20211013 - Village Council Regular Public Meeting Minutes

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

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

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

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

2.            ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORTS

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

Roll Call Vote

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

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

3.            APPROVAL OF MINUTES

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

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

4.            PROCLAMATIONS

A.            NATIONAL DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH

The following Proclamation was read by Councilwoman Reynolds.

 

 

 

B.            DECLARE OCTOBER NATIONAL BULLYING PREVENTION MONTH

The following Proclamation was read by Councilwoman Perron.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

5.            COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The public portion of the meeting was closed.

6.            MANAGER’S REPORT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.            VILLAGE COUNCIL REPORTS

Councilwoman Reynolds had no report this evening.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.            ORDINANCES – RIDGEWOOD WATER

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

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

Roll Call Vote

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

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3874 by title:

 

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

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

Roll Call Vote

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

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

b.            PUBLIC HEARING – NONE

9.            RESOLUTION – RIDGEWOOD WATER

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.          ORDINANCES

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

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

Roll Call Vote

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

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3875 by title:

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

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

Roll Call Vote

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

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

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

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

 

 

 

Roll Call Vote

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

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

 

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3876 by title:

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

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

Roll Call Vote

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

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

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

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

Roll Call Vote

AYES:                     Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon and Mayor Knudsen

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

 

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3877 by title:

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

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

Roll Call Vote

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

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

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

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

Roll Call Vote

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

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3873 by title:

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

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

Roll Call Vote

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

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

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

Roll Call Vote

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

NAYS:                     None

ABSENT:                None

ABSTAIN:              None

11.          RESOLUTIONS

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

 

 

 

 

10.          COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

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

11.          ADOURNMENT

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

 

 

                                                                                                ___________________________________

                                                                                                                       Susan Knudsen                                                                                                                                                                                         Mayor

 

 

 

 

_____________________________________

   Heather A. Mailander                                                                                                                                                       

Village Manager/Village Clerk