file photo by Boyd Loving
SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETING – RIDGEWOOD MULTI-FAMILY HOUSING – JANUARY 12TH
the staff of the Ridgewood blog with input from several readers
Ridgewood NJ , the Special Public Meeting on high density multi family housing was attended by 30-35 residents attended who heard proposals for studies from five groups as follows:
1. Heyer, Gruel & Associates – who could do studies on the fiscal and school impacts
2. Maser Consuting – traffic study
3. Ross Haber Associates – school impact
4. The RBA Group – traffic study
5. BFJ Planning/Urbanomics – fiscal, infrastructure, school, and traffic
Overall the meeting was peaceful. The mayor as usual did not answer all the questions and asked some residents “your five minutes are up” when they questioned him, though they still had time, and answered questions from some others who were appreciating his efforts.
Mayor Aronsohn could not resist poking residents making a sarcastic remark about the “overflow crowd,” – stating that BF had been selected to handle a large crowd, his comment discounted the fact that 30-35 residents had come out. Which under normal circumstances would be a decent sized crowd .
The Village had two police officers present through the entire meeting, at what cost? It was also unclear whether they were guarding the Council members , or the public since threats were made from hostile council members to the public?
There were five presentations. 2 for school, 2 for traffic and one for everything. The firm which presented everything also included impact on schools and traffic. So, for schools and traffic, 3 options each were presented. For the other two impact studies, only one option was presented BFJ/Urbananomics.
The Village Manager Roberta Schoenfield stated that there had not been an RFP, that there did not need to be for this. Thus we only wound up with ONE infrastructure group, thus no basis for comparison.
Council Women Hauck asked questions of one of the contractors regarding how to discredit residents who disagree with the results of a study.
Deputy Mayor Pucciarelli stated that the public called for experts, and then goes ahead and questions the expertise of the experts, implying that residents should not ask any questions about how any of the proposed studies should be done.
The council seemed to agree informally to go with BFJ for the fiscal, infrastructure and school but RBA for traffic. This was not a vote and it will be discussed further. RBA’s description of their traffic study indicated that would use video technology at 10 intersections, considering the cars as well as the pedestrians and bicycles at each. The tubes-in-the-road technology is outdated and only captures vehicles. RBA also indicated that any data from studies more than 3 years old is basically useless.
They liked the fact that BFJ had the ability to do all the studies and work with each other in-house, but their traffic proposal was weak.
Roberta stated that our in-house experts are quite capable of doing some of these studies .During the initial comments the village manager mentioned that she wanted to use them as hub where traffic and school consultant will feed into them, but she also mentioned that she did not like their pricing for data collection and she wanted them to use already collected data. When one resident asked why was only one firm invited for the other two impact studies, the village manager responded that we may not even go with them and we may do those in house to save money.
It clearly sounded like the village manager doesn’t want an outside consultant to be looking at the water, fire, police, fiscal stuff closely and wants to keep that part to herself ie internally.
Eleven residents made comments, paraphrased:
The VC was thanked for changing the date of the meeting from Friday to Tuesday
Much concern about the traffic studies – one day, two days, a week, what if a snowstorm, how good a picture would any traffic study actually produce
Questions about the RUSH – why not slow down with all of this.
Questions about complying with COAH.
Questions about what was going on with Kensington Assisted Living