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 22, 2019 AT 7:30 P.M.
1. 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 Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache. Also present were Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney; and Donna Jackson, Deputy Village Clerk. Councilwoman Knudsen was absent.
Mayor Hache 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.
Mayor Hache stated that the new sound system was installed over the last week, coupled with the new Swagit system. The panels will hopefully help with the sound quality in the room, so he hopes that those individuals in the audience can hear the Village Council. He added that the clock tonight is five minutes slow.
2. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Ralph, a North Walnut Street resident, stated that they have been active in trying to get the speed limit reduced on their street and overall traffic calming measures. They attended the local safety commission meeting last week with Councilman Voigt who was helpful in addressing these issues. It seemed like an option was reducing the speed limit, and he would propose 15 miles an hour. He feels this is a low cost measure and could be a very good first step.
Councilman Voigt asked if Ralph could provide some specifics regarding speeding on the street.
Ralph stated that the street has changed a lot over the years, as there are probably 30 children that live on the street now. It is a flat road that goes right into and out of town, and it is easy to leave town and do 50/60 miles an hour down that street when there is a kid in every yard playing. It has been a big concern to them and they value the children on that street and would like to see something done. The Police have put a car on that street but it doesn’t address the problem holistically, and the residents think there are solutions that can be done throughout the Village. He added that it seems that the Village paints double yellow lines on the street and he doesn’t know how effective that is, but it is the only solution that has been proposed for the last year. Ralph added changing a couple signs and enforcing it will probably bring a lot of revenue to the Village. He added that he has a list of other proposals that can be implemented after that at a very low cost.
Councilman Voigt asked Mr. Rogers if there was a minimum speed that could be set. Mr. Rogers stated that New Jersey does not have a minimum speed, and he thinks that all of the local roads in Ridgewood are at 25 miles per hour. You could go slower, but the test for Police is whether it impedes the flow of traffic as you can get ticketed for going too slow.
Ralph added that it was a wide, straight and flat street, so he doesn’t see lowering the speed limit as being prohibitive. He added that street parking seems to be a good calming measure for reducing the speed, but he would like to see something done.
Kevin Rose, 128 Linwood Avenue, stated that he lives on the corner of North Walnut and Linwood and wanted to voice his support of the idea of lowering the speed limit. Right now it is 25 miles per hour, and it is easy for any driver to see 25 and drive 40, but with so many kids it is extremely dangerous. He added that seeing a sign that says 15 miles per hour will give them some pause. Enforcement is important and it would be something that would be a very nice first step and bring some calming measures to the street.
Matt Shirripa, 125 North Walnut Street, stated that he was in support of the motion to reduce the speed limit to 15 miles per hour. He has been a Ridgewood resident for four years, and he has three young boys who would appreciate not having to hear him scream at cars as they fly past his house anymore. It is a known cut through as they are bordered by Maple and Oak which both have traffic and traffic lights. He and his wife both support reducing the speed limit as a first step.
Lauren Kupiec, 112 North Walnut Street, reiterated what the other neighbors have said, adding that she has been concerned about the speeding. She feels this recommendation is the best first step so they can see what happens as a result and then further implement other measures if necessary.
Denise Lima, 319 East Glen Avenue, stated that the sound was fabulous. She thanked the Village Council for their service, adding that managing the Village with such diverse cultures, objectives and opinions is no easy task. She added that management is about doing things right and making change happen and there were a few initiatives that are important to her that she thinks fall short of this, adding that they were looking for a completion date on the Master Plan, the Schedler Property, the Town Garage is still there, the Duck Pond is still in disarray, and she was worried about the Vanderbeck – Walton House on Maple.
Ms. Lima added that leadership is about doing the right thing, and as elected officials they are required to uphold the Constitution. She stated that the Village Council all voted on moving the BOE election, but when the vote actually took place on April 16th, one of them did not vote. She can’t imagine that somebody forgot as it was on social media, newspapers, letters to parents, robocall, and the League of Women Voters handed out flyers. She asked as an elected official, how could a Village Council member not vote. She added that the community has lost credibility and their integrity is now in question and leadership is about doing the right thing.
Douglas Lamsley, 119 Monte Vista Avenue, stated that he and his wife were seeking to designate the portion of Monte Vista between Heights and Monroe as limited weekday parking, similar to the other half of Monte Vista Avenue. Currently, between Heights and Crest is designated as two hour parking weekdays from 7:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M., whereas the portion between Heights and Monroe has no such designation. Because of its proximity to the Ridgewood Train Station, this undesignated stretch of Monte Vista Avenue has become heavily utilized for commuter parking. The number of commuter cars parked in this location has steadily increased over the last 12 months so that on weekdays from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. there are at least six cars parked there. From this location it is a five to six minute walk to the North side entrance of the Ridgewood Train Platform which is the pedestrian entrance at Ridge Road. He added that the parking situation poses a safety issue for pedestrians as it’s a highly utilized cut through where there are no sidewalks and the road slopes downward. It is especially troubling that these commuters include non-Ridgewood residents who use this section of Monte Vista Avenue as commuter parking. He added that at least three other families on Monte Vista Avenue share this opinion and he delivered a letter to the same effect.
There was no additional time for comments from the public.
Mayor Hache stated that for the next Work Session they will bring up the issue of North Walnut Street and perhaps have someone from the Police Department talk about what are the good ideas, what’s feasible, and what makes sense because all three don’t always go hand in hand. He added that they would get input from residents and try to come up with some effective ways of controlling the situation there. He added that he knows that the residents have taken it upon themselves to put up some signs, but he can imagine that there are a lot of people in a hurry and they want to address the issue.
Mayor Hache thanked the resident from Monte Vista for writing to the Village Council, adding that they will look into that as well as it is the first time that they have heard of that issue and appreciate him bringing it to their attention.
Mayor Hache thanked Mr. Hansen for the sound because even from the dais he can hear people’s voices more clearly, adding that it took a lot of work but he thinks that they finally got it resolved.
3. MANAGERS REPORT
“Touch a Truck” Event – Ms. Mailander stated that the “Touch a Truck” Event, co-sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Ridgewood at Van Neste Square was a huge success and had the largest attendance ever.
Age Friendly Introduction to the Senior Bus – Today, Age Friendly Ridgewood sponsored an Introduction to the Senior Bus with a morning and afternoon bus ride for ten resident’s trip to learn more about our Central Business District and other local activities. Along the route Ridgewood representatives met the bus and spoke with the riders, sharing fun facts and providing bags with additional information.
44th Fred D’Elia Memorial Day Run – Ms. Mailander stated that the run, sponsored by North Jersey Masters, would take place on Monday, May 27th.
Graydon Pool Opening – Graydon Pool opens Saturday, June 1st, 10:00 A.M. to 7:30 P.M. Residents are encouraged to become members.
Graydon Pool and Older Adults Month – Ms. Mailander invited residents to celebrate the opening of Graydon Pool and Older Adults Month with a free breakfast, Saturday, June 1st from 10:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. Seniors are invited to Graydon Pool for breakfast served poolside. Enjoy juice, bagels, and live music on the patio. Learn about Graydon Pool and all it has to offer. It is handicap accessible.
Registration for Summer Day Camp – Ms. Mailander stated that registration for summer day camp has started and will be open until the cutoff on June 10th. After that time, there is an additional $50 fee. Day Camp begins Tuesday, June 25th.
Tuesday, June 4th Primary Election – Polls are open 6:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Sample ballots will be sent out the week prior to the election.
Memorial Day, May 27th Service – Ms. Mailander stated that Memorial Day will be celebrated with a service at 10:00 A.M. in Memorial Park at Van Neste Square. All are welcome to attend.
Monday, May 27th is Memorial Day – All Village offices will be closed for the holiday, there will be no garbage or recycling collection and the Recycling Center will be closed. Ms. Mailander encouraged residents to check the Village calendar for their sanitation or recycling pickups because they may change during that week.
Parking in Village-Owned Lots after 3:00 P.M. – Ms. Mailander reminded residents that parking in all Village-owned parking lots after 3:00 P.M. does not require a permit. There are still time restrictions of three hours and parking fees that are still in effect.
4. COUNCIL REPORTS
Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Committee (REAC) and the Green Team – Councilman Sedon stated that REAC and the Green Team met yesterday and discussed trying to move forward to do an environmental resource inventory in-house so that they can use that as the basis to have REAC become a State Certified committee instead of an advisory committee.
Earth Day planning has already begun, so there is a possible theme for next year.
The Styrofoam Drive on May 18th was brought to the Village by a grant that was obtained through the Sustainable Jersey Bergen County Hub. Bob Upton, REAC Chair, and Justin Manger, Green Team Chair, attend these meetings regularly. When the grant was received by the County hub, they were able to direct a portion of that to Ridgewood. They rented a 15 foot U-Haul truck which was filled twice. They filled 22 four foot by seven foot plastic bags, plus they had half a truck of loose Styrofoam. The bags weighed about 220 pounds in total, meaning that about 300 pounds in total of Styrofoam were collected. Councilman Sedon stated that over 115 cars came in. He thanked Bob, Justin, and Elle Gruber, Serena Ichaviello, Leslie Leilo, and Ridgewood BOE President, Jennie Wilson Smith, for their work that day. The truck had to go to Springfield, New Jersey.
Chamber of Commerce - Councilwoman Walsh stated that two meetings ago she reported on conversations about enforcement of parking in the CBD. She did a ride along with our Parking Enforcement Officer. They walked 3.7 miles in the hour and forty five minutes that she was with the Parking Enforcement Officer, who issued 40 tickets during that time. The majority of the tickets were for illegal parking. She added that she was trying to get an idea of what the parking challenges were from the ground level. Illegal parking was primarily people making their own spot. The other problem was the kiosk, which at that time, on Broad Street was not working, so she could not enforce any parking until it was fixed two hours later.
Councilwoman Walsh added that there were several people at the kiosks on Chestnut, so she offered assistance to the individuals as they were having challenges figuring out how to use the kiosk. Her recommendation is to have some very simple instructions next to the kiosk that say license plate, pay, receipt. People seemed so confused with what they had to do, and many did not know what their license plate was. She added that she explained to each of them they could use Parkmobile, but none of them had heard of it.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that she spoke with the President of the Chamber of Commerce and they are thinking of doing an informational video on how to use Parkmobile. In her conversation with Ridgewood Police, if they could get those stickers to scan on the signs that show where the kiosk is, if you have Parkmobile you don’t even have to go down to the kiosk. So, if they get more people to use Parkmobile, they wouldn’t have to worry about the kiosk. However, apparently Parkmobile charges for the stickers.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that they have endeavored to make the signage clear in the different parking lots, which still seems to be confusing. She added that she didn’t know if they could take another look at the signage or somehow figure out how to make it clear. Mayor Hache asked if the Parking Enforcement Officer agreed that the signs were confusing. Councilwoman Walsh stated that she did agree and she had raised the signage issue to Officer Chuck and Chief Luthcke. Ms. Mailander stated that the one sign was on Broad Street but she wasn’t aware that there were any others that were confusing. Councilwoman Walsh stated it was on Broad Street, which talks about the parking permits or shoppers and diners, and the sign below says after 3 P.M. anybody, so people are misunderstanding the “or” on the sign. She added that there were a lot of moving violations, which Parking Enforcement can’t issue tickets for.
Councilwoman Walsh added that the Chamber of Commerce had spoken to Ms. Mailander about the loading zones, as there aren’t many spaces for them to load or unload truck deliveries.
Mayor Hache stated that last meeting there was a heated discussion as to whether or not the Village was enforcing loading zones. Councilwoman Walsh stated that it was clear to her that they were enforcing the loading zones and delivery trucks, and there were actually a couple of tickets that could have been given out that weren’t because there was some confusion. Councilman Voigt asked if they could get a tracking from a ticketing standpoint to see what is happening. Councilwoman Walsh stated that there were a couple of locations where they could have sat all day and ticketed.
Library Reimagine – Councilwoman Walsh stated that on May 11th there was an information session on their Reimagine campaign. They are hoping to get out more information as there seems to be some confusion about the plans, such as if there will be any closure of the Library. They will do two more sessions, and an informational flyer that they will send out as a PDF. There still is no information from the State as to when they are sending out the grant applications, but it seems like it will be January.
Citizen Safety Advisory Committee – Councilman Voigt stated that Citizen Safety met last Thursday, May 16th. The same contingent that was here talking about North Walnut Street was at the meeting last week. They have been frustrated for the past year about finding any kind of solution. Their question regarding the speed limit is worth a try in his opinion and he was glad the corner would put it on a future agenda. Mayor Hache added that the next public Work Session would be on June 5th.
Councilman Voigt added that they spoke about West Glen, and Mr. Rutishauser stated that they would continue to pave the sidewalk west of Hillcrest up the hill. They will also fix Union Street with more prominent one way signage and one way turn signs out of the physician’s office.
Councilman Voigt added that Starbucks coffee on Franklin has continued issues, and they will have a person there to help move the traffic into the property and will put an additional sign on the left side of the exit so they know to turn right instead of left.
Councilman Voigt stated that there was a complaint from a resident on Walthery Avenue that cars are driving at excessive speeds on that road, which Ms. Mailander has agreed to look into. Monte Vista is something they will also talk about.
Memorial Day Celebration – Mayor Hache stated that the Memorial Day Celebration will be on Monday, May 27th at 11:00 A.M. at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square. It will be hosted by the American Legion Post 53, our local post which is the recipient of the Americanism Plaque Bergen County 2019 because of their exhibit last November, the Spirit of America.
Muslim Society of Ridgewood – Mayor Hache stated that the Muslin Society of Ridgewood held its annual iftar on Sunday, May 19th hosted at Saint Elizabeth Church. This is the 14th year that it has been done this way. There were a lot of members there from the interfaith community.
Pride Month Celebration – Mayor Hache stated that on June 1st they will be hosting a celebration of Pride Month, celebrating Ridgewood’s diversity at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square. Ridgewood High School Gay/Straight Alliance and Ridgewood Interfaith Community and they will be raising the Pride flag on a soon to be installed flagpole in the northwest corner of the park. The pole was purchased with generous donations from several residents which was a great community collaboration.
Mayor Hache stated that he met with Joe and Greg of The Table and they will be giving away free sandwiches following the celebration at Van Neste. June 2019 will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which are considered the most important event leading to the fight for LGBTQ rights.
Age Friendly Ridgewood – Mayor Hache stated that on May 31st from 10:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. at the Senior Lounge they will be celebrating Ridgewood’s acceptance into the AARP Network of States and Communities. Shelia Brogan and Beth Abbott have been working hard to make Ridgewood a better place to age in place.
a. EPIC – Update on Hudson Street Parking Garage
Mike App from Tim Haahs Architects stated that he wanted to talk about the color palate that they are proposing for the garage. The construction documents are done and are in for permitting. EPIC is finalizing their package to go out to all their subs and begin that construction process, so they are at the point where they need to finalize color selections.
Mr. App stated that the Village Council had a chance to take a look at the boards in the back, and the garage is a precast garage. The lower portions will be a darker precast that will have an imprinted pattern that will appear to be stone with a sandblast to bring out some of the aggregate in it as well. The upper portions will be lighter and will also have some sandblasting which will bring out brown and blue aggregate color. They want to pull that blue and brown color. A dark bronze will be used for the storefront, which will have steel blue awnings. The glass has a hint of blue, as well. Fencing for security purposes is going to be a black or dark bronze color and then there is lettering at the intersection of South Broad and Hudson in a dark bronze against the lighter color precast concrete.
Mr. App stated that the elevator lobby and stair area will have paint on each floor level that helps you to remember what floor level you are on. They have selected and displayed those colors that coordinate with the signage package. They have pulled those colors straight from the Village’s color packet which is a blue and gold color. Floors in the lobby area of the garage will be a stained concrete to dress the lobby a little nicer than the parking areas. There is a bike parking area in the garage near the elevator lobby and stair, but it is in a separate space and is divided by a four foot wall with a perforated metal panel and a large graphic wall.
Mr. App stated that there is signage inside and outside and he knows how important the approach is as they come down Hudson to let them know that this is the garage. Using the Ridgewood color palette for the signage as this may be something that could be used on some of the other parking facilities in the Village.
Councilman Sedon asked if there was a start date when groundbreaking is going to happen. Mr. App stated that he believed they were talking August. Mayor Hache asked if it was August 23rd. Bill Costello stated that they were looking to be on site at the middle of August, if not the first week of August, and the precast concrete components will start arriving in the middle of December and they are looking to wrap things up at the end of June next year. They are still working out some things with the utilities at the northeast corner, and if things work out they may be able to be there to do some work in that corner early to let the utilities come in and get out of the way. Everything is on schedule.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that it she can’t wait for the parking garage to be finished, but she thinks that everything is fitting in nicely and the design and colors will really make it look like a great and functional garage.
Councilman Voigt stated that he understood that the colors were going to mimic Mount Carmel. Mr. App stated that church has a very monolithic gray color and a three dimensional type of stone, so they are looking to that for inspiration but it will be a little different. Councilman Voigt asked what happens to traffic patterns as far as the parking there and traffic flow when work begins. Mr. Costello stated that they won’t close the lot any earlier than they have to, and they are still working out some things with the precast concrete subcontractor who is proceeding with the fabrication drawings for their product now. Hudson Street will have to be closed for a week at the end of the project to do the last piece of the garage because the crane has to be in the street. The trucks would come in on half of Hudson Street and they would try and keep half of it open, but their intent at this point is at night to be able to reopen Hudson Street if it has to be closed during the day which is especially important on the weekends.
Mayor Hache stated that they have had a lot of communication with EPIC and it is becoming real now. He added that every single element in the design and color has been well thought out including the bike rack and the separate entrance. Mr. Costello stated that it is very great working with the Village as a client because they like to give and take and the bike rack came as part of that discussion.
b. Elk’s Club Development
Rich Calbi introduced representatives from RCS Architects of Hackensack, New Jersey, Ralph Walker and Steve Botbyl, who have done some preliminary work on the Elks Club project. They were engaged in late 2018 to look at the Elks Club building, evaluate its condition, determine what could fit there and what their needs were at Ridgewood Water and come up with some preliminary concepts. In early April, they came back in to review the report and at that time they all decided that they wanted them to look into a new redevelopment concept. They are here tonight to review the renovation and three redevelopment concepts as well.
Mr. Botbyl stated that they were tasked with a feasibility study of the existing building, and they did go through the building and checked is condition and structure, which was in good condition and able for reuse. They interviewed the employees and staff of Ridgewood Water to develop the program which is about 7,400 square feet of need which fits into the existing 8,500 square feet of the existing building. They did test fits to prove that the program Ridgewood Water has can fit into the building. He stated that Mr. Walker was going to walk through the options that came out of the feasibility study.
Mr. Walker stated that each of the options that they are showing tonight is represented on a summary slide. The first concept was to look at the renovation option, and they were looking at maintaining the existing structure to the extent possible, doing primarily an interior renovation but maintaining a one way driveway and they would accomplish 19 parking spaces to the rear of the lot and a number of tandem spaces that would be primarily occupied by Ridgewood Water vehicles. The total cost they were looking at for this was about $1.657 million which would allow this building to be used in that state that fits in with major renovation.
Mr. Walker stated that the second concept that they looked at was demolishing the existing building and using it as a vacant site. The significant slope creates some interesting opportunities and challenges. Their second option is to create a three-story building which is more of a square building with approximately 7,500 square feet, and allows a two way drive, about 19 parking spaces, and an approximate budget of $2.3 million. A couple of key advantages are the two-way drive in and out for ease of traffic flow and a regularized footprint to develop the building around the needs of the department and 19 parking spaces with no tandems.
Mr. Walker stated that the third concept is for a four-story building. In this particular concept they were looking at trying to maximize the parking, understanding the particular needs of the Department and the Village. This concept arrives at 24 parking spaces but there are two key disadvantages, one is the highest construction budget at $2.975 million for a larger building that allows for some growth, and it is also a much less efficient building due to the constraint and the size of it as they go up story after story they become less efficient and there is less useful square footage.
Mr. Walker stated that the forth concept would be to come back with a new two-story building, with a tear down and reconstruction. This allows them to reconfigure the building specific to Ridgewood Water’s needs. It allows a two way drive, but it can only accomplish 14 parking spaces. There is a budget of $2.3 million. Concept two and concept four are approximately the same cost, which means they can be looked at together for some new design exploration.
Finally, he displayed an image of a very simple concept of what might happen if they go towards a two-story building. They do think there is an opportunity to improve the streetscape and create something that is more in line with the neighborhood and the adjacent buildings. They also think that they can accomplish something that is appropriate in scale to the street overall. Mr. Walker reiterated that this is early concept and is not design, but doing some test fitting to see what can be accomplished and for what level of budget.
Councilman Sedon stated that he was reading through the report and one of the benefits that were mentioned for new construction was energy efficiency, and he asked if that would also be the same for a renovation as they would be replacing it with the same kind of systems. Mr. Walker stated that they would certainly improve the condition of the current building from an energy efficiency standpoint. One of the places that you get a higher advantage in new construction is the thermal envelope of the building which allows for a higher level of energy efficiency.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that from the data and the conversations, the space is going to serve 27 employees, so if they have customers coming there isn’t even enough parking for the employees. She asked where the employees would park, because from what she understands the whole idea behind this $1.3 million purchase won’t even have enough parking for the employees that are going to be there. Mr. Calbi stated that they have 27 employees and 11 Village vehicles. Currently, 18 of those vehicles park at the Village Hall property, so their net need is 20 spaces. In every scenario they are deficient. In the two-story renovation and three-story reconstruction, they are short by one space. Councilwoman Walsh asked where employees are going to park then. Mr. Calbi stated that there will be no customer parking in the back lot, but there would be parking on the street, similar to how it is today. They want to maintain employee parking in the back lot only because the main entrance to customer service will be on the street level, not in the back. Mr. Calbi added there would also be an entrance from the Village Hall parking lot where customers can walk to go up the drive to enter the front of the building. Councilwoman Walsh stated that she was stuck on that because it is a challenge, if all of the spots are taken for Village Hall, the Library, and all the other businesses, there aren’t many spots out front that would be available. Mr. Calbi stated that they would only be increasing their need on the Village Hall property by one space. Councilwoman Walsh asked if in theory they were going to move those vehicles at Village Hall over to the new building. Mr. Calbi stated that they were going to have an addition of vehicles because they were bringing people there that aren’t at Village Hall currently, so they aren’t bringing any over but are covering the addition at the property.
Mr. Walker stated that it was important to note that at this property there is a net gain of however many spots they accomplish, be it 19, 14, or 24 depending on the configuration if you look at the total between the Village Hall lot and this property. The advantage of this property is that you are able to consolidate all of the employees in a single location which creates this parking need. Councilwoman Walsh stated that when it was first suggested it was all going to be all in one lot and the Water Department would all be in that one location, but now it’s in three locations.
Mayor Hache asked if there was a way to put two spots in the back for customers so they don’t have to go look for a spot. Mr. Walker stated that then they have to give ADA access to the main level and would have to make the back entrance open instead of secure. Mr. Walker stated that in concept three, which is the best case scenario for parking, there are spaces that are closest to the street in concept three. The disadvantage is that this version is the most expensive and also the least efficient from a building perspective. If you went back to concept two, and designate two spaces as public or visitor spaces, then the expectation would be that they would park, walk back up the drive, and then enter into the building. Realistically, you would probably find more people that would want to park in front if there were available spots.
Councilman Voigt stated that he had to voice Councilwoman Walsh’s concern as well, as this was supposed to be a consumer friendly building and that didn’t seem to be the case at all, and he was hoping they could find a way to put some spaces back there for customers. He asked how Ridgewood Water was going to pay for this. Ms. Mailander stated that it would be a bond ordinance.
Mayor Hache stated that he looked at the plans and one of the issues was the parking. He doesn’t want to have to go for a more expensive option to get something that should be included in the project already. He asked to go back to the renovation option, and asked if there was any space on either side of the building to have 15 minute customer parking. He asked the average amount of time that a customer spends there. Mr. Calbi stated that it wasn’t very long. Mayor Hache asked if there was any possibility of doing something like that. Mr. Walker stated that the challenge with the existing driveway and building is the steep slope and the narrow driveway with a number of encroachments. The portion of the building where the driveway exists has a wing wall that juts out which are a screen wall for some equipment. They could look to reconfigure that to create something that allows for one or two parking spaces but because of the slope and existing configuration it would not be ideal. He added that the option also exists in the new construction as well. Councilwoman Walsh stated that when it was in the concept phase, they were told that tons of customers come. Mr. Calbi stated that there were no spots on site but there were spots on the street.
Councilman Sedon stated that he thought they were saying that they would create new spaces in front of the Elks Club. Mr. Calbi stated that there was nothing marked there now at all, and they could put up signage for customer parking only to maximize the use in the back for Village vehicles and employees. Councilwoman Walsh stated that if this went to the Planning Board it would probably be rejected for not having enough parking.
a. Ridgewood Water
1. Award Contract – Roof Repairs for Various Ridgewood Water Properties
Ms. Mailander stated that this is the second year of continuing improvements to facilities. Eleven roof structures were improved in 2018, and eight are proposed for this year. The low bidder was American Construction Chimney & Roofing Specialist of Cliffside Park at $39,600. Funding is in the Water Utility Capital Budget.
2. Award State Contract – Geographic Information System for Data Migration
Ms. Mailander stated that this is a professional services agreement for data migration of Ridgewood Water’s Geographic Information System under State Contract. The contract is with Civil Solutions of Hammonton in an amount not to exceed $18,900. The funding is available in the 2019 Water Operating Budget.
3. Award Sourcewell Cooperative Contract – 2019 Ford Escape
Ms. Mailander stated that this is the purchase of a 2019 Ford Escape for the Water Department under Sourcewell, which is cooperative purchasing, in the amount of $24,778. This is required for the Department’s Public Works Inspector for transport to and from project assignments. This is a new position so a new vehicle is needed, and funding is in the 2019 Water Utility Capital Budget.
b. Parking - None
1. Award Sourcewell Cooperative Contract – Stump Grinder – Parks Department
Ms. Mailander stated that this is the purchase of a Bandit Stump Grinder and optional accessories in the amount of $20,498.28 with Sourcewell which is the Cooperative Purchasing Contract. The vendor is Northeastern Arborist Supply of Woodland Park. This was approved in the 2016 capital budget and the money is still in there, so they will use the money.
2. Award Sourcewell Cooperative Contract – 2019 Ford F250 Pickup – Public Works
Ms. Mailander stated that this is a 2019 Ford F-250 pickup for the Division of Engineering. National Auto Fleet Group of Watsonville, California is the vendor. This will have the ability for four wheel drive as well as equipped for snow plowing operations. They are buying the snowplow separately because the Cooperative price is higher than our local vendors. They are replacing a vehicle that was handed down from the Streets Division to the Public Works Inspector and this is replacing that older vehicle. They will also be able to add the new vehicle to snow plowing operations which the current vehicle cannot do.
3. Award Contract – Geographic Information System for Various Departments
Ms. Mailander stated that this was for the purchase of GIS software for the Water Department, and adding software to Engineering, Building, Health, IT, Signal, Water Pollution Control, and other Departments for the use of mapping, zoning and asset management. This is the second phase of the project that was discussed at the past budget meetings. The software will work in conjunction with Spatial Data Logic or “Municipality in a Box” and for the Water Department it will serve as the primary portal of assets and mapping of all water lines, junctions, pump houses, and wells. The sole source provider for this is ESRI of Redwinds, California. It will be awarded in an amount not to exceed $75,180.
4. Award Partial Contract – Sidewalks for West Glen Avenue
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village sought bids in February for the resurfacing and repairs of various Village streets. The low bid was American Asphalt and Milling Services of Kearny. It is funded from the 2019 Capital Budget. At this time, there is a line item in that for West Glen Avenue sidewalk construction in the amount of $50,000, which will continue the addition of sidewalk from Hillcrest Road up the hill on the left hand side, and they will go up as far as they can until they run out of money. They may have to work with the neighbors as some of them have created parking spaces, but this will be much safer and eventually they hope to go all the way up to Engine 31.
Councilman Voigt asked about walls that abut people’s properties in that area. Ms. Mailander stated that many of them are in the public right of way, so they will have to notify those homeowners and then work with them to be able to take back the amount of right of way that is ours in order to construct the sidewalk.
5. Affordable Housing Funding
Thomas Toronto, United Way, was asked to give an update in terms of the funding process by Mr. Rogers. Mr. Toronto stated that he was here in early May and at that time was updating the Village Council on their plans to renovate the second story of the former Sealfons Building. They will be back with the Planning Board for technical review with some slight modifications to their plan as it is their desire to make sure that the renovations happen in the safest way possible. They were hoping to put together funding that included the Village’s Municipal Housing Trust Fund, the County’s Home Program, and the Housing Mortgage Finance Agency. The last piece is the Federal Home Loan Bank application, which has been submitted and was sponsored locally by Atlantic Stewardship Bank.
Mr. Toronto stated that they were hoping to utilize the Municipal Housing Trust Fund in an amount of $500,000, but there was some uncertainty about the amount that was available for distribution. The County is going to be submitting their recommendations to HUD in Washington for utilization of the Home dollars, and it would be helpful to have the Village’s support of the project.
Mr. Rogers stated that at the last public meeting they adopted a resolution to endorse the application for the Bergen County United Way to do the funding through the Bergen County Home program. This would be a separate resolution for consideration with regard to an endorsement for the use of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund monies which is what this is designed for. They circulated information with regard to the total amount of trust fund available, which was more than $850,000 and that is why Mr. Toronto is looking for their help. This started back in 2015 and carried through the Planning Board process and the Fair Share Housing process as well.
Mayor Hache thanked Mr. Toronto for his work and integrity and added that the Village Council appreciated working with him. Ms. Mailander asked if the Village Council was in agreement for a resolution on June 12th. Mayor Hache agreed that they were, but stated that the next meeting isn’t for another two weeks so he wanted to thank Deanna Schablik and Gwenn Hauck for putting together the wonderful event today with the Civics Youth Corp. They had the opportunity to meet some really wonderful bright minded high school students and they talked to the Village Council members about how local government works and he appreciated the opportunity to talk to them.
6. Re-Appropriate of Capital Funds – Tree Inventory
Ms. Mailander stated that the Shade Tree Commission is looking to repurpose the funds left in last year’s capital account for tree replacement to be used for a tree inventory of all Village streets. It is necessary in order to apply for major tree planting, maintenance and preservation projects for the State Shade Tree Federation.
Councilman Sedon stated that there was tree replacement money in last year’s capital budget and that wasn’t spent in planting trees, but they planted about 100 through the paving budget and some through Adopt a Tree. The tree inventory is the last piece of the puzzle to go out and apply for any Shade Tree related grant in the State. You have to become a commission first, get a five year plan, and to go for some grants through the Shade Tree Federation they need a tree inventory. This is a good tool for the Parks Department and Engineering as well. They are currently in the process of applying for $10,000 to offset some of the costs for the tree inventory.
Mayor Hache stated that the Shade Tree Commission had spoken to CBDAC and the Village Council about replacing some tree wells in town, and asked if this set them back on that plan at all. Councilman Sedon stated that Engineering was going out to bid to find out what it would cost, which was why he wanted to bring this to the Village Council.
7. Approve Cost to Mail Tax Sale Notice
Ms. Mailander stated this was an annual resolution that is required to allow the Tax Collector to substitute two mailings of tax sale notices in lieu of two legal notices. It also permits the Tax Collector to add the cost of $25 per mailing to the amount sold at tax sale. The tax sale is expected to be held in October.
8. Award Contract Under State Contract – Bullet Proof Vests
Ms. Mailander stated that 16 bullet proof vests will be replaced under State Contract from Lawmen Police Supply of Pennsauken in an amount not to exceed $23,248. Each officer receiving a bullet proof vest is replacing a vest that is over five years old. At the end of five years all vests must be replaced because all guarantees and warranties from the manufacturing company expire. There is funding in various capital accounts.
9. Declare Property Surplus – 2000 CCC Packer – Recycling Center
Ms. Mailander stated that the 2000 Packer truck needs extensive engine repairs and the cost is too much to repair it. It is not road worthy at all, so they will declare it surplus and then possibly sell it on GovDeals.
10. Update on Maple Park Field Permanent Lighting
Ms. Mailander stated that regarding plans for the purchase and installation of field lights, there is a component of the project that will require an infrastructure improvement. Currently there is some electricity, however, in order to perform the upgrade with the poles and LED lights that are down facing, the estimate is approximately $50,000 to upgrade. She reminded the Village Council that the Bergen County grant for $145,000 and the sports groups are contributing $140,000 and the Village would be $195,000. She added that this came to their attention last week.
Councilman Voigt asked if the $50,000 was for the electrical upgrade. Ms. Mailander stated that was an estimate, and would be updated when they received further information from PSE&G. Mayor Hache asked if this information was shared with the sports groups to see if they would be interested in taking a proportionate share in this. Ms. Mailander stated that it hasn’t been, but she could reach out to them.
1. Ridgewood Parking Permits (RFP) for CBD Building Owners
Mayor Hache stated that this was a consideration on amending the existing ordinance. It was brought to his attention by a commercial property owner who tried to purchase a resident parking pass, but was told it was almost $2,000 because he wasn’t a resident. He imagines that the original intent of the ordinance regulating resident parking passes only was for residents that wanted to park and travel into New York City, so he wondered if they could amend the ordinance for commercial property owners who commute into town and offer them the regular resident parking rate. Ms. Mailander stated that as a commercial property owner he is paying taxes to the Vilage as all residents are.
Councilman Voigt stated that he was fine with that. Councilwoman Walsh stated that the key in this is that they have to say that they are working in that location because there are lots of property owners who don’t work here and they don’t want them renting out the space. Mayor Hache asked if the parking permit would be issued to that one car. Ms. Mailander stated that the parking permit is issued to three license plates, but can only be used on one car at a time. Mayor Hache asked if they could verify the registration. Ms. Mailander agreed that they could verify who the building owner was and then that person worked in that building.
2. Outdoor Café Fees
Ms. Mailander stated that for those locations that have both chairs and benches they will pay a much higher fee than those with just chairs. Some restaurants have both chairs and benches. The recommendation is that this year the maximum fee will be $450 for the maximum chairs and/or combination of benches if the Village Council is agreeable. They would amend the current fee ordinance and would owe $200 to East Coast Burger. Going forward in 2020, the recommendation is to create an additional category for 30 plus chairs and or combination of benches at $550, and then they may also want to consider another category for 40 plus chairs. Many of these restaurants with 40 plus chairs outside have more capacity than some restaurants have inside.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that she thinks it is seating, and how many people can fit on a bench. The Village Council was in agreement to keep the recommendation at $450 for the maximum for this year. Ms. Mailander asked for 2020 if they would like one additional category or two additional categories. Councilwoman Walsh stated that you have to determine how many people you can fit on the bench, so if they included that in the number of chairs. Ms. Mailander stated that for 40 plus chairs, there are currently 4 restaurants that range from 48 to 60 additional spots. It may be fairer to do it that way, because some have 30 and others have 60, and the recommendation is there so that they aren’t paying the same thing for 2020. The Village Council was in agreement, as well. Ms. Mailander stated that they may enact both of those in this ordinance.
3. New Jersey Future – Aging Friendly Community
Ms. Mailander stated that this is information from New Jersey Future about developing the Age Friendly Community and it has been requested by Age Friendly Ridgewood that the Village Council look at this. Sheila Brogan stated that today they had their bus event where 21 people on two bus trips, did a tour of Ridgewood and had stops. She thanked the Village because they have amazing employees here. As the bus traveled, they outreached to people in Ridgewood who are thinking about limiting their driving and hadn’t experienced using the senior bus and she thinks they did a great job. They did a history of Ridgewood and stopped in town. Tony from Mango Jam and Joan Groome hopped on the bus and gave a talk about what they are doing in Ridgewood. Then they came over to Village Hall and Ms. Mailander, Janet Fricke, Beth Spinato and Deanna Schablik each gave remarkable welcoming and informational talks about what they are doing for older adults in Ridgewood. The library representatives hopped on, as well. She added that they went over to The Stable where Nancy Bigos invited everyone into the butterfly garden and talked about Graydon. Ms. Brogan reiterated some of the concepts that were received after the tour.
Councilman Voigt asked what was in the goody bags, and Ms. Brogan responded by listing all of the items and information in the bags. She added that the Library also will make home visits to drop off books, which she didn’t know that was something that they did.
Ms. Brogan stated that last year, Age Friendly Ridgewood was under the Taub Foundation and they had New Jersey Futures come in and walk the downtown area. Last August they gave a 63 page report analyzing Ridgewood in terms of its Age Friendliness, looking at housing issues, pedestrian safety, traffic, engagement opportunities for older adults, and a number of recommendations. They might have some recommendations that the Village Council may be interested in implementing, but they haven’t really gone much further than that. The Taub Foundation has given New Jersey Futures a grant for those five towns to hold a series of meetings, so they will walk the Village and other towns through a process that will evaluate those recommendations. The commitment is that the town will assign a key person to be the liaison with New Jersey Futures. That elected official, town employees, and others in the Village will work together to look at those recommendations. She offered Age Friendly Ridgewood’s assistance to work with New Jersey Futures, adding that the commitment looks to be approximately four meetings.
Ms. Brogan stated that the commitment is not necessarily that the Village would implement everything that is suggested, but that they would look at all of the recommendations, they make determinations of what is reasonable, responsible, appropriate, and then what are the action steps that need to happen. She suggested sidewalk improvements which was a recommendation. The Village would continue to put money into the capital, and there are suggestions as to how to announce and track those improvements. There is an implementation stage, a typical plan is designed to answer what needs to be done, what should be done, who should be responsible for doing it, what is the approximate cost, and what are the funding sources. She added that there is a cost to the Village in terms of time, but the work of New Jersey Futures is covered under the Taub Foundation.
Ms. Brogan stated that a resolution to adopt would be looked at tonight, and if the Village Council was so inclined, they would pass the resolution in June and the Village would be on their docket to start the process. She added that the Village is a little behind in terms of their timeline, and she contacted New Jersey Futures and got a very enthusiastic response back that the timeline is a little flexible.
Mayor Hache stated that the conditions this was talking about were really aspirational conditions. The number of designations per square mile, mixed use CBD, and access to public transportation, is all great things for them to want to achieve, but the benefit towards creating a more Age Friendly community would be a wonderful effort. Ms. Brogan stated that she sees the report she gave to NV5 as helping us to think through the Master Plan. The creation of more covered bus stops is an opportunity, since we see a lot of people standing out in the rain on some of our busiest routes for NJ Transit, and it is one thing they pointed out to the Village.
Councilman Voigt asked if the Taub Foundation grant was a three year grant. Ms. Brogan stated that the Age Friendly Initiative was a three year grant which ends in October. They have been told that the Foundation is going to talk about extending it for two more years, but maybe not to the same level. Separately, they gave money to New Jersey Futures to do this, but it is not part of the grant to the Community Center Advisory Board. Councilman Voigt suggested that they could fold some of the suggestions that come out of this into the Master Plan very easily. Ms. Brogan stated that she sees the connection and that’s why she and Beth thought it would be important for NV5 to see it. Just recently, Councilman Voigt was at the steering committee meeting where NV5 did a presentation with the older adults and it was very interesting to listen to some of the issues that the older adults had.
Councilman Sedon asked if the plan would be beneficial or helpful if they were to go out and get some grants to help fund some of the initiatives that are included in it. Ms. Brogan stated that she believes that when they look at the recommendations they will have to look for funding sources, and some will probably fall upon the Village, but these recommendations should be looked at and analyzed. Maybe it is not something we can do in a year, but it is part of the five year lookout as to what the Village Council wants to do in those areas. In terms of housing, they have already done the Fair Share Housing. There are some interesting things, such as encouraging shared housing or accessory dwellings. Ms. Brogan stated that this opens up the conversation.
Councilwoman Walsh thanked Ms. Brogan for her presentation. Ms. Mailander stated that they would have the resolution on for June 12th and that it looks like there were four Councilmembers in support of it. Ms. Brogan thanked the Village for a wonderful partnership.
1. Endorse the Historic Preservation Grant for the James Rose Center
Ms. Mailander stated that the James Rose Center is on Ridgewood Avenue and is the former home of landscape architect James Rose. They are seeking a $50,000 grant from the Bergen County Open Space Trust to support their ongoing efforts to repair and improve the rehabilitation of the southern flat roof. They are required to come before the Village Council to include it on an agenda with the purpose of gauging public support. This is just to endorse their application since they are located in Ridgewood.
5. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Janice Willett, 207 Prospect Street, stated that at the May 1st Village Council meeting, a resident cited information from the Village Manager that the voter turnout for the election in April was higher than in November. That information first appears on July 18th which was when the Village Council voted to move the election back to April. She looked at the chart which was posted online and had a number of questions about the accuracy of the numbers. She detailed her questions and emailed the Village Manager and copied the Village Council but has received no response. She asked where these numbers came from, as the resident seemed to indicate that they were provided that information from the Bergen County Clerk’s Office. Ms. Willett stated that the chart compares budget vote turnout in April to candidate turnout in November which isn’t a good apples to apples comparison. Looking at uncontested election, turnout is 45% higher in those situations in November. Where there is one person running it is 8% higher in November. There was one contested comparison, 2012 versus 2018 and turnout was triple. The all-day Kindergarten vote had 57% turnout which is almost double the highest April voter turnout.
Ms. Willett stated that in her view, if this Village Council made a decision on a $110 million budget on the basis of the numbers in the chart which are either flat long or don’t capture the nuance of voter participation, she felt that the Village Council should revisit its decision on the basis of better numbers. She added that another question she had was based on registered voters and why it fluctuated so much year to year, which all needs further study. There are a lot of things that puzzle her, and why residents are supplying voter turnout numbers to the Village Manager and her emails has been ignored, and why the decision on such a large budget is based on these numbers.
Councilman Voigt stated that he had Ms. Jackson look at the information for the past ten years, and for April votes except for one year, November has always been significantly higher for voter turnout which concerns him that they are spending all of this money for a very select number of people who vote and in his opinion this should happen in November.
Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that he wished that he could say that he was surprised that the cost for the lighting at Maple Field is going to be more than they were told last week, but he was not surprised. What surprised him is that nobody thought to ask the sports groups for more money, as that infrastructure would not be put at that field unless the lights were necessary or wanted, and suggested asking them for the full $50,000 and going from there.
Mr. Loving stated that there was testimony by the Director of Parks and Recreation in terms of justification for the permanent lighting in terms of how loud, smelly, and dangerous these portable lights are and he asked why they were still using them. Is it more important to play sports than for our children to be exposed to diesel fumes and unnecessary noise. Driving into the parking lot there are three of these lights set up, and if they are giving off fumes and the noise may create hearing problems perhaps they should just not be used. He suggested having the Health Director do an evaluation.
Mr. Loving added that he was confused as he thought when they purchased the Elks Club there was money set aside in the capital bond ordinance for the renovation of the building. He asked for clarification as to whether there was enough money for the renovation or if they would have to go out for another bond ordinance.
Anne Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that if they cannot vote on the Board of Education proposed budgets in April, then they cannot vote on it. So regardless of how low the turnout is, zero percent of people can vote on it in November. She added that she supported the three Village Councilmembers who voted to allow them their legal right to vote on the proposed budget.
Councilman Voigt asked Mr. Rogers for clarification as to whether residents can vote on the Board of Education budget if it is more than 2% in November. Mr. Rogers stated that if the budget is above a 2% increase they have the right to vote.
Mayor Hache stated that some of the information regarding the voter turnout numbers, he does recall during the voting for the change of the elections he didn’t cite any voter turnout numbers it was about returning the vote to the residents. He does agree that if there is ambiguity in the numbers they should look into that and he would eliminate the outliers as this year’s election they couldn’t change the date even though it was over break, and he definitely wouldn’t look at Presidential elections. He added that he thinks the real number is somewhere in between and it was worth taking a look as to what they are. Mayor Hache stated that the decision from the Village Council wasn’t based on the number for the turnout but was really about restoring the vote.
Mayor Hache stated that looking at the different proposal for the Elks they are looking at the purchase price and some sort of future number as to what it would cost, but there was no bonding for that number at that time.
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village gets its voter registration numbers from the Superintendent of Elections, they give a data sheet prior to every election which gives the number of registered voters per district as well as total overall so that is the numbers that the Village uses.
There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Voigt, seconded by Councilwoman Walsh, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Work Session was adjourned at 9:45 P.M.
Ramon M. Hache, Sr.
Donna M. Jackson
Deputy Village Clerk
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