A REGULAR WORK SESSION 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 MAY 1, 2019 AT 7:30 P.M.
- CALL TO ORDER – OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT – ROLL CALL – FLAG SALUTE
Councilwoman Knudsen called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act. At roll call the following were present: Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, and Councilwoman Walsh. Also present were Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney; and Donna Jackson, Deputy Village Clerk. Rich Calbi, Director of Operations, was in attendance for Village Manager, Heather Mailander. Mayor Hache arrived at 7:53 P.M.
Councilwoman Knudsen led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag as well as in a Moment of Silence to honor the brave men and women serving in our armed forces and all our first responders.
- COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Rurik Halaby, 374 Evergreen Place, stated that he sent an email to Ms. Mailander on April 22nd and copied the Village Council and various members of the community regarding the website. The email included a proposal from a company called GovOffice, a company that develops websites for municipalities, including Franklin Lakes and Westfield. He added the current website is an embarrassment to Ridgewood; compared it to Franklin Lakes and stated you will see what he means. Mr. Halaby added that he was going to provide a copy of the email to Ms. Jackson.
Anne Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that there was a letter in the Ridgewood News last week which was written by one of the elected officials and contains three pretty serious errors and she wanted to set the record straight on that. The letter says that off cycle turnout for voting is lower in April than in November, and she has a document that was provided by the Village Manager acting in her position as Village Clerk, which is a ten year summary from 2007 to 2017 discussing Board of Education election results which shows that the average turnout in April is 21% and the average turnout in November is 16%.
Ms. Loving stated that the second error is a sin of omission, as it completely neglects to mention the Village Council and the work that was done by the Village Council to educate the public. Ms. Mailander had two robocalls before the election, sent out an E-Notice, announced it every single Village Council meeting since February, and it was on the electronic billboard. Although the letter says that two entities, the Board of Education and the League of Women Voters, educated people about the vote, Ms. Loving pointed out that in fact, the elected government did very much of that.
The third error is that the elected official states in the letter that they were in support of the public voting on the BOS budget, but Ms. Loving pointed out that the particular author of this letter voted against the public having the right to vote on the BOE budget. In the absence of the Ridgewood News doing fact checking, she wanted to set the record straight.
Councilman Voigt stated that he believed this was directed to him, adding that he thinks that everyone at the Village needs to know what the voting record is and he thinks it would be beneficial for the Village to provide that information to the Vilage Council and the League of Women Voters, as well. He added that he voted against the ability for the residents and the Board of Education to talk to each other, and that he is all for the Board of Education in any respect.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that regarding the website, she reviewed both of the websites that were suggested and they both look very similar to what the Village desires to get away from. As they refine the existing website, they believe that it is more user friendly and makes a lot more sense across multiple platforms. Sometimes, with different websites different people see different things, adding that they would continue to look at it. Councilwoman Knudsen added that regarding the budget, in November the budget turnout for the vote is zero, and in April the voter turnout for the budget vote is 100%. This is because the State does not provide an opportunity for a vote on the Board of Education budget in November. No matter how they mince numbers or manipulate turnout or participation, the one fact that they have is that nobody in the Village of Ridgewood has an opportunity to vote on the Board of Education budget in November.
There was no additional time for comments from the public.
- MANAGERS REPORT
Final Voter Registration Night for the Primary Election – Mr. Calbi stated that the final voter registration night for the Primary Election is Tuesday, May 14th. Registration will take place in the Village Clerk’s Office 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Ridgewood Library Lobby.
Hudson Street Parking Garage – Mr. Calbi stated that all village residents are invited to view the presentation boards showing the outside materials and finishes for the Hudson Street Parking Garage, on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the Court Room of Village Hall, prior to the Village Council Work Session, which begins at 7:30 p.m. that evening.
Parks and Recreation Department – Mr. Calbi stated that the Parks and Recreation Department is selling Graydon Pool memberships. If you are a Ridgewood resident and a season member, this year you will be able to purchase a Coupon Book at the Badge Office for $150.00 and you get 11 passes for the price of 10.
Registration for Summer Day Camp – Mr. Calbi stated that registration for Summer Day Camp has also started and will be open until the cutoff of June 10th. After that time there is an additional $50 fee.
Train Station Parking Lot – Mr. Calbi stated that the Train Station Parking Lot construction continues and will last for about another 3 months, weather permitting. Up to 40 parking spaces will be unavailable at the Train Station Lot during this construction phase. Individual meters will gradually be removed and replaced with a central parking kiosk. Parking fees may also be paid using Parkmobile. Those displaced with Premium Parking permits may park in the flex spots in the Hudson Street Lot in the 3 rows farthest from South Broad Street or in any parking lot, but not in spots for shoppers/diners or CBD employees. Those using Parkmobile or coins will find additional parking at the Cottage Place parking lot. The flex parking spots in the Hudson Street parking lot are for Hudson Permits, Premium Parking Permits, and shoppers/diners on a first come first served basis each day.
Ho-Ho-Kus Post Office – Mr. Calbi advised that the Ho-Ho-Kus Post Office outside mailbox experienced a theft during the early morning hours of 4/27/2019. All but four pieces of mail were stolen. If you or anyone you know placed or dropped mail off in this box after 5:00 P.M. on April 26, 2019, it has most likely been stolen and/or thrown out. Please cancel any checks or money orders that may have been sent out. Also, please monitor any and all bank or personal accounts for potential identity thefts. Please contact the Ho-Ho-Kus Police Department if you or anyone you know becomes a victim of identity theft over the next few weeks.
E-Notices – Please sign up for E-Notices to stay up to date on Village news by clicking on the button on the Village website, “Sign up for Alerts” at the bottom of the homepage.
- COUNCIL REPORTS
Chamber of Commerce – Councilwoman Walsh stated that the Ridgewood Sale Days will be in two weeks, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, starting the 17th.
Library Reimagine – Councilwoman Walsh stated that there was a resident that had several pointed questions about the Library’s Reimagine Campaign, and she thought it was best to have Nancy Greene, Director of the Library, come and answer those questions.
Ms. Greene stated that the Ridgewood Library was last renovated 21 years ago, elements of the facility are nearing or past their useful life, and public libraries must evolve with their communities. The Library is currently number one in public programming throughout New Jersey, more oriented to people and technology, and the State of New Jersey has set aside $125 million in grant funds to improve public libraries. The Library Board has recognized these factors and completed the initial schematic phase of planning; producing a concept and a rough cost estimate. This concept is still subject to substantial change based on two key factors: community suggestions, and available funding. The Library is hosting a public forum on Saturday, May 11th at 1:00 P.M. and it is open to everyone. Ms. Greene encouraged everyone with questions to join them there. She stated that the Library is looking at three avenues to pay for project costs, the New Jersey Public Library Construction Grants which could pay up to 50% of costs, private donations, and municipal funding.
Ms. Greene stated that regarding the central staircase in the middle, this is a big structural change and the cost was estimated by the Library architect at $335,828. The cost has not been broken out by a second cost estimator. All project elements can change based on final design and materials used. In the schematic phase, all of the cost estimates are fairly rough, but when you go into the design/development phase you would refine the details and those things would determine the final cost.
Ms. Greene stated that regarding the auditorium, one plan was to increase the size and some trees would have to be eliminated. They had an earlier concept which is no longer under consideration that contemplated widening the auditorium, and in that case it would have affected the trees, but they are not considering that any longer. The current concept squares off the rear wall and preserves the large pine trees between the Library and Village Hall.
Ms. Greene added that they are certain that it would be helpful to have a larger, easily divisible auditorium where the Library can have a bigger audience for special events and easily divide the room to hold two simultaneous meetings or discussion groups.
The estimate for the Library was $7.6 million, but if you use $8 million, their funding goal would be $4 million from the State, and the State requires a one to one matching grant from their approved pool, and the intention would be to have a gift of $2 million from private residents through the Capital Campaign, and an expenditure of $2 million from Village funding. The $2 million, through a 20 year bond, would equate to the cost of $16.58 per year, to the average Ridgewood taxpayer. For a $4 million bond its $33.17 a year.
Ms. Greene stated that regarding the $4 million commitment, Mr. Dani had mentioned, the Village would be asked to guarantee the funds that they need from the Capital Campaign, which is how they funded the last major renovation in 1998. She stated that the Village of Ridgewood authorized the project and dedicated a gift of $500,000 that came to the Village towards the project to help get things started. Ms. Greene stated that the architect estimated the cost at about $4 million, and the Capital Campaign was collecting cash gifts as well as pledges going up to five years out and banked $420,000. They had to have a full funding commitment to move forward and go to bid, so the Village ordinance #2555 authorized the full funding amount needed, less the money that was already dedicated and the gifts that were already in the bank. Then as the 1998 and 1999 project costs were incurred, capital campaign pledges were also being paid, enabling the Library to pay significant costs. Ms. Greene stated that total Capital Campaign contributions totaled $1.7 million, and the Village paid the balance which was substantially less than the full amount that they had authorized.
Ms. Greene stated that they anticipate that the process would be the same today, except that they have potential New Jersey State Grant funds also dedicated to this purpose. She added that at the Library Board meeting in April, their focus was to celebrate Library Week and they invited residents to share how the Library has made a difference in their lives and it was discussed how any talk of a renovation could come at a later point. She added that the focus was not on renovating, but what is the Library accomplishing today.
Ms. Greene added that the Library Board has agreed not to invest into further architectural plans until they have further information regarding the New Jersey State Grant as well as the local sources. If it becomes necessary to reduce the project costs, the Board may then eliminate the proposed auditorium improvements and other areas as the costs are fully developed. She added that she would email this information to the Village Council.
Community Center Advisory Board – Councilman Voigt stated that they met last Thursday. May 9th, Age Friendly Steering Committee is meeting at 12:30 P.M. in the Library. May 22nd, Get to Know Your Village Bus Tour, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, goody bags are promised. May 22nd at 5:30 P.M. Meet the Council in the Community Center for the Teen Civic Advisory Board. Saturday, June 1st at Graydon Pool from 10:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. is Breakfast for seniors, hosted by Age Friendly. Age Friendly is now part of the AARP and there will be a ceremony sometime in the near future.
REAC/The Green Team – Councilman Sedon stated that May 18th will be the Styrofoam Recycling Drive at the parking lot of Graydon Pool from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. There will be a Permaculture Discussion May 18th from 6:45 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.
On Saturday he attended the Shade Tree Commission’s Tree Giveaway, where they gave away close to 2,000 trees. There are still some more for residents who want to show up, so if anyone would like to plant some trees, go to the Recycling Center and pick up a potted tree.
Mayor Hache joined the meeting at 7:53 P.M.
Ridgewood Fourth of July – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that this year the 2019 theme is All American Summer, aiming to celebrate all things summer in America, backyard barbeques, baseball games, outdoor concerts, camping, fairs, cross country road trips, drives to the Jersey shore, and all things that people thoroughly and completely enjoy in the summer. This year, we are not just supporting the tradition, but need to save the tradition. Over the years, the costs have gone up and they do not increase ticket prices all that often. They are asking people to donate to the program at RidgewoodJulyFourth.net and there is a donate button at the bottom where you can make a contribution to continue this tradition.
125th Year Committee – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the 125th Year Committee met Monday evening, and they had a very robust conversation about the Anniversary of the Vilage of Ridgewood. The theme is: “Past, Present, and Yet to Come: Community Strong Village of Ridgewood 125 Years.” She added that they are still looking for volunteers as they have a lot on their plate in very short order. With fundraising, organizing events, logistics, there is a lot involved and they need volunteers to help. She asked them to email the Mayor or herself and they can be added to the committee.
Mayor Hache added that they looked at the number of moving parts in the Village and the many things that are happening at any given time. One of them is the lighting at Van Neste and another is the groundbreaking for the Parking Garage. So, they felt that it would be better to spread out a series of events over several months. November 20th is the anniversary date, and they didn’t want to wait until then to do all of these things. They are in desperate need of a lot of people to help.
Mayor Hache stated that the CBD and other groups would be focused on the lighting at Van Neste and will meet next Tuesday. As they have more definitive dates they will share them with the public.
Master Plan – Councilwoman Knudsen urged everyone to visit VisionRidgewood.org for the Master Plan Visioning Process, to log on and to take the survey as it will close down on May 5th. This will take ten minutes of your time to determine the future of the Vilage of Ridgewood for generations to come.
Planning Board – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the Planning Board meeting has been canceled for May 7th.
ACCESS – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that ACCESS Committee is the Special Needs Community. They met last Thursday evening and discussed the never-ending difficulties of attempting to navigate the different services for your special need’s family member. The big topic of conversation has been special needs housing right here in the Village. This evening Tom Toronto from the United Way was present to talk about the long awaited special needs housing project that they have worked on together and with the Village Attorney for a number of years.
Councilwoman Knudsen pointed out the new camera and sound system, which wasn’t on yet.
- Funding for The Enclave Special Needs Housing
Thomas Toronto, United Way, stated that he had two objectives, to update the Village Council and give them a sense of what they have been doing since the project was site plan approved, and to ask for their support. They are going to redevelop 257 Maple, better known as the PNC Bank, or the Sealfons Building. They will take the top floor in cooperation with the Village and Onyx Properties, and will renovate that space and create eight units of special needs housing and 15 bedrooms. They will create a continuum of special needs individuals who will be served in that space. Some will have greater needs and require some support, and others can live almost independently. Mr. Toronto stated that there is a great deal of excitement about the project adding that it is extraordinary in terms of its location; the lives of the tenant who will live there, the transportation and recreation opportunities; the employment opportunities; and the proximity to the library. All these details combine to create an ideal location.
Mr. Toronto stated that since they were site plan approved, they have been hard at work on the plan for renovation. They have been working collaboratively with the Code Enforcement Officials within the Village. They have had several meetings and the purpose of them was to make sure that the Village Officials, with their architect and Director of Construction, were all comfortable and understood what their goals and objectives were for the space with regards to safety and security being paramount. It is complicated to take a commercial space and create a residential area in that space. To make sure that the code officials were comfortable with their intent and approach, it was very helpful and constructive. The architect took all that input, and they made sure that beyond compliance, that they were absolutely committed to having the safest space possible. Mr. Toronto stated that they achieved that goal.
Mr. Toronto stated that this was a collaborative effort in terms of making this special needs project possible, and they had preliminary conversations about utilizing the Village’s Municipal Housing Trust Fund. The Village requested a construction estimate as the first step to the commitment of using the Trust Fund. That was submitted and he had copies to share. They were able to do this construction estimate as a result of the conclusion of the conversations with the Code Officials. As they move to full construction drawing and permitting, it will be to “buy out the job.” That estimate is pretty close to what it is going to take to recondition and redevelop the space and make it livable.
Mr. Toronto stressed that the importance of the Village stepping forward is crucial for three of their funding sources. He added that Dawn Cetrulo was a help in submitting a Federal Home Loan Bank Application, and Atlantic Stewardship Bank in the Village was their sponsor bank. They applied for funding for the project, and Ms. Cetrulo couldn’t have been more supportive. When they review that application, they will come back and ask if the Village is on board and if there is a commitment from the Village. He added that they went to the Bergen County Community Development Project that funds and has a separate fund called the Home Program. They made an application for Home Dollars, and then had a meeting with the Community Development Team. They are as excited as the Village in terms of the opportunity, the project, and the dynamic that was communicated to them. Mr. Toronto added that they will be looking at the Village’s equity into the project. One of the requirements for the application is that the municipality provides a municipal supporting resolution.
Mr. Toronto stated that it would be wonderful if he could get a sense of the Village Council’s impression because they have a meeting tomorrow morning with the Community Development group, and they requesting the Village Council resolution. He asked for permission this evening to indicate to them that May 8th will solve that particular check box in the column. He added that the last piece of the puzzle in terms of funding is the New Jersey State Housing Mortgage Finance Agency. They have underwritten almost all of the United Way’s projects, and they have had very significant conversations with the HMFA and representatives have visited the site. One of the employees of the HMFA was an employee of United Jersey Bank and knows quite a bit about the area and what that corner represents and was very enthusiastic about the project. Mr. Toronto added that they were meeting next week for more information about the funding. One of the crucial aspects is if the Village is committed because they are particularly cognizant of Municipal Housing Trust Funds.
Mr. Toronto stated that this evening is important to let the Vilage Council know that the project is ready to go and they were hoping to begin work as soon as possible for a potential Spring 2020 occupancy. Also, it signals the real sincere formal effort for them to find the financing to renovate. The piece that ties it all together and gives all the applications and conversations that they are having real intent is to say that the Village is involved and is utilizing its Municipal Housing Trust Fund to get the project off the ground. He understand that there are aspects that have to be deployed in certain ways, but they are hoping that the Village would be able to invest roughly half a million dollars in the project which would leave enough of a balance in the fund, and would serve as a signal to the other funders that this is serious and that they need to join in.
Councilman Sedon stated that he fully supported the effort adding that they were using the funds as they were intended to. Councilwoman Walsh asked what the benefit is to Ridgewood, and if the residents with special needs would get top of the list or anything back. Mr. Toronto stated that there was a range of benefits for the Village, compliance from a regulatory perspective in terms of affordable housing obligation in terms of density and number of units produced. Part of the process with the Planning Board was working with the Planner and the Village Council to synthesize that number so it had the maximum beneficial impact for the Village. The United Way, as the landlord for that space, are obligated to follow the Village’s Housing Standards and to follow and make sure that on behalf of the Village, the people who live there are in regulatory compliance in terms of affordable housing and also diagnosis. There is a broad range of discretion in terms of tenant selection. Mr. Toronto added that they want to make sure that those tenants will interact and behave with one another meaningfully, and take advantage of all that the Village has to offer in terms of a meaningful life. He added that they look for individuals who have strong local area networks of support, so that they are not remote or isolated from family, friends, or neighborhoods they have grown up in.
Mr. Toronto added that he couldn’t assure that Village residents would be tenants in the project; he could say that in all of the projects that they have completed, there are always individuals from the communities that live in the housing. Mr. Rogers stated that the site plan considered special needs housing and was approved special needs housing, and the Settlement Agreement with Fair Share Housing Center that was approved by the Court also included this aspect as well. This is to satisfy our Affordable Housing and to receive approval from the Court. Councilwoman Walsh stated that this project is taking on the obligation of another project in town, so this location in particular is very important to Ridgewood, its residents, and its individuals with special needs. Mr. Rogers agreed that all those aspects were approved in that process and that it was very important.
Councilman Voigt stated that he was absolutely for housing for special needs, and he thanked Onyx Properties for moving this forward. He asked Mr. Toronto if he was looking for a resolution or for the Village to provide $500,000 for this. Mr. Toronto stated that procedurally in terms of the Home application, the County wants to make sure that the projects that the Home dollars would go to is in accordance with the governing body, because they don’t want to fund a project that is adverse to the desires of the municipality. They absolutely must have that endorsing resolution as a minor procedural step, but if it’s not given in soon, their application could be at some risk because they are hoping for an award over the summer. The second request was from the Municipal Housing Trust Fund of $500,000.
Councilman Voigt asked if Mr. Rogers could educate him about the Trust Fund and how much money the Village has in it. Mr. Rogers stated that he didn’t know the exact number that’s in the Trust Fund right now, but he knows that it exceeds $500,000. It is set up by collecting fees from developers in this town, ever since it was a mandated aspect by the State. The whole purpose of providing financial assistance to anyone who was going to build approved affordable housing within the Village. There was a discussion with Mr. Rooney about it, and there was one with Mr. McManus. As Mr. Toronto indicated earlier, there were never identifiable numbers discussed, however it was in the realm of half a million dollars. Mr. Rogers stated that these funds can only be used for the development of affordable housing, and he doesn’t believe that they have had any other requests in the years that they have had the fund, and would like to maintain a balance in there to help promote it with another developer. He added that with a little more clarification during the week they can make sure that $500,000 was an adequate number and make sure that everyone feels comfortable with it for the meeting on May 8th. On May 8th they can deal with the endorsement, and then if people don’t feel comfortable with the number they can talk about it later on.
Councilman Voigt stated that he was hoping at the next meeting they could find out how much money was in there. Mr. Rogers added that they could have that number tomorrow. Councilwoman Knudsen added that there is a sheet with that number in the budget documents. Mr. Calbi added that he made a note to get the number tomorrow. Mr. Toronto stated that the endorsing resolution doesn’t speak about the Village’s funding, only about its endorsement of the project in order to reassure the Home funding. The Municipal Housing Trust Fund procedurally is a multi-step process, so they are not expecting a check on Friday.
Mr. Toronto added that they are also looking for a philanthropic component to fill any gaps in funding in terms of the project, and they have gotten feedback in terms of design, plan, and general input in terms of the project from the ACCESS Committee. In addition, several parents have vowed to have something like a community barn raising. It diversifies funding sources and buys the community in on many different levels, and provides an outlet for people who want to do that.
Mayor Hache thanked Mr. Toronto for the work that the United Way does, adding that it is a beautiful example of the collaboration between the Village, United Way, and the developer to come up with a creative way to have a meaningful impact on the lives of those with special needs.
Councilwoman Knudsen added that she thinks this is one of the most worthwhile programs that the Village has embarked on in her years on the Village Council and Board of Adjustment. She thanked Michael Boland, Josh Meyers, Sherry Depalma, Matt Rogers, and Special Conflict Planner, Beth McManus. This has been a journey and an educational experience for her personally. She acknowledged ACCESS Committee, where the first order of business since 2016 is where we are at, adding that she wanted to thank John Saraceno and Onyx. Councilwoman Knudsen added that as Mr. Toronto is working towards the philanthropic goals, there was a concern that it would stall the project midway and how would they then move forward with that. Mr. Toronto stated that nothing is certain, but given the nature of the conversations and the dialogue that they have had with the potential funders, they are reasonably confident that they are going to have commitments from those funders. When they look at the past projects they have done and the style of that housing and the housing that is here, this is very unique and innovative, so there is an excitement around funding this project that they have seen sometimes but not to the fervor that they are seeing on this one. Mr. Toronto added that if the funding comes in at less than anticipated, they have private philanthropy that comes in and they are confident that they would be able to fill those gaps.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she thought they had gone over the numbers for the $500,000 and the funding is there. She doesn’t know what the procedural aspects are, but she is committed to that, and she is 100% in support of the resolution for the community development project.
Mr. Rogers stated that this is one of those opportunities that you get in the practice of law where you feel like you are doing a good thing, adding that he was happy that the Village Council feels supportive of this project. There are some regulations that need to be followed with the designation of the funds, but in a broader scope at this point in time, they aren’t committed to it at this time, but that may be part of the commitment that needs to be shown so that Mr. Toronto can take it back to their funding sources.
- Lighting at Maple Park Field
Mayor Hache introduced Richard Brooks, Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Board, and Nancy Bigos, Parks and Recreation Director. He added that there is a very proud reputation between the Village and the sports groups getting this done. Maple Field is an example of that collaboration, as they installed a new field in a great effort between the Village and the sports groups in the funding and the on-going maintenance of the field. The old lights create a lot of noise pollution, air pollution, and light pollution because they are old and not very effective or efficient.
Ms. Bigos stated that the last couple of years, the Departmental goals have been looking at the infrastructure within our community. They have decided, as a professional team, to spend their energies and efforts in the rehabilitation of Kings Pond Park, having applied for two Open Space County Grants to turn that property into a viable, useable space. Last spring they installed a new state of the art turf field at Maple Park. Within the last year and a half, they have installed six new water bottle refilling stations, working with the League of Women Voters, REAC, the Green Team, and youth sports groups to eliminate those plastic bottles and utilize the water source that we have and refill. She added that she wanted to share this new state of the art LED solution to the lighting situation.
Ms. Bigos stated that within the last month, the community involvement for the Parks and Recreation Department has been astronomical. Last weekend, the parishioners from Grace Church spent from 8:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. reworking the front entrance to Maple Park East, restoring the grounds of the EMS building. On Saturday, Bergen County Probation came in and the working relationship with them where community service workers raked the entire surface of the interior of Graydon Pool. Truckloads of debris was picked up and disposed of. She added that she can always count on Wildscape Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands, and the Women Gardeners to put in some hours in order to enhance our public facilities and elevate all that we see around us to a different level. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts all distill a myriad of projects everywhere.
Ms. Bigos stated that in an effort to look at Maple Park, where they have been and considering the quality of life for our Ridgewood residents that utilize this facility, the neighbors surrounding the park, and the park users themselves, are looking to update all of the amenities within Maple Park. The new turf field is gorgeous and is used quite often. Ms. Bigos is pleased with the satisfaction that they are getting from that product. They have developed a field maintenance schedule for that site, and are working on park maintenance all the way around. The installation of the water refilling stations has been used by visitors. She added that the elimination of the portable light towers is what she is proposing.
Ms. Bigos stated that the light towers were a solution that was brought in more than 20 years ago. She added that the noise of the generators, the fumes, the spillage of the light, and their purpose is for construction sites. With the new system, there will be an internal control where Departmental staff will be responsible for all of the lights. The concept of this proposed lighting project has been discussed and presented by a myriad of different groups.
Ms. Bigos stated that they have met with the Ridgewood Field Committee, and have been endorsed by the Ridgewood Parks and Recreation and Conservation Board. They have sat with youth sports committees, consulted within them, and met with the experts in Engineering. They have concurred with Bob Rooney, and Ms. Mailander. She spoke with the experts in the Electrical Division, it has gone before the Parks, Recreation and Conservation Board, and the youth sports committees. Her colleagues have also supported what they are doing.
Ms. Bigos stated that the project cost estimate is approximately $430,000. This is inclusive of the purchase and the installation of the complete system. They will need a new electrical power source to the site. The fees associated with that, in addition to the required permits, incidental, and a 5% contingency are also included in that $430,000. The funding arrangement consists of a commitment and letters of commitment from the youth sport groups for $140,000, a $140,000 grant from the Bergen County Open Space Fund, and a $140,000 request from the Village of Ridgewood. Ms. Bigos stated that she has forwarded the letters of commitment from the five youth sports groups to Mayor Hache and the CFO, Bob Rooney.
Ms. Bigos stated that she wanted to address the purpose and the intent and to explain why they are moving forward and would like to the Village Council to consider this project. Next week their Field expert, Bob Zoler, the Technical Consultant, will be the invited guest and will give the complete presentation of the LED lighting system. She added that next week is the public hearing which would qualify them to apply for $145,000 from the Bergen County Open Space Grant. They will have the proposal from Bob Zoler, and it would be best for him to present to the Village Council and to the residents so that we all understand the lighting system.
Councilman Sedon asked if they had reached out to the neighbors, and if they heard any feedback from the people who are direct neighbors of the field. Ms. Bigos stated that they haven’t had any feedback from anyone yet, but they did advertise this as a Public Hearing next Wednesday in the Ridgewood News and the Bergen Record, with the display ad, so they thought that would be sufficient in getting the word out. She added that the neighbors are well aware of it, but she hasn’t heard any negative comments, as of yet. Councilman Sedon added that he would feel better if those directly next to the field received some kind of notification. He stated that it sounds like a good idea getting rid of the extra spillage from the generators, the noise and fumes, but he has learned from his time on the Council never to assume anything. He added that direct notification would be best to make sure that they get in front of this and he would hate to see all of this work being done and then a groundswell of neighbors come out of nowhere who are completely against it and create a lot of friction. Ms. Bigos asked if it would be the neighbors on Meadowbrook and Rose Court. Councilman Sedon agreed.
Mr. Brooks asked the Village Council to look at one of the details in the package. Looking at the diagram, with the field setup, there are two poles on the Meadowbrook side, and three or four on the other side. He added that there was an interesting point about how Maple was first constructed with the artificial surface. The trees were about half the size they are now. It is possible that in a few years, the light poles themselves would be virtually invisible during leaf season. They are not asking to put in a lighting system as if lights weren’t there before. The ones that are in there now are pretty nasty for a lot of reasons. Mr. Brooks added that for the kids, it’s like playing in a bus parking lot with the diesel fumes, and the noise pollution. In order to get the lights focused, they have to bring the beam up and down and adjust it.
Mayor Hache stated that it is a great suggestion, and asked them to coordinate with Mr. Rutishauser and to get a notice out to the neighbors. Councilman Sedon added that he drives past there often, so he sees it and it sounds like it is going to be an improvement to the lights that are there. He added that the lights would be directed so there will probably be less spillage and noise, but you can’t assume anything. He stated that he would hate to see any problems arise or not to be forthcoming with the residents. It would be a great improvement for the neighbors and the sports kids as well.
Mr. Rogers stated to alleviate any concern, if they could try to look at it from the standpoint of a 200 foot radius like any other notification, so they aren’t dealing with one street or the other. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she was going to suggest 200 feet, but they have to do 200 feet from any part of the property, not just from where the lights will be. She added that she thinks that the letter should come from the Village, the way that they would do it from any Municipal Land Use Board.
Councilwoman Knudsen directed attention to the pole fixture summary, and added that it would seem prudent to have this in front of the Planning Board as they probably should do a review of this. Mr. Rogers stated that wouldn’t be until it received the okay from Village Council, and would just go there for a cursory review. On the pole fixture summary, the fixture quantity says 42, and she asked what the total number of poles is and the height of the poles as well. Ms. Bigos stated that there are six poles and four portable lights. Councilwoman Knudsen asked what the height is of the portable units currently. Mr. Brooks stated that they were thirty feet. Councilwoman Knudsen pointed out that they are going from a thirty foot light to a seventy and eighty foot height. Ms. Bigos stated that on that page, there are S 1, 2, 3 and 4, and those would be the lights that would be turned on for the soccer, and then A 2, B and B 2 would be the lights that would be used for baseball, but they would not have both of them on at the same time.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the Habernickel lights in her opinion were a disaster because no one ever calculated the topography, because of the height it went right into the living rooms and was a complete disaster. Ms. Bigos stated that she knew what Councilwoman Knudsen was talking about, but those lights are security lights and these are sports lighting and it’s a completely different purpose. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that people actually need the darkness. Ms. Bigos stated that they will have the ability for these lights to go off according to the field schedule. This is a mobile app that her colleagues in Wayne are currently using at the Alps Road Field Project. The app is programmed according to the schedule for each and every day, and they also have the power to override it in case of rain.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that since the turf replacement, the use of the field has increased significantly. Mr. Brooks stated that it is scheduled whenever it can be scheduled, and it has increased. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she would like to understand that she would think there has to be some kind of a break for the neighbors, could they do an analysis of how much the field use has increased, what they anticipate the field usage to be at night, and how many nights a week would the lights be on. Is it reasonable to say that there should be a limit to how many nights a week the field is used and the lights are on to give the residents and the neighborhood a break. She added that the LED lights have a great negative impact on wildlife and people, and she was wondering if there was a reasonable expectation that there would be some kind of a limit to that. Ms. Bigos stated that the lights would go off at 9:30 P.M., like they do now.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she thinks she needs to take a look at the scheduling and what increases there have been to the scheduling and what the anticipated use will be in the future and if this will be exacerbated. Mr. Rogers asked if the scheduling was increased because the field had been in bad shape or because they have more of an opportunity. Mr. Brooks stated that it is the best field in town and is highly desirable, and if there were games scheduled at Citizens, some of them may have been moved to Maple. Mayor Hache stated that the few months before the field was replaced, the High School stopped scheduling the field so there were a lot of things that led to that reduction. He added that now they are looking at an increase because for those few months before the replacement of the field it was in dire condition.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked if there was any DEP approval required for the lighting. Ms. Bigos stated that there was and Mr. Rutishauser was already on it. She added that they had met three times already on this project.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that she had the pleasure of going through this the last time, but if you ever had to sit on the field and watch a child and breath the exhaust, the benefit to everyone that won’t have those fumes is going to be an improvement. She added that the benefit of having these lights increases the safety on those fields of play, as some of the games get late. Also, there will be a benefit of more balanced scheduling because it is a field everybody likes to use as it is conducive for spectators and games and does get a lot of use. Having the permanent lights will produce a better scheduling opportunity there. Councilwoman Walsh added that there will be a couple of negatives, adding that the last time around, people came out of the woodwork with problems and it created challenges. So, the notice has to go out and they have to really push it on social media because you don’t know who is going to be impacted. It will be much different than it has been, and even those in favor of it once the lights are in and on, they may take a step back.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that they may be able to schedule it better, but everybody is going to want to use the field, so the Fields Policy and Fields Committee is going to have to make sure that the play is shared among all of the fields. Mr. Brooks stated that they have started to have those conversations already with the sports organizations, and they divided up the pie and who uses it most and least, and that is how the share of cost was determined. Based on their population figures and their anticipated usage, is how the schedule will be developed. He added that at this point, everybody seems to be agreeable to the way that it is set up. Councilwoman Walsh added that Mayor Hache was correct that the field had gotten so hard, there were concussions on the field and it was very unsafe to play on for certain games.
Councilman Voigt stated that he thinks it makes perfect sense and was generally a good idea. He added that they mentioned a power source, and the cost was to be determined. He asked if it was possible to find out for next week what that is and who is responsible for those costs. Mr. Brooks stated that the first meeting with the engineers and electrical professionals was quite enlightening, and they are working on an estimate. They said that PSE&G goes in, and they made the calls and told them what they need. There has been contact between the lighting company and the professionals, so they hope to know shortly. Ms. Bigos stated that since their meeting last Thursday with Bob Zoler, she and Jovan went back to the Village Electrician and asked him the exact same thing regarding the cost and the data use. His report back was, a utility is a utility and he can’t even give them an estimate. Councilman Voigt stated that there may be towns with a similar configuration, and she could ask what their bill is on a monthly basis.
Councilman Voigt stated that it tends to flood there, and asked if the lights will be flood proof. Ms. Bigos stated that they would be. The conduits were put underground when the field was first installed in the late 1980s early 1990s, and the scoreboard also, so all of that is definitely secured. Mr. Brooks stated that the footings for the towers will be constructed with water in mind. Mr. Rogers stated that if it gets DEP approval, the DEP will make sure of it.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked if Ms. Bigos could have sent to the Village Council all the information about the current units in terms of strength of the lights, what type of lighting, the temperature of the lighting, and where those are typically placed because there is a very big difference between four lights at 40 feet and these lights at 80 feet. She added that she would like to have a map out of all of the information so that she could better understand the difference that might occur with the lights. Mr. Brooks stated that when the lights at the High School and Stevens Field were constructed, that was the latest technology then, but with the introduction of LED lighting it is almost like a paradigm shift. The boast used to be that you could have light on the field and the mast would be dark, now it could be two to three feet of the field would be dark. The generator lights that they are using right now are incandescent, but the LED system that they are looking at will hopefully eliminate that problem and the idea of spill will hopefully not be a problem anymore.
Ms. Bigos drew the attention of the Village Council to their packet, which had information regarding the evolution of lighting to where we are. Even the High School system that is currently installed will be obsolete according to where they are going in the future. The LED shines directly down, there is no spillage. She stated that they were looking at with the light towers, is to have the light shining directly at the field. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she gets it, but the 80 foot high multiple lights is a very big difference. In a perfect world it would be perfect, but from a distance that glow and for some people like herself, she finds the LED light color to be troubling and it bothers her. She added that some people visually prefer the yellow light, and they have to better understand that change.
Ms. Bigos stated that Tim Ropeman is the Director of Parks and Recreation in Wayne, and he has invited the Village Council to take a look at the system that he has installed with the LED lights, which might make them all feel better about the decision making moving forward. Mayor Hache stated that this is a very educational process, and the evolution of technologies over the years is incredible. As someone who has experienced the lights at Maple and Vets, as a parent and coach, and having to crank those lights, this is leaps and bounds above where they are now.
Mayor Hache stated that in the components of the funding, it is $145,000 from the Village, but his understanding is that there is some money in the camp fees fund or the Field Trust Fund of about $70,000 that could be used towards this project which would reduce the amount of funding that the Village will have to come up with. Ms. Bigos stated that she would bring that up with the CFO.
- Ridgewood Water
- Award Professional Services Contract – PFAS Feasibility Study – Twinney Treatment Facility
Mr. Calbi stated that the Ridgewood Water Department solicited proposals from professional engineering firms, there were four proposals received. The lowest bidder was Mott MacDonald in the amount of $48,000. This project is one of the recommended steps in the PFAS Action Plan. The actual step will be to reactivate the treatment units for the removal of PFAS utilizing an appropriate media to be determined at that site.
- Award State Contract – Maintenance of Chlorine, PH and Phosphate Analyzers
Mr. Calbi stated that this was for the state contract for the purchase of the annual servicing of the chlorine, PH and phosphate analyzers in the amount of $56,572. These analyzers are monitored at the points of entry into the distribution system at every well or treatment point in the system.
- Parking - None
- Award Contract – Bus Transportation Services – Parks & Recreation
Mr. Calbi stated that this is for the Recreation Department summer camp, and was the lowest of two bids received, with an option for a second year, in an amount not to exceed $18,500. This will be paid through the Recreation Operating Budget and Trust Funds.
- Award Contract – Horticulture Supplies – Parks & Recreation and Project Pride
Mr. Calbi stated that there was one bidder, SiteOne Landscape Supply, for a contract not to exceed $40,500 that will be paid from the Parks Operating Budget and Project Pride funding.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked Ms. Bigos on the horticulture supplies bid she identified that it was published in the Ridgewood News and on the Village homepage, but on the buses she didn’t identify where that was advertised. Ms. Bigos stated that it would be the same, as those are what are required legally. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if they go beyond that as there may have been more bidders or more interest.
- Award Change Order – Furnishing and Delivering of Cured In Place Pipe Lining Services – Demarest Pump Station and Graydon Park Storm Sewer Lines
Mr. Calbi stated that this was the awarding of Change Order #3 to North American Pipeline Services for additional line work of storm sewers associated with the Graydon Park lining. This is for the addition of $79,933.20 to cover the additional investigation of pipe and increased pipe sizes that were required to meet the NJDEP lining associated with the new Linwood Well that has been drilled in the park and will be funded from Water Capital.
- Oppose Bill for Vegetative Management Response Act
Mr. Calbi stated that there was a recommendation from the Village Manager to oppose a Senate and Assembly Bill, S2505 and A2558. If passed, these bills would allow public utilities to remove trees and vegetation on public and private properties without any consent of the property owner. These bills have notification requirements that the utilities have to follow, but they do not have to get consent of the owner. If there is a utility line in the area and they feel that the tree poses a danger they can clear cut that tree without approval. Several other towns are opposing it as well as a recommendation from the Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that they were talking about downed trees during an event but they may have been nowhere near the wires. Mr. Calbi stated that it is true, especially near transmission lines they have buffers that they create and they may feel it can pose a threat if it falls within that zone.
- Update on Flood Acquisition Plan Information
Mr. Calbi stated that the Village Manager provided an update on the Flood Acquisition Plan. She asked for the Village Council’s recommendation for a resolution to permit the Village to declare its interest in the County plan. That doesn’t mean there is any commitment to move forward, but they will start the actions moving forward with the possibility of the Village receiving grant funding for the purchase of property.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked Mr. Rogers if this is a planning document that is being developed, does this have to go to the Planning Board for review. Mr. Rogers stated that it doesn’t, as Blue Acres is a state program the money comes from FEMA and the state. He had discussions with the state on the program and they said that they don’t have a relationship with the county, so the interplay with the county is unclear. The good news is that there is a program that does have funding for residential properties that are affected by continuous irregular funding. There are two approaches, one from the standpoint of the municipality in identifying properties that might qualify for this program, and the other can be at the request of the homeowner to see if they qualify for it. Mr. Rogers stated that he wasn’t sure about the county program, but he just got some numbers today to contact with regards to the program, so they could be competing programs and the Blue Acres state program was the one that he looked at.
Councilman Sedon asked that if a resident is in a home and it floods a lot and they want to get rid of it today, could they still contact somebody from the state to see if their house would qualify. Mr. Rogers stated that the municipality would have to get involved, but the initial identification of the property can be done by the homeowner or the town. The homeowner could directly contact Blue Acres, which would then notify the town. The criteria in order to qualify are regular flooding and damage. The state program looks to identify several properties if it is an area or particular neighborhood that has been affected by it.
- Operations - None
- REVIEW OF MAY 8, 2019 PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA
Ms. Jackson stated that this was a review of the May 8, 2019 Public Meeting Agenda.
Proclamations include: Proclaim May 19-25, 2019 as Emergency Medical Services Week; Proclaim May 20 through June 2, 2019 Click It or Ticket Campaign; Proclaim May as Mental Health Month; Proclaim June as Gay Pride Month; Proclaim June 2, 2019 as National Cancer Survivors Day; and Proclaim June 2, 2019 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Public Hearing on Bergen County Grant Application for Permanent Lighting at Maple Park Field.
Approval to Submit Application for Bergen County Grant for Permanent Lighting at Maple Park Field.
Resolutions for Ridgewood Water: Award State Contract – Maintenance of Chlorine, PH and Phosphate Analyzers; and Award Contract – Twinney Well Feasibility Study.
The following ordinances are scheduled for introduction: 3722 – Prohibit Use of Single Use Plastic Bags; and 3723 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Time Limit Parking – West Ridgewood Avenue.
Ordinances for Public Hearing include: 3720 – Amend Chapter 145 – Fees – Police Department Fees; and 3721 – Amend Chapter 212, Article VII – Dogs in Parks.
Resolutions include: Title 59 Approval – Resurfacing of Tennis Courts; Award Contract – Resurfacing of Tennis Courts; Title 59 Approval – Bus Transportation Services – Day Camp; Award Contract – Bus Transportation Services – Day Camp; Title 59 Approval – Horticultural Supplies; Award Contract – Horticultural Supplies; Authorize Change Order – Sewer Line Grouting – Demarest Pump Station; Authorize Change Order – Demarest Pump Station and Graydon Park Storm Sewer Lines; Authorize Execution of Declaration of Interest Form – Shared Services Agreement with Bergen County – Technical Assistance for Floodplain Acquisition Plans and Floodplain Restoration Planning Services; Authorize Approval of Bergen County Trust Fund Grant – Kings Pond Improvement Project Phase II; Authorize Mailing of Estimated 2019 Third Quarter Tax Bills; Authorize ELM Group Access to Village’s Monitoring Wells at North Walnut Parking Lot; Appoint Municipal Recycling Coordinator; Appoint Member to Parks, Recreation and Conservation Board; Authorize Opposition – The Vegetative Management Response Act; Appoint Members to Stigma Free Task Force; and Endorsement of Community Director Project.
- COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that he was surprised to hear a presentation from Nancy Greene concerning changes to the Library Reimagine Plan, and he was shocked that the plan seemed completely changed and yet it was never discussed by the Village Council. He heard Councilwoman Knudsen ask for a copy of what Ms. Greene spoke about, and added that he hoped it could be distributed more thoroughly. He was surprised to hear during a Village Council update that all of this information was given, and was hoping that it could be disseminated to the public in some kind of document format.
Mr. Loving stated that every single comment regarding the generator lights was negative, which prompts him to ask why they are still using them. He passed by the parking lot at Graydon Pool recently and there were dozens of them stacked in the parking lot. He asked why they don’t stop using them if they are that bad. He asked if it was better to have lights or was it better that people suffer. Mr. Loving stated that right now the Vilage Council should direct the Village Manager to ask where these things are deployed, how many are there, and if they can stop using them if they are that bad.
Mr. Loving stated that he appreciated Councilwoman Knudsen making a comment about what is legal in New Jersey now with respect to voting on a school budget, as the only time you can legally vote on it is in April. If you oppose moving the vote to April, you do not support citizen’s right to vote on it.
There were no additional comments from the public.
Mayor Hache stated that the generator lights are terrible, but at the end of the day in an ideal world where they have endless funding possibilities they could do it, but it is costly to replace. They will see what the experience with these permanent lights and maybe they can start decommissioning these portable lights wherever possible.
There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Sedon, seconded by Councilwoman Walsh, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Work Session was adjourned at 9:30 P.M.
Ramon M. Hache, Sr.
Donna M. Jackson
Deputy Village Clerk
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