she was pleasantly surprised to see the transformation of Habernickel Park.  Having grown up in the Willard District, it was such a pleasant surprise to see the aesthetic improvements to the Gate House and surrounding area.  Enhancements such as this in the neighborhood that she grew up in contribute to the intense pride that she has in this town.  She understands that there are concerns about the busing and parking lot, but having worked on site for various programs and activities, she can ensure them that the staff continuously works to follow all guidelines and have buses quickly routed through the lot to impose minimal impact to the surrounding community. 

 

Ms. Buckley stated that regarding the complaints of noise, she wanted to reiterate that living in a community that has park space for public use comes with some discomfort.  She lives near Maple Field and Graydon Pool and gladly accepts the overflow parking and traffic, knowing that community engagement is thriving.

 

Ms. Buckley stated that her professional support of HealthBarn includes that she chose to specialize in pediatrics in her dietetic career after working in the hospital setting and seeing the intense impact that health education at a young age could have on her family, community, and our nation as a whole.  Nutrition research has shown that sugar and fats contribute up to 40% of daily calories consumed by children and adolescents.  We know that these poor diets negatively impact academic performance, while also increasing the risk of developing numerous health conditions later in life, and Ridgewood residents are not immune to these issues.  As a practitioner, these findings are always troubling, but as a mother they are terrifying.  It is her professional opinion that a proactive and preventative approach to nutrition education is best and that healthy lifestyles should be taught and encouraged from a very young age, and that is exactly what HealthBarn strives to accomplish.

 

Ms. Buckley stated that throughout her career she has worked across the Columbia and Cornell, New York campuses and within her experience in the hospital setting the importance of strong community involvement for favorable health outcomes became abundantly clear.  Especially for children, and especially for those in need.  Community programs have the ability to provide the resources and support necessary to make real, lasting change.

 

Ms. Buckley stated that when she moved back home and learned about HealthBarn and its mission, programs, and the Foundation, she was so proud of Ridgewood for being the home of such an important community resource.  Over the past few years of seeing HealthBarn in action, she has become beyond impressed with the reach and impact of the organization, and the vast array of programs and initiatives offered under one roof.  As a practitioner who has seen many well-intentioned but less successful nutrition programs, but also as a mother who struggles as a dietician to create a healthy relationship with food for her three otherwise healthy young children.  The educational programs are unique and effective for children and adults, but she knows they have heard this all before.  We are all aware that from the educational programming that are available for families and schools and the incredible Foundation, HealthBarn’s impact far exceeds our town limits. 

 

Ms. Buckley stated that what is more important is it also gives back to our residents.  The support is outline of Healing Meals for Ridgecrest and SHARE, and most recently the Foundation’s Feed the Frontlines Initiatives and partnerships with Social Services during the pandemic demonstrate just how strong of a community partner HealthBarn is for Ridgewood, and how lucky are we to have them in our town serving our neighbors in need without hesitation.  How unfortunate it would be to lose such an important resource for our families.  The business has adjusted its programs and procedures in good faith and in support of our larger community.  Ms. Buckley stated that she realizes she is one more voice of support among many for this organization and has likely repeated sentiments shared by letters, petitions, and comments.  She understands the legal barriers and challenges around this subject, she just hopes that the town she is so proud to call home realizes HealthBarn’s impact and embraces it as a seamless part of this community that does nothing but enhance our landscape and works to ensure that Ridgewood remains its home.

 

Ms. Buckley stated that although it is not a surprise to see businesses and storefronts change, it is sometimes sad and having spent her childhood here it is always nice to see the few that remain.  HealthBarn is an organization that we can and should be proud of in our community and it should be a staple.  She hopes that when her children are grown and return home, HealthBarn is still here as a place filled with nostalgia that they can proudly visit and maybe their children will get to experience the same programs that they did when they were young.

 

Siobhan Crann Winograd, 274 Ivy Place, stated that Ms. Bigos has done such a good job with everything.  She was born and raised in Ridgewood, and our parks have always been a combination of passive and active recreation and also thwarting land development.  She grew up on Lincoln Avenue, and residents purchased Citizens Park because they didn’t want Lincoln to become a two lane highway.  Ridgewood has been promoting passive and active recreation, and yet not allowing all of these massive parcels of land to be developed.  A prime example of that is Schedler.  In 2008 during an exceptionally scary time for our Village, we purchased land and it is still unusable.  Yet we are having this discussion about our parks, whether it be pickleball or Habernickel, and we are dissecting it.  We have a very large parcel of land that has been undeveloped and we paid a large amount of money for it. 

 

Ms. Winograd stated that she was an observer with the League of Women Voters and she watched the meetings.  In 2015 when the Gate House was a potential and the Village put it out to bid, not one person bid on it.  The Council at that point had to change the use, and at that point in walks Stacey Antine and HealthBarn, which has been a gift to our community.  She added that she is a proponent of all the things that Stacey stands for.  At that point, Ridgecrest was suffering in a lot of ways.  Stacey came in and really benefitted Ridgecrest.  She believes that all of the Village Councilmembers have been to the Elder Dinner where they take people who are unable to celebrate Thanksgiving Dinner and celebrate with them, and Stacey donates all of that.  We are living in a time where you hear on the news about food insecure seniors, and they as a Village Council have them, they have digitally addicted kids, and all these things living and breathing here, and Stacey is working in the community to thwart them.  She is so taken aback at how long this discussion has gone on, and tonight was super upsetting.

 

Ms. Winograd stated that the discussion that ensued about neighbors is a delicate balance.  She doesn’t feel that anyone should suffer because they live close to something, but Councilwoman Walsh’s attitude and she loved everything that she said, about living with a school comes with certain things.  As far as neighbors, she is a neighbor of Woodside Park and she has been writing for five years that their park was stolen so much that the State of New Jersey has withheld three-quarters of a million dollars to Ridgewood until we replace it.  She added that she hasn’t gotten one reply back, so if they are interested in neighbors, Woodside Park would like to speak.  They would like to understand why their park has gone missing and they want to be part of the collective parks discussion and not one person has replied back to us.

 

Ms. Winograd stated that since October, most of public comment has been dominated with massive feedback across many ages and demographics, and what she is most worried about is that this Council’s a little tone deaf to everything that has been said.  We are arguing with the shadow of a neighbor that hasn’t come forward.  Our parks are to be used by the public, and the public is wide and large comes in young and old.  Stacey is the most perfect example of that.  She encouraged the Village Council to get on the RFP, promote our parks, promote pickleball, and start important work like developing Schedler.

 

Doug Rhoten, 120 Melrose Place, stated that he sent a note and he would like to give some input and comments on the decisions.  He empathized with the position that the Village Council is in and it is certainly not a one-sided thing and is a balance that they have to come up with regarding pickleball and the neighbors.  A year ago, he presented to the Village Council because he dealt with this same issue on Long Beach Island.  The more subjective they allow this topic to be with noise, the harder it is going to be for them to ever solve the problem.  Noise is an objective thing, and it can be measured.  He understands that the Village Council feels empathy for the neighbors, as does he, and when they talk about repeating noise and the house that is close and those that are far away, but all of that is too subjective. 

 

Mr. Rhoten stated that he has talked to two of the neighbors.  One of the neighbors claimed that from 1,000 feet away she was bothered by this noise.  He stated that he guarantees, if they took a decibel meter over to her house you can probably pick something up but it isn’t going to be much, and if you are inside her house it will be zero.  For them to really get to the root of the problem, they need to objectivize it, get decibel meters, he knows that Parks and Recreation did that and has a report somewhere.  They have a manufacturer that delivered screens and has dealt with this a thousand times, he encouraged the Village Council to engage them as they have figured out ways around this and have made representations to the Village.  He is sure there are contractual representations about the noise that they can lean on. 

 

Mr. Rhoten stated that he thinks in the end the neighbors just don’t want pickleball there and if they reduce sound he doesn’t think it is going to matter if they spread into fewer days, they just don’t want the pickleball there.  In spreading the courts out, he thinks they are going to exacerbate the problem and deal with it at five or six different sites.  What people love about pickleball is that it is really communal, and if you separate the courts, that communal aspect of it is going to go away.  He stated that he was going to try to work with the Village Council on the equipment, but he doesn’t think that there is a miracle solution there.  There are foam balls and he tried them in pickleball and it changes the game completely, so he doesn’t think that is going to work, but the community will work on the equipment side.

 

Mr. Rhoten stated that someone mentioned increasing the screens, and they have the other side that they may be able to put something on.  It seems to him that in a house you can put a barrier up between floors and you can really deaden the sound.  There must be something you can put up on the side of the screens.  A lot of these little things that you do should be able to get it to a point where the neighbors feel that the Village has respected their interests.

 

Jeannie Johnson, 325 Mastin Place, stated that she wanted to stress the importance of putting this RFP out as soon as possible.  The reason being, that anyone who will move into the space will need time to prepare it for their business, and any new tenant at this point has less than 12 months to get their business plan together.  There was a business that took 26 months to get its Certificate of Occupancy in the Central Business District, and it would be a real shame if the Village lost revenue by holding out on putting it out for bid.  She encouraged them to get the survey done as soon as possible.

 

Ms. Johnson stated that they know about this report that Mr. Rutishauser did in October, and she stated that it seemed like there were a lot of people in the Village Council that didn’t know that this report had been done. It is a concern for her that communication isn’t flowing to the Councilmembers.

 

Sherry Biscan, 178 McKinley Place, stated that she wanted to share her reactions to listening to the pickleball discussion this evening.  She heard talk about being notified by the neighbors of the complaints and listening to the neighbors description of the problem, but then also going over to the neighbors houses and to the streets and actually experiencing the same thing that the neighbors experienced.  She also heard most of them say that they had never played pickleball.  The fact is, they haven’t experienced being sentenced to having pickleball removed and being denied that outlet.  They experienced what constituents experienced but they didn’t share in the players’ experience, so it is a bit of an unequal experience.  She added that she did hear them speak about an overwhelming desire to support pickleball play, a desire for balance between the different constituencies.  There was a suggestion of staggering play.  She though they were trying to deal with both constituencies, but then they left it unchanged and that is not balanced or listening to all parties.  Ms. Biscan urged the Village Council to reconsider their immediate decision, and if staggering the days is their desired solution then immediately reopen the courts on odd days and have them closed on even days, but let us not be 100% in favor of one constituency while they are trying to figure out better long term solutions.

 

There were no additional comments from the public.

 

Ms. Mailander stated that she didn’t think that Mr. Lehmann was part of the conversation between Stacey Antine and herself, and she wanted to assure people who heard what Mr. Lehmann said that there was no ultimatum given to Stacey Antine.  The question was whether or not she wanted to have the additional year as her option, and she said yes she did.  Ms. Mailander brought that back to the Council.  Stacey asked what about after that and Ms. Mailander said that decision has not yet been made, but there was never an ultimatum given to her that she had to get out and she didn’t know where that was coming from.

 

 

  1. RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION

 

Deputy Village Clerk, Donna Jackson read Resolution #21-01 to go into Closed Session as follows:

 

 

 

  1. ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilwoman Perron, seconded by Deputy Mayor Sedon, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Work Session was adjourned at 11:43 P.M.

 

 

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