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Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission

Meeting Minutes

October 11, 2022


The regular meeting of the Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission was called to order at 7:35PM. The meeting was held in the Village Hall Garden room.


Andrew Lowry, Adam Brown, Matt Andreula, Carolyn Jacoby, Declan Madden, Nancy Brennan-Hill, Mahmoud Hamza, Victoria Van Dyke, Pam Perron  



The minutes for the September meeting were approved with the note that Maria Damasco had not attended the September meeting of the STC but may have attended a Green Team meeting.

Membership & Terms of Service

Pam Perron is working on the membership and terms issues

Planting for 2022

·       CBD

The plan is to plant 88 trees starting in about 2 weeks with removals and soil assessment.  It was stressed that it is important for there to be supervision/observation of the work as the contractor is new to the Village and there are a lot of variables to consider.  There was a discussion as to whether STC members could help in the process as Village staff has limited time and Declan will be out for a week in mid-November. Declan has been told he will not be working on leaves this year so he should have more time.  It was agreed that Matt or Declan would communicate with the STC if there was a way for members to help.  It was agreed that members would follow the chain of command when communicating ideas or concerns with the work.  Matt was concerned about STC members being close to the work area posed potential issues.  It was pointed out that because the STC is up to date on all requirements members and the Village are indemnified from liability concerns.  The simplest approach is for STC members who have time to 1) respond to any request for help from Matt/Declan or 2) observe and take pictures of the work from a distance that does not interfere with the work being done. 

The plan for traffic control will be to shut down one side of Ridgewood Ave. while diverting traffic to Franklin.  Adjustments may be needed

Carolyn is developing a banner to be place next to the Van Neste Park announcing the coming tree planting.  Andrew asked if laminated page size copies could be developed and posted around the CBD.  There was a concern that they could not be attached to trees because of a Village ordinance.  However, if the Village manager agrees other locations such as stumps or sides of private building might be used.  After the meeting, Carolyn suggested she try to get the notices posted in store windows, which might be a good solution.

The bid requires that trees will be watered when planted and then watered 2 times a week for 6 weeks. 


·       Street Shade Tree Planting

Declan was able to get the number of trees to be planted increased from 160 to 192.  These will all be trees requested by residents.  A schedule for planting has not been determined but could extend into mid-December, similar to 2021.  The bid calls for trees to be;

o   Fertilized, staked, mulched, supplied with Gator bags and deer protection, and watered in at planting. In addition, each tree will have a “sidewalk root shield” (Deep Root) to discourage sidewalk root lifting in the future.  This is the first time the Village has done this and we should note that in the tree inventory.

o   Planting will be done according to A.N.S.I A300 standards which are quite rigorous.  A copy of the standard will be available in the Parks and Shade Tree Dept. office.

o   STC volunteers will respond to request from Matt/Delan for any support they may request.


·       Capital budget 2022

o   Due to limited staff, we are not able to spend all the funds the Village allocated for Shade Tree planting.  Pam will request an update from the CFO as to what remains to be spent.  Andrew estimates that it is approximately $75,000 at this point.  It was agreed that a good use of some of this money would be to complete the Tree Inventory which is about 85% finished. This can be done this year or early next as it does not require significant Village employee supervision time.  The money will have to be re-purposed by the Council.  The last estimate we had was that completion would cost about $20,000.  The remaining funds will be carried over and repurposed for other projects or added to the 2023 fall planting budget.

Other Business

·       Tree Inventory Dashboard – Key points of the current tree inventory indicate that there are 4184 planting locations available although Declan said that the viable number is significantly less.  We need to clear up the time frame, which is reflected on the dashboard, is it 2022 YTD?

·       There was a discussion about how to build back the tree canopy.  It seemed that a 10 year plan during which 600 trees (200 trees taken down normally, so 400 additional trees) planted yearly was a reasonable objective to present to the Council as part of the “Tree Plan.”

·       2023-2024 Capital and operating Budgets.  It is our understanding that the Parks and Shade Tree Dept. requests are for Capital Budget of $581,000 and for 1.5 additional staffing which would make Declan full time on trees (.5) and an additional crew member to assist him full time.  

·       Grants – It was emphasized that there is grant money available now and next year.  We need to have a defined plan for getting applications written, which will require identifying a grant writer.  Cynthia Gorey was mentioned as a possible writer or source for other writers.

·       It was agreed that that STC/Parks need to develop a “Tree Plan” for the Village as well as updating the CFMP.  We need to identify who has the time and willingness to do these important projects.  Nancy and Adam had previously volunteered.

·       Carolyn stressed the need for members to plan on attending the Earth Day fair next April 23, 2023.  Put it on the calendar.


Please let me know if I missed anything important





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STC – Shade Tree Update

Minutes from April 12, 2022 Meeting

Update on Bids planning for 2022 Planting

Follow ups from Meeting with Shade Tree Dept. Nancy Bigos and Chris Rutishauser

Agenda for Meeting May 10, 2022

May 10, 2022 (Corrections 1)


Meeting Minutes April 12, 2022

·       Terms for Members need to be finalized and sent to clerk’s office/Council

·       Tree Ordinance passed and went into effect May 3, 2022

·       We need to have a simple explanation of what is in the ordinance and get it out to residents and share with Dina as there will surely be confusion and resistance

·       Earth day successful. Carolyn to compile a list of possible improvements for 2023

·       Meeting with Village depts on April 13, 2022 scheduled - many issues to discuss

·       Need to work on outreach to residents as we have a strong story this year

·       Grants – grant money is available – we need a few members to take on the project and get application in


Update on Bids (what I know as of today)

·       EAB Removal and planting (Budget $219,000)

o   Removal bid for 107 trees is $179,000 ($1,672 per tree)

o   That leaves $40,000 for EAB re-planting

·       Street tree planting and large tree removal (contracted out) $300,000

o   $80,000 large trees

o   $220,000 for street planting (combined with EAB replacement $40,000) total $260,000.

·       CBD and Water Tanker (Budget $110,000)

o   Expect tanker $10,000 -$15,000)

o   CBD $95,000

·       CBD watering (22 trees) Tode bid lowest so far

o   $8,855 (23 weeks)

o   Filling 2 times a week ($385 per week, $195 per filling)

o   Bid not yet awarded

Issues raised at Meeting on April 13, 2022

·       CBD Many decisions to be made

o   What trees will be planted where?  Engineering concern that conduit in tree wells requires smaller trees to be planted.  STC perspective is that larger trees will provide more shade over time, which was a primary reason for recommending the planting.  Limited experience with conduit is that it is generally close to the curb and is protected. Large canopy trees are routinely planted in NYC and cities around the world so we should be able to develop an appropriate strategy. This needs to be resolved before the project is bid.

o   Declan to call PSEG for 3-4 test pit mark outs so we see what is actually in the wells.

o   Bid will include watering for 23 weeks for 1-2 years.  That will be expensive unless it can be done by Village staff.  (Based on Tode quote and assuming 75 trees planted could be $20,000+) so that reduces the # of trees that can be planted. No point in planting unless there is a watering plan.

o   Size of tree wells – Declan, Carolyn and I walked Ridgewood Ave and Broad.  I think we agreed that in the smaller wells should have at least one row of bricks removed (if there is enough sidewalk for ADA) so the wells can be bigger. 

o   How many trees to take out?  We discussed whether we should take all the trees that are in bad shape (but still have some leaves) or be a bit selective and leave some of the replacement for next year.  Issue is purely aesthetic/political as residents will likely be a bit surprised to see almost all the trees come down in the fall.  We should discuss this.  More efficient to do it all at once, risk of alienating residents.

o   Village arborist should have the final say on which trees go in which wells.

o   Engineering pointed out that if the Village is dissatisfied with a contractor’s work and does not want them to be considered for a future contract, the reasons for dissatisfaction must be documented.

o   Bid specifications need to be complete so bid can go out by July 1.

·       Fall planting

o   Bid specs to include species desired, stakes, water bags (with stickers), mulch.  Engineering may want to split the bid into smaller components of $44,000 to increase flexibility of the bidding process.

o   Need to follow up on source of water – Matt was going to talk the Water Dept.

o   Again, target July 1 for bid requests to go out.

Agenda for May 10,2022

·       Approve minutes from April

·       Review bids and #’s of trees

·       Discuss Tree ordinance communication to residents and social media in general

·       CBD issues

·       Carolyn reports Guild will donate to CBD planting (perhaps on Chestnut St?

·       Grants – will someone volunteer to work on them for this year and next?

·       New Business












Some Basic Questions the STC and Parks and Shade Tree need to think about


1.   Tree Plan – Street Trees

We could be  working toward a comprehensive plan for the street tree canopy.  Things it could include for example are:

·       Years and frequency of watering after planting – how much does rainfall contribute to the formula? What do we do if there is a major drought?

·       Pruning schedule – pruning after 2-5 years? for structural health, then every 5 years for broken diseased, branch removal?

·       Maintenance of the inventory – Should we do more than keep track of - removals, plantings and hazards and area needs?

·       Disease assessment and mitigation – how do we keep the trees we have which are threatened by another new invasive insect or disease?

2.   CBD

·       Issue is who is responsible for maintenance once the trees are planted – Village Dept., landlords, STC, Project Pride, contractors

·       We know that without extra water and tree well maintenance few of the trees we plant will continue to do well.  The tree wells are too small to support a sufficient root space

·       There are about 210 tree wells now but there could be more in the future. 

·       The Honey Locust and Ginko trees seem to be doing best now and have had no extra care or water. Species to be planted depend on series of factors including tree well size, width of sidewalk, proximity to buildings and need to have multiple species for disease insurance.


Council Resolution 2022-2023

Council Approved about $640,000 (need exact amounts)

·       (A)300,000 regular planting and large tree removal

·       (B)219,000 EAB removal and replacement

·       (C)121,500 for CBD wells, planting, and water trailer

How much flexibility is there in the resolution – don’t want to have to repurpose funds

We would want resolution to say something like “planning, maintaining, and increasing Ridgewood’s Shade Tree Canopy” that way we could finish off the tree inventory and do other things that might come up.


Questions for 2022

1.   Shade Tree planting - Clarify the budget

o   (A) Includes Crane and contracting for big trees ($80,000)

o   Leaves $220,000 for planting, and watering @ (500 planting and 200 watering) 314 trees

o   (B) Will planting be combined with ASH replacement if so, assume 120 removals (1,000 each = 120,0000)

o   Leaves 100,000 for replacement

o   Total # trees could be 400 -425

o   Questions:

§  How will bid be structured – by tree species, by plant and water together or separate how many waterings (depends on planting time)

§  Bid will include water bags, supports, mulch and deer protection (where), some form of DEEP ROOT in certain areas.

§  What species will be bid

§  Where will they be planted – preference to EAB removal areas, resident requests, areas in need, other factors like parks or Village property

§  Bid request should go out July 1, 2022

§  Should there be 2 plantings, bid separately so they can be supervised? Does the # trees impact quality of work or tree availability?

§  When do we know how many Ash trees will come down?

§  Other factors to consider


2.   CBD Well/Re-planting

o   Assume 1,500 per well

o   Trailer cost 11,500 -15,000

o   Estimate 70 -75 trees/wells

o   Includes tree removal, soil enhancement

o   What are the objectives for the CBD trees?  Shade Canopy, decoration, variety or uniformity.

§  Decisions depend on location - width of sidewalk building heights etc.) focus is on species that will survive – “native” not a requirement

o   Expansion of tree well where possible (likely no more than 1 row of bricks) who does this work?

o   Selection of best water/air tube system – need to be able to fill quickly, also long term after water bags are gone capacity of the tube reservoir

o   What are the locations

§  Eastside / westside

§  Want to group plantings for traffic, police management

§  Ridgewood Ave – Broad – 3-4 on other streets?

§  Who gets to make the decision (is there need to share plan with Council, CBD groups - Chamber etc.?)

o   When will planting happen – how will it impact the other Shade Tree planting? Can we do both at the same time.

o   Do we have commitment to support watering for 2 years then in droughts?

o   Need a plan well by well with what each well will get.

o   May be too much for one year – hold over some for 2023-2024?

o   Other factors to consider
















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Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

March 8, 2022


The regular meeting of the Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission was called to order at 7:35PM. The meeting was held virtually on Zoom.


Andrew Lowry, Ian Keller, Matt Andreula, Carolyn Jacoby, Declan Madden, Nancy Brennan-Hill, Mahmoud Hamza, Yamini Chinni, Michael Guerriero  



The minutes for the February 8, 2022, meeting were approved.

Membership & Terms of Service

There is a need to double check terms and memberships as records seem to be out of date.  Andrew will follow up.

Planting for 2022

With the approval of $640,000 for tree planting and CBD work there are many issues to be discussed and agreed to.  It is possible that over 400 trees will be planted on the streets and 70 trees planted in the CBD.  Clearly there is a need for careful planning and scheduling.

Andrew agreed to develop a draft list of issues and opportunities for both the Street Tree Planting and CBD work.  Once we have the draft list it will be reviewed with Nancy Bigos so we are all on the same page as much as we can be.

Arbor Day

Carolyn reviewed plan for STC representation at Earth Day Festival

·       Members are encouraged to show up particularly 11-2 PM

·       Seedlings will be picked up by Parks Dept. and distributed at the event.

·       Other ideas for the booth should be sent to Carolyn

Water Trailer

·       Matt and Declan to investigate the water trailer that fits village needs best

·       Question of sourcing water for irrigation was discussed as the Water Department generally wants water metered.  Possibility of sourcing water from one of the streams in VOR was thought to be unlikely but will confirm.

·       Matt will discuss issue with the Water Dept.

Longer term

·       The STC needs to connect more directly with the Planning Board

o   Attendance at meetings is one step

o   Andrew will explore the best way to get in contact with the Board to make a case for trees being part of the site planning process.

Meeting Adjourned at 9:10 PM

Please let me know if I have missed anything important.

Andrew Lowry


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Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission

Meeting Minutes 13 September 2022


The regular meeting of the Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission was called to order at 7:30pm on 13 September 2022 by Andrew Lowry. The meeting was held in the Garden Room of Ridgewood Village Hall.



Andrew Lowry, Carolyn Jacoby, Declan Madden, Yamini Chinni, Nancy Brennan- Hill, Vicky Van Dyke, Adam Brown, Ian Keller, Pam Perron


Approval of Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes for the August 9, 2022 STC meeting and all prior meeting minutes not previously approved was made by Carolyn Jacoby, seconded by Nancy Brennan-Hill, and approved by all present.



-       All members voted in favor of rotating the responsibility of taking meeting minutes.


-       Status must be determined for all Commission members as some appointments were mistakenly not renewed in a timely manner.


Master Plan overview, presented by Pam Perron

-       Master Plan delves into many topics, including Sustainability, Resiliency, Disaster response, utilities, CBD economics, DPW, Historic Preservation, and others. Shade Trees play a role in almost all aspects of the Master Plan.


-       “Principle 4: Protect and Enhance the Tree Canopy” - a clear mandate.


-       Master Plan will inform many decisions made by the Council and Planning Board in the coming years.


-       STC should voice priorities before the Planning Board and Council


Discussion about CFMP

-       Presently past the 5-year mark but all CFMPs were extended due to covid.


-       We should consider revising our plan proactively despite several years of validity remaining.


Discussion about tree loss vs replanting rate

-       Current Shade Tree staffing cannot easily support additional planting. Despite tremendous progress in planting more trees we are still at a net loss every year.

We cannot begin to reduce the number of vacant planting sites until we match or exceed annual tree loss.


-       A “tree plan” would allow for better planning and appropriate staffing levels.


Discussion about sidewalk/tree conflict

Village will conduct a trial of a porous paving product that may help to minimize the amount of root pruning required when repaving sidewalks that are lifted by Village tree roots.


Van Neste Square Banner

A banner will be made and displayed explaining the tree plantings that will soon take place in the CBD.


Meeting adjourned at 9:15pm: 12.25 Volunteer hours

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Subject: STC meeting minutes / Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Meeting called to order via Zoom at 7:08pm by Carolyn Jacoby.  

Attendees present: Carolyn Jacoby, Matt Andreula, Yamini Chinni, Vicky Van Dyke, Mahmoud Hamza, Nancy Brennan-Hill, Declan Madden, Michael Sedon, Andrew Lowry and recently appointed member, Maria Demasco.

No minutes from the June, 2022 meeting were provided.

Update on Fall 2022 planting and bids:  Declan reviewed the bids specs for the CBD and Street tree plantings. CBD trees will receive watering through year and again next May through October.  Street trees will be watered at initial planting time.  2x follow up watering was suggested.  Homeowners will be provided with info about best watering practices and filling of gator bag.  88 trees are scheduled for the CBD.  Species are Swamp White Oak. Willow Oak, Red Maples, Trident Maples and Amalanchia.  160 Street trees will be planted to fulfill current resident requests and begin replanting areas with Ash tree loss.  Bid for the CBD will be opened on August 11 and the following week for the Street trees.

2023 Capital Budget, needs and wish-list:  175 Ash trees treated for EAB in 2020 will again need treatment in 2022.  It was suggested that an additional ~150 be removed.  (Declan thinks the total number of street Ashes was ~550.  Carolyn thinks it’s was more like ~650.).   Discussion about number of trees to be planted (completing the CBD, fulfilling resident requests and re-treeing Ash depleted streets) to mitigate continued net canopy loss ranged from 300 to 500.

2023 Operating Budget:  To ensure best practices and continued proper care and maintenance of trees, along with the growing demise of trees needing removal, one full time Shade Tree department member should be hired for the tree crew.  Additionally, the skills and expertise of a certified, licensed arborist should be utilized on a full time basis.  This would allow for the needed oversight of contracted projects and the time required for structural tree maintenance, both required to a develop healthy trees and lessen the continued decline of trees due to lack of pruning, general  maintenance and care.

Other: With a large number of hazardous sidewalks identified, Declan and the crew have been evaluating trees needing removal due to inevitable instability from required root grinding and healthy trees that can be sustained by a round-out sidewalk.  Residents have recently been more aware and sensitive to street tree loss and have reached out to the Council for consideration of costs incurred if a sidewalk ramp-over is needed. Andrew suggested that this issue be further reviewed before going to the Council. Michael suggested that the Council can appoint an ad hoc committee to review and suggest ways to remedy the concerns.  Andrew agreed to participate on the committee.

Board of Education:  Carolyn has met with representatives from Aramark, the landscape and facilities management organization for the district.  Dead limbs overhanging playground areas at schools were reviewed and removal should be completed before the start of school.  Volcano mulches surrounding trees at the high school and Orchard school were to be remediated, in addition to a few trees at the BOE building.

Library:  Carolyn was asked to review plans to refurbish the landscaping at the front entrance of the Library along Maple Avenue.  Dying and diminished trees that are encroaching on the roof and building facade need removal and structural pruning.  A tree service will be contracted for the work. The maple tree with limbs overhanging the sidewalk and utility lines is greatly diminished and needs removal.  A landscaper will be consulted to refurbish the plants and shrubs.

Carolyn again outreached to all members that there is a need for active participation on the STC:  a recoding Secretary needs to be assigned or the duty will be rotated monthly among members; subcommittees need to be formed to address areas of concern to the Commission.

Meeting adjourned at 9:08pm.

(20 volunteer hours)

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