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Ridgewood developers would add parking

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Ridgewood developers would add parking

SEPTEMBER 10, 2014    LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2014, 1:21 AM
BY CHRIS HARRIS
STAFF WRITER
THE RECORD
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RIDGEWOOD — The village will be getting some much-needed parking along North Walnut Street under the terms outlined in a 42-page bid soliciting potential developers for the downtown’s redevelopment zone.

A new Request for Proposal and Qualifications, or RFP, has been issued by Ridgewood officials and seeks the redevelopment of 10 properties the heart of the Central Business District.

The 2.07 acres — some of it municipally owned — was designated a “redevelopment zone” by officials in 2007, which permits mostly retail and restaurant uses.

The redevelopment zone — currently the site of an ice cream shop, an 89-space parking lot, a mechanic’s shop, restaurants and retail stores — further allows for residential developments and is already being considered by at least one developer for a future assisted-living facility for seniors.

The RFP states that all proposals and plans from interested developers must be submitted by December and must include some manner of parking garage.

While an issue for decades, the village’s lack of parking has become an increasing concern for businesses and residents.

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/ridgewood-developers-would-add-parking-1.1084530

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Special Public Meeting for Planning Board – September 16

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NOTICE – Special Public Meeting for Planning Board – September 16

PLANNING BOARD

AMENDMENT TO MEETING SCHEDULE

Special Public Meeting: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 

Change of Location

In accordance with the provisions of the “Open Public Meetings Act,” please be advised that the Planning Board has scheduled a special public meeting and work session for TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2014, in the RIDGEWOOD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT CENTER, 627 E. RIDGEWOOD AVENUE, RIDGEWOOD, NJ beginning AT 7:30 p.m.

The Board may take official action during this Special Public Meeting at which time the Board will continue the public hearing concerning a proposed amendment to the Land Use Plan Element of the Master Plan which would recommend changes in zone district classifications and boundaries within the Central Business District and surrounding area including AH-2, B-3-R, C-R and C Zone Districts. 

The proposed master plan amendment and related exhibits are at the office of the Secretary of the Ridgewood Planning Board on the third floor of Village Hall, 131 North Maple Avenue, Ridgewood, New Jersey and are available for public inspection Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The amendment and exhibits are also posted as a courtesy on the Village’s website at www.ridgewoodnj.net. 

All meetings of the Ridgewood Planning Board (i.e., official public meetings, work session meetings, pre-meeting assemblies and special meetings) are public meetings which are always open to members of the general public.

Jane Wondergem

Secretary to the Board

Annual Sunflower Spectacular. Save Up to 50% at 1800flowers.com (Offer Ends 09/20/2014)

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Mayor Aronsohn Pushes a Development Agenda in Latest Mayor’s Corner

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file photo by Boyd Loving
Mayor Aronsohn Pushes a Development Agenda in Latest Mayor’s Corner

Ridgewood Mayor’s Corner: Setting up for September

September 5, 2014    Last updated: Friday, September 5, 2014, 9:45 AM

Welcome to the September edition of the Mayor’s Corner – my monthly Ridgewood News column that seeks to make village government more accessible, more transparent, more user-friendly.

Council agenda: The council will meet two more times this month – Sept. 10 and 17. On the agenda will be downtown parking, public holiday displays, Planning Board-related issues and a host of other important topics.

All of our meetings are open to the public. Residents are encouraged to attend and participate. Please visit our website – ridgewoodnj.net – for more information or to watch the meetings online.

Parking, Parking, Parking: If there is one issue that most of us agree on, it is the need for more parking spaces in the Central Business District (CBD).

With the busiest train station on NJ Transit’s “Main Line” – over 1,500 passengers per day – and with one of the busiest downtowns in all of New Jersey, Ridgewood’s need for additional parking spaces has probably never been greater. For that reason, the council has been exploring and implementing changes to our parking situation … and there is much more to come.

With respect to short-term fixes, we recently adopted two ordinances that should increase the number of available parking spots during the day and evening hours. First, we made “surface parking” a primary use in the C Zone, thus allowing more cars to park daily in places like the former Ken Smith lot. Second, we made valet parking a reality, thus providing relief for many restaurant customers as well as those who will benefit from more on-street parking at night.

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/opinion/opinion-guest-writers/ridgewood-mayor-s-corner-setting-up-for-september-1.1081785#sthash.gvuwdHLV.dpuf

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“Parking Authority” vs. “Parking Utility”

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“Parking Authority” vs. “Parking Utility”
September 3rd 2014 

Boyd A. Loving
11:46 PM

What are the differences between Parking Authorities and Parking Utilities in the State of NJ, and why does Ridgewood choose to retain a Parking Utility?

Parking Authority

The Legislature of the State of New Jersey in 1948 adopted N.J.S.A. 40:11A et seq., commonly known as the “Parking Authority Law,” which authorized municipal governments to create an independent parking authority. A parking authority has the same geographic boundaries as the city that created it but is “a public body corporate and politic and a political subdivision of the State (of New Jersey).” ANew Jersey parking authority has five commissioners who are appointed by the governing body of the municipality (city council or city commissioners) for staggered five-year terms, or seven commissioners with two mayoral appointments and five governing body appointments. A parking authority may employ an executive director, attorney, engineer, accountant, and any other professionals and staff necessary to manage and deliver parking services to the city’s residents and the general public.

As noted elsewhere in this report, New Jersey parking authorities have extraordinary statutory authority. N.J.S.A. 40:11A-6 grants parking authorities the powers necessary to carry out and effectuate essential government purposes. Furthermore, parking authorities may buy, sell and/or lease property as a lessee or lessor; construct multiuse projects and parking facilities; borrow money; issue bonds; mortgage or otherwise encumber its assets; enter into contracts; and retain earnings.

Because parking authorities fund their operations from revenue derived from parking user fees rather than through real estate taxation, and board members traditionally are appointed from the business community, parking authorities tend to be operated like a business. Parking authorities are conscious of the fact that annual expenses should not exceed parking revenue. Surplus annual revenue is retained to pay for renewal and replacement repairs at existing parking facilities and to purchase real estate or build new facilities.

The strength of a parking authority is its independence. The parking authority’s commissioners are appointed, not elected, public officials. Consequently, a parking authority board of commissioners can make difficult planning decisions such as raising parking rates, installing parking meters, increasing parking enforcement, acquiring property by eminent domain, or selecting a location to construct a parking facility without regard to its immediate political consequence. A parking authority provides elected officials with a measure of political cover in that the authority’s decisions are the result of the actions of the authority’s board rather than the city’s governing council/commission.

Among the other advantages of a parking authority:

• Its debt is outside the municipalities bonding limit (Cap)

• Its sole purpose and function is to construct, maintain, and operate public parking

• It can retain earnings and accumulate surplus revenue for capital projects

• It can develop income-producing mixed-use projects exempt from real estate taxes, which are intended to subsidize the cost of providing public parking.

The negatives of a parking authority are the reverse side of its strengths. Parking authorities are independent and, on occasion, choose to raise parking fees or pursue goals, objectives, or projects that are not supported by a majority of the municipal governing body. Parking authorities are not directly controlled by the local governing body, which has the power only to appoint or reappoint one authority commissioner per year to the authority’s member board. Parking authorities traditionally have generated revenue surpluses at year end or have accumulated significant financial reserves through retained earnings that local municipal governments prefer be utilized for taxpayer relief or be transferred to the municipality’s general fund to offset the city’s operating budget expenses.

Based upon a review of Who’s Who in Parking 2005, published by the International Parking Institute (IPI), there are seven states—Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—that have parking authorities. However, it should be noted that Miami is the only parking authority in the state of Florida that was created by a special act of the legislature. The state of New Jersey has approximately thirty parking authorities, more than any other state in the nation.

Parking Utility

A municipality, as an alternative to a parking authority, may create a parking utility. A parking utility has a number of the strengths of a parking authority: executive director; operating budget and debt service separate from the municipality; ability to generate annual surplus revenue and retain earnings; ability to set its own rates and fees; and a function strictly limited to providing public parking.

Among the negatives associated with a parking utility: limited independence; the executive director usually reports through the city administrator/manager or CFO; the local governing body retains jurisdiction over rates, fees, capital projects, operating budget, and personnel; and parking revenues in excess of annual operating expenses generally are turned over to the city’s general fund.

The good news/bad news aspects of a parking utility are that the municipal governing body maintains virtual control of the parking entity. However, the hands-on control exercised by the municipal governing body places parking planning and decision making within the political process.

In municipal environments where control of the mayor’s office and governing body are continually contested, parking can become a political rather than a planning issue, which may affect a parking utility’s ability to aggressively pursue public parking improvements and objectives.

There are at least four parking utilities within the state of New Jersey: East Brunswick, Hoboken, Princeton, and Trenton.

The Answer:

Parking Utility revenues in excess of annual operating expenses are moved over to the Village’s general fund. If Ridgewood had a Parking Authority all these years, all revenues collected (and not stolen) would have been used exclusively to maintain and/or improve parking. There would be no parking problem now, because there would have been plenty of money to resolve it.

Proving once again ladies and gentlemen that you can’t have your cake and eat it too!

(Special thanks go to James Ten Hoeve, who revealed the answer publicly several years ago.)

Esurance

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Reader says the Village needs to seize the agenda from the developers

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Reader says the Village needs to seize the agenda from the developers

Answer – we need parking AND common sense. Unfortunately with the team we have running the show, we’re unlikely to get either.

Until the Village seizes the agenda from the developers, we will be in a state of continuous reaction. Developers want to build huge buildings because they make more money that way. Certain citizens are not in favor of huge buildings. Developers then say that if they can’t build a huge building then they won’t build anything. Then other citizens say that the town is is disrepair and we need to do something so let’s just build the huge buildings because what other choice do we have?

Come to think of it, I’d settle for some common sense and will drive around the block looking for a spot in the meantime.

Microsoft Store

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Over $400k in missing quarters, but collection process still the same

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Photo credit:Boyd A. Loving
Over $400k in missing quarters, but collection process still the same
August 25,2014
Boyd A. Loving
12:32 PM

Ridgewood NJ, Despite having lost over $400k in quarters to “shrinkage,” the Village continues to collect quarters from parking meters by emptying open meter containers into empty pickle buckets.  These photos were taken on Monday, 08/25/2014 in the Central Business District.

And the band played on . . .

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Photo credit:Boyd A. Lovin

Esurance

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Ridgewood sets guidelines for valet parking

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Ridgewood sets guidelines for valet parking

AUGUST 22, 2014    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2014, 12:31 AM
BY LAURA HERZOG
STAFF WRITER

The Village Council approved two ordinances last week that officials hope will have a positive impact on the Central Business District (CBD) and customer experience.

One ordinance establishes rules for restaurant valet parking. The other is an amendment to an existing ordinance on site plan procedural requirements, which the village manager hopes will speed up the process of building approval for business owners, as well as homeowners, who are doing minor work.

In the case of the valet parking ordinance, the village manager was pushing for a speedy approval; valet parking is already being done in the CBD by Roots Steakhouse. The new high-end eating establishment on Chestnut Street valet parks at some of its other area locations.

The new ordinance, which allows valet parking operators to “utilize the streets and public parking lots of the village… for performance of their services,” lists detailed operating requirements.

Among them, valet parking operators will need to buy an annual permit and show a valid insurance certificate.

Part of the push for the valet parking ordinance is related to the village’s parking woes. The village’s resolution notes that valet parking is being permitted to “help alleviate and minimize parking congestion.”

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/business/guidelines-set-for-valet-parking-1.1071314#sthash.sJAsixrK.dpuf

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Reader says a Parking Garage may actually make the downtown more pedestrian friendly and safer

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Reader says a Parking Garage may actually make the downtown more pedestrian friendly and safer

Parking Garage, in the downtown area on Franklin, with store fronts on Walnut and Franklin to create a facade that would hide the garage structure. Remove Parking from some some streets partially or entirely. This would force people to use the garage, and may actually make the downtown more pedestrian friendly and safer. A possible enticement is for restaurants and stores to provide partial parking vouchers when purchases are made in their establishment. I’ve heard this was done in California with good success.

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Ridgewood residents weigh in on downtown planning

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photo by Boyd Loving

Ridgewood residents weigh in on downtown planning

JULY 25, 2014    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014, 1:21 AM
BY CHRIS HARRIS
STAFF WRITER
THE RECORD
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RIDGEWOOD — Inadequate parking remains a major factor in the village’s downtown, according to residents who attended a special forum this week.

Most of 50 people at the Wednesday meeting agreed that the prosperity of the village’s Central Business District hinges entirely on parking and providing more spaces for visitors.

For more than 40 years, Ridgewood officials have tried to address the village’s parking woes, yet a dearth remains.

More than 20 people spoke during the Village Hall forum, which was hosted by Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli. Mayor Paul Aronsohn also attended.

Some speakers suggested that Ridgewood explore a joint effort with business owners to acquire and operate a shuttle bus that would circulate throughout the downtown, carting shoppers to and from off-site parking lots.

Others insisted that a parking garage needs to be constructed downtown.

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/community-news/scarcity-of-parking-spaces-irritates-residents-1.1057320#sthash.jc8wF9yX.dpuf