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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The Village Council approved the funding and the proposal from Epic Management, Inc., to move forward with the Hudson Street parking garage. This will provide additional parking in the Central Business District for shoppers, diners, commuters, and employees.


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Hudson Street Garage is a Go !

July 19,2018
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ,  after years of debate ,last night the Village Council in a 5-0 vote approved a $12 million bond ordinance  to construct a 240-space parking garage on Hudson Street .
Parking meter rates in the Central Business District will be increased to help fund the garage. As of September 4th ,Fifty-cent hourly meters will be increased to 75 cents and the $1.25-an-hour meters will increase to $1.50.
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Reader says Citizens We have lost control of our town

high density housing

Citizens We have lost control of our town..but will pay the invoices for these scandalous errors and boondoggles for decades..many will see the handwriting on the wall and sell..then the newbees will be fresh rubes for the VC and their takers to clean them out as well..because they see the future and it’s all for their backers to cleave off extra unearned value by over developing the town and packing up the loot and jetting off to Margaritaville.Folks we are being ripped off.Young families won’t be able to easily sell with multiple kids in VR free but taxed school systems and longer term future college and tax costs so high.we have been gamed folks

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Village Council is in Negotiations With Two Developers with the goal of selecting a final Proposal for Hudson Street Garage

hudson Garage meeting

file photo by Boyd Loving

April 11,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, once again we turn to Councilmen Ramon Hache for an update on the Hudson Street Garage . In his recent new letter Hache stated that , “Following presentations from the four developers that responded to the Village’s RFP, the Village Council selected two of the four developers to continue negotiations. The negotiations began in March, with the goal of selecting a final proposal that balances the best fit, value, functionality, and design.”

The current council once again made a very smart decision designating the existing Hudson Street lot as an area in need of redevelopment in 2017. This has allowed them the opportunity to negotiate directly with the construction companies, instead of simply accepting or rejecting the bids. An additional benefit of the redevelopment zone designation is that the Village does not have to post the usual deposit for the bond which, for this project, could have been up to $600,000. The results of the negotiations will be discussed in Closed Session on April 11.

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Out of town commuters NOT WELCOME in Ridgewood?


March 1,2018
the staff of The Ridgewood Blog

Ridgewood NJ, strong recommendation made by Walker Consultants (contained in their parking garage financial analysis report) to allot 50 spaces for out of town commuters in the proposed Hudson Street parking garage, more than one member of the Village Council said “absolutely no way” during last night’s Village Council meeting.

The Walker report says: “The new garage will attract roughly 50 commuters from outside Ridgewood, which it should be able to accommodate during weekday commuter hours without impacting Village businesses.” It further explains: “Although we are not able to quantify potential gains of customers due to more space being available, we do quantify (albeit broadly) an increase in commuter demand from non-Ridgewood residents looking for parking near the train station. In the past Ridgewood had upwards of 120 out-of-towners using the Ridgewood train station. With parking in short supply, the Village raised rates for non-residents and demand decreased. The out of town permit rate has decreased again and there is a small amount of demand. With supply available on weekdays once the garage is built, we project about 50 new permits.”

The staff of The Ridgewood Blog questions why Village Council members are so opposed to out of towners provided, as Walker suggests, there is plenty of parking available. Have we become such an elite community?

This “no out of towners” welcome attitude clearly sends the wrong message. Let’s fill the garage so we can avoid going into debt and not worry about where the money is coming from.

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Reader says This just in…..”Retail Dying”


This just in…..”Retail Dying”. The Wall St. Journal reports that even trendy SoHo is seeing a store closings as retail shopping continues to dip.…/even-soho-cant-escape-the-retail-property-storm-1519160376
In 10 years people will wonder what possessed a Village to build a hulking garage to support a retail shopping district that went the way of the dinosaur. If we are looking to the future it should be how the CBD will be repurposed once retail shopping has evaporated. Not building a garage decades after it would have made a difference.

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The Time of Reckoning Has Come for the Hudson Street Garage in Ridgewood

Hudson garage

February 2,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Village received 4 proposals for the Hudson street garage project. At last Wednesdays council meeting Village Manager Heather Mailander made it clear that the Wednesday review was a quick once over with more in-depth review to follow.

Reader says , “Several months ago Councilman Hache publicly (during an open public meeting of the Village Council) voiced his strong opposition to the construction of any sized parking garage that would result in either increased parking fees, expanded metered parking hours (he cited both of the aforementioned as simply “another form of taxation), and/or an increased property tax burden for homeowners.
Now, all of a sudden, he’s Gung Ho on proceeding with the review of parking garage designs even prior to the financials being discussed. He went so far as to publicly chastise Mayor Knudsen for “stalling” when she suggested that financing arrangements should be discussed first.
WTF Ramon? What gives? Why the sudden about face?”

Many readers pointed out that Councilmen Ramon Hache seemed very focused on pushing the garage project forward for both design and financing . While we are not sure we would agree with that assessment .

The garage issue has be bandied about for the better part of 30 maybe 40 years although some would trace it back to the time when parking meters were first introduced to the Central Business District in Ridgewood making it more like 60 years .

Frankly we think the issues should be moved forward or finally put to rest once and for all .We now 4 proposals coupled with proposals for financing . Either the garage makes sense or it does not .

An anti garage reader summed it up , “Why are we still arguing every week about a garage we don’t need.It’s become the national pastime in Ridgewood. It’s been happening for over 20 years.At this rate it will happen for twenty more. We voted it down and it refuses to die.Politicians continue to ignore the voice of the people and make side deals with developers.There are much better uses of our tax dollars that can be made in our Village’s infrastructure.Is there anyone on the council with some real vision?”


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How to fund the parking garage in Ridgewood ?

pike garage  Melanie Whobin

November 5,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, So here’s a possible solution brought to our attention by a regular reader ;to funding the proposed parking garage in Ridgewood. Ridgewood  Real-estate agents pay careful attention .Construct the garage either partially or entirely as a condominium. That is, offer the parking spaces for sale to individuals, businesses, and/or investors. Those who choose not to use the space(s) they purchased can rent them out.

As investors, Buying individual parking spaces is a little known but extremely appealing real estate play for small investors like Ms. Jones. The obvious selling points are comparatively low prices, steady income, next to no maintenance, and wear and tear limited to the odd oil stain on the cement. Moreover, a growing number of parking apps is making it easier to rent out these spaces on a yearly, monthly, daily and even hourly basis

The spaces could be rented like airbnb , no noisy neighbors to worry about . SpotHero, an app that helps car owners locate spaces in the United States and Canada, lists mostly excess vacancies in hotel garages. But Larry Kiss, a founder of the company, said he has noticed more independent listers offering spaces on the site, whether it’s an extra space in their home garage or driveway or a space they have purchased. Another app listing an increasing number of one-off parking spaces, as well as storage space, is Spacer.

we have to be careful though , Parking investors do face an uncertain future, though. If more people start driving electric cars, spaces without charging stations will be less desirable. Ride hailing apps and self-driving car services could also dampen demand. .

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One of the initiatives important to Ridgewood council members elected last year is to build a garage on Hudson Street

Jeff Voigt Ridgewood Council

October 6,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Ridgewood blog staff translates Jeff Voigt’s recent pro garage letter to the editor  .


One of the initiatives important to Ridgewood council members elected last year is to build a garage on Hudson Street, an area close to the train station. Prime users are rail commuters during the day and restaurant goers at night.  NOPE – the taxpayers do not need to spend a fortune just so commuters can park in an ugly garage and restaurants can pad their wallets.

In this three block area, there are 50 restaurants with close to 3,000 seats. Ordinances that deal with such intensity of use issues generally call for one parking space for every two to three restaurant seats or; approximately 1,250 parking spaces needed for the restaurants alone. There is a supply of 655 parking spaces in this area.  This is total bullshit.  At any given time there are more empty spaces in Ridgewood than you can count.  Just walk a block or two before sitting down to your meal.  This is some funky math that our elected official is playing with.

Add to this, that on any given night approximately 280 of these spaces are taken up by restaurant employees. In other words, the supply is actually 375 spaces for restaurants goers or; a shortage of 875 spaces.  In my conversations with restaurant owners, they’ve told me during the first seating for the Thursday through Saturday high-demand times, their customers are able to find a parking space. However, at the second seating many out-of-towners will drive around for 15-20 minutes in frustration, not find a parking space and then leave. This obviously hurts our village’s businesses.  The central valet may solve this.  Or they can park on Cottage place and walk two blocks, just like you would do in the city.  Come on people…..walk a little, or spend millions and millions of dollars on an ugly garage?

Back in 2015, a non-binding referendum for a garage on Hudson Street was voted 2-1 in favor for building a garage by voters. So why can’t the Village Council move forward on this?  Voigt conveniently fails to mention that in 2016 there were TWO referendums that reversed this, one of which was binding.  And he conveniently fails to mention that the 2015 referendum was flawed because Aronsohn and company gave false information to the voters who thought they were just voting for “more parking.”  Furthermore, Voigt neglects to mention that he signed the two VOTE NO TO THE GARAGE petitions, he collected signatures himself for these, he solicited people to sign, he made a video encouraging people to sign, and his wife and daughter signed.

In early February, a subcommittee was formed to figure out how best to move forward in building the garage. The mayor and one other council member volunteered quickly for the committee, preventing other council members from serving. Due to public meeting laws, no more than two council members can be present at any one time on official business.   The Mayor said on October 4 at the Village Counci meeting that no such subcommittee was ever formed, she is therefore obviously not on it, and other members of the council all agreed publicly at the meeting that they are not on it and it does not exist.  Voigt was conveniently (and inexplicably) not in attendance at the meeting on October 4.
I believe the mayor needs to be taken off the garage subcommittee and replaced by a council member who wants the garage built. Why she is on it, is a mystery to me. She has never come out publicly in support of the Hudson Street garage.  The Mayor cannot be taken off a subcommittee that exists only in the fantasy corners of Voigt’s corrupted brain.  Furthermore, the Mayor did in fact publicly support the Hudson Street garage, voting in favor of it while stating that it needed to be smaller.  Another FACT that Voigt gets wrong.

Information coming out of the garage sub-committee has been virtually non-existent.  Even as a council person, I often first hear about the Hudson Street garage at public meetings.  There is no garage subcommittee.  Got it Jeff?  It does not exist.

The public has a right to know about such issues as building a garage. It is their money that will be spent.  The public has a right to know that Councilman Voigt spews lies with every breath he exhales.

Jeff Voigt
Ridgewood, Sept. 24
The writer is a soon-to-be-former Ridgewood councilman.

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An Open Letter to the Ridgewood Planning Board

Village Council -Halaby

An Open Letter to the Planning Board with cc to the Village Council and others:

Dear Mr. Joel, Planning Board Members, and Planning Board Professional Staff:

First let me state that I am not an attorney, let alone one with expertise in municipal law. And so, the views and opinions I express in this email are those of a layman. But a layman who has lived in Ridgewood for 48 years and one who cares deeply about our community. I should also state that I am a big supporter of building a garage on the Hudson St. site.

I understand that the Village Planner has been directed by the Village Council “to conduct a study for Redevelopment of the Hudson Street Municipal Parking Lot, allowing the Village more options moving forward with garage construction plans that could potentially save significant taxpayer dollars and build time.” I find the rationale for the directive to be misleading and incomplete.

According to an email I received from Mr. Matt Rogers, Village attorney, “The Local Redevelopment and Housing Law permits municipalities to consider property(ies) within its borders for redevelopment if the property meets certain criteria. The Statute was designed to promote the rehabilitation and/or the reconstruction of properties that have long gone without attention, particularly in commercial locations or areas. There is a process prescribed by the Statute that must be followed in order to take advantage of the statute’s benefits, which allows the municipality to avoid the public bidding process and negotiate directly with one or any entities that the municipality wants to consider for the project in mind. The Council can start the process by requesting the a (sic) study be performed by the Planner to determine if the property, in this case the Hudson Street parking lot, meets the criteria of the Statute. If it does and the process is completed, then the Village can negotiate directly with any contractor it so wishes. As you know, there has already been a presentation from PIKE at a Council meeting, where it became apparent that they can both provide a design and build the garage. The thought is that by utilizing the statute, the Village can avoid the time it takes to bid out design and then bid out to find a contractor to build the design. Additionally, it is the hope that by directly negotiating with the a (sic) contractor, the Village can also save money on the cost for several reasons. It will hopefully work and provide those benefits. If not, then the bidding process can always be utilized.”

There is no way the Hudson St. parking lot can be considered “long gone without attention.” It is obvious to me that this approach is being used by the Mayor to allow her to short circuit the process for her to be able to use Pike Construction, her chosen option. I don’t believe the Planning Board should allow itself to serve as an enabler.

As I mentioned earlier I am a big believer in the need to build a garage on the Hudson St. site. I supported the thorough, detailed, and transparent work the previous Council had undertaken in that regard, and was most disappointed when their plans were thwarted.

In contrast, for the past year the current Village Council has been totally opaque in its activities re the garage, excepting for a snippet here or there by the Mayor. I listened to the Village Council Meeting of 2017AUG02 and I was shocked to see that Councilmen Voigt and Walsh were totally out of the loop. My understanding is that the Mayor has limited her deliberations to Councilmen Hache and Sedon, and two Village Staff Members, the Village Manager and the CFO.

I personally do not like the Pike design. I find their design to be esthetically unattractive, and frankly insulting to the beautiful architecture we value in Ridgewood. As I mentioned in a Village Council meeting, the only thing lacking from the design is a neon sign that says “Welcome to Newark Airport.”

Before you expend any energy, resources, and public funds in carrying out the Mayor’s directive, I believe you should ask the Mayor to first undertake a transparent process that would fully and openly inform the Ridgewood Residents of her plans.

FYI, I understand the Mayor has recently written the Council concerning Parking Garage Options. I tried to OPRA a copy but was refused on account of its being “deliberative.” I will do all that I can to obtain a copy. We live in America not Soviet Russia!

Thank you,

Rurik Halaby