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A REGULAR PUBLIC 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 FEBRUARY 2, 2022 AT 7:30 P.M.

 

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

 

Mayor Knudsen called the meeting to order at 7:33 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.  At roll call the following were present:  Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Vagianos, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen.  Also present were Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; Eileen Young, Deputy Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.

 

Mayor Knudsen led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.  There was a moment of silence for all men and women serving our nation and all first responders.  Mayor Knudsen indicated that the Annie Zusy room was open for anyone wishing to view the streamed meeting if there is not enough room in the courtroom.

 

2.         COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

Hans Jurgen Lehman, 234 Union Street, indicated that he is very wary of attending meetings in person since he is 76 years old.  Although he is fully vaccinated and boosted and wears a mask wherever he goes, he still contracted Covid right after the holidays.  He stated that the Village Council’s unwillingness to provide remote access to residents has become unconscionable.  Residents who are physically or mentally challenged, are housebound, or are in fear of their health by attending meetings in person are being denied their rights to fully participate in the democratic process.  Councilwoman Reynolds made some remarks at the last Council meeting about “the same 10 people” always showing up to complain about hybrid meetings.  He said that this begs the question why more people have not come forward at meetings in support of hybrid access.  He assured the Council that many more people could make their voices heard but that they have been cut off from the participatory process and communication has been “shut down” by the Council. 

 

Jan Phillips, 234 Union Street, said she wanted to address accessibility and particularly the Access Committee.  She stated that the Village website doesn’t provide minutes, committee dates, or log-on information, but it does state that the Village of Ridgewood is committed to providing its residents and visitors with a community that is always welcoming, always inclusive, and always accessible.  In 2016, the Director of Bergen County Human Services acknowledged Ridgewood as the first municipality to host a weekend of celebratory events spotlighting accessibility and achievement of different-abled residents, who have the right to live and work in the spirit of equality within the community. 

 

Ms. Phillips stated that, in 2016, Ridgewood Ordinance #35-33 formed the Community Access Network (CAN) to serve as a resource for Ridgewood families regarding disability-related issues and to serve as a platform for addressing disability-related issues.  The Chairperson and Village Liaison of the committee are appointed by the Village Council every two years; a Vice-Chairperson is appointed by the Chairperson; and a Staff Liaison is appointed by the Village Manager every two years.  Membership is open to all.  Monthly meetings are to be decided by the committee and advertised on the website; however, they are not.  Hybrid meetings in 2022 would allow for inclusiveness of all residents.  She thanked the “10 people” and two Councilmembers who support hybrid access.

 

Siobhan Crann Winograd, 274 Ivy Place, stated that at a December 2021 meeting, the Village Council agreed to develop a “statement of clarity” regarding the status of the Schedler property and promised that the website would be updated with that information.  However, she stated that no such statement yet exists and the website remains confusing regarding this matter.  Her emails to the Council have been unanswered, which is unfortunate since this is a $7 million project and budget season is upcoming.  She feels that the public has a right to be kept informed of the status of the project.  Without a comprehensive plan, the house will remain vacant and inaccessible.  She expressed concern about the landscaping around the house, the fact that there is yet no planned parking or road accessibility, and the fact that no plans have been forthcoming for handicapped accessibility.  A “perfectly renovated” house is of no use if no one will be able to use it.  She stated that 1 in 5 Americans will be disabled at some point in their lives.  She urged the Council to issue a statement of clarity.

 

Councilman Vagianos indicated that he has been assured by Ms. Mailander that she is working on the statement of clarity and it will be forthcoming shortly.

 

Janis Fuhrman, 49 Clinton Avenue, stated that she is on the Board of Trustees for the Ridgewood Public Library.  She enumerated items available through the library besides books, including items obtained through a grant such as audio-visual equipment, light rings, microphones, camera stands, and webcams.  In early 2022, the library will have laptops, iPads, and Apple pencils available for checkout.  The Ridgewood Foundation donated STEM kits to the library for public access.  Items obtained through either gifts or grants are tools (drills and bits, laser distance finders, stud finders) and general technology.  Ms. Fuhrman indicated that the library caters to all ages, from toddlers to seniors. 

 

Carolyn Holt, 249 Mountain Avenue, stated that she is also on the Board of Trustees for the Ridgewood Public Library.  She informed everyone that the library’s grant application was denied for library renovations; however, they are revising their renovation plans and will be looking for feedback from the public. She asked for the continued support of the residents of Ridgewood.

 

Judy Mac, 330 Eastbrook Road, said that she wanted to speak about the pickleball hours.  She inquired why this matter was on the agenda this evening when the hours had already been voted upon in November 2021.  Four pickleball courts were established within feet from residential homes without notice and with total disregard to homeowners.  She stated that residents are being “pitted against” each other in this endless and senseless issue.  Some Councilmembers walked around the neighborhood for a few minutes, claimed that they could not hear any noise, and felt justified in changing the hours.  She felt this was being done to please the seniors in Ridgewood because they are taxpayers and they will be allowed to play sunrise to sunset, seven days a week. 

 

Ms. Mac stated that the adjacent neighbors to the pickleball courts are also taxpayers and can hear the pickleball sounds every single time the ball hits the paddle.  These neighbors cannot choose to live anywhere else.  She asked why the Village Council will not do the right thing and relocate the courts elsewhere.  Pickleball players have many choices where they can play and the Glen courts are not the only pickleball courts in Ridgewood; however, they have only one home to live in.  She feels that some Councilmembers do not care about the neighbors surrounding the courts and their refusal to alleviate the problem was like “putting salt on a wound.” 

 

Denise Lima, 319 East Glen Avenue, spoke about increasing attendance at Village Council meetings.  She spoke about the great turnout this evening but felt that a better job could be done.  She suggested starting the meetings earlier and offering the “sunshine books” ahead of time so that residents know what will be discussed at a particular meeting.  She mentioned that people are overwhelmed trying to keep up with government issues and feel intimidated to attend meetings. 

 

Ms. Lima mentioned the most recent Board of Education meeting where masking was a hot topic; however, only three people commented via Zoom.  She stated that social distancing is not being observed at Board of Education meetings.  She mentioned low voter registration and how low voter turnout has become.  She questioned why mothers were able to get babysitters to attend Board of Education meetings in person but were not able to attend Village Council meetings in person. Ms. Lima mentioned that she has sent numerous emails regarding improving the Village website and better project management regarding the Schedler property.

 

Simon Lee, 321 Eastbrook Road, spoke about the hours for the pickleball courts, which he was under the impression had already been decided.  His house is directly next to the courts and the “disruptive sounds” that emanate from the courts gives him much anxiety and stress.  He said that the sounds directly impact his family during the week.  He feels the sounds “throughout his whole body” and said that the sounds cannot be judged simply by someone taking a walk around the block.  The issue is not only about the decibels; it is about the constant sound, day in and day out, and the continuous pitch.  He chose to live in Ridgewood because of the diversity and progressiveness of the community.  His daughter is a junior at Ridgewood High School, an important time in her academic life, and the high pitch and piercing sounds make it difficult for her to concentrate.  He said that more research should have done on how the pickleball playing would affect the surrounding neighbors.  He stated that the number of players, when the players choose to play, and how frequently they play cannot be controlled.

 

No one else came forward for public comments and Mayor Knudsen closed the public portion of the meeting.  Mayor Knudsen echoed Councilman Vagianos’ remark that the statement of clarity for the Schedler project is being developed and that additional information is being supplied to the contractor.  She emphasized that no voting will be conducted at tonight’s meeting since it is a public workshop meeting.

 

3.         MANAGER’S REPORT

 

Ms. Mailander announced that the annual budget meetings will be held in the courtroom at Village Hall on February 16, 17, 25 and 28, 2022 beginning at 5:00 P.M.  They will be broadcast on YouTube and FIOS Channel 34.  The public is welcome at these meetings where department directors will explain various aspects of their budgets.

 

First quarter property taxes are now due and the last day to pay without interest is February 10, 2022; postmarks are not accepted and payments must be in the Tax Office on that day.  Payments received after February 10 will be charged interest back to February 1.

 

Due to increased requests from senior residents for rides to the Wyckoff Shop Rite, bus rides will be increased to include the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month on a trial basis.  This service is free for Ridgewood seniors.  Reservations are required by calling 201-670-5500, extension 203.  This service will be evaluated at the end of May to determine if it is providing the intended purpose.

 

New programming has been established in the Ridgewood Community Center:  Rocking Music Workshop provides piano instruction for children grades K-1.  Children will learn fundamental concepts such as the musical alphabet, notes on the piano, and basic rhythms.  The grand piano donated to the Community Center will be utilized for this workshop.  Each child will learn to play a full song on the piano by the end of their musical journey.  It starts on March 21, 2022 from 3:45 to 4:30 P.M.  A new program offered for adults at the Community Center is called Seated Tap Dance with the Joy of Motion, commencing on March 11, 2022 from 9:30 to 10:15 A.M.  Adults can tap dance their way to better health by stimulating both brain and body.  Tap shoes are helpful but not required.  Registration for both programs can be accessed at Ridgewoodnj.net/communitypass.

 

The 2022 tennis and pickleball memberships are on sale and must be renewed from the prior year.  If a yellow membership badge was not issued in 2021, residents must have their picture taken and badge printed for 2022 at The Stable, Monday through Friday, 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.

 

The annual community parking permits are on sale at Village Hall to both residents and non-residents for the same price.  Ms. Mailander urged everyone to sign up for E-notices, if they have not already done so, to be kept informed of events in a timely manner. 

 

All Village departments will be closed on February 11, 2022 in observance of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.  There is no garbage or recycling collection on that day and the Recycling Center will also be closed.  Residents should refer to the Village calendar for the garbage and recycling pickup schedule for that week as holiday closures impact pickups the entire week.  The Recycling Center will be open on Saturday, February 12, 2022 from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.

 

Upcoming Village Council meetings are broadcast live from the Village Hall courtroom, on the Village website, on Channel 34 on FIOS, and on YouTube.  Public Workshop meetings will be held on February 9 and March 9, 2022 at 8:00 P.M.  Work Sessions are scheduled for February 23 and March 2, 2022 at 7:30 P.M.  The public is invited to join all meetings at Village Hall.

 

4.         COUNCIL REPORTS

 

Councilwoman Perron was pleased to announce that the HealthBarn lease has been finalized.  The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Green Acres section as well as Bergen County have both given their approval for the lease. 
 
Councilwoman Perron stated that February is Black History Month and there are some planned events.  There will be a Zoom event called “Striving for Ethnic and Racial Equality” on February 15, 2022 at 7:00 P.M. sponsored by the Committee for Peace and Justice Network (www.cpjnetwork.org).  Valley Hospital is hosting a virtual event entitled “Pathways, Pipelines, Participation in STEM” on February 9, 2022 at 3:30 P.M., which will address causes for under-representation of African-Americans in the STEM workforce.
 
The Co-Chair of Age-Friendly Ridgewood asked that Councilwoman Perron read her email this evening since she could not personally attend the meeting.  It read:  “Hello Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Councilmembers and Village Manager:  I am writing to encourage you to discuss the hybrid Village Council meeting option so that the community can understand the positive and negative perspectives.  I believe that the ability to offer input at meetings remotely has enhanced the community’s involvement in their government.  Even before the pandemic, I found that it was difficult to convince many older adults to attend Council meetings at night to offer input, as many of them do not like to be out late or drive in the dark.  With the pandemic factor also in play now, I fear that input from this significant sector of our community will be small.  Sincerely, Beth Abbott, Co-Chair, Age-Friendly Ridgewood.”
 
Councilman Vagianos mentioned that he met with the Fields Committee and the main discussion topic was the state of the fields in Ridgewood.  Due to the shortage of fields, the existing fields are in “tough shape” and “take a beating” because of constant use and difficulty maintaining them.  There was a discussion about possibly postponing the March 7, 2022 opening of the spring season.  He congratulated this dedicated group of volunteers who have been working tirelessly to keep the fields operational.  The population in Ridgewood is skewed towards school-aged children, which only exacerbates the condition of the fields.  He stated that Ridgewood is “one big storm away from a fields collapse.”  Councilman Vagianos stated that review of the Master Plan should include adding more field space in Ridgewood; otherwise, many problems will arise in the future.
 
Councilman Vagianos proudly announced that girls’ flag football is commencing this year as a varsity sport in Ridgewood and at 50 high schools across northern New Jersey.  Keith Cook, the Athletic Director at Ridgewood High School, indicated that this is a great sport and that the girls are very excited about it.  A trial run was conducted at approximately eight schools and Mr. Cook indicated that the level of talent is very high.
 
Councilman Vagianos indicated that he received a letter from Reverend Joanne Van Sant which she asked him to read because she could not personally attend.  “Members of the Village Council and Neighbors:  As the pastor of the Friends to Friends Community Church, we continually advocate for accessibility for our congregants as well as the broader community of people with disabilities.  Many of our community are interested in issues that impact their day-to-day living.  They desire a voice in the community and the decisions that brought forth to make Ridgewood a better place.  Covid-19 created an opportunity not only for faith communities, but for every venue:  education, businesses, healthcare, family celebrations.  The list is endless in the ways we have all joined the digital platform.  Friends to Friends still enjoys a vibrant and joyful worship online.  Many in our community are still restricted in their ability to resume public life due to ongoing Covid health concerns.  We have realized, though, that when we return to worshipping together in person, we will still need a digital platform for those who may not be able to attend in person at any given time.  We will be working towards creating the systems we need to ensure we are open and accessible to all who wish to worship with us.  I believe that now we have the opportunity to reopen the public venue option to our Village Council meetings.  The technology is in place as we were virtual for some time.  The pandemic is still with us and vibrant voices are not available to speak because attending in person is not an option for their own health or for someone for whom they care for or who they live with.  But even as we leave the constrictions of the pandemic, as they will certainly come, we should be advocating for community access for all at every level.  Ridgewood celebrates community access for all every year for an entire weekend.  Our Mayor and other Councilmembers, as well as many prominent community members, lead, participate, provide financial and volunteer support so that we are able to continue our work addressing the many needs for accessibility in our Village.  Accessibility is more than physical barriers.  It is voice, community living, and participation in events.  I ask for consideration that hybrid Council meetings become a reality of our vision and commitment for community access for all.”
 
Councilman Vagianos stated that he felt this was a very thoughtful letter and he urged his colleagues to consider placing this matter on the agenda for an open, honest discussion about the pros and cons of hybrid meetings.
 

Councilwoman Reynolds indicated that the Planning Board met on February 1, 2022 and there was a presentation by Beth McManus, one of the planners.  She did a study and recommended that the Planning Board recommend to the Council that the Valley Hospital property on North Van Dien Avenue be designated as an area in need of redevelopment.  There was a long discussion and the Planning Board voted in favor of such a recommendation.  They will come before the Council for a vote most likely in March 2022.


The next Planning Board meeting is scheduled on February 15, 2022, at which time Heyer-Gruel will be presenting the draft document of the Master Plan.  All residents are encouraged to attend and participate in this important discussion that will guide Ridgewood for many years to come.

 

Councilman Sedon announced that the Community Center Advisory Board met on January 27, 2021 and he is excited for the new music program to commence.  They are looking to develop more in-person programs this spring.  He indicated that the number of Covid cases in Bergen County have dramatically decreased since the peak two to three weeks ago, which means that it is trending in a good direction.

 

The Ridgewood Arts Council also met on January 27, 2022 and are developing the next series of artist talks.  More information will be forthcoming.  The Arts Council is seeking to increase its members and volunteers.

 

Mayor Knudsen indicated that the preliminary investigation into designating the Valley Hospital property as an area in need of redevelopment is discussed in a report prepared by Ridgewood’s Conflict Planner, as recommended by the Village Council.  The Planning Board recommended sending the matter back to the Village Council for a vote.  Mayor Knudsen explained what an “area of redevelopment” means.  It entails developing a plan to be implemented in the future in the event the property is vacated by Valley Hospital, even if it occurs 50 years from now.  A representative from Valley Hospital attended the Planning Board meeting on February 1, 2022 and was supportive of this initiative.  Mayor Knudsen indicated that it was stated last night that Valley Hospital has always delivered outstanding medical services as a hospital and will continue to do so in the future delivering outpatient and other medical services.  She stated that the Village is grateful to Valley Hospital.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked Ms. Mailander if the Planning Board meeting and the budget meetings would be live streamed on Swagit.  Ms. Mailander replied that they would not be.

 

 

 

5.         PRESENTATION

 

SUSTAINABLE YARD AND NATIVE PLANTS FOR NEW RIDGEWOOD WATER HEADQUARTERS

 

Councilwoman Perron indicated that Green Ridgewood has formed a subcommittee for sustainable yards called “Project 1,000 Acres.”  The goal is to transfer 1,000 acres over to native plants in the Village.  They thought it would be a great opportunity to create a garden of native plants in front of the new Ridgewood Water headquarters.  The matter was discussed with Rich Calbi, the Director of Ridgewood Water, and he liked the idea.  She showed a rendering of what the area presently looks like and also what it is intended to look like upon completion.  She spoke with Elaine Silverstein, one of the founders of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey, who has developed a design for this native plant garden.


Elaine Silverstein stated that she lives in Glen Rock, New Jersey, and is a professional horticulturist trained at the New York Botanical Gardens.  She explained the various aspects of the rendering showing her proposed design for the native garden.  The design spans across the entire front of the building, balanced with a tree at either end and shrubs in front of the building. Perennial plants are tucked in between and there will still be quite an expanse of lawn in front (about half).  The perennial plants will eventually expand over time naturally.  There are many advantages to planting native plants and not species like Japanese Barberie and Japanese Maple which do not help our country’s ecosystem.  Native plants are beautiful and easy to grow, but they can be hard to find.  No matter how poor the soil is, native plants thrive.  The new Ridgewood Water site has very poor soil, so she has recommended that a thin layer of topsoil be installed followed by a layer of mulch.  She chose very hardy plants for this soil.

 

Ms. Silverstein stated that native plants are an essential part of our ecosystem.  In her design, since the site is a public site, some of the plants will be in planters and not in the ground.  These plants will attract pollinators, which will, in turn, attract birds.  Caring for the garden will be simple:  they will need supplemental watering for the first growing season and probably not after that unless there is a major drought.  Plans have been developed in that circumstance. Pesticides and herbicides should never be used in a native plant garden of this type and, when originally purchased, the plants should not be treated with systemic pesticides, which many plants are.  Native plants should be purchased from specialty native plant growers and wholesalers and they are not expensive.

 

Ms. Silverstein indicated that these native plants should never need any kind of fertilizer or soil amendment because they are tough plants and will actually improve the soil as they go through their life cycles.  Very little weeding should be necessary as the garden expands.  A native plant garden should not be cleaned up in the fall; spring would be the appropriate time.  Many pollinators will over-winter in both the leaf litter and in the stems.  Ms. Silverstein showed the Council a “Sample Garden” that she designed and installed at the Glen Rock Borough Hall.  She showed how that native plant garden developed from April to October.

 

Ms. Silverstein described the types of native plants which will be used.  The trees will be either Red Bud or Service Berry, which will yield beautiful spring flowers or fruit, respectively.  The fruit is edible by both birds and children.  She described where each plant would be placed and explained that each plant will “hold the ground and fight against the grass” to avoid encroachment.  The plants include mountain laurel (foundation shrubs along building), golden groundsel or Packera aurea (which yields beautiful yellow flowers in April but is also an evergreen ground cover), sedge (a grass-like plant that will be intermixed with the groundsel, in front as a border with the lawn), milkweed, orange butterfly weed, and columbine.  This garden will bloom from April through October.

 

A revised estimate of costs for the native plant garden is included in the packet presented by Ms. Silverstein. Councilwoman Reynolds thanked Ms. Silverstein for her presentation and was excited about this beautiful garden.  Ms. Silverstein mentioned that these plants will be easier to obtain now than in the past since the State of New Jersey passed a law called “Jersey Friendly Natives,” and these plants will soon be available to buy retail at many more garden centers.  Councilman Vagianos also extended his thanks to Ms. Silverstein for her informative presentation.  Mayor Knudsen also thanked Ms. Silverstein and hoped for more butterflies in the garden.

 

Ms. Mailander asked if everyone was okay with doing a Change Order for Ridgewood Water for the new estimated costs for the native garden project and all Councilmembers agreed.

 

6.         DISCUSSION

 

            A.        RIDGEWOOD WATER

 

1.         Award Bid – Landscaping Services

 

Ms. Mailander indicated this item pertains to awarding a bid for landscaping services for Ridgewood Water.  Four bid proposals were received in January 2022 ranging from $226,500.00 to $340,000.00, for two years.  The annual bid price includes a $20,000.00 allowance for miscellaneous services such as plant replacement, new landscaping, bed creation, mulching, etc.  The cost is $113,250.00 for each year; the base service at the low end is $93,350.00 per year.  Services will include spring cleanup, edging, trimming, debris cleanup, mowing, fall cleanup, and gutter cleanup at system locations such as wells, pumphouses, tanks, and offices.  It is recommended by Mr. Calbi that the award of the first year of a two-year contract be given to the lowest responsible bidder, LTI, Inc., of Montvale, New Jersey.  This is not to exceed $113,250.00.  Funding will come from the Ridgewood Water Operating Budget.

 

            B.        PARKING

 

1.         Parking Ordinance Update – Time Limit Parking:  Grab and Go Spots and Overtime Parking

 

Ms. Mailander indicated that there are several updates within this Ordinance, one of which is time limit parking.  This clarifies that parking spaces with two-hour parking (time limit parking) signifies that there is two-hour parking on the entire street, for the entire day.  This is to address residential parking used up all day by commercial neighboring properties.  This also clarifies the use of Grab and Go spots and complimentary parking spaces, since there has been some confusion regarding this.  The second change deals with overtime parking, to reflect parking kiosk and Park Mobile as paying options.  Lastly, there is a change for repeat parking, to simplify the definition of repeat parking to be more concise.

 

Mayor Knudsen asked how a violation is determined and enforced regarding the Grab and Go parking spaces (15-minute parking only) since there are no meters present at those spots.  She also questioned the wording, “No vehicle shall be permitted to idle in this spot for more than 3 minutes” and also wondered how that would be enforced.  She said that she does not understand why any vehicle would be idling for any time and feels that this wording should be stricken because there is already a “no idling” ordinance.  Councilwoman Perron agreed with Mayor Knudsen.  Ms. Mailander indicated that the Village has been having an issue with idling, especially in colder weather.  The no idling ordinance would cover that, but this amendment would clarify it further regarding the Grab and Go spots. Ms. Mailander explained that enforcement would be done by license plate readers.

 

Mayor Knudsen questioned the amendment to Section 38 of Chapter 265 regarding the deposit of money required and prohibition of overtime parking; specifically, the wording, “The space shall not be deemed ‘unpayable’ unless all said payment methods are exhausted and payment is not accepted.”  Payment methods include coins, debit card, credit card, or the Park Mobile app.  She has a problem with the words “all said payment methods,” stating that someone should not be penalized or forced to download the Park Mobile app since it requires users to reveal their personal information and it costs an extra 35 cents. Councilman Vagianos and Councilwoman Reynolds stated that they agreed with Mayor Knudsen.  Ms. Mailander indicated that that sentence would be removed.


Regarding the prohibition of increasing parking time in any one parking space (Section 39, Chapter 265), Mayor Knudsen said that she was under the impression that this ability to enable “repeat parking” via a wireless device had been rectified in the Park Mobile system.  Ms. Mailander indicated that she would check on this and report back to the Council.  A discussion ensued about repeat parking, time limit parking, and parking zones outside of the CBD.  Ms. Mailander indicated that this matter will be brought back for discussion in March with the requested changes.

 

            C.        BUDGET

 

1.         Award State Contract Purchase – Upgrade/Replace Toughbooks for Police

 

Ms. Mailander explained that this item deals with the awarding of a State contract purchase through SHI International Corp. of Somerset, New Jersey, to upgrade the Toughbook laptops used in patrol vehicles by the Police Department.  These laptops have reached their useful life of 5+ years.  The amount of the contract is $22,503.15, budgeted for in the Capital account for IT.

 

2.         Declare Surplus – Public Works Vehicles and Miscellaneous Equipment

 

Ms. Mailander indicated that this item declares property surplus from the Streets Department, including two leaf vacuums and three vehicles.  Many are inoperable and parts are difficult to obtain for them.  Once they are declared surplus, they will be sold via govdeals.com.

 

3.         Accept Grant – New Jersey Historic Trust for Zabriskie-Schedler House

 

Ms. Mailander explained that this deals with accepting a grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust.  The Village received a grant in the amount of $499,166.00 for the Zabriskie-Schedler House restoration.  A unique feature of this grant is that it reimburses for money already spent, which will be about $125,000.00.  Once the Resolution to accept this grant is officially adopted, a voucher will be submitted to the New Jersey Historic Trust for the “match spent” funds to recoup Ridgewood’s investment in the Schedler property.  Mayor Knudsen thanked Janet Fricke for her work on this grant application.  Ms. Mailander also acknowledged the Village’s historic preservation architects, Connolly & Hickey, who recommended that the Village apply for this grant.

 

4.         Budget Reserve Transfer Resolution

 

Ms. Mailander explained that this item pertains to a budget reserve transfer.  This is a Resolution which is done annually.  It transfers unspent money in the 2021 budget from various departments to other departments which can utilize those funds.

 

 

 

            D.        POLICY

 

1.         Proposed Revisions to Tree Ordinance

 

Ms. Mailander indicated that Councilwoman Perron and the Shade Tree Commission have reviewed this proposed ordinance and worked hard developing the draft presently before the Council.  Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer, helped to finalize the proposed ordinance.  Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney, and Kimberly McWilliams, Municipal Court Administrator, have also reviewed it.

 

Councilwoman Perron explained that trees are necessary to protect air quality, combat global warming, prevent soil erosion, alleviate flooding, enhance Village aesthetics, and preserve home values.  In addition, one of the purposes of this ordinance is to prevent “clear cutting” which has been done in the past.  She mentioned that other towns have passed similar ordinances, including Summit, Lakewood, Upper Saddle River, Edison, and Cedar Grove.  This ordinance has been worked on by many people (Ms. Mailander, Mr. Rogers, Superintendent of Parks, Matt Andreula, and Mr. Rutishauser) over a long period of time and many revisions have been made, with input from the Shade Tree Commission and Green Ridgewood.  She thanked Carolyn Jacoby for her work in developing this ordinance.

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that a healthy mature tree with a diameter at breast height of 8” or greater helps the environment; if such a tree is taken down, this ordinance would require a property owner to notify the Village of its impending removal, to obtain a permit, and to provide for the planting of a replacement tree either on their own property or elsewhere in the Village.  She explained that Section 260-1 minimizes the indiscriminate removal and cutting of trees upon lots within the Village, which can result in excessive stormwater runoff, soil erosion, and decreased groundwater recharge to the groundwater aquifer-supplied potable water system (drinking water).  She proposed that the words “climate change through” be eliminated in this section.  She also suggested that “aquifer supplied” be hyphenated.  An important purpose of this ordinance is to maintain the Village’s tree stock for generations to enjoy.  She suggested adding the word “future” in front of “generations.”

 

Councilwoman Perron said that Section 260-2 sets forth definitions, such as “DBH” for Diameter at Breast Height, measuring the circumference or diameter of a tree trunk at a height of 4.5 feet above the ground at the base of the tree, divided by pi (3.1416).  A “Qualified Tree” is any tree with a DBH of 8 inches or greater on any lands within the Village of Ridgewood.  A “Qualified Tree Expert” is an individual who holds a New Jersey State Certified Tree Expert license or is a Board Certified Arborist or Master Arborist under the guidelines of the International Society of Arboriculture.  She feels that the word “qualified” before “tree expert” is confusing and proposes that it be replaced with the word “certified.”  When advised that “qualified” is the term used to describe a tree expert, Councilwoman Perron indicated that the website for the certification agency does not mention the term “Qualified Tree Expert.”  Mayor Knudsen said that she prefers the term “licensed.” 

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that a “replacement tree” is any tree proposed to be considered as a replacement for a qualified tree removal under a permit.  In the past, the Village used to dictate what the replacement tree should be and this was met with opposition.  Mayor Knudson inquired why the DBH was 8 inches rather than 6 inches since it takes many years for a tree to grow to a 6-inch diameter.  It was explained that 8 inches was chosen so that the ordinance would be less onerous on residents.  Councilman Sedon mentioned that New York City has a particularly onerous tree ordinance.  Councilman Vagianos said that he felt the DBH of 8 inches was appropriate.  The permit costs $50 for one tree or 50 trees; however, it is $500 per tree removal after the first tree removal.  Councilwoman Perron interjected that she reviewed tree ordinances from other towns and that some set the DBH at 4 inches and some set it at 16 inches.  At least one other town does not charge for a permit for tree removal, which would encourage homeowners to apply for a permit.

 

Councilwoman Perron explained that the paragraphs in Section 260-3, Responsibility of Owner or Tenant; Notice, address situations when brush or vegetation of any kind is growing into an intersection or too close to an intersection which obstructs driver visibility.  These paragraphs provide for the Village notifying homeowners of such encroachments and their need to trim such vegetation.  She pointed out that the word “stick” in paragraph A should be “stock.”  She also suggested not ending the last sentence in paragraph B with the preposition “with” and that the last part of the sentence should be restructured to read “why the demands therein cannot be met.”  Councilwoman Reynolds questioned whether the distance of 10 feet also applied to someone backing out of a driveway or strictly for someone driving down the road.  Mr. Rogers replied that the aim of this section is primarily to avoid shrubs or vegetation obstructing driver vision at intersections or roadways, in which case they would have to be cut back to no more than 2.5 feet high.  Owners would first have to be notified by the Village and then appropriate action taken. 

 

Councilwoman Reynolds indicated that there are areas in the Village where there are hedges totally obstructing the sidewalk, instances where one cannot see a child or person walking down the sidewalk.  She would like to see a provision requiring that hedges be trimmed which are overgrown and obstructing sight lines. Mr. Rogers indicated that the wording “addressing issues of public safety” is a catch-all phrase which could address the trimming of hedges if they posed a safety issue.

 

Councilwoman Perron next discussed Section 260-4, Cutting or Removal of a Tree.  This is the basic operative section of the ordinance, with exceptions for dead and dying trees or hazardous trees.  Paragraph A pertains to private property and Paragraph B deals with cutting down trees on public land.  Mayor Knudsen suggested adding the words “public or private” in paragraph A after the words “within the Village of Ridgewood.”  Councilwoman Perron cautioned that adding those words would allow people to cut down trees on public land up to 8 inches DBH, and that is why this section is broken up into two paragraphs.  They concurred that it should read “upon any private lands within the Village of Ridgewood.”  Mr. Rutishauser will be consulted as to whether or not to remove or retain the wording in paragraph B which states “or their authorized designee has issued a permit to do so.”

 

Section 260-5, Other Restrictions, details what homeowners are not allowed to do which would affect trees, either on private property, public right-of-way, or on public lands.  Councilwoman Perron pointed out in paragraph E which states, “No person shall permit or cause to be permitted the discharge or release of any liquid, gas or solid compound containing injurious chemicals to come in contact with the stalk, leaves, bark or roots of any tree or shrub within the public right-of-way.”  Mayor Knudsen inquired as to the definition of “injurious chemicals.”  Councilwoman Perron asked if this paragraph was unduly vague. 

 

Mr. Rogers stated that “hazardous” may be a better word.  Councilman Vagianos thought “injurious” was a better word because it implied “to injure” a tree.  Mr. Rogers suggested the wording “gas or solid compound containing any chemicals that may be injurious or damaging to come into contact with the stalk, leaves, bark or roots of any tree…”  It was suggested that the words “on public lands” be added after the word “trees” in Paragraph F.  Councilwoman Perron stated that paragraph H prohibits the planting in the Village of running bamboo, or Phyllostachys aureosulcata, or any bamboo of such genus, because of its invasive nature. 

 

There was a lengthy discussion regarding paragraph G of Section 260-5 about “the conditions surrounding a tree in the public right-of-way in such a manner which may reduce its viability and life span,” i.e., planting ivy which can choke a tree, mulching incorrectly too close to the trunk, cementing around the bottom of a tree which would constrict future growth, etc.  Ms. Jacoby sought to clarify what this meant.  Mayor Knudsen brought up the example of rocks being put into the tree wells in the CBD and how the rocks ended up all over the sidewalk, which became a tripping hazard.  It was agreed that Paragraph G would remain as is.

 

With regard to paragraph I in Section 260-5 which deals with the stringing of lights, cords or wires in any tree within the public right-of-way or on public property longer than three months continuously, Mayor Knudsen indicated that the permit process can become cumbersome and it would be a burden on the Village to enforce this particular prohibition.  There was a lengthy discussion about business owners in the CBD hanging lights tightly around tree trunks and in branches which is deleterious to the trees, about Christmas lights being left in trees for too long, about Downtown for the Holidays, and about rewording the entire paragraph.  It was agreed that paragraph I would remain as is for the time being until further discussion can be held.

 

 

Section 260-6, Sidewalk Construction and Driveway Enlargement, deals with notifying the Village if any work is performed which would affect the root systems of trees within the public right-of-way.  Councilwoman Perron suggested that the four paragraphs be designated as A, B, C, and D.  The first paragraph (A) will remain the same.  There was discussion about the second paragraph (B) regarding the Village Arborist being informed of any work being done which would affect tree roots, such as sidewalk construction, reconstruction, or driveway enlargement.

 

There was a discussion about “bump outs” and how the Village Arborist is the one who determines whether root grinding, removal of the tree, or a bump out is warranted in order to preserve a tree in the public right-of-way.  Mr. Rogers indicated that it was important to make sure that the area is examined (including underneath the sidewalk slab) to decide the best way to proceed before construction.  Mayor Knudsen suggested adding the words “or driveway enlargement” to the last sentence in the second paragraph (B) after “sidewalk work” because a permit is also required for a driveway enlargement.

 

Councilman Vagianos indicated that he did not like the words “sole authority” in the third paragraph (C) since the Arborist could become overly zealous in wanting to preserve a beautiful tree to the detriment of public safety such as an upheaved sidewalk.  He and Councilman Sedon discussed how this could be worded so that a more objective decision could be made in order to alleviate a hazard in case the arborist did not want to remove a tree.  Councilwoman Perron indicated that she tends to trust in the Village’s professional staff but is willing to review ordinances from other towns to see if there are any parameters to guide this issue under those types of circumstances.  Councilman Sedon indicated that consultation with Mr. Rutishauser would be helpful in this regard.  Mayor Knudsen agreed with Councilman Vagianos that the word “sole” should be removed from this paragraph.  It was agreed that the word “sole” would be removed from the first sentence in the third paragraph (C). 

 

Regarding the fourth paragraph (D), Mayor Knudsen felt that it would be financially cumbersome upon homeowners to have to recast a sidewalk slab rather than just lift it, clear the roots, and reset the slab.  Councilman Sedon agreed that the words “not reset” could be removed from the paragraph but would like to hear from Mr. Rutishauser in this regard.

 

Due to time constraints, it was agreed that the remainder of this proposed tree ordinance would be discussed at the next meeting.

 

2.         Amend Chapter 222 – Power Tools, Landscaping and Yard Maintenance Equipment

 

Ms. Mailander said that this topic was discussed last week.  The additions to the ordinance include adding motorized construction equipment and manual tools.  The beginning hour is being changed to 8:00 A.M. instead of 7:30 A.M., Monday through Friday.  Juneteenth and Good Friday are being added to the list of federal and New Jersey state holidays on which operation of such tools and equipment is entirely prohibited. Permissible hours are between the hours of 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Monday through Friday and between the hours of 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. on Saturdays, with no permissible hours on Sunday.

 

Ms. Mailander indicated that the State of New Jersey also recognizes Election Day as a state holiday; therefore, it would be confusing to add Good Friday and not add Election Day.  Village offices are open on Election Day whereas they are closed for Good Friday.  In addition, summonses are also issued on Election Day.  Mayor Knudsen stated that she had added to the proposed ordinance the words “and New Jersey state holidays and the days on which they are officially celebrated” (since some holidays are officially observed on a Monday or Friday each year).  Mayor Knudsen also added the words “in calendar order” to the ordinance.  A discussion ensued and it was agreed that the wording “and New Jersey state” would be deleted. 

 

Councilwoman Reynolds said that she was concerned that businesses such as landscapers would be hurt by changing the starting hour from 7:30 A.M. to 8:00 A.M.  Councilman Sedon remarked that the extra half-hour would not hurt these businesses since they could start setting up their equipment at 7:30 A.M. and get ready to begin their work by 8:00 A.M.  Councilwoman Reynolds and Mayor Knudsen agreed.

 

                        3.         Resolution on Project Pride

 

Ms. Mailander stated that this is a Resolution on Project Pride which sets forth the reorganization of the committee to include more diverse membership.  The word “beatify” will be changed to “beautify.”

 

            E.        OPERATIONS

 

                        1.         Accept Donation – Lighting for Memorial Park in Van Neste Square

 

Ms. Mailander explained that this is a Resolution to accept a donation for the lighting installed at Memorial Park in Van Neste Square.  In the spring of 2016, various partners came together to raise funds in support of a professionally designed and installed permanent lighting project.  The first phase includes low wattage and long-lasting LED fixtures to provide up-lighting and down-lighting throughout the park.  The second phase includes pathway lighting in the form of light bollards stationed throughout the brick walkways.  The illumination of the park will add security and comfort, as well as enhance evening use for special events, concerts, movies, and music by having a welcoming “added glow” to the center of town.

 

 

Collaborators on this project were resident, William Gilsenan; lighting expert and designer, Brooke Silber; the Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands; and the Engineering, Signal, and Parks and Recreation Departments.  This project is valued at approximately $244,400.00.  The project is complete and is to be gifted to the Village of Ridgewood by the Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands.  Councilman Vagianos stated that this was a “heart and soul” project for Mr. Gilsenan, who is a great citizen of our community.  Mayor Knudsen was very pleased that this project finally came to fruition since it was first discussed back in 2015.  Councilwoman Perron thanked the Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands and mentioned that she loved the artistic nature of the bollards.

 

                        2.         Pickleball Days and Hours, and Soundproofing Solutions

 

Ms. Mailander reminded everyone that Mayor Knudsen had asked for information about the NRC and SCT ratings.  Ms. Bigos indicated that she contacted Ted Wyman, the Commercial Brand Manager for Acoustical Surfaces.  This company has been in business for 35 years as remediation acoustical experts.  Mr. Wyman indicated that the NRC is a noise reduction co-efficient, a measurement of absorption.  The STC is a measurement of how much sound is blocked.  The first sound attenuation product that the Village purchased was purely an STC effort, to block the sound from the inside of the courts to the neighborhood.  This new proposed product is meant expressly to absorb the sound, with an NRC rating of .75.  She was assured that this new product, along with the one already installed, should certainly mitigate the sound issues at the pickleball courts. 

 

Mayor Knudsen asked what the STC rating was on the original product installed and she was told that it was 21.  Mayor Knudsen said that NRC ratings range from 0 to 1, and the .75 would translate to a 75% absorption rate, which is the same absorption rate on the third quote received in the amount of approximately $170,000.00.  It appears to her that the first bid from Acoustical Surfaces is a good deal and suits the Village’s purposes.  Ms. Bigos agrees and stated that the NRC is the same as one of the other quotes received, which was much higher than that of Acoustical Surfaces. 

 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked if there was any place within driving distance which they could visit where this new product has been installed to see how effectively it attenuates noise or if there was a town where it was installed so that they could talk with town officials to see if this product helped with the noise.  Ms. Bigos did further research and she mentioned that there are many different applications for this product, one of which is pickleball courts in residential communities.  Ms. Bigos said that she could research any local areas or towns where this new product may have been installed. 

 

 

Councilwoman Reynolds indicated that she would like to hear some reviews and feedback regarding this product before the Village spends money on it. Mayor Knudsen indicated that the Sound-Away product ($75,000.00) has an STC rating of 38 versus what the Village has at 21, and an NRC of .75.  She wondered if the Sound-Away product was doing two things (sound blocking and sound absorption).  Ms. Bigos replied that it did both.  When asked about the cost of the original product, Ms. Bigos replied that it cost $22,000.00. Mayor Knudsen stated that she was willing to go with the lowest bid.  Ms. Bigos added that she feels Mr. Wyman is very knowledgeable, understands what has already been installed, and gave his expertise as to what product would further alleviate the problem. 

 

Councilwoman Perron indicated that the proposed Resolution refers to the size of the panels which would be ordered (48” x 12”) and she thinks it should be 12’.  Ms. Bigos said the measurement was 120 inches and that that was a typographical error.  Mr. Vagianos indicated he was okay with the $23,000.00 item.  Councilman Sedon said he was also in favor of installing this supplemental soundproofing and, after installation, he would be in favor of reinstating the regular hours for pickleball and tennis, with monitoring.  Mayor Knudsen thought that another noise test should be conducted after the installation of the new product to see whether or not it alleviated the noise. 

 

Councilman Vagianos stated that he lives closer to the courts than many of the neighbors who are complaining about the noise and that he wasn’t even aware that the pickleball courts were there until the noise issue arose.  Once he learned of the issue, he spent quite a bit of time there when the courts were full, even going to some of these neighbors’ property lines, and he stated that it was, at best, ambient noise, or hardly any noise at all.  He felt that the noise should be alleviated as much as possible for the neighbors.  He mentioned that there are some neighbors who live directly adjacent to the courts and have no problem whatsoever with the noise and have written letters to that effect. 

 

Mayor Knudsen indicated that when she reviewed the letter from Maureen Kelly (Environmental Scientist with the County of Bergen, Department of Health Services, Office of Environmental Health), she totally disagreed with the suggestion that someone who lives right near the courts is not impacted by the noise.  She stated that muted balls at the pickleball court had a recorded maximum impulse decibel of 82dBA and the unmuted ball had a maximum impulse decibel of 86dBA.  The neighborhood residual sound level measured on the pickleball court ranged from 53 to 58dBA.  However, she stated that, according to the DEP and Noise Reduction Act, when measured at any residential property line, the impulsive sound in air has a maximum sound level in excess of 80dBA during the daytime hours of 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M.  She stated that this is an Administrative Code for the State of New Jersey.  She respectfully disagreed that the noise does not affect the neighbors surrounding the courts and that the noise is not ambient or non-existent.

 

Councilwoman Perron indicated that she interpreted the letter from Maureen Kelly differently. Once muted, the balls are four decibels lower on the court; however, away from the court, the sound dissipates very quickly.  At properties north of the pickleball court, the readings in the neighborhood measured 57dBA, which is very close to what the ambient noise is (Route 17 traffic, flapping flags, kids shouting, etc.).  She indicates that this reading is very close to what is recommended in the State statute.  She is sympathetic to Simon Lee and she is in favor of installing whatever is necessary to alleviate the problems he is experiencing with the noise.  Councilman Sedon stated that with the additional sound absorption material, the noise will be lower.

 

Councilwoman Reynolds added that there is no current condition measured in adjacent neighbors’ backyards or in their homes.  The sound levels set forth in Ms. Kelly’s letter were measured from the edge of the pickleball court and across Eastbrook Road.  She had asked Ms. Kelly for an educated guess as to what she thought the sound levels might be in the adjacent neighbors’ backyards and Ms. Kelly indicated that she could not. 

 

Mayor Knudsen indicated that what the Village is looking for is an added solution.  It is her feeling that Ms. Kelly’s report states something totally different from ambient noise.  She added that homeowners can certainly personally arrange to have sound levels measured in their homes or backyards.  The question that needs answering is what is the acceptable decibel level that someone can comfortably accept.

 

Ms. Bigos was asked if there will be any supply chain problems in obtaining these new soundproofing panels.  Ms. Bigos replied that she has inquired same of Mr. Wyman but has not yet received a reply.  Mr. Vagianos indicated that he is in favor of purchasing the new soundproofing materials and having the pickleball hours take effect after the installation of the panels.  Councilwoman Reynolds said she was opposed to changing the hours until it was decided whether or not the new panels alleviated the noise.  Mayor Knudsen agreed with Councilwoman Reynolds.  She felt that the Village should not spend any more taxpayer dollars to further soundproof the noise if the hours are going to be changed back anyway. 

 

Councilman Sedon remarked that regular hours need to be reinstated since the true effect of the noise absorption materials cannot be fully determined without the courts being fully utilized by pickleball players. Mayor Knudsen indicated that the materials could be installed and then another sound test performed or, in the alternative, compromise on the hours by expanding them somewhat but not allow full hours.  Councilwoman Perron replied that this would bring up the same problem again, that no sound tests were performed inside neighbors’ homes or in their backyards.

 

 

Ms. Mailander indicated that the majority of the Councilmembers want to move forward with the purchase of the soundproofing panels, and the purchase order will be placed on next week’s agenda.  Councilman Vagianos added that the hours should also be placed on the agenda pending installation of the panels.  Councilwoman Reynolds indicated that she agreed with Councilman Sedon’s suggestion that the hours should be restored in full to tennis hours and then monitor the noise conditions once the panels are installed.

 

7.         REVIEW OF FEBRUARY 9, 2022 PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA

 

Ms. Mailander reviewed the items on the February 9, 2022 Public Meeting Agenda.  There are several Proclamations:  Read Across America Day, Jamboree Days (changed to early March), Super Science Saturday (virtual event), and Dad’s Night Days at Hawes and Somerville Schools.   Police Officer Vincenzo Vaccarella and Police Lieutenant Peter Bolten will both be sworn in, and there will be a Resolution to appoint and swear in the Tax Assessor, William Palumbo.  There are no introductions or public hearings for Ridgewood Water regarding ordinances.

 

Resolutions for Ridgewood Water include:  Title 59 Approval and Award of Contract for Water Billing and Data Collection Services; Title 59 Approval and Award of Contract for Tree Maintenance Services; Title 59 Approval and Award of Contract for Pipes, Appurtenances and Service Materials; Title 59 Approval and Award of Contract for Landscaping Services; Award Contract under National Joint Powers Alliance Cooperative Purchasing Contract for Various Materials, Supplies and Equipment for Ridgewood Water Facilities; Award Professional Services Contract for Hydrogeological Consulting Services for Well Maintenance and Testing Programs; and Authorize a Change Order for Sustainable Yards and Native Plants for Ridgewood Water Headquarters.

 

Ordinances for Introduction include:  Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Time Limit Parking on Doremus Avenue; Amend Chapter 222 – Power Tools, Tools, Manual Tools, Landscaping, Machinery, and Yard Maintenance Equipment; Long-Term Leasing of Village Parking Spaces for Commercial Dumpsters in the Chestnut Street Lot; and Amend Chapter 145, Fees for Lease of Parking Spaces for Dumpsters in the Chestnut Street Lot.

 

Introduction of the Ordinance to Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Time Limit Parking, Grab and Go Spaces, Payment for Parking, and Overtime Parking will need further discussion and changes before introduction.

 

Public hearings on Ordinances will include:  the Bond Ordinance – General Capital ($2,611,000, which includes paving and the playground at Kings Pond Park); Amend Chapter 145 – Fees – Sewers and Sewage Disposal Fees; Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Route 17 Park and Ride Lot; Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Ridgewood Resident Daily Parking Passes; and Authorize an Energy Aggregation Program for Residential Properties in the Village of Ridgewood.

 

Resolutions include:  Award Contract – Pickleball Courts, Soundproofing at Glen School Pickleball Courts; Award Professional Services Contract for 2022 Land Surveying Services Retainer for Preparation of Tax Assessment Map; Award Additional Contract Under State Contract for Parts, Materials and Supplies for Fleet Services; Award Contract Under State Contract for Firewalls for IT; Award Contract Under State Contract for Upgrade/Replacement of Toughbooks for the Police Department; Award Contract Under Bergen County Cooperative Contract for Rock Salt; Award Contract Under National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance for Maintenance, Repair, Support, and Replacement Services and Licensing Fees for Security, Cameras, and License Plate Readers; Approve 2021 Budget Reserve Transfers; Accept Donation for Lighting for Memorial Park at Van Neste Square; Accept Grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust for the Zabriskie-Schedler House; Award Professional Services Contract for Increased Hours for Public Health Nurses for COVID Mitigation Efforts; Authorize Additional Award for Disposal of Ground Yardwaste and Grass Clippings (discussed at the December 1, 2021 Work Session and approved by the Council); Endorse Application for Community Development HOME Block Grant for Children’s Aid and Family Services for Renovation of Home at 138 Prospect Street for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (Resolution adopted last month for $180,000.00, subsequently notified it was for $200,000.00 and Resolution needs to be redone); Authorize Release of Escrowed Funds for BE Powers, LLC, d/b/a Flo’s Market Coffee Concession at the Ridgewood Train Station; Amend Purpose and Membership for Project Pride Commission; Authorize Refund of Tax Overpayment for Block 4007, Lot 27; Authorize Settlement Agreement for ROCA v. Village of Ridgewood; Declare Property Surplus for the Streets Division; Authorize the Gold Star Families Monument at Memorial Park in Van Neste Square; Appoint Assistant Tax Assessor (previous Tax Assessor will sporadically return to train and assist the newly appointed Tax Assessor); and Appoint Members to Central Business District Advisory Committee; Citizens Safety Advisory Committee; Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Committee; Parks, Recreation, and Conservation Board; Shade Tree Commission; Green Ridgewood Committee; Ridgewood Green Team Advisory Committee; Historic Conservation Commission; and Project Pride Committee.

 

Ms. Mailander asked everyone if there was anything they wanted off the Consent Agenda and Councilwoman Reynolds objected to the item concerning the pickleball courts.  However, it was pointed out that this only pertained to the purchase of the soundproofing materials. 

 

Councilwoman Reynolds also asked about a deadline for submitting documents pertaining to Council Meetings.  She indicated that the volume of items received Monday through Wednesday of this week was ridiculous and too much to review in time for meetings.  Ms. Mailander replied that on Tuesday she received additional backup material and that was the reason for the delay (materials concerning the power tools, information supplied by Ms. Bigos, information on budget reserve transfers, and the PowerPoint for Sustainable Native Gardens). 

 

Councilwoman Reynolds reiterated that there should be a cutoff deadline.  Mayor Knudsen said that she will strive to adhere to the deadline already in place (submittal by Friday the week before a meeting is scheduled).  Ms. Mailander explained some of the reasons for the delays and agreed with Councilwoman Reynolds.  Councilman Vagianos asked if the pickleball hours matter could be placed on the agenda for next week and Ms. Mailander concurred.  He indicated that he would need to recuse himself from the Grab and Go Parking Spaces portion of the meeting; therefore, it cannot be on the Consent Agenda.  Since it is not known when the pickleball soundproofing materials will be received and installed, Mayor Knudsen asked that the pickleball hours not be included on the Consent Agenda.  Ms. Mailander stated that she would word it so that the pickleball hours would be determined after the installation of the soundproofing materials.

 

8.         COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

Cynthia Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, stated that she was appearing as President of the Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands.  She is very proud of the project spearheaded by William Gilsenan.  She indicated that the Conservancy is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, following their mission of enhancing Ridgewood’s public lands.  Each year, they raise money from generous residents and friends, which goes towards enhancing a chosen park in the Village.  She was grateful for the support given by the Parks and Recreation Department towards this endeavor, as well as the Signal Department and the design expertise of Chris Ramundi.  Tens of thousands of dollars have been invested over the years for park improvements. 

 

The lighting project at Memorial Park in Van Neste Square is the second time improvements have been made there; the first was a major renewal in 2020 when dense and overgrown shrubbery was removed and new plantings and two benches and two magnificent planters were installed.  Ms. Halaby indicated that the VFW was so pleased with the result that they recognized the Conservancy at their 2020 Veteran’s Day Service. 

 

She stated that she wished to clarify some comments made at last week’s meeting following the Gold Star Project presentation.  She mentioned that she was consulted at a VFW meeting with Bob Paoli and Chris Stout to discuss the original design which had already been approved by the Village Council during the summer of 2021 without any site view.  The outcome of that meeting was that the Gold Star Project should be represented on the War Memorial itself and not as a separate monument on the grass, which would have necessitated using 144 square feet of parkland.  At that meeting, it was also agreed that, in this way, the Gold Star Families would be properly recognized in an appropriate and lasting manner.  Ms. Halaby indicated that she then met with the VFW Committee and the sculptor and she is pleased that the Council has approved the second set of plans which do not destroy any of the greenery.

 

Ms. Halaby presented a list of the accomplishments of the Conservancy over the last 10 years and she will give them to Deputy Clerk Eileen Young for distribution to the Councilmembers.  She indicated that she is looking forward to the spring when they will commence their next project:  the renewal along North Broad Street.  She thanked the Village Council for their support.  She inquired whether or not there was anything contained in the tree ordinance which prohibits the insertion of stakes into the tree wells in the CBD.  She stated that there is a tree which is dying outside of Steel Wheels where a stake has been hammered down the tree trunk and into the roots; beautiful lights are installed on the stake.  She feels that a provision should be added to the ordinance which prohibits the use of stakes in the tree wells.

 

Denise Lima, 319 East Glen Avenue, indicated that she re-sent three mails to members of the Village Council from whom she did not receive a response last month.  In addition, with regard to the email she sent to Ms. Mailander on December 2, 2021 regarding the police website not working, she mentioned that the website is still not working.  She stated that it was imperative that the website work properly since emergency information needs to be posted in the event of a natural disaster, active shooter, tornado, fire, or flood.

 

Ms. Lima then addressed the issue of the landscaping for Ridgewood Water.  She stated that a lot of residents feel that the cost of the building for the new headquarters was exorbitant and that there are numerous issues regarding the quality of Ridgewood’s water.  She questioned whether now is a good “PR” time to be spending $100,000.00 on plants.  Mayor Knudson corrected Ms. Lima by stating that she was actually referring to the landscaping budget for the Water Department for all the properties for the year (four towns) and that it was actually $2,300.00 for the planting in front of the headquarters on Maple Avenue.  Ms. Lima thanked them for this clarification.

 

Ms. Lima spoke about the grant for $499,000.00 for the Zabriskie-Schedler house.  She was advised that this money was for both the interior and exterior of the house.  Ms. Lima asked for an itemization of how these monies would be spent (windows, floors, etc.).  She also spoke about the proposed ordinance for the power tools.  She asked whether or not Easter was a federal holiday.  Ms. Lima proposed that the restrictions on power tools and equipment be expanded to include residential use as well.  She mentioned residents who blow their leaves or snow plow during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as using power tools or hammers on Sundays.

 

Regarding lights being strung around public trees, Ms. Lima mentioned that she did decorate one of those trees.  Rather than being primarily about preserving the canopy, Ms. Lima stated that most of the items in the proposed ordinance deals with the girth and diameter of trees and she wondered how this was protecting the canopy.  She would like to see something included that would deal with height recommendations.  She mentioned that some of these resolutions should be “dummied down” so that people can understand them.  She wondered whether people would understand that “any person or property owner” would include businesses as well and suggested that some clarification of this be included in the ordinance.

 

Anne Burton Walsh, 112 South Irving Street, stated she wanted to echo the comments made over the past six months regarding hybrid access.  She would like this to be placed on the agenda and put to a vote.  She mentioned that this has not been discussed by the entire Council and she fails to understand why hybrid access continues to be denied.  She stated that she is sympathetic to the length of some meetings, but that public comments do not always contribute to the length of a meeting.  She cited tonight’s meeting as an example.  She stated that the public should not be “shortchanged.”  She would like the Council to acknowledge that it is more than 10 people who are advocating for hybrid access.  She said that in addition to the people who have personally attended meetings and stated they favor hybrid access, there are at least four organizations totaling over 700 members which have also spoken in favor of it, including Pastor Van Sant from Friends to Friends Congregation.

 

Regarding the proposed tree ordinance, Ms. Walsh thanked the Council for working on this issue. She feels that it is a very important matter and that the ordinance will be a good deterrent to new homeowners from cutting down trees.  She said that she regrets taking down a large walnut tree in her yard when she first moved here 11 years ago to make room for a fence installation.  A neighbor of hers has since clearcut about five enormous maples and most of the shade and “green screen” that she and her family once enjoyed is now gone.

 

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, spoke in support of the new lease for the HealthBarn.  It was his understanding that the Village has not yet signed the lease and he inquired as to when this would occur.  He is also a big supporter of hybrid meetings.  He has made an OPRA request asking for any emails received from people who oppose establishing hybrid access.  He could not understand why anyone would be against hybrid meetings.  He spoke about the tree ordinance and said that he loves trees.  He stated that he was the biggest opponent of the “vandalization” of the 17 trees by the train station.  He asked whether there was some sort of uniform code which the Village could follow or “tap into” to guide the wording of the proposed tree ordinance.  He is not entirely sure that the Village needs another ordinance since they require enforcement and there are a multitude of ordinances already.  He wondered why a tree, for example, would be measured by its diameter since different species grow at different rates.  He said the age of the tree should be the determining factor.  He said that the proposed tree ordinance gets into details which can never be enforced because it becomes judgmental.  He said the Council should instead spend time encouraging residents to plant trees.  He suggested that the Village Arborist could work with tree maintenance companies to help maintain trees.

 

Christine Amundsen, 469 Van Emburgh Avenue, mentioned that she is a member of Green Ridgewood and recently retired as an energy specialist for Ridgewood Public Schools.  She enthusiastically supports EAGER (Encouraging Alternative Green Energy for Ridgewood).  The Village has the ability to reduce greenhouse gasses, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and increase the renewable energy component to electric pricing above the current PSE&G standard.  A way of doing this is to aggregate the residential accounts in the Village and having a consultant solicit bids of behalf of the Village.  There is no risk in seeking bids and residents have the ability to opt out at any time.  The Village is already purchasing electricity through an aggregated electric agreement.  The schools in the Village also have an electric agreement with a renewable component that is greater than PSE&G’s standards.  She believes it is important to pass this ordinance and authorize the establishment of a government energy aggregation program.

 

Carolyn Jacoby, 160 Godwin Avenue, thanked the Council for considering the tree ordinance, especially Councilwoman Perron for revisiting this issue. She has been involved with this for a long time.  She stressed the importance of this ordinance for the Village in terms of controlling clear-cutting of trees and indiscriminate removal of trees.  She agreed with Councilman Vagianos’ statement of not “getting caught in the weeds.”  She stated that if a portion of the ordinance is not satisfactory, it should just be removed.  The main aspects of the ordinance should be adopted and then other aspects can be revisited.  She said that if anyone has a question about the trees in the CBD or question why a DBH is used, she encouraged them to reach out to her and the Shade Tree Commission for clarification.  She hopes that the budget will address Mr. Halaby’s questions about trees and engaging the public this year to make a robust movement towards reforesting and keeping Ridgewood green.  Ms. Jacoby thanked Mayor Knudsen and Councilwoman Reynolds for revisiting Project Pride.

 

Mayor Knudsen responded to some of the comments made during public comments.  She announced that she anticipates the HealthBarn lease to be fully signed before the weekend, probably February 3 or February 4, 2022.  She agrees with Mr. Halaby’s recommendation that the height of a tree should also be taken into consideration when determining the removal or preservation of a tree.  She does not agree with expanding the power tool ordinance to include residents, only commercial businesses.  Easter is not listed among the holidays because it always falls on a Sunday and commercial use of motorized tools and equipment is not allowed on Sundays anyway. 

 

Mayor Knudsen acknowledged that the police website has been down.  Ms. Mailander explained that there are many requirements for a law enforcement website and money has been budgeted for a complete revamping of their website.  However, if there were an emergency such as those mentioned by Ms. Lima, it would be listed on the Village website.  Reverse 911 calls would be employed and it would be posted on social media. 

 

Lastly, the $499,000.00 Historic Preservation Trust Fund grant was not earmarked for any specific thing. The grant is for the interior and exterior of the house and it can be used as a “match to funds” already spent, such as the $125,000.00 which is already allocated.  Councilwoman Perron remarked that they did not want to “reinvent the wheel” regarding the tree protection ordinance but that the lawyer for the New Jersey League of Municipalities provided the Council with six other ordinances to use as models.  She mentioned that these ordinances are way more detailed than the one presently before this Council.

 

No one else came forward for public comments and Mayor Knudsen closed the public portion of the meeting.

 

9.         RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION

 

Deputy Clerk Eileen Young read Resolution #22-33, to go into Closed Session as follows:

 

 

10.     ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilwoman Reynolds, seconded by Councilman Sedon, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Work Session was adjourned at 11:02 P.M.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                Susan Knudsen

                                                                                                                     Mayor

 

 

 

                                                                       

Eileen Young

Deputy Village Clerk

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A REGULAR PUBLIC 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 JANUARY 26, 2022 AT 7:30 P.M.

 

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

 

Mayor Knudsen called the meeting to order at 7:31 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.  At roll call the following were present:  Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Vagianos, and Mayor Knudsen.  Also present were Village Manager/Village Clerk, Heather Mailander; Deputy Clerk, Eileen Young; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.  Absent was Councilman Sedon.

 

Mayor Knudsen led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.  There was a moment of silence for all men and women serving our nation, for all first responders, and for New York City Police Officers, Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera.

 

Mayor Knudsen thanked everyone for “masking up” and observing social distancing.  She reminded everyone that the Annie Zusy room was open downstairs for anyone wishing to observe the live stream of the meeting.

 

2.         COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

Anne Loving, 342 South Irving Street, said that she was very grateful for the safety precautions put into place for this meeting.  She indicated that one silver lining to arise from the pandemic was that people learned how technology can connect everyone even more than they had ever thought possible.  When Council Meetings were held via Zoom, people who rarely attended meetings were logging in to make comments.  Ms. Loving stated that remote call-ins should be reinstated for the future.  This would accommodate citizens who cannot drive, can’t get or afford a babysitter, or are out of town on business or other reasons.  She has not been attending meetings in person because it had been outside of her Covid comfort level.  Even though she views meetings at home, she misses attending meetings in person.  She was told by three Councilmembers that call-in comments make the meetings lengthier. 

 

Ms. Loving stated that this was no reason to prevent citizens from calling in to make a comment.  She pointed out that many times the agenda is lengthy, presentations are lengthy, or comments from Councilmembers are lengthy.  “Hot button issues” will make a meeting longer, but Ms. Loving stated that that was not the norm.  She stated that some local municipalities start their meetings as early as 6:00 P.M., such as Paramus.  This would solve the Council’s concerns about how late the meetings end.  She suggested that perhaps Closed Sessions could be held prior to the public meetings.  It had been requested that hybrid access be placed on this evening’s agenda, but it was denied.  Ms. Loving quoted from Roger Weigand’s plaque:  “The public should always have the final word.”  She implored the Councilmembers to reinstate the ability for citizens to call in with their comments.

 

Lucille Coyle, 111 East Ridgewood Avenue, stated that she was concerned about decreased sales and decreased foot traffic.  Her store on East Ridgewood Avenue opened in late August 2019 and she has seen a steady decline in sales.  Sales for 2022 are currently down about 20% when compared to sales in 2021.  She acknowledged that the pandemic was a huge cause for this decrease but stated that she doesn’t understand why business has remained slow.  She opined that perhaps it might be due to all of the “for rent” signs in many of the stores in the CBD or perhaps due to the lack of parking spaces currently occupied by dining corrals.  She mentioned that the parking app does not always work and that people of all ages are getting confused when trying to locate a kiosk. 

 

Ms. Coyle also spoke about the benefits given to restaurants and, while she understands that all businesses are struggling due to the pandemic, she feels that retailers are not afforded the same advantages as restaurants.  Ms. Coyle offered some possible solutions:  offer free parking a couple of days a week during February and March and allow a broader range of items to be sold on Sundays (some items prohibited by Blue Laws to be sold on Sundays).  Mayor Knudsen asked Ms. Coyle to submit her ideas and the Councilmembers for discussion and consideration.

 

Anne Burton Walsh, 112 South Irving Street, stated that she was appearing this evening on behalf of the Executive Committee of the League of Women Voters of Ridgewood.  As the League of Women Voters stated in a letter dated August 18, 2021 sent to NorthJersey.com, at a July 14, 2021 Public Meeting, and at the Public Work Session of September 22, 2021, they support hybrid meeting access as an effective way to promote public participation in government.  Ms. Walsh stated that this promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion by enabling residents with disabilities and childcare challenges to participate in the Democratic process.

 

The Ridgewood Board of Education allows live remote public comments, and this has become the “norm” for many corporate and government workers.  The League of Women Voters is concerned about the low attendance at Village Council meetings in general and especially since remote access was discontinued.  However, remote access in 2020 and 2021 brought about a high level of public participation in local government that was unprecedented in recent decades.  Ms. Walsh is requesting that hybrid access be placed on the agenda for the next public meeting and that this issue be voted upon publicly.

 

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, demanded that, as an 81-year-old resident of Ridgewood with a serious chronic lung condition, the Village Council reinstate hybrid meetings.  He stated that he wants to participate in the public discourse but cannot always attend meetings in person.  Mr. Halaby stated that the Village was discriminating against seniors with disabilities by only having in-person meetings.  He also spoke about the rules and regulations of decorum and how the public can address the members of the Village Council; however, he is not aware of any rules or regulations regarding how the Council may address the public.  Mr. Halaby stated that if a Councilmember has the right to call a member of the public a “liar,” then the public should have the same right.  He added that if a member of the public is interrupted by a member of the Village Council, then more time should be added to the resident’s allotted time to compensate for the interruption.  Mr. Halaby mentioned that the Village’s Chief Financial Officer, Robert Rooney, gave a great presentation regarding the Village budget, and he believes that another presentation should be given by Mr. Rooney in February in which he can review the specifics of the budget for the past three years to prepare residents for the upcoming budget hearings.  He said that the Village Council needs to be transparent and that he only sees opaqueness.

 

Siobhan Crann Winograd, 274 Ivy Place, was concerned that the subject of hybrid access was not on the agenda this evening.  She stated that the establishment of a majority bloc has proven to be antithetical to Village government.  She indicated that the members of the Village Council are “equals” to each other and to the citizens of Ridgewood, and one is not more powerful than another.  Ms. Crann Winograd stated that hybrid access is no longer just about Covid; conversely, she feels that hybrid access represents good governance, citizen engagement, and commitment to the disabled and elderly residents of Ridgewood. 

 

Ms. Crann Winograd feels that everyone should be allowed to comment at a meeting without physically attending.  One in five Americans will be disabled during their lifetime.  She mentioned that there are a lot of disabled and elderly people who reside in Ridgewood, some of whom want to engage and be heard at a meeting.  However, this population is “locked out” of meetings literally, just as pickleball players were locked out of the courts.  By making meetings inaccessible, the Village Council is basically telling the public “we don’t want you.”  Ms. Crann Winograd requested that this matter be placed on the next meeting’s agenda.

 

Rachel Rowland, 80 East Ridgewood Avenue, indicated that she was speaking on behalf of herself and Catherine Madrid, both Ridgewood residents.  She wants to address the issue of parking for people who reside in the Central Business District (CBD).  Ms. Madrid emailed each Councilmember a detailed proposal for a 24-hour CBD residential parking permit.  Both she and Ms. Madrid feel that there should be reasonable accommodations for CBD residents who do not have any other option for parking.  Rather than being a luxury or convenience, it is a necessity that residents be able to park near where they live.  Ms. Rowland indicated that nine nearby towns with similar parking challenges provide parking allowances for their CBD residents and that two of them provide free parking.  CBD residents in Ridgewood are forced to pay 800% more, on average, than other CBD residential citizens in nearby towns. 

 

No one else came forward for public comments and Mayor Knudsen closed the public portion of the meeting.  Mayor Knudsen explained that hybrid meetings were on the agenda and discussed at several Council meetings; a decision was made against hybrid meetings but it will continue to be evaluated.

 

3.         MANAGER’S REPORT

 

Ms. Mailander clarified that, regarding Mr. Halaby’s remark, the timer is stopped during the public comments portion of the meeting when the speaker is interrupted and then resumed once the speaker begins again.  She announced that this is the last week of the Chamber of Commerce “Restaurant Week,” with the final night being January 27, 2022.  She encouraged everyone to dine locally, whether eating in, calling in for delivery, or taking out.  The first quarter tax payments are due February 1, 2022.  There is a 10-day grace period; payments are due no later than February 10, 2022 to avoid interest which accrues from February 1. 

 

The Village of Ridgewood 2022 calendars listing all Village departments and recycling schedules have been delivered to each resident.  The calendar also lists a schedule of all Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Village Council, and Library Board of Trustee meetings for the year, as well as official holiday closures of Village offices (which also alters sanitation and recycling pickup schedules).

 

The 2022 tennis and pickleball memberships are on sale and must be renewed from last year.  If a resident did not receive a yellow membership badge in 2021, their picture must be taken and a badge printed for 2022 (at The Stable, Monday through Friday, 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.). 

 

Annual budget meetings will be held in the Sydney V. Stoldt, Jr. Courtroom on February 16, 17, 25 and 28, 2022 beginning at 5:00 P.M. and will also be televised on FIOS Channel 34 and YouTube.  The public is welcome to attend these meetings where Department Directors explain various aspects of their budgets.  Annual parking permits are on sale at Village Hall to residents and non-residents at the same price.  Ms. Mailander encouraged everyone to sign up for E-notices to stay abreast of local events and information. 

 

The final pickup for Christmas trees is January 27, 2022 on the west side; trees can still be dropped off until Friday, January 28, 2022.  Upcoming Village Council meetings are broadcast live from the Village Hall courtroom on the Village website, on Channel 34 on FIOS, and YouTube.  February 2, 23 and March 2, 2022 are Public Work Sessions beginning at 7:30 P.M.; February 9 and March 9, 2022 are Public Meetings which begin at 8:00 P.M.

 

 

 

 

4.         COUNCIL REPORTS

 

Councilman Vagianos met with the Board of Education representatives and Dr. Thomas A. Gorman, Superintendent of Schools, on January 13, 2022.  Dr. Gorman mentioned that he is having difficulty finding substitute teachers; however, there is no current problem with teacher or student attendance.  He is dealing with many issues regarding vaccinations and the reduced quarantine period to five days.  Remote learning is only an option with a surge in Covid cases.  There had been a surge during the week following Christmas break, but they did not have to resort to remote learning.  Ninety percent of all students are attending school; most are adjusting nicely, but there are some who are having a difficult time.  Some behavioral issues were seen with the beginning of school in September since students had been engaged in remote schooling for a whole year due to Covid, but most issues had “returned to normal” by December.  It is Dr. Gorman’s feeling that the Ridgewood school district is way ahead of other districts nationwide in this regard and is hopeful “that the worst is behind us.” 
 
Councilman Vagianos mentioned that there are not enough fields in Ridgewood to accommodate all of the sports teams and that flooding only compounds the problem.  The problem with constructing new fields is that most neighbors do not want a field in their neighborhood.

 

Councilman Vagianos indicated that he met with the Stigma-Free Committee on January 18, 2022, at which time he was informed that the Health Department held a vaccination clinic on January 5, 2022.  At that time, 115 adults and 89 children were vaccinated.  Another clinic was held on January 20, 2022, where 157 adults and 27 children received vaccinations and/or boosters.  Another clinic is planned for February 2, 2022. 

 

The Health Department would like to hold a Valentine’s Day greeting card program so that seniors can receive cards to brighten their day.  A similar program is held during the Christmas season.  In addition, the Health Department desires to continue their Wellness Challenge with Valley Hospital, which has been held for the past eight years.  This program includes walking, exercise classes, health issues, and stress management.

 

Councilman Vagianos commented on the issue of hybrid access.  Covid taught everyone how to interact and work remotely.  He also stated that the world is still in the throes of Covid, despite what many people believe.  Everyone has a different comfort level regarding Covid.  Personally, he stated that he is the primary caregiver of his two-year-old grandchild and can’t afford to get Covid.  He stated that none of the committees with which he is involved meets in person; rather, they all meet via Zoom.  Both Councilman Vagianos and Councilwoman Perron had requested that this matter be placed on the agenda for discussion, but their request was denied.  He indicated that this was an issue of “fairness,” similar to voting rights.  He urged his Council colleagues to put hybrid meetings on the agenda for discussion.

 

 

Councilwoman Perron indicated that the consultants who are drafting the Master Plan reached out to the CBD Advisory Committee and they all met last week via Zoom.  They discussed the CBD elements in the Master Plan.  One issue mentioned was that many patrons in the CBD are from out of town; this was viewed by some as a negative, by some as a positive.  The Ridgewood Guild liaison gave updates, including a request for better electric in the lamp posts in the CBD, some of which are inoperable.  This affects musicians and their abilities to play and amplify.  Everyone is looking forward to the newly planted trees flowering in the spring on East Ridgewood Avenue. 

 

The CBD Advisory Committee asked for more snowflakes in the Christmas season to create a more festive Christmas display.  The Chamber of Commerce gave an update on “Downtown for the Holidays” and announced that the new format worked well for families.  Councilwoman Perron thanked the Ridgewood/Glen Rock Interfaith Committee for hosting the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend programs.  The movie, “Good Trouble,” about John Lewis was very thought provoking.  She also thanked Rich Calbi, Director of the Ridgewood Water Department, and Sean Hamlin, Director of Recycling, for speaking to the League of Women Voters.

 

Councilwoman Perron also read a letter from a “frequent observer” of Ridgewood Council meetings, Linda McNamara:  “I am unable to attend the January 26th Council meeting due to health concerns.  I am hoping that a member of the Council might read my letter so that it will be recorded in the minutes.  It was wonderful to hear Anne Loving’s words at a recent meeting.  Thank you so much, Paul, [Councilman Vagianos] for reading her letter.  Many of us were under the impression that a discussion on hybrid access was to be on the agenda.  This is no longer the case.  We have heard that it has already been discussed enough and three Councilmembers were against putting it on the agenda.  So many members of the community have advocated in favor of a remote option, including organizations such as the League of Women Voters of Ridgewood, Access Ridgewood, and Age-Friendly Ridgewood.  Countless others have weighed in on a return to remote access.  Councilmembers have stated that they have received many emails and phone calls to the contrary, but there has been not a single person who has attended a meeting expressing these sentiments.  Who are these people?  By my count, there have been hundreds of statements in favor of hybrid access and none to the contrary.  To ignore the will of the people and not allowing for a cogent discussion to take place is an anti-democratic action and unreasonable.  While we went remote due to Covid, we learned much from the experience.  So many people, for a variety of reasons, are unable to attend in person but were able to participate when remote access was in place.  Our municipal court has been meeting virtually for over 22 months and it works.  The Council meets in these very chambers.  Please reconsider this arbitrary decision to block any return to hybrid access.  Sincerely, Linda McNamara.”

 

Councilwoman Reynolds announced that the Planning Board met on January 18, 2022 and adopted the memorializing resolution for Tasko Enterprises at 315 East Glen Avenue.  The next two Planning Board meetings include a public hearing scheduled for February 1, 2022 regarding a preliminary investigation for The Valley Hospital property on North Van Dien Avenue as an area in need of redevelopment and/or rehabilitation, and the second meeting on February 15, 2022 will have a presentation by the Master Plan team announcing their preliminary findings and recommendations for the new Master Plan.  During this meeting, there will be an opportunity for the public to respond and provide valuable feedback.  Those who cannot attend can send emails and those comments will be taken into consideration. 

 

Councilwoman Reynolds announced that the Citizens Safety Advisory Committee (CSAC) met on January 25, 2022.  The Glen Avenue sidewalk construction has been temporarily delayed due to the winter weather; completion will depend upon funds allotted for this project in the 2022 Capital Budget.  A pedestrian-activated signal is under consideration for the Alpine Terrace crosswalk.  Councilwoman Reynolds said that she believes a similar signal was being installed yesterday at the intersection of Glen Avenue and Hillcrest Road.  A Smart Street New Jersey prototype banner is being developed and will be brought before the Village Council for review.  A resident who lives near Morningside Road and Hamilton Road has appeared twice before the committee to express her concern about speeding cars near this intersection.  The road is very wide, “encouraging” cars to speed, so there are preliminary plans to narrow and channelize this particular intersection (currently under review by the Engineering Department).  Another resident created a program for pedestrian safety, which will be reviewed by the CSAC. 

 

Sheila Brogan, the Board of Education liaison to the CSAC, discussed an initiative from Age Friendly Ridgewood regarding bike riding on sidewalks, especially in the CBD.  Anyone interested in participating in this initiative should contact Ms. Brogan.  The CSAC Chair and Village Engineer were interviewed for the Master Plan circulation element.  The New Jersey Safe Passing Law requires drivers to allow a four-foot clearance when encountering pedestrians and bicycles.  This law will become effective in March 2022.  The next CSAC meeting is scheduled for February 17, 2022 in the Garden Room.

 

Lastly, Councilwoman Reynolds commented on the hybrid meeting issue.  She indicated that she has spoken to many people who advise against having hybrid meetings; however, these people have no desire to appear in person at a Village Council meeting to state these opinions because they fear they will be ostracized.  She disagrees with the statement made that there is “no one” advocating against hybrid meetings.  Three members of the Village Council do not want to do hybrid meetings and this has not changed since the last discussion on this topic.  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that she does not feel any further discussion is necessary.  She feels that some members of the Council are being bullied.

 

Mayor Knudsen spoke about hybrid meetings and said that this topic has been discussed in detail over and over again.  She is dismayed at the lack of respect shown to Village Councilmembers by their colleagues who insert discussion of a non-agenda item in their Council Reports.  She indicated that emails should not be read into the record.  Mayor Knudson wondered why the topic of removing the cement barricades by the restaurants in the CBD was not read into the record as well.  Council Reports shouldn’t create an opportunity to circumvent the rules or process concerning the agenda.  Mayor Knudsen indicated that she refused some suggestions to reduce the time for public comments to 90 seconds or eliminate public comments altogether at the end of the meetings.  She stated that residents have ample opportunity to participate via phone or email.

 

Mayor Knudsen said that the Historic Preservation Commission met on January 13, 2022 to finalize sign applications for two new businesses:  The Pancake Café on East Ridgewood Avenue and Sugar & Spice Café on Chestnut Street.  The Commission also reviewed an application for La Lanterna on West Ridgewood Avenue (under new ownership).  The new color scheme includes an updated yellow awning highlighting the entrance to the restaurant.  The Planning Board has appointed Dianne O’Brien to the Historic Preservation Commission, who shared her progress with the historic element of the new Master Plan.  The Commission reviewed historic district maps, including an inventory of historic homes within each district.  They will be making recommendations and enacting new regulations in order to preserve the historic nature of these districts.  The grand opening of worldFlats, located on the corner of Walnut Street and East Ridgewood Avenue, took place on January 20, 2022. 

 

The Library Board of Trustees met on January 25, 2022.  Mayor Knudsen congratulated Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney, on his reappointment as Library Board Attorney.  A motion was made and carried to continue with the existing slate of officers:  Gail Campbell as President, Vik Arora as Vice President, Ray Shinozuka as Treasurer, and Janis Fuhrman as Secretary.  Mayor Knudsen said she was grateful for the tireless work of the entire Library Board of Trustees.  The Library Re-Imagine Grant application was not successful.  Rebecca Rubenstein, a board member, is examining the reasons for the denial.  Each grant application is ranked, and Ridgewood Public Library was ranked very high compared to others.  A list of needed improvements will be presented by Nancy Greene, the Library Director, at the budget meetings.  The board will continue to work on the Pease Library lease, which will hopefully be resolved soon.  Mayor Knudsen wished happy birthday to Councilman Sedon and his son.  She announced that the Annie Zusy room was closing since there was no one there in attendance.

 

5.         PRESENTATION

 

            AMERICAN LEGION – GOLD STAR MEMORIAL

 

Chris Stout, 251 Burnside Place, Ridgewood, stated that he was speaking tonight on behalf of American Legion Post 53.  He wanted to update the Village Council on the Gold Star Families monument project which was approved on September 9, 2021.  There has been a material change to that project which needs approval by the Village Council.  It was originally planned that a headstone would be placed in the ground by the War Memorial in Van Neste Square.  After reviewing several proposals, the committee agreed upon a bronze sculpture created by Brian Hanlon of Toms River to be placed on the steps supporting the War Memorial column.  Mr. Hanlon conceived the Gold Star Memorial in Holmdel, New Jersey, upon which he will model the sculpture for Ridgewood.  A rendering was presented of the proposed sculpture:  a woman with a tri-folded flag on her lap, representing a flag-covered casket; a child; and a man representing either a father or brother.  They are seeking permission to place a life-sized bronze sculpture of two adults and one child on the risers of the War Memorial.

 

Councilwoman Perron said that she loved the concept.  She inquired as to how well bronze weathers.  Mr. Stout replied that it lasts a long time and mentioned that they just removed the Theodore Roosevelt statue from the Museum of Natural History which had been standing for 80 years and it was still in great shape.  When asked if there would be a plaque placed as well, Mr. Stout replied that there would be a plaque installed to the right of the sculpture indicating that it is a Gold Star Family monument.  The encircled star in the rendering represents the logo of the National Association of Gold Star Families.  Councilman Vagianos was very pleased with the proposal.  Mayor Knudsen echoed his sentiments. 

 

A Resolution of the Village Council approving this change will be prepared and placed on the agenda for February 9, 2022.  The Resolution can then be utilized for any grant application requests.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked what the cost for the monument would be and when he thought it might be completed.  Mr. Stout replied that the sculptor has agreed to create the sculpture and have it installed for $150,000.  An additional amount of approximately $25,000 may be needed for permits, licenses, landscaping, and miscellaneous expenses.  Thanks to media coverage, they have already raised about $9,000 in private donations for this project.  Mr. Stout indicated that Gold Star Mothers’ Day, celebrated on the last Sunday in September, was created many years ago and then amended by former President Obama to be called Gold Star Family Day.  The American Legion has sponsored the Gold Star Families Luminaries, which he stated was very impressive.  Mr. Stout hopes that the project will be completed by Memorial Day or, if not, then Gold Star Family Day in September. Mayor Knudsen indicated that no permits will be necessary, only the drawings are required for review by the Engineering Department.

 

6.         DISCUSSION

 

            A.        RIDGEWOOD WATER

 

1.         Award Professional Services – Hydrogeological Consulting Services

 

Ms. Mailander indicated this item awards professional services for hydrogeological consulting services.  There is a proposal from WSP, USA to provide professional services to Ridgewood Water in connection with the Capital Improvement Program Well Maintenance and Testing Program.  WSP, service contractors, selected task order consultants, and Ridgewood Water will work together to plan, design, and oversee rehabilitation and new well construction projects.  This work will include tasks such as well permitting applications, replacement well drilling, well repairs, treatment plans, soil and well testing production plans, and general services to assist with regulatory compliance and emerging contaminants.  The recommendation is to hire WSP, USA of Upper Saddle River, New Jersey in an amount not to exceed $138,000.00.  Funding is in the Water Utility Operating Budget. 

 

Mayor Knudsen asked for a list of items that are still outstanding regarding rehabilitation and/or construction of the 12 wells.  Councilman Vagianos asked if this project was done annually, and Ms. Mailander replied in the negative.  He asked why this work is being done at this time when it has not been done in the past. Ms. Mailander replied that wells are being updated and major improvements are being made to the water supply, storage, and distribution systems to ensure adequate water supply during peak demand.  She suggested that Councilman Vagianos review the proposal submitted for further information.  Councilwoman Perron asked whether “emerging contaminants” included PFAS would be addressed.  Ms. Mailander replied that PFAS cleanup was ongoing but that she wasn’t sure if this proposal included that work.  She indicated that she would find out from Rich Calbi.

 

2.         Award Year Two of Contract – Water Billing and Data Collection Services

 

Ms. Mailander indicated that this awards the second year of a two-year contract for water billing and data collection services.  Ridgewood Water has utilized the bill and data collection services of Computil, Inc., in Shelton, Connecticut.  The contract has a remaining option for 2022.  Ridgewood Water has made changes to its online bill pay system and customer engagement offerings, and they would like to extend the term of this contract on a month-to-month basis.  Computil has agreed to this extension, not to exceed four months, rather than for a full year in 2022. 

 

Ridgewood Water now relies more heavily on Computil’s programming, data integration, and reporting capabilities than they have in the past.  With customers transitioning to the more user-friendly online bill pay offerings, they would like to further itemize required billing and data services, including a fixed hourly rate for programming. They plan to go out to bid for billing and collecting services (programming).  By going month to month for up to four months, they will have sufficient lead time to receive bids and award a new contract.  The cost to extend the existing contract is $79,131.68.  Computil is allowed to rebid on this proposal and can be awarded it again if it is the lowest responsible bidder.

 

 

 

 

                        3.         Award Year Two of Contract – Tree Maintenance Services

 

Ms. Mailander said that this item awards the second year of a two-year contract for tree maintenance for Ridgewood Water.  Last year this work was awarded to and performed by Downes Tree Service of Hawthorne, New Jersey, not to exceed $80,000.00.  Funding for this project will be budgeted for in the Water Utility Operating Budget.  Councilman Vagianos recused himself from this matter since Kevin Downes is a personal friend of his and they worked together in obtaining and installing the Ridgewood Christmas tree.

 

4.         Award State Contract – Materials and Supplies for Maintenance and Upkeep of Ridgewood Water Facilities

 

Ms. Mailander indicated that this is an award of State contract for materials and supplies for maintenance and upkeep of Ridgewood Water Facilities.  This purchase will be under the National Joint Powers Alliance Cooperative Purchasing Contract to Grainger of South Plainfield, New Jersey, not to exceed $85,000.00.  Even though this is under a Cooperative Purchasing Contract, this resolution is necessary because it exceeds $17,500.00.  The funding will be budgeted for in the 2022 Water Operating Budget.

 

                        5.         Award Bid – Pipes, Appurtenances and Service Materials

 

Ms. Mailander explained that on December 8, 2021, proposals were received for these three items.  The awarded bid is based upon the low bid total by category, on a per unit basis.  It is recommended that the bid be awarded to Ferguson Waterworks of Lakewood, New Jersey, for pipe, clamps/sleeves, hydrants and brass, in an amount not to exceed $48,000.00, and to Raritan Group of Edison, New Jersey, for boxes, in an amount not to exceed $10,000.  The funding will be budgeted for in the 2022 Water Utility Operating Budget and the Water Utility Capital Budget.  The hydrants, blow-offs, and valves fall under the Capital Budget and the rest fall under the Operating Budget.   A question was raised as to why the proposed resolution calls for an amount not to exceed $10,000.00 when the proposed cost of boxes in Section F by Raritan Group is only $2,023.25.  Ms. Mailander explained that this is on a per unit basis; for example, the cost of one box is $2,2023.25.

 

6.         Sustainable Yard and Native Plants for New Ridgewood Water Headquarters

 

Ms. Mailander explained that this item pertains to sustainable yard and native plants for the new Ridgewood Water headquarters.  Councilwoman Perron explained that Green Ridgewood established a program called “Project 1,000 Acres” which would introduce residents to the benefits of planting native plants (ecology, water conservation, environment).  Rich Calbi, Jill Fasano, and Councilwoman Perron met with Elaine Silverstein, one of the founders of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey, and they together viewed the front of the new Ridgewood Water building on Maple Avenue to determine if a “showcase” of a native plant garden could be established.  Native plants need to be purchased from certain nurseries, mostly mail order.  A design is being developed and more information will be forthcoming.  There was a discussion regarding the size of mail-order plants and how they take time to mature.

 

            B.        PARKING

 

1.         Long-Term Leasing of Village Parking Spaces for Commercial Dumpsters at Chestnut Street Lot

 

Ms. Mailander explained that the Village has utilized a vendor to operate and maintain a dumpster pad in the Chestnut Street parking lot.  The dumpsters on the concrete pad are used by nearby restaurants and one retail store which do not have the proper facilities to store and collect their trash, recyclables, and waste oil.  The restaurants are supposed to pay the vendor to use the pad.  The vendor arranges for the dumpsters to be emptied and is supposed to maintain the pad area.  Rates are set by the vendor.  The Village has received numerous complaints this past year about the unsanitary and messy condition of the pad area and that many of the users are not paying their bills.  If this vendor departs, there will be no one to maintain the dumpster pad area and it will create more of a mess.  When the Village last bid out this task, the current vendor was the sole bidder. Without a vendor, the restaurants will have no means to properly store their garbage, recyclables, or waste oil until it is collected. 

 

There is a proposed Ordinance to rent out parking spaces in the Chestnut Street lot upon which a restaurant can place and maintain their own dumpster.  The first area to lease out would be the current concrete dumpster pad.  The Village would then be able to enforce the maintenance of the dumpster areas and identify who may be responsible for each dumpster area.  Non-maintenance of the dumpsters will first generate reminders and eventually summonses for noncompliance.  The proposed fee is $300.00 per space per month, with a permanent application fee of $100.00.  Ms. Mailander explained that the non-maintenance of these dumpsters has been very challenging for the Health Department; sometimes waste is not put inside the dumpster but rather alongside it, which is unsightly, unsafe, and unsanitary.

 

A question was raised as to how the Village would be reimbursed if a dumpster had to be removed and disposed of due to non-maintenance or fee arrears (Item H3 of proposed Ordinance). Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer, indicated that a violation could be issued; however, in the past, a “wayward” or improper dumpster was made to “disappear.”  He cited some examples of larger-than-allowed dumpsters being illegally placed in areas that were a safety hazard and a truck from the Street Division carting it away.  Ms. Mailander indicated that the fee schedule could be amended to reflect a charge to the dumpster owner in the event the Village had to remove and dispose of an offending dumpster. 

 

Councilman Vagianos spoke about the problems encountered with multi-party dumpster locations.  As a restaurant owner, he explained that when restaurants are struggling, the first bills they stop paying are the pest control and dumpster vendors.  If a dumpster is removed but a restaurant continues operating, the restaurant will just put their trash into someone else’s dumpster.  He suggested that if a trash or dumpster permit is revoked for a particular restaurant, then that restaurant’s license to operate should concomitantly be revoked.  However, he acknowledged that this doesn’t really solve the problem and only increases expenses for the restaurant.  He stated that multi-dumpster locations keep costs more manageable. 

 

Mayor Knudsen indicated that there should be penalties set forth in the new ordinance to this effect.  It was suggested that perhaps the Village could become the vendor and monitor the dumpsters closely.  However, it was pointed out by Ms. Mailander that the problem exists of not knowing who is putting trash in a particular dumpster and that the Village does not have the proper equipment to haul dumpsters.  The Health Department has indicated that they were willing to shutter a restaurant if they did not have a dumpster. 

 

Mr. Rutishauser said that he would like to see the current vendor continue its operation in the Village; however, it is a problem if the vendor does not get paid for his tipping and disposal fees.  He feels that the Village should have an alternative (the proposed Ordinance) to offer the restaurants if the vendor ceases to collect trash.  There have been complaints and this proposed Ordinance would perhaps provide impetus to the restaurants to prioritize the payment of trash pickup. 

 

Councilman Vagianos requested that the current vendor forward a list of all delinquent accounts to the Village for action.  Mr. Rutishauser indicated that he has such a list of accounts and that the Health Department has begun to contact restaurants.  As part of their inspection, they are requesting the restaurants to demonstrate how they dispose of their recyclables, waste, and oil.  In addition, the Health Department is asking restaurants if they have a current contract for waste disposal and proof that they are paying their vendor on time.  This is putting pressure on restaurants to resolve this issue; otherwise, they may have to close their doors. 

 

Councilman Vagianos stated that this matter has to be strictly enforced; otherwise, the vendor will cease operations because he is not getting reimbursed for his expenses. He emphasized that it was critical, from a health and public safety aspect, that these dumpsters remain clean and neat.  He stated that it was in everyone’s interest to help this vendor remain profitable.  Mr. Rutishauser indicated that the vendor told him that some of the restaurants use cheaper bags for their trash, which tear more easily and create a mess.  Ms. Mailander indicated that she will ensure that the Health Department works closely with the current vendor to make sure that delinquent accounts are inspected and advised that they will lose their license if they do not keep their accounts current.

 

                        2.         Parking on Doremus Avenue

 

Ms. Mailander indicated that the next item deals with parking on Doremus Avenue.  Mayor Knudsen received an email indicating that cars are parking on Doremus Avenue right by the exit of Orchard School, which is very dangerous.  Police Officer Ray Torino, a representative from the Traffic Bureau, Mr. Rutishauser, and Ms. Mailander met with the principal of Orchard School to view the situation.  They recommend that no parking be allowed on Doremus Avenue from Ackerman Avenue to Orchard Place on both sides of the street for one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon during pickup and drop-off times, September through June. 

 

Ms. Mailander indicated that they observed a smooth pickup routine and that the school area was empty by approximately 3:15 P.M.  Restricting parking on Doremus Avenue during those specified times will allow for more visibility, quicker exits, and safety for all involved. Such parking is technically not permitted currently; however, Mr. Rutishauser indicated that he was reviewing the code and would draft an Ordinance for the Village Council’s consideration in February.  Once the Ordinance is passed, a notice will be sent to neighbors surrounding Orchard School notifying them of this change.  Prior notice of the hearing regarding this proposed Ordinance will also be announced.  The principal of Orchard School will also be notified when the Ordinance will be heard so that she may notify the parents of the children attending the school.

 

            C.        BUDGET

 

1.         Award Contract – Pickleball Courts Acoustical Soundproofing

 

Ms. Mailander explained that this item deals with awarding a contract for acoustical soundproofing for the pickleball courts.  This soundproofing entails utilizing an exterior grade quilted fiberglass absorber which reduces the reflection of sound waves by covering reflective surfaces with a suitable UV protected porous sound absorbing product.  These absorbers would be installed on the interior fence and the acoustical panels which are currently on the interior would be reinstalled on the outside perimeter.  Three quotes were obtained and the Recreation Department is recommending that the bid be awarded to Acoustical Surfaces Inc. of North Chaska, Minnesota, in an amount not to exceed $22,690.30.  Funding will come from a previous Capital Ordinance.  This Resolution will be considered on February 9, 2022.

 

It was pointed out that the STC and NRC ratings supplied by two of the bids were not indicated on the bid from Acoustical Surfaces.  It was pointed out that there was a great disparity between the lowest bid and the two other bids.  It was suggested that those industry standards be received from Acoustical Surfaces before awarding this contract.  Ms. Mailander said that she will make sure this information is received prior to making a final decision.

 

2.         Award Professional Services – Professional Land Surveying Services – Tax Assessment Map

 

Ms. Mailander explained that this item deals with awarding professional services for land surveying.  This is an annual Resolution with Daniel Dunn of Dunn Surveying and Mapping of Waldwick, New Jersey.   The quote for the retainer is $1,700.00, which has been the same for approximately 12 years.  The retainer provides the Village with a New Jersey Professional Land Surveyor to endorse Ridgewood’s tax maps and to provide the license coverage for the survey work the staff of the Engineering Division prepares for various construction projects and regulatory submittals.  This is a fixed fee and does not have hours billed against it.

 

3.         Award Cooperative Purchasing Contract – Parts and Services Fleet Services

 

Ms. Mailander explained that this item deals with awarding a cooperative purchasing contract for parts and services for fleet services.  This is for the purchase of various parts, materials, and supplies that are necessary and used to keep the Village’s equipment and vehicles operational.  These purchases are made through the New Jersey State Cooperative Purchasing program or through various cooperatives approved by the State of New Jersey.  For 2021, the Fleet Division exceeded the previously awarded amounts for parts because the cost for parts in 2021 skyrocketed due to the pandemic and supply side issues.  This proposed Resolution would award additional funds in the amount of $80,000.00 to close out Fleet’s 2021 purchases of parts from various vendors.

 

4.         Award Cooperative Purchasing Contract – Rock Salt for Ice and Snow Maintenance

 

Ms. Mailander explained that this item deals with untreated rock salt in bulk, purchased through the Bergen County Cooperative Purchasing Program.  This is a Resolution to exceed the statutory limit for the initial purchase of salt for winter ice/snow road maintenance.  This year’s quote for rock salt is $75.00 per ton; last year’s quote was $54.41 per ton.  This is a $20.59 per ton increase, probably due to supply side issues.  The award is to Atlantic Salt, Inc. of Lowell, Massachusetts.  The initial award is not to exceed $140,000.00 and will come from the Streets Department Operating Budget.

 

A question was raised as to whether or not any unused salt from one year can be used the next year.  Mr. Rutishauser said that the salt storage capacity in the Village is very small.  Sometimes “just in time” delivery is used if there are back-to-back storms.  At the present time, the salt bins are full in anticipation for the upcoming snowstorm.  More salt is ordered when quantities get low; however, if spring is nearing and it appears that the weather will continue to stay somewhat warm, they will not reorder more salt until needed the following winter.  If salt is unused during winter, it is covered with tarps (required by the Department of Environmental Protection) with hay bales in front to prevent the salt from becoming wet and running into the stormwater system.

 

5.         Award Contract – Upgrade and Replace Firewalls for IT Department

 

Ms. Mailander explained that this was a contract for replacement firewalls for Village Hall and the Water Department facility.  This is to replace the current firewalls which have reached their useful life of 5+ years.  They will be replaced with an updated model that consists of more security measures that will help in protecting the Village IT infrastructure.  This is a State contract to SHI International Corporation of Somerset, New Jersey, in an amount not to exceed $24,530.03.  The funding will come from the IT Capital budget and the Water Capital budget.

 

6.         Award Contract – Access Control, CCTV and Alarm System Police

 

Ms. Mailander indicated that this is for the purchase of a two-year service contract with Secure Watch 24 of Moonachie, New Jersey, for service licensing fees for CCTV, Access Control, ALPR, and Panic Alarm System.  The Village has a new security system running over 300 points of contact.  This system needs continuous technical support either from software updates, hardware repairs, and licensing renewals.  The pricing is offered under the National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance.  The Village has agreed with Secure Watch 24 to a one-year contract with a one-year renewal.  The contract is $50,754 for two years (half for 2022 and, if renewed, the other half for 2023). 

 

7.         Award Professional Services – Increased Nursing Hours for COVID Mitigation Efforts

 

Ms. Mailander explained that this represents increased nursing hours for COVID mitigation efforts.  Due to the pandemic and increased hours required to investigate cases and perform contact tracing, the amount allocated to pay Valley Community Health for routine nursing services will surpass the amount of the initial contract.  The Federal Government Grant will cover the case investigation as well as contact tracing and planning but will not cover the clinics.  The request is to provide funds to cover the additional nursing costs for 2022 at a rate of $49.39 per hour for up to 480 hours for $23,707.00. 

 

The nursing services are through Valley Hospital, Department of Community Health and Community Benefit of Ridgewood, New Jersey.   When questioned about the nurses’ credentials, Ms. Mailander indicated that these are registered nurses with Valley Hospital but was unsure of their specific titles, i.e., LPN, RN, but would find out and report back.  These nurses help with the Village clinics, child care conferences, health conferences, and monthly blood pressure clinics.

 

8.         Release of Escrowed Funds – BE Powers LLC, Flo’s Market Coffee Concession

 

This item pertains to the release of escrowed funds in the amount of $1,500.00 being held by the Village for security from the operator of the Coffee Concession at the Ridgewood train station:  BE Powers LLC d/b/a Flo’s Market.  The business had challenges due to the pandemic which resulted in a lack of customers who normally would have commuted into New York City.  In addition, New Jersey Transit did not allow beverages or food on the train.

 

9.         Refund of Tax Overpayment – 125-161 South Maple Avenue

 

This item pertains to a refund of a tax overpayment for property at 125-161 South Maple Avenue.  Both the mortgage company and the title company paid the fourth quarter taxes, so the mortgage company is requesting a refund of that overpayment.  Inquiries were made as to what this property represents, and Ms. Mailander indicated that she would find out but indicated that it was a commercial building.

 

            D.        POLICY

 

1.         Stormwater Management – Hope Street, Spring Avenue and Evergreen Place

 

This item pertains to stormwater management for Hope Street, Spring Avenue, and Evergreen Place.  Councilwoman Perron asked that this be placed on the agenda.  Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer, indicated that the area encompassing the Hope Street/Spring Avenue area suffered stormwater damage from Hurricane Ida and perhaps Hurricane Henri in 2021.  His office has investigated the existing stormwater collection system in that area, which is an older system with a finite capacity.  When this capacity is exceeded, the surrounding lands will incur flooding.  A lot of work has already been done in this area, such as a “back truck” which has been utilized many times cleaning out major drain lines.  Water flow in that area has been reviewed and there are some ideas to improve inlet capacity in the Hope/Spring intersection; i.e., dredging some of the catch basins to increase their size. 

 

Mr. Rutishauser indicated that four grated manhole covers have already been installed on the storm system to aid inflow.  All of these measures contribute towards reducing the magnitude of flooding, but will not reduce the flooding during major storm/hurricane events.  A significant financial undertaking for the Village would be required to totally reduce the flooding in this area.  His department has made a Capital funding request for storm drain system improvements, which will be re-presented to the Council shortly.  There is a 48” diameter County storm sewer north of that intersection that discharges into the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook. 

 

Mr. Rutishauser stated that it would be beneficial to install a tide gate device on its outfall.  These devices are designed so that in the event the water level rises, they close off discharge from the pipe to avoid a backwater effect (where the brook water flows back to the streets).  Flooding will still occur in the streets because that water is not going to be removed; however, there will not be massive flooding from the brook itself.  His department is investigating this.  Such a device is on the storm sewers that drain the Village Hall parking lot into the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook, which has helped to reduce the flooding in the parking lot.

 

Regarding the drainage system in that area, an investigation by the Engineering Department has revealed that Evergreen Place is roughly the demarcation line on Hope Street.  Water north of Evergreen flows into the County system and water south of Evergreen flows into the Hope and Spring system, which leads down to the silt chamber at the north end of Hopper and Cedar, and then goes through the ponds in the Hopper Ridge Condominium, behind the homes on Hopper Avenue, and then into Grove Street.  His department reviewed the list of drainage issues in the Village, and there are approximately 45 known drainage problems, which are unrelated to the flood hazard areas of the Village.   These issues are addressed as funding becomes available.  Several projects are now underway, including a storm sewer line behind the homes on Ackerman and Bellair Avenues to improve flow. 

 

Councilman Vagianos inquired about the less significant funding remedies as opposed to the more significant funding remedies and the amount of money required for each.  Mr. Rutishauser replied that the work done at Hope Street, Spring Avenue, and Evergreen Place cost between $100,000.00 and $150,000.00.  When asked what the “significant financial undertaking” would cost to totally reduce the flooding in this area, Mr. Rutishauser replied that it could be in the vicinity of between $1 million to $2 million.  Most of the storm drainage system in the Village has a lifespan between 10 and 25 year cycles (intensity storm cycles); however, when these systems were designed 100 years ago, the weather was not as intense (the inches of rain falling per hour).  The Village has experienced more rainfall and increased frequency of storm events in recent years; thus, larger piping is required to handle this capacity.  Mr. Rutishauser stated that one of the challenges with the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook is that it floods quickly but also drains quickly.  The challenge is finding a way to divert water away from a specific area into the brook without exacerbating the flooding conditions in the brook.

 

Regarding the 100-year flood which seems to be occurring every five or six years now, Councilman Vagianos asked how many homes in the Hope/Spring area are affected by these conditions.  Mr. Rutishauser estimated that there were approximately 80-100 homes affected by these events.  He said that these homes are not in a flood hazard area and are not required by their mortgage companies to purchase flood insurance.  He mentioned a topographical ridge on South Irving Street which presents challenges as well.  Since Hurricane Floyd in 1999, the homes in this particular area have been flooded approximately three or four times.  Councilman Vagianos asked whether Mr. Rutishauser felt investing money to upgrade the infrastructure in that area would address those problems.  From an engineering perspective, Mr. Rutishauser replied that it would help considerably but would not necessarily guarantee that there would be no flooding since there are many variables involved.

 

Councilwoman Perron remarked that there is an article she will share with the Council regarding the State of New Jersey offering billions of dollars in grants to improve stormwater infrastructure.  Her interpretation of the article is that the grants will be offered to towns which have a stormwater utility.  The law for stormwater utilities passed approximately two years ago; however, she stated that no town in New Jersey has adopted a stormwater utility to date.  She stated that the “pressure is on” for the Village to form such a utility. 

 

Councilwoman Perron stated that FEMA is going to be redesignating their definition of a flood plain and expanding those areas.  Mr. Rutishauser indicated that FEMA recently reissued maps in 2017 or 2018, which are not perfect.  They made a mistake by including quite a number of properties in the Village at the very north end of North Maple Avenue in the flood hazard area, when they are technically not by pure hydraulic analysis.  On behalf of a property owner in that area, his department has been petitioning the DEP and FEMA to correct their mapping.  His colleague has received “unofficial” feedback that FEMA has indeed made a mistake; however, he was not reassured that the mistake would be corrected.  This creates a serious impact to these homeowners because their mortgage companies are now requiring flood insurance on their properties. 

 

Mayor Knudsen remarked that this also potentially affects property values.  Mr. Rutishauser agreed with Mayor Knudsen and indicated that it also creates an issue when a homeowner wants to do renovations/improvements to their home; i.e., air-conditioning units would have to be elevated above the flood hazard level.  He stated that FEMA updates their maps every 10 years or so.  Mayor Knudsen also mentioned that the DEP Commissioner, Shawn LaTourette, indicated during a New Jersey League of Municipalities webinar that the DEP is planning to change their standards because they are based on old data.

 

2.         Amend Chapter 222 – Power Tools, Landscaping and Yard Maintenance Equipment

 

There has been a request to change the commercial use of power tools to “any tools” because there are times when contractors are using hammers which do not use power but which generate repetitive loud noise.  Also, Juneteenth has to be added to the list of federal holidays in the ordinance on which such operation of tools is entirely prohibited.

 

Mayor Knudsen spoke about complaints received regarding the use of hammers after the 1:00 P.M. restrictions pertaining to power tools, along with types of construction vehicles and excavation equipment with backup warning beeping.  She suggested the wording, “all commercial use of any power and hand tools, including excavation and commercial equipment.”  In addition, she discussed the 7:30 A.M. start time from Monday through Friday, since other municipalities have an 8:00 A.M. start time on weekdays.  Ms. Mailander explained that the earlier start times resulted from the fact that it gets very hot during the summer months and workers want to take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures. 

 

Councilman Vagianos agreed about amending the ordinance to include both power and hand tools, but was hesitant to change the start time from 7:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.  This would not affect residential homeowners or work performed by PSE&G.  Mayor Knudsen remarked that many people are not aware of what the hours are and she recommended “getting the word out,” along with stricter enforcement of the limited Saturday hours between 9:00 A.M. and 1:00 P.M.  When questioned, Ms. Mailander replied that landscapers no longer have to register with the Village in order to conduct business within the Village.  Ms. Mailander reminded everyone that these hours are also published on the Village calendar every year.  This matter will be put on the agenda for next week’s Work Session.

 

                        3.         Pickleball Days and Hours

 

Ms. Mailander announced the pickleball days and hours per a Resolution adopted in November 2021.  For the Glen pickleball courts, the schedule is Sunday, 11:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.; and Saturday, 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.  There shall be no pickleball play on Mondays or Fridays.  These days and hours will remain until modified by Resolution.  Councilman Vagianos suggested that this matter be moved to the February 2, 2022 Work Session since Councilman Sedon is not present at tonight’s meeting.  Councilwoman Perron indicated that she would like to hear from Nancy Bigos about the industry standards/ratings regarding the sound mitigation efforts at the pickleball courts.

 

Mayor Knudsen and Councilwoman Reynolds agreed that the efficacy of the proposed soundproofing should be determined first before playing hours are finalized.  Councilman Vagianos stated that he lives closer to the pickleball courts than some of the neighbors who have been complaining at Council meetings.  He stated that on many occasions when the courts were full, he has walked along Glen School near these neighbors’ houses and found that the noise was not quite as egregious as sometimes has been represented. 

 

Mayor Knudsen stated that while the Village sends notices to residents regarding any new changes or proposals which may affect their area and quality of living (parking, Verizon small node antenna, etc.), no letters were sent out to the neighbors surrounding the courts when pickleball play was proposed to be played there.  She asked if it was the Council’s intent to restore the original hours before understanding the effectiveness of the second round of sound mitigation efforts.  This query was specifically directed at Councilman Vagianos.  Mayor Knudsen indicated that if that was the intent, then no further taxpayer money, staff time, or effort should be wasted on trying to install more soundproofing materials.  Councilman Vagianos indicated that he already answered that question and requested that this matter be put on next week’s agenda.

 

            E.        OPERATIONS

 

                        1.         Stormwater Management – Hopper Ridge Condominiums

 

Mr. Rutishauser indicated that Hopper Ridge Condominiums made application to the Planning Board for approval to replace their retaining walls.  If the retaining walls fail, there is a high likelihood that the sanitary sewer line which runs behind them will fail and effluence will flood the residential area.  Applications also had to be made to the DEP for stream encroachment (Freshwater Wetlands).  It came to the attention of the engineer for Hopper Ridge Condominiums, Compton Associates, that this may represent a good opportunity to partner with the Village.  Mr. Rutishauser said that he agrees but that now is not the right time to partner with them.  The work to replace the retaining walls was approved by the Planning Board. 

 

Mr. Rutishauser stated that when the time is right, when there is available funding, and when there is a large enough drainage area, he indicated that he is willing to discuss partnering with Hopper Ridge to utilize their basins as a detention system for stormwater runoff.  This would reduce the amount of street flooding in the Hope Street and Spring Avenue areas which, if unchecked, flows downstream and affects the backyards of homes along Hopper Avenue.  This would entail designing an outlet structure better than what is currently existing there to then release that water to basically attenuate the peak flows.  The flow from Hopper Ridge Condominiums goes behind those properties on Hopper Avenue, into a storm line on Grove Street, and then into the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook.

 

Mayor Knudsen indicated that she agreed with the approach that Hopper Ridge Condominiums should move forward with their retaining walls at this time.  She asked Mr. Rutishauser about dredging one of the Hopper Ridge ponds.  He indicated that he would have to research that, but did state that there are three ponds in a series which are interconnected.  Hopper Ridge is planning to dredge one pond, which is costly.  Mr. Rutishauser mentioned Bergen County Mosquito Control (BCMC), which has helped the Village tremendously over the years.  They performed the dredging at Kings Pond, and the Village borrows their machine every year to help clean up Graydon Pool before the start of the summer months.  However, BCMC could not perform such work at Hopper Ridge Condominiums since it was private property.  There was further discussion about partnering with Hopper Ridge in the future to divert flood water to their underutilized basins and negotiating an agreement with them concerning maintenance, fees, quantity of flow, etc., perhaps in 2023 or 2024.

 

                        2.         Project Pride

 

Mayor Knudson indicated that Project Pride is a 15-member committee. Councilwoman Reynolds and she are working on restructuring the committee to include seven residents, one member of the Shade Tree Commission, a member of Women Gardeners, three business representatives (perhaps with landscaping, landscape architecture, gardening experience), a Village staff representative (preferably from Parks & Recreation), and a Village Council liaison. In the past, Project Pride was typically charged with planting flowers in the CBD in late spring/ early summer.  She would like Project Pride members to work with Village Council, management, residents, and stakeholders to organize and initiate improvements to foster a visually appealing environment throughout the Village of Ridgewood.  They would be responsible for organizing and implementing the plantings, including budget preparation, and also to seek stakeholder input to foster improvements in areas throughout the Village, not only the CBD but also perhaps the island on Grove Street or the overlook on Crest Avenue.  They would also be responsible for quarterly maintenance and improvement recommendations to the Village Council.  She mentioned the lamp post at Van Neste Square where the covers are unscrewed and wires are exposed.

 

Councilman Vagianos asked what the current structure is of Project Pride.  Mayor Knudsen said that she was Council Liaison to Project Pride for a couple of years and then Councilwoman Reynolds became Council Liaison.  There are many volunteers who offer their help during the planting season.  Mayor Knudsen feels that Project Pride would be the appropriate committee to work on the Adopt-A-Tree plan.  There was a small discussion about how sunflowers used to be passed out to homeowners who grew beautiful flower gardens in their front yards.  A Resolution will be prepared to adopt the Mission Statement of the Project Pride Committee for discussion on February 9, 2022.

 

7.         COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

Lillian Blood, 250 North Maple Avenue, was puzzled as to why the Village Council did not want to hear from their constituents.  She asked why hybrid access was not allowed and stated that the present format does not allow people who cannot physically attend to have a voice.  She mentioned the information she provided to the Council from Bergen County regarding the sounds involved during a pickleball game.  She indicated that the sounds from the balls and paddles do not exceed acceptable levels and are not a danger to public health.  She said that pickleball is an acceptable way for people of all ages to get exercise.  Ms. Blood stated that the people who complain are complainers and live too far from the courts to actually hear anything.  She urged the Council to consider the residents of Ridgewood as “valuable” to not only vote for the Councilmembers, but to listen to as well.  Shutting out people who cannot physically attend meetings is not fair and not community minded.  She asked the Council to reconsider the pickleball hours and to allow hybrid access.

 

Siobhan Crann Winograd, 274 Ivy Place, reiterated that the Councilmembers are equals and no one has any more authority than the other.  She stated that what is occurring is a “silencing” of the community by pulling the plug on hybrid access and a “silencing” of each other.  She is concerned about sidebar conversations that the public is not aware of.  She urged transparency and stated that if a Councilmember wanted an item on an agenda, then that item should be placed on the agenda.  She is dismayed by the Council’s response regarding hybrid access and its response to the disabled community.   When she wrote to all Councilmembers, Councilwoman Perron was the only one who responded.  Ms. Crann Winograd indicated that there are more than 10 people who want hybrid access reinstated; more people have not spoken up because they cannot physically attend the meetings.  She stated that her family alone represents more than 10 people.  She mentioned the Ridgecrest community and the aged and disabled community of Ridgewood.  She asked the Council to put the question to a vote and let the public have a record of how each member voted.

 

Ms. Crann Winograd also spoke about Best Practices and how the Council totes that they work well with the Board of Education.  She questioned why the Board of Education and parents of school-aged children are afforded the opportunity to communicate remotely and the Village Council refuses to allow older citizens to communicate in the same manner.

 

Anne Burton Walsh, 112 South Irving Street, recalled the discussion on September 22, 2021 regarding hybrid access, but she was not aware of an actual vote on this topic or a discussion by the fully seated Council.  She asked to be provided with such a recorded vote if this has indeed occurred.  She also spoke about the sparse attendance at this evening’s meeting and Councilman Vagianos’ insistence upon social distancing.  She stated that hybrid access makes a lot of sense for the remainder of Covid and that she fully agrees with all the residents who have come forward to say that remote access should be independent of Covid in order to include the disabled and other people with logistical challenges.  She asked that the Council explain who the people are who voiced opposition to hybrid access and their reasons for doing so.

 

No one else came forward for public comments and Mayor Knudsen closed the public portion of the meeting.

 

8.         RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION

 

Deputy Clerk Eileen Young read Resolution #22-32, to go into Closed Session as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.         ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Vagianos, seconded by Councilwoman Perron, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Work Session was adjourned at 10:37 P.M.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                Susan Knudsen

                                                                                                                     Mayor

 

 

                                                                       

Eileen Young

Deputy Village Clerk

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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 SEPTEMBER 22, 2021, AT 7:30 P.M.

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

Mayor Knudsen called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.  At roll call, the following were present:  Councilmembers Perron (7:33 P.M.), Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen.  Also present were Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; Eileen Young, Deputy Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney. 

Mayor Knudsen led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and asked for a moment of silence in honor of the American men and women serving in our Armed Forces, as well as those serving as first responders.a

  1. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mayor Knudsen asked if there were any comments or questions from the public.  

Doug Adele, 234 Mulberry Lane, said that he would be addressing the flooding from Hurricane Ida, and he distributed notes to Councilmembers.  He stated he was dismayed at the extent of damage caused by this hurricane even though he recognizes that some of the damage was caused by ground saturation and the speed of the rainfall.  He pointed out that much of the flooding was due to stream flooding at the Ho-Ho-Kus brook, but the storm was not as severe as storms in the past.  Hurricane Irene had 30% more water flow than Hurricane Ida; and Hurricane Floyd had 50% more water flow.

Mr. Adele noted three areas of importance including stream maintenance.  He said that there should be funding available to cover the de-silting and de-snagging of stream to improve water flow.  He suggested that better information be available on the Village website to help homeowners to deal with floods.  He said that four of the six links to the FEMA websites are useless.  The information prepared by the Engineering Department was deleted from the website.  When Mr. Adele’s time was up, he gave his notes to Mayor Knudsen.

Councilwoman Perron joined the meeting at 7:33 P.M.

Tony Damiano, 274 South Broad Street, questioned the budget appropriation for tree wells in 2022.  He noted a dead tree in front of the new location of Bagelicious and added that there are many other dead trees.  Many of the tree wells were left with stumps, which look terrible; however, nothing can be planted.  Mr. Damiano said that he realizes this is a big job and he suggested that one street be done per year. 

Trish Manzo, 324 Hillcrest Road, stated that too many streets in Ridgewood have been neglected, and she inquired about the budget for the maintenance of the downtown infrastructure.   She questioned whether the budget has been cut back.  She commented that the town has taken for granted the volunteers and the work they do to beautify the downtown.  An investment is needed in the downtown and she suggested that the Village work with the landlords and tenants to ensure that the businesses remain.  She stated that there are no anchor stores any longer because the Village did not address the parking problem in a timely fashion.  Ms. Manzo pointed out that some restaurants have more tables outside than others and she questioned the outdoor permit requirements and fees. She asked again for information relative to the budget for the downtown area.

Anne Burton Walsh, 112 South Irving Street, said she represents the League of Women Voters of Ridgewood.  She thanked the Village Council for listing hybrid access on tonight’s meeting agenda.  The League promotes active participation in government and the group strongly supports hybrid access for Village Council meetings.  During the COVID outbreak there was an uptick in participation due to this hybrid access, and Ms. Walsh said that this service is helpful to those with disability and childcare issues. 

Ms. Walsh stated that the League also supports the Village’s plans for the refurbishment of tree wells in the Central Business District (CBD).  This expenditure will establish healthy trees, which contribute much needed shade, oxygen, and will increase foot traffic in the Village.

Linda Scarpa, 569 Northern Parkway, said that she is surprised that the issue of remote access to Village Council meetings hasn’t been resolved.  Residents remain concerned about the pandemic and must be given the choice to protect their identity when speaking publicly in order to avoid harassment.  This is also a good way for people to participate in Village meetings when they are travelling.  Ms. Scarpa recalled that she had been in front of the Mayor and Council some time ago speaking about the same topic and she is saddened with the lack of communication.  Questions are raised but no answers are given and Ms. Scarpa said that Village leadership needs improvement.

Debra Steinbaum, 295 Grandview Circle, stated that the hybrid model is being used by the Board of Education with great success.  Ms. Steinbaum said she is a doctor and would advise people not to attend this meeting in person because there are people in attendance who are maskless, sitting in close proximity, and in some cases speaking loudly, which can project the virus.  She suggested that people who have compromised health issues should have the opportunity to participate in Village Council meetings.  Senior citizens and people home with children should also have the ability to participate in these meetings.  She recommended that the Village take advantage of this new technology.  Ms. Steinbaum noted that the building was constructed to make access easy for people with disabilities; however, steps are not being taken to protect citizens from transmissible diseases.  

Kathryn Schmidt, 123 S. Irving Street, said that she has recently returned to Ridgewood after spending several years in the Pacific Northwest helping her family.  The pandemic has created new and out of the box thinking for the Village.  The Welcome to Ridgewood Committee formed as a result of the COVID crisis along with pedestrian plaza and grab and go parking.  She hopes that virtual meetings will also find their way into this new normal.  It has increased citizen involvement, which is a positive step forward, and she asked that the Village Council consider and implement remote participation.  Ms. Schmidt said that they should all welcome increased participation in Village Council meetings, and she agreed that this service is particularly beneficial to parents and senior citizens, residents who are travelling, and those who choose to avoid large gatherings of people they don’t know.  Ms.  Schmidt stated that if there are obstacles there are many who would be willing to assist in order to make this system work.  Ms. Schmidt asked the Mayor and Council to consider re-implementing the hybrid meeting along with closed captions.

Siobhan Crann Winograd, 274 Ivy Place, echoed the sentiment that remote access and hybrid access is a must for a smart and thoughtful community.  She said that Councilmembers have come to every event hosted by her family to promote accessibility and aging in place, and by not having this option the Council is turning their backs on this community.  The Master Plan and the census note the importance of aging in place and public engagement, and this should be addressed.  Ms. Winograd doesn’t want to hear that this can’t be done due to a technical hurdle, or that IT can’t handle it, or that there is not enough staff to handle this because this is a community with vast resources and the elderly and handicapped need to be validated

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, said there is nothing to add to the comments relative to remote access.  He cannot imagine a reason not to have this type of access, other than in the case of an authoritarian regime who may try to prevent people from expressing their opinions or involvement in the day-to-day politics.

Mr. Halaby commented that there has been nothing but discussions on tree wells for the last eight years.  He advised Mr. Damiano to give up expecting the Village to do anything about the tree wells because the Village Council has no interest.  He recommended that Mr. Damiano form a committee of people to do the work and get the job done themselves.  He suggested that this committee consider a uniform look with the appropriate trees and iron grates.

Andrew Lowry, 441 Hawthorne Place, is a member of the Shade Tree Committee and is speaking in support of the proposal to reinvigorate and replant the twenty tree wells in the CBD.  He said that awareness has grown about this issue recently, and he hopes this project will continue over the next few years.  The Shade Tree Commission has been working on this for the last four years and the Village Council is aware of the both the problems and the solutions.  He has tried to work with the Developers to take steps to ensure that the trees they plant will survive.  Mr. Lowry noted that the Village has removed the collars from the trees which were a tripping hazard.  He thanked the Village for doing two test plantings using CU soil at the Station and the Garage and residents will see progress this fall. 

Mr. Lowry stated that the Shade Tree Commission is committed to working with the Village, store owners, landlords, and whoever is willing to get involved and to make sure that there is a plan to water the trees.  He hopes to make a more detailed presentation in the future to support a significant increase in the capital budget for shade tree planting on the Village streets. 

Mahmoud Hamza, 528 Amsterdam Avenue, stated that Village revenues were down this year due to COVID, and the money allocated to plant trees was cut.  There was the added issue of disease to ash trees, resulting in removal.  An increased number of trees in the downtown will make the area more attractive and improve the environment.  Mr. Hamza encouraged the Village Council to approve funding for the planting of more trees in the downtown area.

There were no additional comments from the public and Mayor Knudsen closed this portion of the meeting.

Mayor Knudsen noted that a quarter of a million dollars was spent on a Master Plan for the Village. 

Councilwoman Perron said she is inspired by Mahmoud Hamza who donated thousands of dollars for tree planting in Ridgewood.  She stated that Ridgewood residents can donate specifically for tree planting, which can be noted as a charitable deduction on tax returns if the Village Council adopts a corresponding resolution.  Councilwoman Perron announced that she would donate $1,000, and she hopes that other citizens of Ridgewood will follow Mr. Hamza’s example.  There will be information on this program on the Village website.

3.            MANAGER’S REPORT

Ms. Mailander stated that there will be a Zoom presentation tomorrow evening from 7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. on Social Security: Knowing Your Options.  The presentation will be given by Retirement Consultant Dave Evans.  This is a basic guide to Social Security sponsored by the Ridgewood Library and Age Friendly Ridgewood. 

Ms. Mailander stated that the fourth floor of the Hudson Street garage will be closed both Thursday and Friday for maintenance.  She directed CBD employees who normally park on the fourth floor to park on the third floor. 

Ms. Mailander asked anyone looking for COVID-19 vaccine or testing to contact the Ridgewood Health Department at 201-670-5500 ext. 244 or the Valley Health System at 1-800-825-5391.  The Annual Flu Clinic is scheduled for October 5th from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.   Those interested must call Valley Community Heath at 201-291-6090 to register. 

Ms. Mailander announced that a Board Game Carnival will take place on Sunday, September 26th, from 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. on the lower level of Village Hall Community Center, both outdoors and indoors.  All ages and families are welcome, and registration is required through ridgewoodnj.net/community pass.  The event is sponsored by the Ridgewood Community Center and the rain date is October 3rd.

Ms. Mailander noted that the Gold Star Mother’s Event is scheduled for Sunday, September 26th, at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square at 7:00 P.M.  Everyone will gather at the monument at the park to honor Gold Star Families.  This is a beautiful event with luminaries throughout the Park and one of the best events in Ridgewood.

Ms. Mailander reminded everyone that the Ridgewood Farmers Market is organized by the Chamber of Commerce and is open every Sunday from 8:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. at the train station parking lot through the end of October.

Ms. Mailander stated that on September 27th, FEMA will be on the patio between Village Hall and the Library from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. for any residents needing assistance as a result of Hurricane Ida. 

Ms. Mailander said that the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce will sponsor Sidewalk Sale Days on October 7th, 8th and 9th and in the event of bad weather the sales will be held inside the stores.  The Ridgewood Moms Club will hold an arts and crafts activity fair for young children at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square on Saturday, October 9th.  Ms. Mailander noted that the vendor who runs the coffee concession at the train station will be reopening on or about October 1st

Ms. Mailander reported that Ridgewood residents have received a fall listing of recreation programs and health offerings for those 55 and older including opportunities to sign up for tennis and pickleball programs.  Programs are held in the lower level of the Community Center in Village Hall.  Anyone interested should contact the Recreation Department to make a reservation.

Ms. Mailander stated that there will be a shredding event on Saturday, November 6th at the Graydon Pool parking lot from 9:00 A.M. until 12:30 P.M.  Documents will be securely shred until the truck is full.  The limit is four file size boxes per vehicle, and no plastic bags or binders will be accepted.  A Styrofoam collection for containers and peanuts will be held on October 16th, 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. or until the truck is full.  The location is the Graydon Pool parking lot.

Ms. Mainlander noted that overnight parking at the CBD is permissible through December 31st at the Hudson Street parking garage, second floor from 8:00 P.M. to 8:00 A.M.  The cost per space is $75 for three months, or $150 for six months.  Family members living out of town can park for the same price.  Twenty-four hour parking spaces remain available for Ridgewood residents at the train station lot, and at the Cottage Place lot through December 31st, 2021.  The price will be pro-rated accordingly.

Ms. Mailander provided a list of upcoming Village Council Meetings as follows:  October 6th, October 27th and November 3rd are Village Council Work Sessions; and October 13th is the Village Council Public Meeting.  The Work Sessions begin at 7:30 P.M. and Public Meetings begin at 8:00 P.M.

4.          Village Council Reports

CBDAC:  Councilwoman Perron said that the Central Business Advisory Committee met on September 9th and welcomed new member Stephen DelPercio.  There was a discussion of previous events as well as upcoming events in the CBD.  The new wayfinding signs aid in directing drivers to the parking garage were discussed.  Several members reiterated that when individuals are driving from the west side under the train trestle, and turn right, there is no sign directing them to the garage.  There was a recommendation to install a banner at the top of the building to help solve this problem.

Open Space CommitteeCouncilmember Perron stated that the Open Space Committee meets tomorrow night at 7:00 P.M. at the Stable and the meeting is open to anyone who wants to attend.

Chamber of CommerceCouncilmember Perron reported that the Chamber of Commerce recently held the Car Show, which was a terrific event.  Over 327 cars were on exhibit including antiques and EVs, and trophies in various categories were awarded.  She announced that the Halloween Parade will be held on Saturday, October 30th.   

Community Center Advisory CommitteeCouncilman Sedon stated that the Community Center Advisory Board will meet tomorrow at 5:00 P.M., at the Youth Center downstairs, along with Sustainable New Jersey.  Sustainable New Jersey has given the Village a one-year extension on the application and Ridgewood remains silver certified through December 2022.  This will provide an opportunity for the Village to address issues with the solar panels.

Councilman Sedon reported that on October 2nd there will be a Come Together Ridgewood from noon to 4:00 P.M. East Ridgewood Avenue will be closed between Chestnut Street and Broad Street.  There will be a Beatles cover band on the rooftop of It’s Greek to Me to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles rooftop concert.  There will be other bands on the street along with dance performances and vendors.

 Community Safety Advisory Panel:  Councilwoman Reynolds stated that the Panel met on September 16th and discussed Safe Routes to School final design, which is expected by the end of this year.  The West Glen Avenue sidewalks are planned to begin in 2021, along with a new pedestrian signal at the intersection of West Glen and North Monroe Street.  A concerned, long time Ridgewood resident attended the meeting, and said that he has observed worsening safety conditions for pedestrians.  He suggested better enforcement of complete stopping at stop signs; monitoring and enforcement of speed limits; the possible addition of speed bumps; and enhanced signing to aid pedestrians.  The next meeting is Thursday, October 21st

Councilwoman Reynolds stated that the Planning Board met yesterday evening.  The Historic Preservation Committee will re-convene in October.  There was a presentation from Heyer, Gruel and Associates and NV5 on Phase Two of the Master Plan.  This was the first of four planning sessions, and it can be viewed on www.ridgewoodvillagemp.org.  She explained that the Master Plan is a comprehensive document covering land use, circulation, downtown economic development, green building, environmental sustainably, open space, and recreation among others.  The website has an area where questions can be asked, and there is a space to sign up for updates.  Councilwoman Reynolds reported that the meeting was well attended, and the professionals addressed questions and concerns.  The next Planning Session is October 19th followed by meetings in November and January with a report expected in March 2022 when the Master Plan will be adopted. 

Mayor Knudsen reported on the ribbon cutting at the Ridgewood Conservatory on Franklin Turnpike, which is a beautiful new facility.  She encouraged everyone to visit the website.  Mayor Knudsen mentioned another ribbon cutting at the Waldwick School of Rock, which is attended by many Ridgewood residents. 

Mayor Knudsen thanked her Council colleagues for helping with the Mayor’s Trophy at the Ridgewood Car Show.  A 1955 red Thunderbird was the recipient of the Mayor’s Trophy.  It was not only a beautiful car, but the car had been purchased prior to 1985 by a Ridgewood resident and his father and had been restored by the resident and his son. 

Mayor Knudsen has been in touch with the Fields Committee relative to field allocation.  The Board of Education has opened additional space for Junior Football and has reworked the schedule to accommodate sports programs while repairs are taking place at fields impacted by Hurricane Ida. 

Mayor Knudsen met this morning with the group overseeing Downtown for the Holidays.  She reminded everyone about the FEMA event on September 25th from 9:00 to 5:00 P.M. on the patio at Village Hall.  

Mayor Knudsen recognized five new Eagle Scouts in Ridgewood.  She stated that this was a difficult time to complete projects due to COVID restrictions; however, the projects were outstanding.

Mayor Knudsen stated that information on Access Weekend can be found at www.ridgewoodlibrary.org/accessridgewood.  The weekend begins on Friday, October 8th featuring senior programming, family programming, movies, live music, and dance along with the annual Fashion Show.  The interfaith service will take place on Sunday, October 10th.  The Community Access group meets monthly to ensure proper accessibility for the special needs community.

Mayor Knudsen thanked everyone who attended the September 11th Memorial Service particularly Heather Mailander and Janet Fricke among many others.  This was a beautiful and memorable service and there was an amazing turnout.

5.            PRESENTATION

                a.            Update on Budget-Conscious Solutions for Recycling and Solid Waste

Ms. Mailander introduced Rich Calbi, Director of Operations; and Sean Hamlin, Supervisor of Sanitation and Recycling, and recalled that at a July meeting several different cost saving recommendations relative to recycling and solid waste were discussed.  Mr. Calbi and Mr. Hamlin are here with additional information that was requested as well as proposal to limit bulk refuse pick-up to seven items.

Mr. Calbi said that in July some facts and options were presented on savings and revenue generation for the Village relative to recycling and solid waste pick-up.  Three recommendations were summarized including elimination of back yard pick-up of waste, reducing the bulk waste program, and possible purchase of a side loader.  Mr. Hamlin analyzed the twelve routes of the Village relative to the number of residents who bring their garbage to the curb.  He found that 667 residents or 9% bring their refuse to the curb.  He asked residents why they bring the garbage out and the answers range from making it easier for the workers, and that due to COVID some residents felt more comfortable if people weren’t on their property.  Mr. Calbi doesn’t believe that this practice will continue. 

Regarding the bulk ordinance, Mr. Hamlin distributed photos taken on bulk pick-up day.  He said that people have to be encouraged to donate unwanted items and he recommended restricting the number of bulk items to seven for pickup, with two pick-ups a month.  There would be no restrictions on metal and metal items would not count toward the seven items.  He stated that a disassembled piece of furniture would be considered as one item and he used the example of a couch with pillows as one item.  He said that it is important to discourage people bringing items from other towns.  He noted that six trucks go out every Wednesday for bulk pick up, and several go out multiple times resulting in added expense due to overtime.  It is important to get out the message of donations to residents; however, they plan to continue the option of charging a special bulk collection fee. 

Mr. Hamlin stated that through July 31, 2020, the number for recyclable materials and dump fees was $57,447, and the revenue was $21,691.  This year through July 31st, the dump fees are $29,488 with revenues of $86,427.  This demonstrates that recycling is worth the effort and not only the law.  He said that the market is coming back with the wane of the COVID virus. 

Mr. Calbi referred to the proposed bulk waste ordinance and pointed out that it will limit the number of bulk waste items to seven.  There is a change to the definition of bulk refuse, which is expected to eliminate multiple trips to the dump therefore saving on fuel costs and emissions, truck wear and tear, and worker injuries.  Ms. Mailander stated that in the event of another hurricane or flooding, the Village would implement a system similar to what was done during Hurricane Ida, which means bulk could go out with regular garbage, and more than seven items would be permitted to be placed at the curb.   

Mayor Knudsen suggested providing links on the website to the various services that will pick up bulk donations.  Mr. Hamlin said that there is a link to the Recycling Department that contains information about donations.  This will be noted on the 2022 calendar along with a QR code to click on for additional information.  Mr. Rogers, Village Attorney, said he didn’t see an issue with this; however, Ms. Mailander said she was concerned about missing any of the organizations.  Mr. Hamlin reiterated that there is a link on the recycling website, and this information is provided in the Recycle Coach app, which should be promoted more.

Councilwoman Perron asked why metal wasn’t counted towards the seven bulk items.  She also asked for a definition of white goods.  Mr. Calbi said that metal remains a source of revenue and there is less of it.  White goods are items such as refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, and other appliances. Mayor Knudsen suggested the definition be changed to white goods/appliances.  Councilwoman Perron thanked Mr. Hamlin and Mr. Calbi for their recommendations.

Councilman Sedon said he was happy with the response on budget savings and a way to prevent a potential tax increase that have been presented by Mr. Calbi and Mr. Hamlin.  He asked how quickly this ordinance could be implemented.   Ms. Mailander said the ordinance could be introduced in October and voted on in November and be effective by the end of November provided that a majority of Councilmembers are in agreement.  The information could also be listed in the Village calendar.

Regarding bulk pickup, Councilwoman Reynolds asked what would happen in the case of a move when residents tend to put out a lot of garbage.  Mr. Hamlin said that the Village can schedule a special pickup in that type of a circumstance.  He would encourage residents to reach out to the donation agencies so that these agencies could take as many items as possible thus eliminating the items that are going directly into the landfill.  There is a charge for a special pick up of $150 for an amount under six yards, and another $100 for items over 6 yards.  The maximum charge is $250.  Councilwoman Reynolds said she was surprised by the state in which some of this garbage is put out.  Mr. Hamlin said that they have tags with instructions of what is and isn’t acceptable and the methods of garbage placement.  He said that the new ordinance will encourage people to keep the metal separate from the seven acceptable bulk items. 

Councilmembers agreed that the number of bulk items eligible for pickup should be capped at seven.  Ms. Mailander thanked Mr. Calbi and Mr. Hamlin for their research and recommendations.  She stated that the other suggestions can be considered during budget discussions in 2022.

6.            DISCUSSION

              a.            Ridgewood Water

1.)         Award Sole Source Contract – Exchange of GAC Vessels at Carr Well

Ms. Mailander stated that last September the Carr Treatment Center went back on line by Ridgewood Water after the installation of granular active carbon treatment for the removal of PFAS compounds.  Based on quarterly testing performed, the filter and two of the four vessels will require replacement in October or November, and the other two vessels may require replacement in 2022.  Mr. Calbi is recommending the sole source award to Calgon Carbon Corporation, Moon County, Pennsylvania, in an amount not to exceed $161,200, for the contract year 2021 to 2022.  The funds will come from the Water Operating Account.

Upon questioning by Councilwoman Perron, Mr. Calbi said that the funding is for replacement of all four vessels. 

2.)         Rescind Resolution 21-210 – Western Star Tandem Axle Dump Truck

Ms. Mailander recalled that in July 2021 the Village Council awarded Resolution 21-210, for the purchase of a Western Star Tandem Axle Dump Truck in the amount of $154,883.00.  The Village was notified later by the vendor that the manufacturer will no longer be building the model requested.  Ms. Mailander asked that Resolution 21-210 be rescinded.

3.)         Award State Contract – Western Star Tandem Axle Dump Truck

Ms. Mailander stated that this award calls for the purchase of a 2023 Western Star tandem dump truck from the new vendor Hudson County Motors, Secaucus, in an amount not to exceed $159,296.00.  The truck will replace a truck that was removed from service in 2016 due to a twisted chassis.  The purchase of this truck will update the fleet to better serve the customer base and comply with the latest safety standards.  The money is in the water utility capital budget. 

Mayor Knudsen asked how the Water Department compensated without the use of a truck that had been unavailable since 2016.  Mr. Calbi said that they had purchased a replacement vehicle.  They had found a way to repurpose the other truck by putting the body onto a new truck and adding that vehicle to the fleet. 

 

b.            Parking

1.)           Feasibility Study

Ms. Mailander explained that in 2015 the Village engaged Walker Parking Consultants to perform a Financial Feasibility Study on the cost to operate and pay related debt on a new parking facility.  They issued a report, the Hudson Street Parking Garage Preliminary Financial Analysis, which provided data for planning and budgeting purposes.  The report projected revenues and expenses through 2027.  At that time, the anticipated parking spaces ranged from 350 to 412.  In 2017, Walker was again asked to update their study based upon a 240 parking space structure.  In January 2018, a report was issued with projections through 2027.  The report included suggestions for the timing and amount of rate increases and it recommends an increase in parking rates beginning in January 2025.  As a result of COVID and its impact on parking revenues, there is a need to revisit the parking rate structure to ensure that there will be sufficient revenue to cover debt service and operating costs. 

Ms. Mailander stated that Walker has provided a plan with two alternatives including an adjustment of the previous parking model used for projections.  The alternatives include updating revenue and expense amounts to actual; testing rate scenarios to achieve the net revenue needed to offset debt service and operating expense obligations; and generation of a five-year model using the recommended rate structures.  The cost would be $7,800 plus reimbursable expenses.  The second alternative would involve conducting counts of parking usage during a specific time period in identified zones.  This updated model could be used to generate the information outlined in the first alternative at a cost of $15,200.  

Robert Rooney, CFO and Parking Utility Director, stated that he would recommend the first alternative at a cost of $7,800.  He said that the counts used for the original testing would not be significantly different and the goal is to ensure that the present rate structure is sufficient to compensate for debt service and operating costs. 

Mayor Knudsen asked Mr. Rooney for an idea of the cost of the reimbursable expenses.  Mr. Rooney guessed that this cost would be in the $1,000 range and added that in the past a limit had been put on the reimbursable amount. 

Councilwoman Perron asked if this work could be done in-house.  Mr. Rooney said this could be done; however, Walker has the models they have been using all over the country, which allow for various issues that occur that he would never consider.  The time it will take to do this is significantly less than doing it in-house.

Councilmembers indicated agreement with the $7,800 alternative and Ms. Mailander said they would move forward.

                c.             Budget

1.)           Revenue and Expense Reports as of June 30, 2021

Mr. Rooney stated that he sent the above reports that have been updated through August 31, 2021, to Councilmembers.  The estimations are similar to fluctuations in the revenue stream.  Mr. Rooney’s biggest concern is Municipal Court revenues, which do not seem to be close to what was anticipated.  All other revenues are identified as being on track or achieving anticipated levels at this time.  Mr. Rooney said that the Village appears to be on target as to estimates relative to appropriations as of June 30th and August 31st.  The fluctuations are usually the result of encumbrances, and many departments use the features that allows them to estimate the cost of what they know; however, there are departments that do not use that method of operation. 

Mr. Rooney indicated that the Water Department is on track with revenues that match what was anticipated.  The next Quarter will show an increase in revenues as a result of rate increases to municipalities and the billing of fire hydrant service.

Mr. Rooney said that there is improvement in parking revenues, and they are looking at 71% of what was budgeted through August 31st.  They are on target on the appropriations with spending at 55% of what was budgeted since the beginning of 2021.   Bond principal is due at the end of September.  Councilman Sedon thanked Mr. Rooney for his efforts on parking and the tree well project.

2.)           2021 Budget Amendments – Various State Grants

Mr. Rooney noted two requests for amendments to grants.  The first is for the Grant for Municipal Alliance in the amount of $4,500, to come from the regular appropriation and put into the grant for a match required by the Village.  The second is for a health grant of $291,000, which is good from July 1st, 2021 to June 30th, 2022. This represents funding from the State for COVID related expenses including the hiring of personnel needed to coordinate the efforts used by the Health Department. 

3.)           Award Contract Purchase – Laboratory Analysis Services – WPCF and Parks and Recreation

Ms. Mailander explained that this award is relative to the contract that provides the Village’s Water Pollution Control Facility and the Parks and Recreation Division Graydon Pool Facility outside laboratory analysis services.  There was one response to the bid from Garden State Laboratories in the amount of $31,257.00.  The bid has increased by $2,407.00 over the past two years due to additional testing protocols required for both the pool and the treatment plant.  Ms. Mailander stated that this company has done work for the Village over the past eight years and funding will be budgeted for 2022.  There is a second-year bid option which will eliminate the need to go out to bid in 2023

4.)           Award Contract – Sodium Bisulfite Solution and Sodium Hypochlorite - WPCF

Ms. Mailander stated that bids were received in August to supply the Village’s Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF) with sodium bisulfite solution and sodium hypochlorite solution to treat wastewater.  Three responding bids were received; but, two of the bids were incomplete.  The low bidder is Miracle Chemical Company.  This company has successfully supplied chemicals to the Village in the past, and this year’s bid has the option for extension for an additional year.  Ms. Mailander noted that the cost for chemicals has increased slightly from two years ago, and the use of the chemicals has also increased primarily due to the flow from Graydon Pool into the sanitary sewer collection system during pool season.  She stated that the cost of sodium bisulfite has increased from $2.70 per gallon to $2.763; and sodium hypochlorite has increased from $1.49 per gallon to $1.682 per gallon.  This will be budgeted in the WPCF 2022 operating budget.  The amount is not to exceed $80,853.00.  

5.)           Award Contract – 2022 Village Calendar

Ms. Mailander stated that three local printing firms were contacted relative to the printing of the 2022 Village calendar.  The proposal includes layout, artwork, printing, assembly, and distribution of the calendar.  Postage is not included.  Two quotes were requested from three vendors including a quote for black and white with one color and another quote for four color printing on the cover.  Each year approximately 11,000 calendars are printed.  Last year the lowest bid was $11,989 and this year’s lowest bid is $12,379 for black and white.  This is an increase of $390.   Ms. Mailander recommended accepting the bid by Ridgewood Press for the black and white at a proposed price of $12,379. 

Mayor Knudsen asked when the calendar would be available for proofreading.  She asked that Rabbi Fine be consulted in order to confirm the dates of the Jewish holidays.  Ms. Mailander said that she would give the calendar to the Temple to ensure that the dates are accurate.  The calendar is expected to be ready for proof reading in early November. 

6.)           Resolution for Emergency Appropriation

7.)           Bond Ordinances for Water Capital and General Capital

Mr. Rooney stated that the Village incurred approximately $1.8 million worth of estimated expenses as the result of Hurricane Ida.  $1.6 Million represents Capital items that were lost or damaged and the remaining $300,000 is for salaries, wages and overtime costs incurred, and the subsequent clean-up.  The result is an emergency appropriation of $1.9 million to be approved by the Village Council.  This will be funded by a Capital ordinance for approximately $1.6 million.  It will be necessary to raise the $300,000 in the budget over the next few years.  Mr. Rooney had directed the Bond counsel to proceed with the documents and he stated that Council approval is necessary.  He noted that there is no latitude in the budget to absorb these costs.

Mayor Knudsen asked for supporting materials and Mr. Rooney said he would have the Village Engineer email the loss estimates to her

d.            Policy

1.)           Timeframes for Outdoor Cafes

Ms. Mailander noted that the timeframe for outdoor cafes is normally from March 1st to December 31st; however; last year due to COVID outdoor dining was extended from January 1st to December 31st.  She said that the Village Council must decide whether to extend this timeframe during the entire year of 2022 or return to the March 1st start.  Restaurants must apply for outside dining permits, and if this practice continues for the entire year, the applications must go out in the near future. 

Mayor Knudsen recommended that the timeframe continue for the entire year.  Councilwoman Reynolds asked if the fee was the same for everyone.  Ms. Mailander explained that the fee is based on the number of seats, and benches are assessed at a different rate. 

Councilwoman Perron questioned whether snow removal created a problem during the past winter.  Ms. Mailander said she wasn’t aware of any issues due to snow.  Councilmembers agreed to allow the restaurants to offer outside dining during the whole of 2022.

2.)           Dining Corrals Extension

Ms. Mailander said that the dining corrals extension expires on November 1st.  This was another COVID measure that gave restaurants with minimal space the ability to gain several tables, which was helpful.  The Council must again decide whether to allow this for another year.  There is a fee charged to cover a reduction of parking revenue for the spaces used.  Ms. Mailander said that Mr. Rooney has looked at various pricing schedules.

Mr. Rooney stated that they have tried to develop a fair method to charge for the frontage used by the restaurants.  He hopes to complete a study by next week and he is looking at a range based on square footage using $13 and $8.  He stated that it would work provided the restaurant continues to pay at today’s rate.  He must decide for the fee such as the square footage of the building frontage, or the assessed value of the building.  Ms. Mailander stated that they would bring a more definitive plan to the October 6th meeting. 

Mayor Knudsen said that some restaurant owners want assurance as to whether or not these dining corrals will continue or whether they could stop unexpectedly.   She and Mr. Rooney have discussed considering the individual locations on a lease basis for long term, so that some owners would feel more comfortable making an investment into aesthetics.  She suggested mapping out the location of each corral and looking at the impact on parking spaces, traffic, and the surrounding businesses.  Mayor Knudsen stated that some restaurant owners are interested in paying fair market value for the space if there is a long-term commitment on the part of the Village. 

Mayor Knudsen said that she will work on this concept with Mr. Rooney and will have recommendations at the next Council meeting.  Councilwoman Perron asked to be part of the discussions since she will be questioned about the plan. 

Councilwoman Reynolds asked how the restaurants would cope with snow.  Mayor Knudsen noted that navigating inclement weather is something that will be examined during discussions.  This is why a map of the corralled areas is necessary and what type of investment restaurant owners are willing to make.

3.)           Discussion of Remote Access to Village Council Meetings

Mayor Knudsen said that it has been difficult to navigate being a part of the Village Council during the time of COVID.  She stated that no one worked harder than the Village IT Director, Dylan Hansen.  She recalled that on March 23, 2020, the Village Manager distributed a notice from the Division of Local Government Services to allow virtual meetings.  By March 25th, Mr. Hansen was literally working through the night for two days on laptops, modems, remote access, VPNs and more to provide access for meetings via Zoom to be possible by March 26th.  Councilmembers contacted Mr. Hansen to confirm log on instructions and internet access to ensure that the technology was in place and that the April 1st Council meeting could go forward.  Mayor Knudsen pointed out that Mr. Hansen had to be present at every Village Council meeting along with every Village Zoom meeting.  He had to organize, communicate, send out invitations, and coordinate every Zoom meeting, which is a lot for anyone to take on.

Mayor Knudsen stated that the Village has never had an actual hybrid meeting.  The Village Council returned to live meetings in June partially in response to resident requests, and since that time, they have received feedback from both sides.  Over the past several months, she has worked with Mr. Hansen on several options such as a call-in system, which wasn’t feasible because there is no queue mechanism on the phone.  She noted that the Board of Education is a completely different system from the Council’s system because they are using different platforms.  Additional concerns were cost associated due to the requirement to have additional staff attending meetings as well as re-noticing, and other ancillary expenses, which add up quickly.  Mayor Knudsen stated that they now have the proper equipment to try a test run for hybrid access with reasonable procedural requirements.   She reminded everyone that the primary reason for these meetings is to conduct and accomplish the business of the municipality.  Mayor Knudsen again thanked Mr. Hansen for all the work he did during such uncertain times. 

Councilman Sedon said that he is not in favor of testing any type of hybrid model due to the cost involved.  He noted that the Village incurred $1.8 million worth of damages just the other week as a result of Hurricane Ida, in addition to $300,000 in overtime paid to Village employees.  Obviously, this was not planned for in the Village budget.  Councilman Sedon noted that in addition funding in the amount of $100,000 originally in the tree planting budget, had to be used to pay for ash tree removal.  He stated that the Shade Tree Commission will be requesting more funding for the tree planting efforts, and they hope to continue with rehabilitation of tree wells in the downtown area. 

Councilman Sedon pointed out that every department wants something and there is inflation to contend with.  There are uncertainties due to climate change and COVID which subsequently result in higher taxes.  The Village Council will have to make tough decisions in the 2022 budget and look closely at priorities.  He added that there is access to everything via email; Village Hall complies completely with ADA requirements; and there are two public comment periods per meeting.

Mayor Knudsen said that she considered having the Council manage the technology needed for a hybrid meeting; however, it would be too cumbersome to try to manage both the technology and the procedures needed to keep the meetings running smoothly.    

Ms. Mailander stated that she is a member of Northwest Bergen Shared Services group that includes thirteen towns in Bergen County.  There are a couple of towns that are using a call-in method, but all other towns have their meetings in person.  Anyone wishing to comment must attend the meeting.  She stated that she surveyed other towns in Bergen County and the majority are holding in person meetings with no hybrid access or call-ins.  She asked if there was pushback when the towns returned to in person meetings and none of the towns indicated any problems.  Ms. Mailander added that anyone can send an email to any of the Village Councilmembers explaining their concerns, or to ask questions.   

Councilwoman Reynolds said that she agreed with Councilman Sedon.  She stated that it seems to be an even split with residents she had spoken to, with half indicating that they would come in person to a meeting to speak about a subject important to them and that they don’t want to have the Village incur additional costs for hybrid meetings.  Councilwoman Reynolds echoed earlier statements relative to the cost of cleanup from Hurricane Ida and the need for trees, and this is money that doesn’t need to be spent.  The building is open, people can wear masks, and they can comment at the beginning of the meeting and there is no need to remain for the entire meeting.  She is not in favor of hybrid meetings, and she said that personally she would rather see the person making a comment and not just hear a voice over the phone. 

Councilwoman Perron said she understands Councilman Sedon’s concern relative to all of the expenses faced by the Village.  She pointed out that the question of the hybrid model goes to the core of the democratic process and the legitimacy of this governing body.  In this day and age, the public expects to be heard and the Village has the ability to hear more from members of the public who need to be accommodated.  Councilwoman Perron recalled that earlier in the pandemic, residents would email their comments to the Village Clerk who would read the comments into the record.  She isn’t sure why this procedure was stopped since there was no cost to the Village to continue this practice. 

Councilwoman Perron stated that a trial period would give the Village Council an idea of the cost involved with taking calls, and they could monitor other glitches.  There are two new employees in the IT department who could monitor these meetings at a lower cost than having Mr. Hansen in attendance.  Councilwoman Perron reiterated that she supports a trial period.

Mayor Knudsen stated that she receives emails constantly with residents’ concerns and suggestions, and she responds quickly.  She reiterated that Village Council meetings are held to conduct Village business, and they are not a forum where emails should be read aloud.  She did not agree that hybrid access or emailing comments adds to the legitimacy or transparency of the meeting.  Mayor Knudsen said that last evening’s Planning Board meeting in the Court Room was filled to capacity with people who wanted to learn more about the Village’s Master Plan process.  She noted a previous Mayor and Council meeting attended by approximately 30 elderly veterans who wanted to hear about plans for the Gold Star Monument.  They obviously felt comfortable attending the meeting and she again noted that this is not an issue of transparency. 

Mayor Knudsen said that the costs for a hybrid type meeting are not known and could add up quickly resulting in fewer trees being planted or some other program being discontinued.  She stated that she needs more time to consider the issue and do some additional research on the YouTube delay.  Mayor Knudsen stressed that they had done some behind the scenes work on this.  She also heard from many people who object to the addition of a virtual type of public comment.  Mayor Knudsen objects to any suggestion that this is being dismissive or insensitive to the disabled community.  She has heard the opinions of her colleagues, and it would appear that the Village Council will not implement hybrid meetings primarily due to cost.

e.            Operations

1.)           Refurbishment of Tree Wells in Central Business District

Ms. Mailander stated that the Village is planning to refurbish twenty to twenty-five tree wells to include drilling off the stumps of dying trees; excavating the soil; adding high quality soil into the tree well; and the planting of trees.  This project is expected to cost between $35,000 and $45,000, which will be funded through previous capital ordinances.  Mayor Knudsen and Mr. Rooney have worked together to develop the funding and the Village Council will consider three quotes at the October 6th meeting.  If the lowest responsible quote is under $40,000 a contract can be awarded at the October 13th meeting.  Ms. Mailander said that further work on the tree wells can be discussed as part of the 2022 budget when additional funding could be allocated.  She recalled Councilman Sedon’s suggestion that certain streets or portions of streets could be done annually over several years. 

Councilman Sedon said that this is a good first step, and members of the Shade Tree Commission understand that it can’t all be done in one year.  The main focus is to develop a plan to move forward with funding in place with the understanding that in an emergency situation, things may have to be postponed.  He is happy that the brick bands have been removed from the tree wells since they seemed to be a safety hazard for both pedestrians and motorists.  Councilman Sedon thanked Mayor Knudsen and Mr. Rooney for all their efforts in this area, and also for the support of the Shade Tree Commission.   

Councilwoman Reynolds questioned the types of trees to be planted.  Councilman Sedon said that they will avoid invasives, and they would prefer smaller, ornamental trees.  Councilwoman Reynolds said it is important that the new trees survive, and Councilman Sedon pointed out that much research has gone into identifying soil types and urban forestry to ensure survival of the trees that are selected for planting. 

Councilwoman Perron asked if the tree inventory could be used as a basis for a grant application to purchase and plant more trees.  Councilman Sedon indicated that there are many continuing education certifications needed by members of the Shade Tree Commission to make the Village eligible for some grant funding.  He will need to look into this more extensively, and there may be money available from the County to do some plantings on County roads.  

Mayor Knudsen said it is important to get these trees planted, and she inquired about the timeline.  Councilman Sedon said that fall is the ideal planting time.  The contract could be awarded on October 13th because the amount is under $40,000 as Ms. Mailander had said earlier.  Ms. Mailander said that based on what she recalls from last year, plantings could be done through mid-November. 

Mayor Knudsen again stressed the need to get this done and Ms. Mailander indicated that using part of the emergency appropriations would allow for discussion of the three quotes before the Special Public Meeting on October 6th.  This would save a week, which would be helpful.  Mayor Knudsen said that the Shade Tree Commission works very efficiently, and she thanked the members for their hard work.

7.            COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mayor Knudsen stated that they again would hear comments from the public and asked anyone wishing to address the Village Council to come forward.

Carolyn Jacoby, 160 Godwin Avenue, thanked Andrew Lowry as well as Declan Madden, the arborist, and said they were hoping to do a test to find out the viability of some trees that could survive if the soil and the tree well is maintained.   She also thanked the Village for their response and support and said she looks forward to the implementation of the plan.

Siobhan Crann Winograd, 274 Ivy Place, congratulated the Shade Tree Commission and added that she had purchased two trees in memory of her father at the Arbor Day event sponsored by Mahmoud Hamza.  She said that her father who was disabled would not have been able to attend this meeting, and neither could her husband who works long hours in New York.  She noted that these meetings are inaccessible to many people and there are 25,000 people in Ridgewood who may have many problem-solving ideas.  Ms. Winograd stated that Ridgewood is in trouble as a result of high taxes, garbage issues, and the fact that Village Councilmembers have limited skill sets.  The Village Council is cutting themselves off from listening to the concerns, complaints, and solutions that residents may have to offer.  She said that the idea of this meeting as only being a forum to complain is obscene.  It is an opportunity for the Council to engage with the community. 

Ms. Winograd stated that only select emails are answered by Councilmembers, not all emails.  Councilwoman Perron is the only Councilmember who responds to her emails, and ever since litigation began, she cannot get a response from any Village staff members.  All of the residents she speaks to are in favor of remote access.  The Village Council is not seeking solutions from within the community, and they are cutting people off.  Members of the Council are invoking hearsay when they say residents do not want remote access meetings.  Ms. Winograd pointed out that the building is not safe because there are questions concerning people’s vaccination status. 

Councilman Sedon encouraged anyone with good ideas to email all of the Village Councilmembers for review.

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, stated that Mayor Knudsen has only responded to one of his emails.  He questioned who all these people are who have told Councilmembers that they are not in favor of hybrid meetings.  He asked why they would be against these meetings.  He referred to the comments made relative to the attendance at the Planning Board meeting and said that most of the attendees were elected officials, members of the Planning Board, and members of the firm hired by the Village to work on the Master Plan.  He estimated that there were 20 members of the public in the Courtroom.  Mr. Halaby said that Village officials should not insult the intelligence of the residents, and he added that he would prefer a hybrid meeting over tree planting.  He suggested that the Village have a website that works to engage the public.  No one has given an estimate of how much the hybrid meeting will cost.  Mr. Halaby stated that he is disgusted and wants to be treated with respect.

Lillian Blood, 250 North Maple Avenue, said she has written to Councilmembers and Ms. Mailander numerous times, and she only ever gets a response from one of them.  Her correspondence is never acknowledged.  At meetings Councilmembers never engage with the public, they only have conversations with one another.  She stated that having a knowledgeable and engaged public is better for members of the Council because, otherwise residents could think that Councilmembers are in collusion with one another. 

Amanda Pi, 690 Ellington Road, said that an updated Master Plan is long overdue, and people should recognize that over time things change and evolve.  This means that people who want hybrid meetings should be able to have it, and those who don’t are more than welcome to attend meetings in person.  She agreed with an earlier suggestion to have an intern from the High School to work with the Council on technology concerns relative to the meetings.  There is a pool of talent available in the community to draw from that could be used to offer solutions.  All members of the community should have the opportunity to be a part of what is happening in the community.  Ms.  Pi asked for the cost of hybrid meetings, and what the harm would be to have two types of meetings available.   

Mayor Knudsen stated that although hybrid meetings do not seem to be something the Council wants, they will continue to consider and evaluate the various options. 

No one else came forward at this time.

Mayor Knudsen addressed the topic of hearsay and stated that she thinks and trusts that Councilmembers accurately report what people have said.  She noted a Facebook post by a resident indicating that this resident had not received a response to her comments from Mayor Knudsen.  Mayor Knudsen said she had responded to the resident via email in addition to engaging in a long phone conversation.  As a result of the Facebook post, Mayor Knudsen said she stopped responding to this individual because it was not a good use of time.  

Councilwoman Perron read a definition of hearsay stating that it is an out of court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted.  This is not a Court, but they are decision makers and as a lawyer, she cannot and will not accept hearsay as the basis of her decisions.

Mayor Knudsen said that residents have the right to contact their representatives noting their concerns in confidence.  She said she respects the rights of people who feel threatened to remain anonymous and this desire is due to the level of relentless bullying and personal attacks on social media. 

8.            RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION

Ms. Young read Resolution #21-287 to go into Closed Session.

 

 

 

 

9.            ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Sedon, seconded by Councilwoman Reynolds, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 P.M.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                _________________________________                                                                                                                                                  Susan Knudsen                                                                                                                                                                                           Mayor

 

 

_________________________________                                                                                                                                                      Eileen Young                                                                                                                                                                      Deputy Village Clerk

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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 DECEMBER 1, 2021 AT 7:30 P.M.

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

Mayor Knudsen called the meeting to order at 7:37 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/Deputy Village Clerk; Eileen Young, Deputy Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney. 

Mayor Knudsen led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and asked for a moment of silence in honor of the American men and women serving in our Armed Forces, as well as those serving as first responders.

  1. SWEARING-IN OF COUNCILMAN PAUL VAGIANOS

a.            Reading of Certificate of Election of Paul Vagianos – Heather A. Mailander, Village Manager/Deputy Village Clerk

Ms. Mailander read the Certificate of Election of Paul Vagianos.

b.            Oath of Office Administered to Paul Vagianos by Mayor Susan Knudson

Paul Vagianos was sworn in as a Councilmember by Mayor Knudsen who administered the Oath of Office.

c.             Remarks by Councilman Vagianos

Councilman Vagianos thanked everyone who has supported him over the past few months.  He had considered running for a seat on the Village Council for some time.  He is very excited and thanked his fellow Councilmembers along with staff at Village Hall for their warm welcomes.  He stated that he is happy to be able to contribute and hopes to do great things together with the other Councilmembers.

Councilwoman Perron said that she enjoyed working with Councilman Vagianos on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce and in the Green Restaurant Initiative.  He has a lot of energy and is willing to think outside the box.  The residents and businesses in Ridgewood are lucky to have him.

Councilwoman Reynolds said that this will be a great relationship and she looks forward to working with Councilman Vagianos.

Councilman Sedon told Councilman Vagianos to be prepared for some marathon meetings in the New Year. 

Mayor Knudsen stated that this is a great opportunity to bring a new perspective to the Council that has been lacking.  She wished Councilman Vagianos good luck.

d.            Roll Call of New Village Council – Heather A. Mailander, Village Manager/ Village Clerk

At roll call, the following were present:  Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, Vagianos, and Mayor Knudsen. 

Mayor Knudsen acknowledged a new business on Ridgewood Avenue, Borobabi, which has a fabulous product.  

  1. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mayor Knudsen asked if there were any comments or questions from the public.  

Randy Carson, 817 E. Ridgewood Avenue, stated he is part owner of the Park West Tavern in Ridgewood.  He said that he supports the dining corrals, which have allowed his restaurant to meet the demand for outdoor dining.  The corrals have accounted for 75% of their business during the warmer months and Park West has been able to employ an additional fifteen to twenty people who are paid well above minimum wage.  COVID has changed many things including the profit margin and the Village Council’s continued support of the dining corrals will help to continue a positive trend.  Mr. Carson believes that the corrals have been a driving force of traffic into the Village to the benefit of all downtown businesses.  Mr. Carson hopes that the corrals will be allowed to remain and provide stability in these ever changing times.

Glen Carlough, 200 Dayton Street, owner of the Steel Wheel Tavern, thanked the Mayor and Council for all they have done to help the Central Business District during the heart of the pandemic.  The dining corrals have been a life line for restaurants in the Village.  Mr. Carlough noted that some people want the corrals to be removed in order to get life back to normal, but today New Jersey announced its first omicron case.  He believes that we will be dealing with COVID for the foreseeable future and there should be as many outdoor dining options as possible because there will always be people who want to dine outdoors for health reasons, and those people with comorbidities who only have the option of outdoor dining.  The practice of outdoor dining is working successfully and should be adopted as the new normal.  Mr. Carlough reiterated that the customers love alfresco dining and they are a revenue booster for all those involved especially tipped employees.  The added area allows for Mr. Carlough to employ even more Ridgewood High School students than normal. 

Mr. Carlough said he has hired a landscape firm to develop renderings for consideration by the Village Council.  He had the information with him and available for their review and consideration.  He encouraged Councilmembers to make a decision on the corrals in the summer based on what they look like at that time.  He acknowledged that many people make the argument that the corrals cause parking issues because 24 spaces have been dedicated to the corrals; however, this is less than 10% of the spaces recently added in the garage.  He noted that there are countless other spaces available in various Village parking lots.  Mr. Carlough concluded that dining corrals are a win-win and a revenue stream for Village businesses.   

Bob Upton, 172 West Glen Avenue, commented that residents at the top of the hill on West Glen Avenue where the work on the sidewalks has begun did not think they had been given adequate notice that work was about to begin.  Mr. Upton added that their grievances are not being adequately addressed.  He is located at the bottom of the hill where the issues dealing with retaining walls apply, and is concerned whether or not these residents will be consulted when the work begins.  He recalled a meeting in June that included Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer, among others, when Mr. Rutishauser indicated that he would meet with individual residents rather than a meeting with all of the residents.  Mr. Upton asked for reassurance that residents will be consulted before work commences to include a method of communication. 

Mayor Knudsen stated that the Council is re-visiting the concept of dining corrals, which may be reconfigured.  She spoke about the West Glen improvements and said that each individual location is different and will be looked at separately.  The Village will make sure that everyone is comfortable moving forward and that adequate notice will be provided. 

4.            MANAGER’S REPORT

Ms. Mailander stated that the 36th Annual Downtown for the Holidays is Friday, December 3rd from 6:00 P.M. until 8:30 P.M.  Village vehicles will be decorated in accordance with this year’s theme “Trucks for the Holiday” and the vehicles will be on display on both the east and west side of the Central Business District.  There will be three Christmas trees located at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square; the intersection of South Broad Street and East Ridgewood Avenue; and another at the Train Station Parking Lot.  There will be music and merriment on the streets during the evening of December 3rd and East Ridgewood Avenue will be closed to traffic from Maple Avenue to Broad Street beginning at 4:30 P.M. to create a pedestrian area.   

Ms. Mailander encouraged children to visit Santa on December 4th at Columbia Bank, 60 South Broad Street from 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.  He will be in residence at Santa’s House at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square on December 11th and December 18th from 12:00 noon until 2:00 P.M.  Ms. Mailander said that on December 4th, 11th and 18th there will be free parking at the Hudson Street Parking Garage on the second, third and fourth floors from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.  There are three-hour time limits but there is no time limit after 6:00 P.M. 

Cards of Joy is a program sponsored by the Ridgewood Stigma Free Committee with a deadline of December 15th.  Colorful, creative, and decorative greeting cards with a heartfelt message are encouraged to be created.  Cards will be distributed to older residents at Ridgecrest Senior Housing, SHARE Housing or New Bridge Medical Center.  Cards wishing a wonderful holiday season can be dropped off at the Reception Desk in the lobby of Village Hall or the Special Mailbox at the Ridgewood Library.  The goal is to collect 1,000 Cards of Joy to be distributed. 

Ms. Mailander reported that the leaf collection is almost complete.  Final leaf placement days are December 5th, 7th or 12th depending on the leaf pickup section. 

Ms. Mailander stated that Robert Rooney, the Village CFO, will give a presentation on Municipal Budgeting on December 13th at 7:00 P.M.  There will be a question, and answer period.  Budget meetings will begin in late January or early February. 

Ms. Mailander stated that Village offices and departments will be closed on December 23rd, 24th, and 31st to observe the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.  She asked everyone to check the dates for garbage and recycling pickup on the Village calendar. 

Ms. Mailander listed Village Council meeting dates, which are broadcast, live on the Village website and on Fios Channel 34 and YouTube.  Upcoming meeting dates are as follows:  January 5, 2022, and January 26, 2022, are Village Council Work Sessions beginning at 7:30; and December 8 2021, and January 12, 2022, are Village Council Public Meetings beginning at 8:00 P.M. 

4.            VILLAGE COUNCIL REPORTS

Central Business District Advisory Committee:  Councilwoman Perron stated that the Central Business District Advisory Committee met on November 11th and discussed the usage of the Hudson Street Parking Garage.  In addition, various holiday ideas for 2022 were considered along with the Master Plan as it relates to the Central Business District. 

Open Space Committee:  Councilwoman Perron reported that the Open Space Committee met on November 18th.  The Open Space Plan was discussed as well as potential uses for the Town Garage property on Franklin Avenue.  Fred Jubitz gave an interesting tour of Habernickel Park on November 13th.  Councilwoman Perron thanked Temple Israel for the 9th Annual Lighting of the Menorah. 

Winterfest:  Councilwoman Perron thanked The Guild for this creative event.

Chamber of Commerce:  Councilwoman Perron said that the Chamber of Commerce will not meet in December.  She encouraged everyone to attend Downtown for the Holidays which will be even better than last year.

Green Ridgewood:  Councilwoman Perron stated that Green Ridgewood meets tomorrow along with the Green Team via Zoom.  She asked anyone from the public interested in environmental ideas to join the meeting.  Those interested can contact either her or Councilman Sedon for information relative to the link for the meeting tomorrow at 7:00 P.M. 

Councilwoman Perron encouraged anyone interested in the functioning of the Council to attend the meeting with Robert Rooney on December 13th.  She said she recently attended the New Jersey League of Municipalities convention which is a three-day learning experience.  She learned a lot about public/private partnerships and the State’s climate initiative and how local government will be affected.  There was information on how COVID is affecting insurance rates.  Councilwoman Perron found information on vehicle fleet electrification very interesting.  The information included the concept of EV tourism and how EV charging stations in a downtown area make it very attractive to visitors.

Green Team:  Councilman Sedon reiterated that the Green Team is meeting tomorrow via Zoon with Green Ridgewood.

Shade Tree Commission:  Councilman Sedon said the Shade Tree Commission is meeting on December 14th.  He reported that trees have been planted in the downtown area and everything worked out very well.  He thanked Mayor Knudsen and Mr. Rooney, as well as the Shade Tree Commission who have worked for a number of years to finally begin to get this work done. 

The Elder Dinner:  Councilman Sedon reported that over one hundred meals were distributed to older residents.  He thanked the Community Center Advisory Committee Board, Janet Fricke, Councilwoman Perron, the Civic Youth Corps, and Age Friendly Ridgewood for their efforts.  Councilman Sedon hopes that everyone will be able to gather again next year for the event. 

Councilwoman Perron thanked the Ridgewood AM Rotary Club for the Trail Maintenance Event on Saturday.  The volunteers laid 100 cubic yards of wood chips to refurbish the trail around Twinney’s Pond and they were assisted by Project Interac students.  She thanked Vic DeCarlo and Scot Dellheim, two Parks Department employees, who were a great help. 

Veterans Day:  Councilman Sedon stated that the Veteran’s Day ceremony was held on November 11th at Van Neste Square.  He thanked American Legion Post 53 for coordinating the event.

Planning Board:  Councilwoman Reynolds reported that the Planning Board met on November 16th, and Tasko Enterprises was on the agenda for the memorialization of the resolution.  There were some changes in the resolution relative to tree covering on the property.  The applicants were absent, and the item will be continued at the next meeting.  The Planning Board reviewed Ordinance 3878, Chapter 190 “Hospital District”, which was introduced and passed on first reading at a Special Public Meeting of the Village Council on October 27th.  The Planning Board agreed with the changes and it will be considered for final passage on December 8th at the Council Public Meeting.  The next Planning Board meeting is December 7th.

Citizens Safety Advisory Committee:  The Citizens Safety Advisory Committee met on November 18th.  There was a discussion about the sidewalks being installed between West Glen Avenue and Heights Road.  There will be a four-foot grassy area installed between the curb and sidewalk where the work is currently being done. 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated that the Committee would like to have Smart Street New Jersey banners hung in the CBD to help with safety concerns.  The banner designs will be presented to the Village Council for approval in the future. 

Councilwoman Reynolds stated that a presentation for a parking guide map for Board of Education and recreation fields was well received at a Federated Board Meeting.  The agency’s liaison Mary McCalley will do the necessary coordination to get this done.  Charlie DeMarco was unanimously voted in as Chairman for CSAC for 2022.  Councilwoman Reynolds announced the next meeting on December 16th

Parks and Recreation Committee:  Councilman Vagianos said he met with the Parks and Recreation Committee yesterday evening.  Their concerns centered on the diminished tree canopy and the status of the Schedler property.  Councilman Vagianos said he wasn’t sure about the Schedler property and he met with Mr. Rutishauser and Heather Mailander today.  They provided a compressive report about the status, and he will report back to the Committee at the next meeting.

Feed the Front Lines:  Councilman Vagianos said that this organization feeds over 9,000 people a week.  The organization is always looking for more drivers and he asked people to sign up at the website.

Mayor’s Wellness Campaign:  Mayor Knudsen has signed the annual Pledge of Participation for the Mayor’s Wellness Campaign to encourage healthy lifestyles and positive living. 

Beauty Salon Club:  Mayor Knudsen said that the Beauty Salon Club recently celebrated their new location.  The business has moved from the north side of Ridgewood Avenue to south side of Ridgewood Avenue across from their former location.  The salon has expanded and now offers gift and boutique items and she wished them good luck.  

Annual Thanksgiving Service:  Mayor Knudsen reported that on November 23rd Ridgewood Interfaith held its annual Thanksgiving Service at Emanuel Baptist Church.  The online service included live and pre-recorded members of the interfaith community.  Mayor Knudsen read the annual proclamation regarding the Village and the Village Council.

Menorah Lighting:  Mayor Knudsen spoke about the annual Menorah Lighting which took place on Sunday.  The event was attended by a large and enthusiastic crowd and she thanked Temple Israel and everyone who attended. 

Bergen County Winter Wonderland at Van Saun Park:  Mayor Knudsen stated that this event will begin this Sunday.  She said that Fire Chief Van Goor joined her in selecting and decorating Ridgewood’s Winter Wonderland tree.  She said that each municipality is invited to decorate a tree, which is given to the municipality at the end of the event and that tree is subsequently planted in the Village. 

Planning Board:  Mayor Knudsen announced that the Tasko application is carried to Tuesday evening.  The Board will be reviewing the electric vehicle ordinance and there will be a public hearing on the preliminary reinvestigation for the Valley Hospital property as an area in need of redevelopment.  She encouraged everyone to participate in this meeting.

5.            PRESENTATION

a.            The Land Conservancy of New Jersey – Open Space Plan Update and Environmental Resource Inventory           

Barbara Huskins Davis, Vice President of Programs at the Land Conservancy of New Jersey, introduced herself and added that she is a licensed planner.  Ms. Davis said she will present information relative to the Open Space and Recreation Plan Update and the Environmental Resource Inventory, which the Land Conservancy has been hired to complete.  She recognized members of the Open Space Committee and the Green Team.  Ms. Davis said that previous plans were completed in 2010 and in 2003.  The Open Space Plan has to be current every ten years to be consistent with the Municipal Land Use Law in order to qualify the municipality for funding with the State.  Ms. Davis recalled that the voters voted to enact an Open Space Trust Fund in 2001, and the Village dedicated a half cent for every $100 of assessed property value to Open Space.  Ms. Davis explained that the Land Conservancy will be coordinating with Heyer Gruel, the Village’s Master Planners to ensure the consistency of the documents. 

Ms. Davis reiterated that the Open Space Recreation Plan must be updated to qualify for funding from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Program to purchase and preserve property.  Green Acres has several programs such as land acquisition and land development as well as a new program for land stewardship.  There are two different land acquisition programs with one being site specific, and the other being planning incentive.  The Planning Initiative program is meant to award municipalities that self-tax for open space, and have an open space and recreation plan which explains the reasons why the Village would want to acquire land.  This results in a matching grant of 50% for any of the properties identified in the plan and is meant to be easy, flexible and quick. 

Ms. Davis briefly reviewed a series of sections contained in the plan. These plans can be creative and can help the Village move forward.  The Open Space Committee has the responsibility of overseeing the plan and the open space that is available with the land with other committees within the Village.  The goals of the Open Space Program are an outline of why open space should be purchased and preserved.  Ms. Davis stated that the Open Space Goals for 2021 are to preserve and enhance existing open space; identify areas where open space can be connected through greenways or blue ways; energize and activate the Open Space program by strategically identifying properties that will provide the best value for recreation and to ensure that there are enough parks and playgrounds for the community with easy access.

Ms. Davis described Ridgewood as a walkable community with tree lined streets and beautiful parks along with a vibrant downtown, which will benefit from the Open Space program.  The Open Space Committee has a goal to manage the open space land for the health of the eco-system while trying to control the spread of invasive plants and control deer within the parks and open space.  It is important to consider how the open space enhances the downtown business district.  Ms. Davis pointed out that an Open Space Program can work to enhance the feel of an accessible, green and busy downtown district. 

Ms. Davis spoke about the three sections of the plan.  She said that this is the first of two public meetings required by Green Acres.  The second meeting will occur after the plan has been written and reviewed by the various Boards in the Village and then reviewed as part of the Master Plan.  The history of the Open Space Program consists of the following:  how much money has been collected; what has the money been used for; and how has the money been leveraged.  The State requires an inventory of the Open Space including park locations and private recreation facilities.  Green Acres has provided slightly under $300,000 in grants, mostly for acquisition for Grove Park and Habernickel Family Park.

Ms. Davis stated that the Open Space and Recreation Plan will provide an overview of recreational resources within the municipality including field locations, walking, and gardening areas, and the locations of these facilities.  The plan will look at trends and program participation.  The historic and cultural resources within the Village will be mapped and identified.  The plan will undertake a review of existing planning documentation and she will work with Heyer Gruel to make sure that the two documents are consistent.  Ms. Davis indicated that there will be a series of recommendations provided along with an action program covering short, mid and long term goals.

Ms. Davis stated that they have worked with the Open Space Committee to update the goals of the Village and have almost completed reviewing income and expenditure.  Mapping is underway and action items will be identified with the Open Space Committee, followed by the submission of a draft report for municipal review.  The ultimate goal is for the Planning Board to adopt this plan as an element of the Master Plan and for the plan to be submitted to Green Acres. 

Ms. Davis said that the Conservancy has been hired to work on the Environmental Resource Inventory, which is a scientific report identifying the location of natural resources; cultural sites; transportation hubs; and how they all work together.  The report is based on the best available scientific data and includes land use; stormwater and flooding; known contaminated sites; historic and cultural resources; infrastructure; geology and topography; soils; wetlands; vegetation; wildlife; and climate and air.  There is a new emphasis on climate resiliency which will be included in the Master Plan.  Ms. Davis described the maps as the vehicle by which the information is communicated and depicted.

Ms. Davis stated that the Environmental Resource Inventory compliments the Master Plan and can be used to aid and support grant applications for different land acquisitions.  It will provide guidance to the Planning Board and the Village Council to allow for a more informed decision-making process.  

Councilmembers complimented Ms. Davis on her concise and comprehensive presentation.  Mayor Knudsen questioned how the historic and cultural resources integrate into the Open Space Plan Update and Environmental Resources Inventory.  Ms. Davis said she would work closely with the representative who is looking at the historic preservation element of the Master Plan.  Mayor Knudsen will provide the contact information for Dianne O’Brian, a Planning Board Member, who is working on the historic element. 

Mayor Knudsen said she would open the meeting for public comment and questions of Ms. Davis. 

Ralph Curry, 260 Woodside Avenue, said he is a member of the Open Space Committee.  He thanked the Mayor and Council as well as the Village Manager for engaging the Land Conservancy to do this work.  He is grateful to have the opportunity to work with Ms. Davis and her staff who are exceptionally qualified. 

Mayor Knudsen said that this is an exciting time for the Village, and she is eagerly awaiting a final document in a few months.  She added that the Village is mapping a path for the future and for future generations. 

6.            DISCUSSION

                a.            Ridgewood Water

1.)           Award Second Year Sole Source Contract – Software Support SCADA

Ms. Mailander referred to the Renewal Advice Summary for Emerson Process Management Power and Water Solutions, who are the only supplier and provider of the software used for Ridgewood Water’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system.  SCADA is an invaluable tool for operating the system and troubleshooting problems.  Ridgewood Water has had the current system in place since 1992. 

Ms. Mailander said that this is a three-year contract subject to annual renewal every January from 2022 through December of 2024.  The total contract price is $59,607.35, that is billed in increments of $19,869.12 per year.  Funds will be available contingent on the Village Council appropriating the temporary budget for 2022. 

2.)           Award Contract – Furnishing and Delivering Sodium Hypochlorite Solution

Ms. Mailander said that on November 3, 2021, the Village Water Department received two bids for the furnishing and delivering of sodium hypochlorite solution.  The lowest bidder was PVS Minibulk, Inc., of Detroit, Michigan.  This substance is similar to household bleach and is effective at killing waterborne bacteria and viruses.  The price is $1.68 per gallon, and the contract requires renewal on an annual basis.  The contract is in an amount not to exceed $84,000 per year.

3.)           Award Contract – Pipes, Appurtenances and Service Materials

Ms. Mailander reported that one bid proposal was received for the furnishing of pipe, appurtenances and service materials.  These materials are necessary to facilitate repairs and replacements for the water system.  The items will be ordered as needed.  It is recommended to award the bid on a per unit basis to Core & Main of Edison, N.J.  Funding is in the Water Utility budget and the Water Utility Capital budget and the amount is not to exceed $415,000. 

Mr. Calbi explained that there were no bids on the brass section, and that section along with a few others will be rebid.

4.)           Award Contract – Line Stop Valve Insertion Services

Ms. Mailander said that one bid was received for the Line Stop Valve Insertion Services of the four proposals that were picked up.  Carner Brothers of Roseland, N.J., was the sole bidder and they have previously performed these services for the Water Utility in a professional manner.  Line Stop and Valve Insertions are a specialized operation, and these services avoid long extended shutdowns and “Boil Water Notices”.  This is the first year of a two-year contract in an amount not to exceed $200,000.  Funds will be available contingent upon the Village Council appropriating the temporary budget for 2022 and subsequently adopting a 2022 budget to fund the full amount of the contract. 

5.)           Amend Change Order – Ridgewood Water New Facility

Ms. Mailander recalled that at the November 10, 2021 Public Meeting, the Village Council awarded a change order to Adamo Brothers Construction.  The resolution contained a typographical error in the amount of the change order, the total for the change order was $36,345.25, not $31,800.00.  It is recommended that Resolution 21-333 be rescinded and reapproved with the correct amount.

                b.            Parking – None

c.             Budget

1.)         Budget Transfer Resolution

Ms. Mailander stated that this is the annual Budget Transfer Resolution transferring money from departments with excess funds to those departments having insufficient funds.   

2.)         Establish 2022 Temporary Budget

Ms. Mailander said this is an annual resolution to establish 26.25% of the current year’s budget as a temporary budget for the following year until the actual budget is adopted.  This is done in December in order for payroll to be processed and bills paid in January. 

3.)         Cancellation of Emergency Appropriations – Current Fund

Ms. Mailander recalled that as a result of damages incurred from Hurricane Ida, the Village was required to adopt a resolution for an Emergency Appropriation.  This expedited the process for awarding contracts and paying personnel costs for overtime and equipment rental.  On October 6, 2021, the Village Council adopted two resolutions, including one appropriating $1,828,900, and another in the amount of $75,000 for the Water Utility.  There was another amount of $74,500 for the issuance of a Capital Ordinance.  The Village also adopted a General Capital Ordinance in the amount of $1,564,500, and a Water Capital Ordinance for $75,000, to provide appropriations for qualifying storm related costs and to reduce the emergency appropriations for operating fees.  The resolution for consideration this evening requests the Village Council to consider the cancellation of Emergency Appropriations in the General Fund in the amount of $1,564,500, and Water Utility Fund in the amount of $75,000. 

Ms. Mailander explained that the amount required to be raised in the 2022 budget will be $263,900 consisting of $189,400 of emergency appropriations not considered capital, and a $74,500 down payment needed for Capital Ordinances.   

4.)         Cancellation of Budget Appropriations – Parking Utility

Ms. Mailander stated that there are unexpended budget appropriations in the Parking Utility for salaries and wages.  Due to the decline in revenues and a reduction in operations of the utility, it is necessary to formally cancel the balances appropriated.  The unexpended balance may be credited to surplus and offset the anticipated shortfall in parking revenues.

5.)         Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veteran

Ms. Mailander stated that the owner of 577 Northern Parkway has applied for the Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans.  The property tax payment for 2021 will be refunded in the amount of $13,244.83, without interest, and the 2022 property taxes will be cancelled in the amount of $6,622.00.

6.)         Award Contract – Landfill Disposal of Solid Waste

Ms. Mailander said that only one bid was received in response to the proposal for Landfill Disposal of Solid Waste for 2022-2023.  The bidder IWS Transfer Systems, of Teaneck, N.J., is quoting $80.49 per ton for 2022 and 2023, and a travel distance of 11.95 miles.  The Village is using IWS Transfer Systems at this time for the same amount of money, Ms. Mailander pointed out that the Village is fortunate that the price has not increased. 

Councilwoman Perron recalled that Mr. Calbi indicated previously that there would be an increase in the amount of waste.  Mr. Calbi said the six-year average doesn’t include this current year, and they are budgeting for 9,500 tons in 2022. 

7.)         Award Professional Services – Medical Check-ups and Child Immunizations

Ms. Mailander stated that the Health Department went out for eight quotes from physicians relative to the monthly work at the Ridgewood/Glen Rock/Fairlawn Child Health Conference in 2022.  One reply was received from Dr. Wayne Narucki, who has been working the clinics for the past twelve years.  Dr. Narucki is charging $180, which is a $5 rate increase from last year.  The maximum amount for each town to pay is $1,950, and clinics are run approximately two to three hours per months during a ten-month period. 

8.)         Results of Rebid for Body Shop Services

Ms. Mailander recalled that Mr. Rutishauser went out for bids for body shop services previously and there was no response.  He went out for a rebid and again has received no response.  As a result, the Village Council will consider a resolution to acknowledge the receipt of bids which will permit Fleet Services to negotiate body shop services for the repair of vehicles.  The intent of this bid was to obtain prices by public bid for Body Shop services for the repair of Village vehicles and equipment. 

9.)         Award Contract – Preparation of 2022 Village Council Meeting Minutes

Ms. Mailander reported that she advertised for someone to prepare synopsis minutes for the 2022 Village Council meetings.  She required information on price per page in addition to a sample synopsis minutes.  In 2021, the price per page was $9.00.  Five people picked up the specifications and one valid proposal was received from Alvarez Typing for $7.50 per page.  Ms. Mailander said that Ms. Alvarez previously prepared Village Council meeting minutes in 2009 and 2020, and at that time the minutes were detailed and comprehensive.  Ms. Mailander recommended that the Village Council award a contract to Irene Alvarez, d.b.a. Alvarez Typing to run from January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022. 

10.)      Additional Award – Yard Waste Disposal

Ms. Mailander explained that this is an additional award for yard waste disposal including grass clippings generated by Village residents during the 2021 yard waste season.  She pointed out that 2021 was a good growing season with increased rainfall resulting in increased yard waste.  The additional amount will be awarded to RVH Mulch Supply, LLC, of Wyckoff, N.J., who were the lowest responsible bidders in an amount not to exceed $18,000. 

11.)      Award Professional Services – Risk Management Consultants

Ms. Mailander said that a Risk Management Consultant must be appointed annually as a result of the Village’s membership in the Joint Insurance Fund (JIF).  For many years, Brown and Brown have been the consultants.  The recommendation is to continue with this company that aids with workers compensation, general liability, and property damage claims.  The charge for the service is $65,000 based on a formula from JIF.

              d.            Policy

1.)         Amend Resolution 21-233 – Body Worn Camera Grant Agreement

Ms. Mailander stated that the Village awarded body worn cameras for the Police Department which were funded by a grant. After the resolution was adopted, they were told that the grant period from January 1,, 2021 through December 31, 2025, had to be included in the resolution in order for the Village to receive the grant money.  It is required that the resolution be redone to include the time period.  

2.)         Opioid Litigation Participation

Mr. Rogers explained that governmental entities have initiated litigation to include municipalities relative to the opioid crisis in America.  This litigation is against the three largest pharmaceutical distributors of opioids including McEssen; Cardinal Health; and Amerisource Bergen; along with pharmaceutical companies Jansen Pharmaceutical; and Johnson and Johnson.  There has been a national settlement agreement relative to this opioid litigation and he is working with the New Jersey State appointed attorney to handle all the political and governmental subdivisions.  Mr. Rogers pointed out that there is now a process where municipalities can benefit by joining this settlement agreement.  He explained that Ridgewood would have to waive any other rights that it may have regarding any further litigation by participating in this settlement.  Under this settlement agreement, it appears the Village could gain $250,000 worth of funds over the next three years.  Eighty five percent of these funds must be used for opioid use abatement and for educational purposes in the schools to stem this pandemic.  A decision to participate must be made by January 2, 2022, and no money will be disbursed until April of 2022 at the earliest.  Mr. Rogers recommends going forward with participation in this settlement.

Councilman Vagianos asked why the Village wouldn’t move forward, and Mr. Rogers said the only reason would be the possible waiver of any other claims by the Village.  He said he could not think of any other claims that the Village would bring forward.  Mayor Knudsen noted that treatment and recovery options are part of this opportunity in this funding and time is of the essence. 

Mr. Rogers said he would have a resolution drafted for the meeting next week. 

3.)         Fees – Graydon Pool, Tennis and Pickleball Membership for 2022

Ms. Mailander said that the staff at the Parks and Recreation Department recognize that the global pandemic is still ongoing and because of that fact they are recommending that current membership fees should remain the same as they were in 2021.  It is also recommended that there be a separate membership for those wishing to utilize the pickleball courts and that fee should be the same rate as tennis badge memberships.  Tennis and pickleball will be separate memberships in order to track the numbers who are playing each sport.  Ms. Mailander said that someone wanting to play both tennis and pickleball should be charged a discounted rate of $60 for the two badges rather than $80.  She noted that each individual membership is $40 each.

Mayor Knudsen said that this is an increase and not a discount and she does not support it.  Anyone wishing to play both sports should be given a double marked badge and listed as doing both sports.  She added that there must be a better solution to accommodate both activities rather than imposing a 50% increase.  Councilwoman Reynolds indicated agreement.  Councilwoman Perron said she agreed also as long as the Parks and Recreation Department can track the data they need.  Councilman Sedon pointed out that there are only six people that would be affected by any increase in fees. 

Mayor Knudsen commented that since she has been looking around the Village and she now thinks there are ample Village owned properties that could be used for pickleball courts. 

Ms. Mailander said that there is a consensus not to charge more for those playing both sports.

4.)         Zoning Board of Adjustment – Annual Report

Ms. Mailander stated that this is an Annual Report required by law. The report makes recommendations pursuant to zoning adjustments as well as best practices for their Board and the Building Department.  They are recommending that the Village allocate additional funds to allow for stricter and more timely code enforcement of non-compliant homeowners throughout the Village.  Ordinance recommendations include:  that the temporary resolution regarding variance approval from one year to two years be permanently adopted; Planning Board consideration of the allowable depth of a front porch with an amendment to the front yard setback; Planning Board consideration of replacing the existing setback rules with a minimum/maximum calculation to neighboring properties;  clarification of when and how much a driveway can be widened leading up to a garage; and consideration of the requirement for a minimum lot width or a maximum driveway width in the case of a circular driveway. 

Mayor Knudsen said that the review did go to the Planning Board; however, it needed to come before the Village Council initially.  She recalled that the Mayor and Council had considered the setback rules sometime in 2012; however, did not agree on a solution.

Mr. Rogers said that these are the kinds of variance requests the Board sees most frequently.  He pointed out that the extension of variance approval from one to two years has been done in many municipalities.  The Board also notes discrepancies they find in the Village’s Zoning Code and in other cases they are calling for clarifications. 

Mayor Knudsen recommended taking the report to the Planning Board for comment.  The report will then come back to the Village Council for consideration by the Village Council.  Councilwoman Perron agreed adding that she didn’t understand the change to the setback rules that would take another resident’s property into consideration.  Councilman Vagianos said that there are areas in the Village where houses are set quite far back which disrupts the visual streetscape.  Mayor Knudsen agreed and said that the Board of Adjustment is asking whether a change needs to be made, or some type of clarification is needed. 

5.)         Dining Corrals

Councilman Vagianos recused himself from participation in this item and the next agenda item.

Ms. Mailander said that dining corrals have been extended through December 31st of 2021.  Mayor Knudsen said that there were issues with a couple of the dining corals.  In one case, the corral was blocking an entire store front, and in another, valuable parking spaces were being used that impacted a storeowner’s ability to conduct business.  These issues are being resolved according to Ms. Mailander. 

Councilman Sedon said dining corrals should continue as long as necessary, but he didn’t think the approval should be permanent.  Mayor Knudsen indicated that she would work with the Village Manager and staff to address any outstanding issues, and she suggested that the Village Council consider the situation in February or March when everyone has a better understanding of the variants.  After some more discussion, it was decided that the corrals will remain until March 31st, 2022.

Ms. Mailander said there is another issue of allowing the corrals to go past their lease line, or to go in front of other businesses.  Councilwoman Perron agreed that this could be allowed if both the business and the landlord consents.  Ms. Mailander said that if the landlord agrees the business should also agree.  It would not be allowable if the landlord agrees but the tenant did not agree.  The Councilmembers indicated that they have no problem if both the business and landlord agree to extend the corrals past the lease line.  Mayor Knudson remarked that she doesn’t find a lot of clutter appealing but she agreed with the majority opinion. 

 

6.)         Outdoor Cafes

Ms. Mailander said that some restaurants have had greenhouses, tents, or bubbles.  She asked if the Council would continue to let these structures exist relative to outdoor cafes.  Mayor Knudsen stated that due to the environment of variants, the structures should also be allowed to continue until March 31, 2022.  People should be encouraged to come downtown to shop and dine and there has to be some sort of comfort level provided.  Councilmembers agreed with this.

Ms. Mailander asked if the same lease line idea should be used for these outdoor structures.  Mayor Knudsen said this would work until it is revisited next March.  Ms. Mailander repeated that the idea is to have both the landlord and tenant agree as noted previously.

Ms. Mailander spoke about permanent tents.  She noted that there is one business that has a permanent tent.  The agreement is that in the case of snow, the company who owns the tent would remove the roof before the snow accumulates.  Mayor Knudsen said she agrees with tents that have two sided openings to enhance people’s comfort levels.  She said that a completely enclosed tent defeats the purpose and is simply another building.

Councilwoman Perron said that you can open the flaps of a tent to allow for a large amount of air circulation, which is not possible inside a building.  People find tents appealing because they are warmer even though you are still outside.  She concluded that tents definitely improve comfort levels.

Mayor Knudsen said that any restrictions regarding tents should be left as is, and Councilmembers agreed.  Ms. Mailander questioned the possibility of tents with open sides instead of dining corrals.  Councilman Sedon indicated that this is far too much clutter.  Councilwoman Perron said that the number of people in a tent or bubble could be limited to six or eight, but Mayor Knudson said that this would be impossible to enforce.  Mayor Knudsen stated that the only tent that was in operation last year is on private property and should be allowed to continue.  The Village Council will re-visit the situation and these suggestions after March 31st, 2022. 

              e.            Operations

1.)         Authorize Shared Services Agreement – 2022 Child Health Clinic

Ms. Mailander said that Glen Rock and Fair Lawn will join Ridgewood in the Child Health Care Clinic in 2022.  Glen Rock has joined Ridgewood for the past ten years and this is the fifth year with Fair Lawn.  Glen Rock and Fair Lawn are billed for one third of the invoice billed by the pediatrician at the conclusion of the final clinic of the year. 

9.          REVIEW OF DECEMBER 8, 2021 REGULAR PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA

Ms. Mailander stated that the meeting will include a proclamation declaring January Radon Action Month.

Ms. Mailander stated that there are no Ordinance Introductions or Public Hearings for Ridgewood Water.  The following resolutions for Ridgewood Water include:  Award Sole Source Contract for Software Support for SCADA; Title 59 Approval and Award Contract for Furnishing and Delivering Sodium Hypochlorite Solution; Title 59 Approval and Award Contract for Pipes, Appurtenances and Service Materials; Title 59 Approval and Award Contract for Line Stop Valve Insertion; and Authorize Change Order for the new Ridgewood Water Facility.

Ms. Mailander said that there will be an Ordinance Introduction to Amend Chapter 145 for Fees for Graydon Pool, Tennis, and Pickleball Membership Fees.

Ms. Mailander reviewed the Ordinances for Public Hearing:  Amending Chapter 190 – Land Use and Development – “H” Hospital District; Establishing Standards for Electrical Vehicle Charging Spaces in New Developments; 2021 Management Salary Ordinance; 2022 Non-Union Salary Ordinance; 2022 Management Salary Ordinance; Amending Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Ridgewood Parking Permits Rules and Regulations for Non-Residents; Amending Chapter 145 – Fees – Fees for Ridgewood Parking Permits.

Resolutions include:  Approve 2022 Village Cash Management Plan; Designate Official Newspapers for 2022; 2022 Annual Meetings Statement; Award Contract for Preparation of 2022 Village Council Meeting Minutes;  Title 59 Approval and Award Contract for Landfill Disposal of Solid Waste; Award Professional Services Contract for Child Health Clinic; Award Professional Services Contract for Risk Management Consultants; Award Professional Services Contract for Employee Assistance Program; Authorize Shared Services Agreement for 2022 Child Health Clinic; Authorize Shared Services Agreement for TV Inspection of Sanitary Sewer Mains (Northwest Bergen County Utilities Authority); Approve Budget Transfers; Establish 2022 Temporary Budget; Authorize Cancellation of Emergency Appropriations for Current Fund; Authorize Cancellation of Budget Appropriations for Current Fund; Authorize Refund and Cancellation of Taxes for Disabled Veteran – Block 2907, Lot 44; Amend Resolution #21-233 for Body-Worn Camera Grant Agreement;  Appoint Joint Insurance Fund Commissioner; Appoint Public Agency Compliance Officer; Appoint Member to Library Board of Trustees; Appoint Members to Open Space Committee; Appoint Members to Project Pride Committee; Appoint Members to Central Business District Advisory Committee; Appoint Members to Green Ridgewood Committee; Appoint Members to Ridgewood Green Team Advisory Committee; and Opioid Litigation.

Resolutions removed from Consent Agenda include:  Extend Dining Corals and Outdoor Cafes through March 31st, 2022.

10.        COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mayor Knudsen stated they again would have comments from the public and asked anyone wishing to address the Village Council to come forward.  

Carolyn Jacoby, 160 Godwin Ave, Shade Tree Commission Member, stated that the tree planting will be complete tomorrow in time for the tree lighting.  This was the goal, and she thanked the Councilmembers for their continued support.  She hopes to move forward with a robust Phase Two in 2022. 

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, again asked Councilmembers to speak clearly into the microphones.  He asked about the legal matter on the Closed Session agenda which is Jardini suing the Village.  Mr. Rogers said that this is a slip and fall lawsuit. 

Mr. Halaby said that Franklin Avenue is very uneven and poorly surfaced.  He questioned the status of the resurfacing program. 

Regarding the discussion on dining corrals, Mr. Halaby said that decisions should be left up to restaurant owners as long as they are not obstructing traffic or are creating a dangerous situation.  He thinks that the corrals make the downtown area more attractive and interesting. 

Mayor Knudsen asked that someone follow up with Bergen County regarding the paving on Franklin Avenue.  She said that the Village approved the shared services and completed their portion of the work some time ago.  Councilwoman Reynolds said that she attended a meeting where this was discussed, and she asked if the work would be done in the Spring of 2022.  She was told that the County has not scheduled the work for Spring 2022, and in fact the County is falling behind with their paving programs.  She said the County needs to be reminded about the situation every couple of months.

Denise Lima, 319 East Glen Avenue, also said it is difficult to hear.  Ms. Lima referred to historical preservation and said the Village needs stronger guidelines, committees and oversite.  She said that something has to be done relative to the historic stone house on Prospect Street and Maple Avenue.  She asked for changes to be made to the Master Plan and she pointed out that the Village website has no information on the history of the Village. Ms. Lima stressed the importance of having a plan to put other people in place who will take over the history of the Village.  She noted that the Paramus Church and East Glen Avenue are historic streets that are missing from historic designation in the Master Plan.  She asked the Council to think about what could be done differently to protect and ensure what is left.

Louis Delicate, 959 Barnes Drive, noted the large piles of leaves in his area.  He said that it is almost impossible for two cars to pass on the road.  He suggested alternate side of the street leaf packing.  Mr. Delicate spoke about the new sidewalk in front of Habernickel Park which is not used because people walk in the street. 

Mr. Delicate said he started playing pickleball at the YMCA before the beginning of the pandemic and the courts at Glen are a big improvement compared to the facilities he had used.  He pointed out that there are three or four months out of the year when it is impossible to play outside, and after it rains some of the courts cannot be used.  Closing the courts on Monday and Friday eliminates 28% of the time during a week when pickleball could be played.  In the summer it becomes too hot to play if the courts are not accessible until 10:00 A.M.  Mr. Delicate stated that this sport affords an opportunity for individuals who aren’t overly athletic, or may be handicapped, to be actively engaged and involved as well as being socially engaged.  Mr. Delicate urged the Village Council to extend the amount of time when the pickleball courts can be used to be consistent with the time that play is allowed on the tennis courts. 

Lillian Blood, 250 North Maple Avenue, thanked the Village Council for listening to the concerns of pickleball players.  She congratulated Councilman Vagianos on his recent election and she recognized all the time the Councilmembers take from their personal lives to make such a difference to the community.  Ms. Blood said she delivers meals as part of the Feed the Frontline program and finds it to be very rewarding. 

Regarding pickleball, Ms. Blood had a surveyor measure the distance from the homes of the people who are complaining about the sound coming from the courts.  She said that these people live too far away to be impacted by the noise and the sound decibels are lower than allowed.  She had copies of the information to distribute to Councilmembers.  Ms. Blood said that the hours for pickleball should be the same as the hours for tennis, and she agreed that the price for the pickleball badge should be the same as a tennis badge.

No one else came forward and Mayor Knudsen stated that the public comment portion was closed. 

Councilwoman Perron responded to the comment that the restaurants should be allowed to do whatever they want.  She said that the Village supplies good structure, predictability and safety by establishing the permitting system. 

Regarding Ms. Blood’s information about the location of the homes occupied by residents who are complaining about pickleball, she said she had seen the report and most people live beyond 500 ft. of the courts.  She walked the area on November 11th and found the sound of pickleball to be very faint with the exception of one home that is quite close to the courts.

Mayor Knudsen said that Denise Lima raised some good points.  She said that in the case of historic homes and properties owned by the Village there is a legal obligation; however, when historic homes are owned privately there is nothing the Village can do.  Mr. Rogers said that designating properties and areas as historic is very difficult; however, he said that the points raised by Ms. Lima should be considered.

Councilman Vagianos said he has been on both side of the dais, and he understands how difficult it is to hear people speaking.  He suggested that everyone bring the microphone closer in order to be better heard. 

8.          RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION

Ms. Young read Resolution #21-360 to go into Closed Session as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.          ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Sedon, seconded by Councilwoman Reynolds, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 10:05 P.M.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            _________________________________                                                                                                                                                Susan Knudsen                                                                                                                                                                                         Mayor

 

 

_________________________________                                                                                                                                                Eileen Young                                                                                                                                                                    Deputy Village Clerk

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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 NOVEMBER 3, 2021, AT 7:30 P.M.

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

Mayor Knudsen called the meeting to order at 7:31 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.  At roll call, the following were present:  Councilmembers Perron, Reynolds, Sedon, and Mayor Knudsen.  Also present were Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; Eileen Young, Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney. 

Mayor Knudsen led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and asked for a moment of silence in honor of the American men and women serving in our Armed Forces, as well as those serving as first responders.

Mayor Knudsen acknowledged all Ridgewood residents who ran for public office this year and congratulated the winners. 

  1. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mayor Knudsen asked if there were any comments or questions from the public.  

Paul Vagianos, 280 Rivara Court, thanked all those who participated in the election and said he looks forward to serving on the Village Council.  Regarding tonight’s agenda, Mr. Vagianos noted that the Council would be considering free parking on Saturdays during the Holiday season.  He said he finds this counterproductive because most of these spaces are used by employees making it much harder for shoppers and diners to shop. 

Bob Upton, 172 West Glen Avenue, summarized a recent email he sent to the Village Council and the Engineering Department.  He thanked the Mayor, Ms. Mailander, and Councilwoman Reynolds for meeting with area residents last week.  There has been no conversation with Mr. Rutishauser, Village Engineer, since the plans were sent out on August 25th.  Some residents have been told the plan is moving ahead even though it is still being debated.  He commented that he supports sidewalks; however, some aspects of the plan are problematic.  There should be input on traffic management, planning and aesthetic design.  There has been a question of whether or not to include a grass verge in the design to slow traffic.  Mr. Upton said he is a 40-year resident at his address and he said nothing will slow the traffic.  Mr. Upton said that the suggestion to plants trees in the verge will only worsen visibility problems when exiting driveways.  He stated that if they are concerned with ascetics and design, it would make sense to have a complete plan and budget before construction commences. 

Gladys Chinitz, 632 Eastbrook Road, said she opposes an extension of hours on the pickleball courts at Glen School.  She recalled that last year many of the neighbors and representatives of pickleball participants, including Councilmembers, spent a great deal of time working towards a compromise that was acceptable to everyone.  The hours at the pickleball court went from an indefinite number of hours and days per week, to 45 hours over five days per week.  She fails to see why this agreement is being revisited.  The noise in the neighborhood continues until the playing stops and if there are no restrictions no one will be able to enjoy their outdoor space.  The neighbors have compromised to accommodate the pickleball players and are subjected to never ending noise.  Ms. Chinitz said this is not fair and more pickleball courts are needed in Ridgewood instead of adding more hours of play to the Glen Courts. 

Judy Mac, 330 Eastbrook Road, spoke regarding the pickleball courts and pointed out that in 2019, the Village installed four pickleball courts without notification to the neighbors who live adjacent to the courts.  Ms. Mac met with Mayor Hache, Nancy Bigos and Heather Mailander shortly after and they suggested using muted balls; however, this made no difference.  Progress was made when the hours of play were lessened and play was only allowed for five days.  Ms. Mac said she was opposed to unlimited pickleball since many people are working from home due to COVID 19 and there is data available to show that half the people playing at the Glen Courts are not Ridgewood residents.  Pickleball should not be located 45 ft. from neighboring homes and she asked the Village Council to find a suitable solution to allow residents to enjoy the game while allowing the neighbors to enjoy a quiet neighborhood.  She asked the Council to find a new location for the pickleball courts and share this information and the timeline with Village residents.

Beth Abbott, 25 Welch Road, Lebanon, Age Friendly Ridgewood; Sue Ulrich, 10 Bender Road, Waldwick, Age Friendly Ridgewood; and Sheila Brogan, 302 Kensington Drive, Age Friendly Ridgewood introduced themselves.  Ms. Abbott stated that older residents in the Village would find emergency preparedness    information useful for situations such as Hurricane Sandy and now COVID 19.  Sue Ulrich found a guide published in 2013 and Jeremy Kleiman of OEM, and Heather Mailander agreed to work with Ms. Abbott, Ms. Brogan and herself to update and edit the brochure.  They spent $5,540 of Age Friendly Funds on the project and printed 1,000 brochures that are available at Village Hall, OEM Department and HILT events as well as vaccine clinics.  Sheila Brogan gave the brochures out this evening and said the information would be available in PDF form on their website, AgeFriendlyRidgewood.org and on the OEM website.  They have reprinted information cards about local transportation and the Village’s senior buses are at the top of the list.  The Home Improvement and Chore brochure has also been updated and is available.    

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, said that yesterday’s election also known as One Village/One Vote will be remembered as Ridgewood’s finest hour.

Mr. Halaby spoke relative to Health Barn and encouraged Village Councilmembers to get it done.  He referred to Schedler property and asked Councilmembers to refrain from spending money on the berm until the newly elected Councilmember is sworn in and there is time to contemplate what a disaster Schedler has become.  The Finance Advisory Committee should be reconvened to look into all the money that has been spent on the Schedler property with nothing to show for it. 

Mr. Halaby stated that it is taking over a year to come to an agreement with Health Barn.  He asked for an update on the Pease Library, which has been vacant for over a year.  He noted that a column at the Ridgewood Taxi service was damaged three or four years ago and has been left to rot.  This is a historic building and he said the column needs to be repaired and the building should be leased. 

Hans-Jurgen Lehmann, 234 Union Street, referred to the statement made by Matt Rogers at a recent meeting.  Mr. Lehman said he has also known Matt Rogers since the 1970s; however, he finds some of Mr. Rogers’ statements to be disappointing.   Mr. Rogers spoke about the Ridgewood Community Foundation, which was formed in part to raise money for various purposes.  This idea was applauded by at the time Mayor Hache and Deputy Mayor Knudsen who attended the meeting and dominated the discussion.  The Foundation accepted money for the 100th anniversary celebration and he isn’t sure where the money went since the cost of the meeting was paid for through donations.  There was supposed to be a pamphlet celebrating the event that was never printed and Mr. Lehmann asked what happened to that money.   The Village Manager encouraged donations to the 501C3 but there is no record of this charity with the IRS or the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and he asked if there were concerns of legitimacy regarding the Foundation.  Eventually, just over $40,000 was transferred to the Health Barn Foundation and more money was transferred electronically and used for “Feed the Frontlines”.  Mr. Lehmann asked what legal advice Mr. Rogers had given during this time. 

Simon Lee, 321 Eastbrook Road, spoke about the extended pickleball hours.  He said the sound is very piercing and the fact that play takes place so close to residents is stressful.  He can’t utilize the backyard or open the windows and the sound gets through his triple paned windows.  He understands that exercise is very important to the players, but he questioned how much thought went into the location of the pickleball courts.  Mr. Lee said he opposes adding more hours for play because the continuous high pitched sound gets on residents’ nerves and he asked for some understanding of the situation.

Gail Howard, 652 Eastbrook Road, said that fair-minded people agree that locating the pickleball court at Glen was a mistake, and now there is a discussion of extending the hours while neighborhood residents will be losing the enjoyment of their properties.  It has been documented that the sound of pickleball has negative consequences including anxiety and insomnia.  The sound is mind numbing and it goes on for hours with no relief.  She said that the health, safety and welfare of all Ridgewood residents should matter, not only that of the pickleball players.

Lillian Blood, 250 North Maple Avenue, said she is 81 years old and a pickleball player.  She stated that this is a wonderful way to get exercise and be with other people.  She said that she went to the home of the person who spoke previously and any sound from the pickleball court was inaudible.  The gentleman who spoke before who had recently purchased the house must have been aware of the pickleball courts.  The restriction on pickleball play is unfair and Ms. Blood pointed out that play on other fields takes place all day and in the evenings.  Many players are forced to play in Oakland, Glen Rock, Wyckoff and Montvale where there are no time restrictions.  She asked that playing time be opened up for pickleball players so they can have the same opportunities to play as the other sports.

Alan Chinitz, 632 Eastbrook Road, said that the sound of pickleball he experiences is like eight to twelve continuous hours of never ending cannon shots.  He has been a physician at Valley Hospital for 50 years and the repetitive sound, over six to eight hours, is harmful mentally and physically.  He added that people in the area were never informed that these courts were going to be turned into pickleball courts.  A solution has to be found and the courts have to be some distance from surrounding homes. 

There were no additional comments from the public and Mayor Knudsen closed this portion of the meeting.

Mayor Knudsen addressed Mr. Lehmann’s comments saying that the Foundation he referred to is actually the fundraising committee for the 125th Anniversary Committee where everything was donated.  She said there is a lease holder at the Pease Library and it has been occupied by Central Dispatch.  The lease was not renewed due to COVID 19 and it is an active listing. 

Mayor Knudsen recalled at the last meeting Mr. Rooney referred to $7 million in funds that have been appropriated for Schedler, but not spent.  The Village holds onto this money while they assess each overall project.  She asked Mr. Rooney to prepare a new document to show the actual expenditures and the grant money and commitments.  He will review this at the next work session and she reiterated that $7 million was not spent on the Schedler house.  Mayor Knudsen said that $531,000 in grant money has been spent on the house, and $300,000 has been spent on the field and berm which was received from the Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund.  She explained that money has to be appropriated and there have to be expenditures in order to get the grant money back.

3.            MANAGER’S REPORT

Ms. Mailander stated that the Village is sponsoring a shredding event on Saturday, November 6th, at the Graydon Pool Parking lot from 9:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. or until the truck is full.  She recommended getting there early.

Ms. Mailander reminded everyone that the Ridgewood Farmers Market is organized by the Chamber of Commerce and is open every Sunday from 8:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. at the train station parking lot through the end of November. 

Ms. Mailander stated that the 6th Annual Giving Thanks Dinner will take place as a Grab and Go Event and is scheduled for November 14th from 12 noon to 1:00 P.M.  The pickup site is the Old Paramus Reformed Church, 650 East Glen Avenue.  Reservations are required through Community Pass or through The Stable at 201-670-5560.  Ms. Mailander thanked the contributors who include Health Barn, No Fuss Lunch, Age Friendly Ridgewood, Ridgewood Parks and Recreation Department and Old Paramus Reformed Church.

Ms. Mailander stated that service has been suspended at the Coffee Concession at the Ridgewood Train Station due to lack of customers.  The situation will be reevaluated in January.

Ms. Mailander reported that the annual leaf placement yellow postcard has been sent to all Village homes.  Leaf collection is ongoing and she stressed that these are dates 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 spoke about Veterans Day events.  Village offices and departments will be closed and there will be no garbage or recycling pickup.  She asked residents to check the garbage and recycling schedules since they will have changed.  There will be a Veteran’s Day Service on November 11th at 11:00 A.M. in Memorial Park at Van Neste Square by American Legion Post 53. 

Ms. Mailander reminded everyone of the presentation by the Village Engineering Department on Flooding Solutions.  The forum is scheduled for November 17th at 7:30 P.M. in the Court Room at 7:30 P.M. and will include and question and answer segment.

Ms. Mailander listed upcoming Village Council meeting dates, which are broadcast, live on the Village website and on FIOS Channel 34 and YouTube.  Upcoming meeting dates are as follows:  December 1, 2021, and January 5, 2022, are Village Council Work Sessions beginning at 7:30; and November 10 and December 8, 2021 are Village Council Public Meetings beginning at 8:00 P.M.

4.            Village Council Reports

Chamber of Commerce:  Councilwoman Perron reported that the Chamber has released its Annual Guide, which is full of useful information including a map of all parking areas including the Garage.  There was a Halloween Party at Van Neste Square this past Saturday which was a huge success.

Feed the Front Lines:  Councilwoman Perron said that this organization is looking for more drivers and anyone interested can sign up on Sign up Genius online.

Green Ridgewood:  Councilwoman Perron reported that Green Ridgewood will meet tomorrow night via Zoom.  There are several vacancies coming up and anyone interested in becoming part of this group can sign up on the form which is on the Village website.  Anyone interested in joining tomorrow’s meeting can email Councilwoman Perron and she will forward the link.

CBDAC:  Councilwoman Perron said that the Central Business Advisory Committee will meet on November 11th, at 8:30 A.M. via Zoom.  The meeting is open to the public and anyone interested can email Councilwoman Perron and she will forward the link to that meeting. 

Fields Committee:  Councilwoman Perron stated that she attended the Fields Committee Meeting yesterday.  The discussion centered around the Field Use Guidelines and whether this information could be posted online or in an app so that assignment of fields is clear to everyone.  There was a reminder to coaches that after the game is over the equipment box must be locked, and the lights must be turned off.  Councilwoman Perron announced that Opening Day for the Ridgewood Softball and Baseball Association will be April 23rd.  

Planning BoardCouncilwoman Reynolds reported that the Planning Board met last night and considered the application of Tasko Enterprises for the demolition of a house at 316 West Glen Avenue.  The proposal is to build two new houses on the lot.  After five meetings and many changes, the owner has agreed with Board suggestions and this should be an excellent project.  

 

The Planning Board meeting of October 19th included the second public meeting of Phase Two of the Master Plan.  There was a presentation by Heyer, Gruel followed by a discussion relative to the circulation element, downtown economic development element, and the Green Building Environmental Sustainability element.  The presentation is available to view at www.ridgewoodvillagemp.org.  A weekly question is presented to anyone who signs up at this email address.  This is a great way to express your opinion of how the Village should look in the future. 

Heyer Gruel will be developing the text for each of the elements presented between now and January.  The next meeting will be January 18, 2022.  There will be a discussion with suggested revisions.  The Planning Board hopes to adopt the document in March of 2022.

The Planning Board discussed the amended H Zone, which will be introduced at this evening’s Special Meeting.

Community Center Advisory Board:  Councilman Sedon stated that the Community Center Advisory Board met on Thursday to discuss the Emergency Preparedness Plan.  Ms. Mailander spoke about the Giving Thanks Dinner on November 14th

5.            DISCUSSION

                a.            Ridgewood Water

1.)           Award Contract – Asbestos Abatement 451 Goffle Road

Ms. Mailander stated that Ridgewood Water received four quotes for asbestos abatement of the residential and well house structure at 451 Goffle Road.  The quotes ranged from $22,800 to $58,900,   and were reviewed by RJB Environmental Inc.  Mr. Calbi is recommending an award to MTM Metro Corporation, of Paterson, N.J. in an amount not to exceed $22,800.  The funding for this project is in the Water Utility Operating Budget.

2.)           Change Order – Ridgewood Water New Facility

Ms. Mailander stated that Adamo Brothers Construction was awarded the contract for the new Ridgewood Water Facility on May 12, 2021.  At this time, an additional $36,348.25 is needed for extra work including installation of studs and sheetrock on the lower level corridor, removal and reconstruction of stained glass panel for the façade that was discovered after demolition, and a new electric water heater.  The funding is available in the Water Utility Operating Budget.

Upon questioning by Mayor Knudsen regarding the water heater, Mr. Calbi explained that they tried to preserve the existing water heater to save money.  He subsequently learned that a 120-gallon water heater was necessary for the safety shower.  This will be electric because there are no other gas fixtures in the building, and this electric heater is more energy efficient.  The change order considers the cost of the new water heater as a credit for the gas line that was to be built for the existing water heater. 

 

                b.            Parking

1.)           Parking Permits

Ms. Mailander recalled that at a previous meeting it was decided that the price for parking permits would not change.  The Village Council must decide if parking permits for non-residents will be the same price as parking permits for residents, and would both premium and non-premium permits be offered.  A decision is also required on when the permits will be offered to non-residents.  Ms. Mailander noted that there needs to be a consensus in time for permits being sold in December.

Councilwoman Reynolds said that she doesn’t think people will return to work in great numbers in 2022; therefore, she suggested keeping the cost the same for the yearly pass.  Ms. Mailander said that those not purchasing a yearly pass because they are unsure that they will return to their work place could buy a daily pass for $10 as needed.  Mayor Knudsen recommended keeping the process simple and moving forward with parking passes price remaining the same.   She said that it is important to fill the garage at this point. 

Ms. Mailander asked if the Village should sell parking passes to residents in December, and then open the sale up to nonresidents in January.  Councilman Sedon indicated his agreement with Ms. Mailander’s recommendation for this year.  The Village Council can re-visit the situation this time next year.

Councilwoman Perron questioned the parking permit prices.  Ms. Mailander said it is $1,325 for a premium pass, and $1,000 for a non-premium pass.  She noted that the lots on Prospect Street and Chestnut Street are not commuter parking lots.  Councilmembers agreed to the sale of passes to non-residents beginning in mid-January. 

2.)           Grab and Go Parking Spaces

Ms. Mailander explained that these are fifteen-minute complimentary parking spaces located at the ends of East Ridgewood Avenue, which have been in effect for two, six month periods.  The spaces are used for parking when picking up food from a restaurant or running a quick errand.  Ms. Mailander stressed that these spots are for 15-minute use exclusively.  She proposed extending this initiative from November 1st to April 30th.  The spaces are sponsored and signs noting the sponsors of each particular space are displayed.

Councilwoman Reynolds asked if there were enough sponsors and Ms. Mailander indicated that there are.  She added that Mr. Rooney recommends that this practice continue through the end of April.  Mayor Knudson agreed that this is a good plan to continue through the winter months.  She questioned whether or not people would stay downtown longer if they had to pay for parking.  Councilman Sedon suggested that Traffic Enforcement collect this data and report to the Council.  Councilwoman Perron commented that this is a great way to welcome visitors into Ridgewood.

 

 

3.)           Holiday Parking in Central Business District

Ms. Mailander recalled that during Saturdays in December over the past several years, parking in the lots in Ridgewood has been free.  She asked the Councilmembers if they want to continue this practice in December of 2021.  The dates would be December 4th, 11th and 18th.  She stated that this promotes goodwill and encourages shopping and dining in the downtown area.

Mayor Knudsen said that she has heard that the free spaces in the lots are primarily full of business employees.  Councilwoman Reynolds suggested that they allow free parking on Saturdays in the parking garage only in order to promote the parking garage.  Ms. Mailander said that in this case people would be restricted to parking on the second and third floors.  Mayor Knudsen said that this might be too complicated to enforce. 

After more discussion, Councilman Sedon said he thought parking at the garage is a good idea because it advertises the fact that Ridgewood has a parking garage and the location of the garage.  This could increase future revenue from the parking garage.  He suggested that parking on the first three floors be free.  Councilwoman Reynolds agreed with this idea and she added that many people from out of town don’t even know Ridgewood has a parking garage and many who do, don’t know where it is located.  She suggested that free parking should be offered on December 11th and 18th on the first three floors of the garage.

Councilwoman Reynolds recommended free parking on the second, third and fourth floors of the garage.  The first floor would be paid parking to accommodate parking turnover.  Councilman Sedon reiterated that this is free advertising for the garage, and it is worth the loss of some revenue in order to promote the garage. 

Mayor Knudsen stated that Councilmembers are in agreement to allow free parking on the second, third and fourth floor of the parking garage on the first three Saturdays in December.  She stressed the importance of proper signage. 

              c.             Budget

1.)         Budget Transfer Resolution

Ms. Mailander explained that this is an annual resolution that transfers money from departments with additional funding to departments needing additional funding.  Councilwoman Perron questioned the transfer to the Fire Department for salary and wages which are predictable and budgeted.  Ms. Mailander explained that the Fire Department settled their contract and the transfer was to cover two years of retroactive salaries as well as additional firefighter stipends through negotiations. 

2.)           Shared Services Agreement – Cosmetology Inspections Norwood

Ms. Mailander stated that this is a Shared Services Agreement to cover cosmetology inspections.  This is the second year that the ordinance has been in effect in Ridgewood and includes nail and hair salons.  The cost is $38 per hour and $57 for after hours.  The inspections take approximately four days to complete.  The Council agreed to move forward with this Shared Services Agreement.

3.)           Award Professional Services – Public Health and Nursing Services

Ms. Mailander stated that this is an annual resolution through Valley Community Health and includes communicable disease investigations, child health clinics, adult health clinics, school audits and influenza clinics.  The cost to the Village is $12,240, which is a 1% hourly increase for nursing hours from last year. The hourly charge for public health nurses is $51 per hour.  Valley Community Health bills the Village for hours used which usually averages under $10,000.  Ms. Mailander pointed out that Valley Health also provides health education services including the annual weight loss challenge in March and the Wellness Festival at no charge. 

4.)           Award Contract – Ford Escape for Building Department

Ms. Mailander stated that in the 2021 Capital Budget funds were allocated for a replacement vehicle for the Building Department and would cover the cost of one Ford Escape.  Quotes were solicited and the lowest responsible bid was from Route 23 Auto Mall in Butler, N.J. at a cost not to exceed $27,498.

Councilwoman Perron asked for a price quote to be provided for the Ford Escape hybrid and the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid.  Councilwoman Reynolds said that the price would be an additional $5,000 approximately for the plug in.  Councilwoman Perron said that they have an obligation to consider these vehicles in light of the climate crisis. 

Mayor Knudson said that the department would have to be consulted since these hybrid vehicles are sometimes not the best choice because of the application.  Ms. Mailander indicated that she will have departments look at the feasibility of plug in or hybrid vehicles when the 2022 budget is discussed.  Councilwoman Reynolds said that the hybrids are more expense; however, there will be some savings on gas.  Councilman Sedon said that there is the cost of electricity to consider.  Electricity is not free and pollution is generated from electric power plants. 

Mayor Knudsen said there is the additional problem of where to park these vehicles.  Ms. Mailander agreed stating that the Village is not set up for a fleet of hybrid or electric cars at the moment.  She recommended going with the low bid and the Village could begin to look at the infrastructure needed for electric vehicles in the near future. 

Councilman Sedon noted that the cost of the vehicle was approved in the 2021 budget and he suggested looking at hybrid vehicles in the 2022 budget.  These decisions will not be easy because the Village needs the charging infrastructure which will be a Capital expense.  Councilmembers agreed to proceed with the purchase of the Ford Escape.

5.)           Award Bid –Landscaping and Finishing of Berm – Zabriskie-Schedler House

Ms. Mailander stated that the Village received seven bids from eligible registered plan holders for construction of the berm at the Schedler property.  The work also consists of tree clearing, curbs and sidewalks, the driveway apron, seed, fence installation, a guide rail along Route 17, grates, water valves, fire hydrants, irrigation lines, sprinkler heads and the installation of evergreen trees and other smaller items.  The lowest bid was received from OnQue Technologies, of Oradell, N.J., with a quote of $375,255.  Ms. Mailander pointed out that the low bidder submitted a complete bid package with all necessary information and has worked for the Village several times in the past.  Ms. Mailander indicated that the project will be funded from various Capital Budget Ordinances for the Schedler site.

Councilwoman Reynolds questioned the installation and size of boulders and rock on the Route 17 area of the berm.  Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer, said that there will be four to five feet of high stacked rocks that will follow the slope of the berm.  Red rocks from the site will be used along with other rocks consistent with the foundation of the house.  He confirmed that there will be a mixture of the two types of rocks. 

Councilwoman Reynolds suggested using wood chip mulch to prevent weed growth on the berm.  Mr. Rutishauser agreed stating that four inches of mulch will be supplied by the Village.  He stated specifically that wood chips would be used, and not compost, which does promote weed growth.  Councilwoman Reynolds suggested using Treflon directly to prevent the germination of weeds.  Mr. Rutishauser said he would solicit the cost of this material from the low bidder.  Councilman Sedon did not want this quote to halt construction of the berm, and Mr. Rutishauser said that the work can be scheduled to begin without this information.  The work will begin with the water main that will be overseen by the historic archeologist.  If approved, a report will be made to SHPO to guide the Engineering Department with final developmental plans. 

Mayor Knudson asked about the elevation of the berm.  Mr. Rutishauser explained that the berm will be a trapezoid shape that will be made using a small bulldozer.  Councilwoman Perron asked about the parking and driveway area.  Mr. Rutishauser explained that the cost of these items will be added to the bids later as needed.  He said that the pipe or water main is the biggest part of the cost at $97,000.  Proper irrigation is essential for irrigation of the trees, shrubs, etc. and the fire hydrant is important so that the Fire Department will be able to respond to any incidents on Route 17.  Councilwoman Perron questioned whether the water main is supplying water to the house.  Mr. Rutishauser said that the water main is mainly for irrigation the berm, but it could be used for a rest room facility. 

Councilwoman Perron asked when the area would be useable by the public.  Mr. Rutishauser said that when the water main work is complete the park could only be used for passive walking because there will be no parking and no specific walking paths.  Mayor Knudsen said that the park will have a much greater use when the final site development is incorporated into a plan, which will be approved by SHPPO.  This has been stated in an email from SHPO; however, this explanation must be received in letter form.  Mr. Rutishauser noted that SHPO wants the house to remain in an agricultural type setting without parking.  A type of buffer has been proposed between the playing field and the home; however, another plan will not be submitted until the archeologist’s findings have been received. 

Councilwoman Reynolds reiterated that there are presently weeds on the berm and she asked when the trees would be planted.  Mr. Rutishauser explained that the earth berm had to be hydro seeded as per Bergen County Soil Conservation District.  The weeds will be removed before anything is planted and the nursery is proposing white spruce trees which must be approved by the Council.  He said that the trees will be planted on top of the berm and on the inside base. 

6.)           Award Co-Op Purchase – Aerial Vehicle (Drones) Program

Ms. Mailander stated that the purchase of a drone and other accessories is under a Bergen County contract to Terrestrial Imaging, LLC, of Brick, N.J., not to exceed $7,940.92.  This item is in the Police Department Capital Budget and includes extra batteries, cable, launch pad, charging station, and a thermal camera etc.  It can be used to search for missing people and those committing robberies, as well as for events such as July 4th, Downtown for the Holidays, High School graduation and the Memorial Day run.

Mayor Knudsen asked if special licensing or training was necessary to operate the drone.  Ms. Mailander said there is some training needed.  She will research the cost of the training and report back to the Council.  Councilwoman Perron asked if the drone would be useful for the Fire Department.  Ms. Mailander wasn’t sure and will check with Fire Chief Van Goor.  At one time, there was some interest from the Water Department; however, Mr. Calbi has now indicated he is not interested.  Councilwoman Perron also asked Ms. Mailander to look into the possibility of a warranty.

7.)           Additional Award – Environmental Technical Support for Hudson Street Garage Project Closeout

Ms. Mailander recalled that the Village dealt with contaminated soils when the footings for the garage were dug, as well as the structural soil for the Hudson Street tree wells.  Assistance was provided by First Environmental, who provided a licensed site remediation professional.  They have submitted a proposal in the amount of $7,000.00, to close out the environmental items for the garage.  Ms. Mailander said that funding was available in the garage funding account, and Mr. Rooney will be in contact with First Environmental for additional information.  If the information is not available for next week’s meeting, this item will have to be carried until December. 

Councilwoman Perron questioned the contaminants in the soil and Mr. Rutishauser explained that there were various hydrocarbons contained in the soil.  The soil was transported to a DEP disposal site and the Village has the paperwork stating that the soil was disposed of properly.  There is a small amount of residual contaminant remaining in the soil, which is the reason for a deed restriction.  An institutional barrier also known as a concrete slab was constructed as a barrier.  Mr. Rutishauser explained that the law requires that the work be done by a licensed remediation professional. 

8.)           Award Change Order – Crossing Guard Services

Ms. Mailander stated that during the 2020-2021 school year, there were several occasions when the schools had two different dismissal times, which meant that the crossing guards had to remain at their posts to cover both times resulting in unexpected additional working hours.  The cost for the additional time is $15,121.92 and this funding comes from the Police Department Operating Budget. 

Mayor Knudsen said that police officers were also covering for crossing guards.  She asked if an analysis had been done relative to the actual cost per hour/per officer.  Ms. Mailander said that the company pays a set amount that is noted in the contract and she will get more information on the differential.

9.)           Award Second Year Contract – Concession Refreshment Services Graydon Pool

Ms. Mailander stated that this award went to Michael Sims, Mellsworth Foods in 2021, with an optional second year in 2022.  There has been an excellent history with this vendor and it is recommended to continue in 2022.  The vendor pays the Village $10,000 to be at Graydon Pool.

d.            Policy

1.)           Removed from Agenda – Planting Strips along West Glen Avenue

This item has been removed from the agenda.

2.)           Removed from Agenda - Tree Ordinance

Ms. Mailander said that the new tree ordinance should be ready for the December agenda

3.)           Days and Hours for Pickleball

Ms. Mailander stated that the previous sixty days expired in October.  She reviewed the hours at the Glen pickleball courts:  Sunday 11:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.; and Saturday 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.  There is no play on Monday or Friday.  The Bellair Tennis Courts have been retrofitted for pickleball on Monday and Tuesday from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.  Ms. Mailander asked for a decision relative to the hours and days of play regarding pickleball.

Mayor Knudsen said that days of play and hours should remain the same.  Councilwoman Perron stated that she appreciates the opinions of all of the neighbors and noted that non-residents are no longer allowed to use the pickleball courts.  She has visited the Courts and doesn’t find the noise to be loud.  She said the pickleball hours should be the same as the tennis court hours.

Councilman Sedon suggested that Nancy Bigos, and the Parks and Recreation Department, should make recommendations about sound mitigation as well as hours of play.  He acknowledged that no one will ever be happy with the situation.  Ms. Mailander said she had received a memo from Parks and Recreation Department that included suggestions on panels, muted balls and prohibiting non-residents from using the courts.  She said that the Parks and Recreation Department have tried to address the problem, but neighbors in close proximity to the courts will always hear sound coming from the courts.  She agreed that the ball seems to be of a high pitch, which some neighbors could find disturbing.

Councilwoman Reynolds said that there is a recommendation that pickleball courts should be at least 500 feet from a residence.  The Village Council made a mistake when it approved the pickleball courts and Parks and Recreation Department should have done a more thorough investigation.  She said that another location should be considered even if it will cost more money. 

Mayor Knudsen stated that even if non-residents are not allowed to play, those slots will soon be filled by other players who are residents.  She pointed out that the Village always notifies residents when parking is changed on a residential street; or sidewalks are added such as in the case of West Glen Avenue.  In this case however, the Village did not notify the neighbors of this significant and impactful change.  Mayor Knudsen said she and Councilwoman Walsh spent a considerable amount of time working on what she thought was a compromise with the neighbors; however, she now regrets the outcome.  The Council made a mistake in not fully informing the entire neighborhood, and the Parks and Recreation Department needs to look at other locations for pickleball courts in addition to sound mitigation.  Councilwoman Reynolds agreed that mitigation is needed and she suggested additional or overlapping sound blankets.  Councilman Sedon said more research is needed and he suggested moving to add more panels.  He agreed that non-residents should not be able to purchase badges.

Ms. Mailander said that badges will be on sale for 2022 in December or January.  She reviewed Councilmember’s comments stating that no badges will be sold to non-residents and that the pickleball courts will operate on the same days and hours as present. 

Mayor Knudsen said that some have commented that there is no enforcement of the prohibitions at the courts.  Councilman Sedon suggested selling badges similar to those in hotels with a type of locking mechanism so that non-residents could not access the courts. 

Ms. Mailander will review the suggestions with Nancy Bigos, Director of Parks and Recreation.  She will also ask Ms. Bigos if anything further could be done to mitigate the sound at the pickleball courts, and the possibility of a locking feature on the badge. 

6.            REVIEW OF NOVEMBER 10, 2021 PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA

Ms. Mailander reviewed the agenda for the November 10th, 2021 meeting.  There are no proclamations and no ordinances for introduction for Ridgewood Water.  There is a public hearing on the Water Utility Improvements Due to Damage from Hurricane Ida.  Resolutions for Ridgewood Water include Title 59 Approval and Award Contract for Servicing and Repair of Potable Water Pumping Facilities; Title 59 Approval and Award Contract for Servicing and Repair of Electrical Source; Award Contract Under National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance Contract for Security Cameras and Access Control System for New Ridgewood Water Headquarters; Authorize Additional Award Under Bergen County Cooperative Purchasing Program Contract – Bituminous Concrete and Various Road Repair Materials; Award Contract for Asbestos Abatement at 451 Goffle Road; and Authorize Change Order for Ridgewood Water New Facility.

Ms. Mailander stated that the introduction of Ordinances includes:  Establishing Standards for Electric Vehicle Charging Spaces in New Developments; 2021 Non-Union Salary Ordinance; and Revised Ordinance for Parking Permits for Non-Residents.  Ordinance for Public Hearings include:  Bond Ordinance for Various Capital Improvements due to Damage Done by Hurricane Ida; Amend Chapter 165 – Garbage, Rubbish, Refuse and Recycling – Definitions of Bulk Refuse; and Amend Chapter 165 – Garbage, Rubbish, Refuse and Recycling – Container Specifications and Setout Requirements.

Ms. Mailander said that resolutions will include:  Award Contract for Ford Escape (Building Department) and look into Hybrid and Plug In Vehicles; Award Contract – Village Council Meeting Production Services;  Title 59 Approval and Award Contract for Concession Refreshment Services for Graydon Pool; Title 59 Approval and Award Contract for Schedler Property Berm Construction; Award Contract Under Bergen County Contract for Drones and have Police Department look into other requested items; Award Professional Services Contract – Archaeological Survey for Zabriskie-Schedler House; Award Professional Services Contract - Valley Hospital, Department of Community Health and Community Benefit – Public Health and Nursing Services; Authorize Shared Services Agreement for Cosmetology Inspections (Norwood); Authorize Change Order for Environmental Technical Support for Hudson Street Garage Project Closeout; Authorize Change Order – Crossing Guard Services; Authorize Change Order – Tree Removals – West Glen Avenue Sidewalk Project; Authorize 2021 Budget Transfers; Approve West Glen Avenue Pedestrian Safety Improvements; Approve Municipal Alliance Grant Application; Accept Donation for Tree Well Refurbishment in Central Business District; Accept Donation for Benches in Central Business District and Public Library; Authorize Continuation of Grab and Go Parking Spaces; Authorize Continuation of Dining Corrals Extension to December 31, 2021; Approve 2021 Holiday Parking Plan in Central Business District; Release Escrowed Funds and Irrevocable Letter of Credit for Chestnut Village, LLC; Accept 2020 Audit; Approve 2020 Corrective Action Plan; Establishing Days and Hours for Pickleball for the Glen School Pickleball Courts; and Authorize Reimbursement of Cost for Zoning Board of Adjustment Application.

7.            COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mayor Knudsen stated that they again would hear comments from the public, and asked anyone wishing to address the Village Council to come forward.

Rurik Halaby, 1 Franklin Avenue, referred to the weeds on the berm at the Schedler property and said that no matter what is done there is no way to prevent the growth of weeds.  He had suggested to Mr. Rutishauser that the surface area covered by the berm should be calculated and Mr. Halaby guessed that the berm probably covers 10% of the seven acres.  Mr. Halaby noted the many times when appropriations and spending relative to the Schedler property was discussed.  He said that at no time is less money spent than is appropriated, and when a specific project goes over budget, it is always blamed on the previous administration.  He pointed out that Village funds, County funds and State funds are all coming from the Ridgewood taxpayers. 

Mr. Halaby stated that the Mayor and Councilmembers must be stopped from influencing Robert Rooney, Village CFO, relative to the presentation of the data in order to reflect well on Councilmembers.  He said that this is a violation of the Faulkner Act.  He added that rather than spending money on a drone, the Council should allocate money to improve the Village website. 

Judy Mac, 330 Eastbrook Road, recalled that a pickleball player stated previously that there were at least five locations to play pickleball in the Village.  She noted that she and the other neighbors only have one home and she asked the Council to consider that fact.  It is unfair and irresponsible for Councilmembers to stop by the pickleball courts from time to time and decide that the noise is negligible.  She reminded Councilmembers that their home is an escape from work and other daily stresses.

Lillian Blood, 250 North Maple Avenue, spoke about pickleball and said that there is not a constant banging of the balls when they play.  She said that the Village spent $50,000 on the courts and they should be used.  She often drives by in the afternoons and there is no one on the courts.  She agreed that a group of players along with Councilmembers and Ms. Bigos should get together to see if some things could be improved.  Ms. Blood invited Councilmembers to come to the courts in order to listen to and watch them play to get a better idea of the situation.

Hans-Jürgen Lehman, 234 Union Avenue, spoke regarding Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.  He demanded to know his exact salary and how he would account to the Village Manager.  He asked how the taxpayers of Ridgewood could learn about Mr. Rogers work product since they can no longer OPRA his records.  Mr. Lehman said he finds it puzzling that the Council is comfortable with an arrangement that is not transparent. 

Simon Lee, 321 Eastbrook Road, referred to pickleball and pointed out that there are times when pickleball is continuously played.  He is angry and frustrated because he would like to enjoy his backyard and a relocation of the pickleball courts appears to be the best solution for everyone involved. 

No one else came forward and Mayor Knudsen closed the time for public comment.

Mayor Knudsen referred to an earlier comment about a violation of the Faulkner Act.  Ms. Mailander explained that if a Councilmember wants to speak to a Village employee they must first ask her permission to do so.  Therefore, she has no concerns about violating the Faulkner Act.  Mayor Knudsen referred to appropriations at the Schedler property and said she had suggested that Mr. Rooney prepared a more easily understood document.

9.            RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION

Ms. Young read Resolution #21-325 to go into Closed Session as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.          ADJOURNMENT

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 9:55 P.M.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                _________________________________                                                                                                                                                  Susan Knudsen                                                                                                                                                                                           Mayor

 

_____________________________                                                                                                                                  Eileen Young                                                                                                                                                                                 Deputy Village Clerk

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