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DEP’s Proposed Water Rule Means More Dirty Water

photo at Apple Ridge by Derek Michalski

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, The Department of Environmental Protection NJ Department of Environmental Protection is proposing amendments, repeals, and new rules to the Stormwater Management rules, N.J.A.C. 7:8. This is the first rule under the DEP have proposed under the Murphy Administration.  A public hearing on the proposal is today, Tuesday January 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Department of Environmental Protection. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club released the following statement:

“DEP’s proposed rule fails to adequately protect New Jersey from flooding and non-point pollution. These rules are a step backwards, they do not deal with climate change, more frequent flooding, combined sewer overflows, and would make it easier to build pipelines. It allows for green infrastructure however it says to the maximum extension practice which is a loophole big enough to fit a bulldozer through.  The biggest problem with this rule is that it continues Christie’s rollbacks on wetlands, flood hazard, and stormwater.

“The rule calls for green infrastructure but keeps the current standards in place that do not work. It also does not effectively monitor the green infrastructure. The rules exempt existing development, they do not require retrofitting of stormwater retention and detention basin systems. It does not require enough recharge or to break up impervious cover to absorb more water. Instead, we should be treating stormwater through natural filtration into sub soils followed by vegetation. The proposed rule does not restore the 300-foot buffers, SWARPA, or calls for revegetating stream buffers or riparian corridors as a way of dealing with non-point pollution.

“DEP’s stormwater rule is seriously flawed and does not change the basic standard. The rule treats impervious cover with automobiles different with other types of impervious cover, which we believe is wrong. It does not deal with compacted soils which in parts of New Jersey are like of impervious cover. The rule also does not include any bonding required for infrastructure in case the system fails, it also does not require maintenance or monitoring.

“The model is based on dealing 100-year storm events that we are having every year. The 100-yr storm model does not work because of climate change and frequency of intense storms, we are also getting a lot more rain. Modelers are looking at 250 year and 500 year storms.  This means if you leave along the Passaic or the Raritan River, you’re going to need snorkels. Instead of moving us forward it keeps the status quo.

“Existing development is exempted from the stormwater rule, which is already the largest source of non-pollution in our state. This means a box store being built on a former shopping center or a high rise in New Brunswick will be exempted. Roofs and sidewalks are also not included under the rules, even though they contribute to extra pollution.

“Combined sewer overflow is a major problem in New Jersey, but the rule does not really address it.  CSOs are a health hazard, especially when concerned with sea level rise. The rule does not require any restrictions on holding back on water on ground or near properties. It also has no language that would clean up nitrogen and phosphorous in our water. Dilapidated storm water systems exacerbate the problem by increasing the water in combined sewers and we need funding to reduce the amount of water in sewers during major storm events. Only 5% of streams in New Jersey meet standards for being fishable, swimmable, and drinkable, mostly because of non-point solution. 65% of our streams are impacted by phosphorus. We have to retrofit urban areas for stormwater management. Things like green roofs, wet gardens can help and prevent combined sewer overflow however these methods are exempted because the rule exempts redevelopment.

“These rules do not reverse Christie’s rollbacks on stormwater, buffers, or wetlands. They still give preference for engineered controls like basins and outfall structures that can cause more erosion. DEP’s new Stormwater Management rule does not replace the nonstructural point system and requires most of BMP. Most of BMPs only work 50% of the time in ultimate situations. They do not work in areas with steep slopes or high groundwater. The rules do not deal with total suspended solids and do not have nutrient limits for nitrogen or phosphorus. They need to have those requirements in order to do TMDL.

“Non- point pollution is the biggest source of water pollution in New Jersey. This rule does not change the basic standard of the amount of water that can be adsorbed into the ground or cleanup of non-point pollution. It still has the same standards that do not work in New Jersey in the last 40 years. That is our largest source of pollution mostly because of runoff. We are seeing Barnegat Bay dying because of non point pollution and runoff. Dissolved oxygen levels are dropping due to high levels of nutrients from stormwater, resulting in algae blooms. We have to address the stormwater management and nonpoint source pollution issues in the Bay otherwise we are going to turn the Barnegat Bay into the state’s largest stormwater detention basin as the Bay continues to die.

“DEP is just taking the broken current system and adding some green amendments. This is really green cover for a rule that will cause more flooding and water pollution. The rule has a few positives but overall does nothing to change the status quo of pointless non-pollution.  It also does not deal or address storm impacts from pipelines or industrial compressor stations. The biggest source of pollution we face is nonpoint pollution and we need to retrofit our stormwater basins to protect our waterways, while revitalizing our waterfront neighborhoods and communities. DEP’s first rule is still a Christie rule that also has nothing to do with climate change, sea level rise, and will add just add more flooding. This rule just create more pointless non-point pollution,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

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New Jersey Apartment Association Political Action Committee PAC Reception Hits Record Number Of Attendees


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Monroe Twp NJ, On October 17,  the forces of development gathered in New Jersey, the 2018 the New Jersey Apartment Association Political Action Committee (NJAA PAC) hosted 45 legislators at its annual PAC Reception in West Orange.

The largest reception of its kind for the multifamily (apartment) industry in New Jersey, legislators traveled from across the state to join over 155 NJAA members. During the reception, industry leaders had the opportunity to discuss the positive impact the multifamily industry has both on New Jersey’s economy as well as the overall quality of life for the one million New Jersey residents that call apartment living home.

Continue reading New Jersey Apartment Association Political Action Committee PAC Reception Hits Record Number Of Attendees

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Reader says Overall the council has been a disappointment ,carrying more water for the developers

parking garage cbd

Overall the council has been a disappointment ,carrying more water for the developers
and businesses with own agendas that are being served with a first priority at our public taxpayers expense . Seems when something routine gets completed its like a miracle has shown itself from the heavens .We expected better VC.Time to strap in for a real mess over next 2 to 3 years as they tear the roads and streets apart to raise their supporters bar –
on over development of Rental housing developments and raised parking structure projects .Just wait until you see the traffic and the impact to the town we know so well.

This did not have to happen..It was forced down Taxpayers throats .

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Latest update from Toll Brothers site in Upper Saddle River : Mud is back in Pleasant Brook 

May 21,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, Latest update from Toll Brothers site tonight. According to immediate neighbor of Toll Brother they were pumping mud all day today (Sunday, May 20, 2018). After documented Thursday (May 17 mud discharge) Pleasant Brook was starting to clear up this morning but and now it’s FULL of MUD again at 9:30pm .

At this point we don’t care if Toll Brothers is discharging this mud intentionally or that they simply can’t cope with the amount of storm water gushing from 100 plus acres of soil which was contaminated with high level of arsenic and lead.
Allegedly the soil was tilled with huge bulldozers – tillers and now it’s considered “remediated”. However no soil was removed from the site just spread around. Now the question remains what happens with that arsenic and lead after 5 months of being discharged (intentionally or unintentionally) to Upper Saddle River aquafire? So far not one water test was produced by neither Toll Brothers, Boswell engineers or our famous building director James Dougherty. Police officers called to the scene advised me that they were advised not to touch anything which might came in contact with that water due to alleged arsenic and lead contamination. If it’s bad for police officers how on earth can it be safe for GreenUSR residents. Since GreenUSR members lost confidence in ability of our local government to handle this situation we will be asking feds for assistance. 

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Reader says if people don’t speak up, nothing is going to be done to stop the next round of over-development

CBD high density housing

Folks have tried to change the Aronson laws that were passed to allow these projects to go forward. The basic enabling law was repealed by the new council. Other attempts were made. But, frankly, due to a lack of backbone on the Council, the Aronson Apartment projects are going forward.

This council and planning board could have done a whole lot more, but they chose not to for reasons only they can explain – – ask them. let them know how you feel. And, don’t forget to let Aronson know how you feel as well about the changes he made to our community in his pathetic pursuit of his personal goals.

Bottom line, however, is that if people don’t speak up, nothing is going to be done to stop the next round of over-development.

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Reader says Shoving overdevelopment down our throats in Ridgewood is the reason all these are on hold

CBD high density housing

Anti-Development? What Kool-Aid are you drinking. If you changed your thought properly to Over-Development, then you’d be 100% correct. Develop reasonable housing at 18-24 units, Valley can renew in Ridgewood with minor variances (not doubling in size-Ludacris). Parking garage, should be 2 levels on Hudson, then another 2 level garage at another location (Ken Smith, behind BOE building, or Hillman? Shoving overdevelopment down our throats is the reason all these are on hold. We need logical decision making and that’s what our new council will bring. Can someone please remove that illegal wall in front of the Greek Restaurant! Can anyone explain who and why this was allowed?

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Not Much in the Way of Free Market Principles” at work in the Over development of Ridgewood

Paul V garage pledge

May 6 2016
the staff of the Ridgewood Blog

Ridgewood NJ, Reader challenges Ridgewood blog on “Free Market principles “claiming we are picking the candidates in favor of more regulation against “free market developers and development”.

“Ironic that “Free Market Laissez-faire Point of View” is in favor of a government that promises to be more restrictive than the alternative, but in this case, Jamsie, I agree with you 100%.

I hope you are learning the flaws in your Randian world view, specifically, left to their devices, the “job creators” would starve themselves out of existence. In the case of Ridgewood: motivated by short term benefit, the Job Creators (i.e. CBD restaurant owners and landlords) would overdevelop the CBD and surrounding areas to the detriment of our community, schools and way of life. In the long term, the quality of the schools would decline even more, the quaintness of the village would erode, property values would drop, and before you know it, you live in a version of Caldwell or whatever.

The judicious application of regulation is a good thing.”

Got to laugh on this one but the reader is a bit confused ;

The Free Market is ,”A system of economics that minimizes government intervention and maximizes the role of the market. According tothe theory of the free market, rational economic actors acting in their own self interest deal with information and price goods and services the most efficiently. Government regulations, trade barriers, and labor laws are generally thought to distort the market. Proponents of the free market argue that it provides the most opportunities for both consumers and producers by creating more jobs and allowing competition to decide what businesses are successful. ”

What we have in Ridgewood and New Jersey as well as on a National level  is called by many Crony capitalism or Cronyism , “Crony capitalism is a description of capitalist society as being based on the close relationships between businessmen and the state. Instead of success being determined by a free market and the rule of law, the success of a business is dependent on the favoritism that is shown to it by the ruling government in the form of tax breaks, government grants and other incentives.”

Developers using the Village Council forcing tax payers to pick up the tab for a parking garage that clearly benefits certain businesses  ie those that support the Mayor and his consorts is not in any way shape or form “Free Market Capitalism” but clearly a local example and the very definition of “Cronyism”. The negative issues associated with over development in the Village are all a direct or indirect cause be they foreseen and unforeseen consequences of government intervention ie.. 3066 , COAH, open space , and so on . These tax breaks, government grants and other incentives are all put in place to aid developers and to garner political contributions .

Crony capitalism is the marriage of the state and private special interests. Some people have called it corporatism, mercantilism, fascism, or even Communism.

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Reader says BCIA Funding a Sad day for the Village of Ridgewood – but only a day

BCIA Meeting

photo by Boyd Loving

Sad day for the Village – but only a day.

We should neither despair nor capitulate. We can prevent the council from handing the Village over to failed developers and downtown businesses. The May 10th election really isn’t that far away, and these things can still be derailed and prevented. Thankfully there are people working on doing just that. We need to all join in. Aronsohn knows his plans can be undone – – that is why he acts like he does when you try and nail him down on specifics. What scares him beyond belief is that if he doesn’t deliver, his developer friends will drop him like a hot potato. He’s not loved in either the local or state level democratic organizations or other groups. He knows the developers are his last hope to ever winning a real election. And yes, our current debates about Village life are all about one man’s political future (or lack thereof) – – that is what makes the sell-out so despicable.

Let’s keep the pressure up. And let’s see what happens in the May election. If those of us opposed to the overdevelopment are truly in the majority, as I suspect we are, then the council votes will reveal just that. In the meantime, lets not have this fellow undo over a hundred years of village life just so he can try and advance his own failed political career.

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The Battle of Princeton, Revisited

Battle of Princeton

Heavy equipment is placed on the Princeton battlefield overnight in June 2015. Development temporarily halted by temporary restraining order.
From Princeton Battlefield Society.

It started out as the British versus the Continental forces, a war of attrition that has come down now to Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Studies versus Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-15), or so it would seem to hear the assemblyman’s passion for preserving a parcel of land ascribed to the Battle of Princeton. Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ Read more


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Another Front Has Opened Up against Over Development in Ridgewood


photo by Boyd Loving

Another Front Has Opened Up against Over Development in Ridgewood

October 11,2015
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Another Front Has Opened Up against in what the majority of residents perceive as the over development and urbanization of Ridgewood .Last week signs began to appear the Zabriskie Schedler House, more commonly now called Schedler Park or Schedler field  .

The Schedler property boarders Route 17 north in a very quite residential neighborhood cornered between Route 17 and Saddle river.The most notable feature, of the property is the 1830s-style Dutch wood frame home, which historians have dated the construction of the home’s main section to the 1830s, though the existing kitchen wing might have predated 1825. The four separate parcels at the Schedler tract were also the site to a Revolutionary War battle and have yielded artifacts from that time.

The RBSA has been pushing for a baseball field in the location since before the property was purchased by the Village in 2009. In 2014 the RBSA sponsored candidate Residents James Albano ran for Village Council with the express purpose of pushing a baseball field in the location . Albano was crushed by a landslide loss in a council election that featured a “mysterious” email to Candidate Michael Sedon employer at the time in an attempt to pressure Sendon to drop out.

L- R: Isabella Altano from Ridgewood Eastside Development (RED) shows the map of the proposed sports field to Freeholder John Mitchell. Aug 15 2012

In 2012 after another historic home was torn down in Paramus , the site caught the eye of Bergen County Freeholder Maura DeNicola, and Bergen County Freeholder John Mitchell who met with then Ridgewood Village Manager Ken Gabbert, Village Historian Joseph Suplicki and Freeholder Robert Hermansen to discuss the Zabriskie/Schedler house .

A grassroots organization was formed called Ridgewood Eastside Development (RED) in an attempt to protect the neighborhood and preserve the area with some alternative modest development , but mostly the focus at the time was on land making the property and preserving the trees and open space .

The council majority Paul Aronsohn, Albert Pucciarelli ,Gwenn Hauck aka the 3 amigos have as usual ignored the wishes of the vast majority of Ridgewood residents and sided with developers and special interests .