Posted on

Reader calls Westwood’s Flag Problem , an “easily-predicted problem”

rainbow flag at Ridgewood High School

Constitutional Law 101. Municipalities are certifiably insane if they imagine that it could be in any way appropriate to dance this particular two-step: 1) Evaluate in a legislative body the substance of a third-party message proposed for public display on public property; and 2) Approve such public display on municipal property because said legislative body loves that message and darn well wants to signal its approval of same.
.
Why did our well-paid village attorney not put the Kibosh on this? Regardless of what one thinks of the particular message that received approval and (by now) two month’s free advertisement from our elected village legislative body, how (constitutionally speaking) can that body now legitimately say “no” to a similar-situated month-long display containing, say, an opposite message, or even any other message for that matter!?! Why did the Village’s legal counsel not lay out this easily-predicted problem in stark enough terms to persuade our illusurious council members of the utter folly of their planned course of action?

Posted on

Ridgewood Council Holds Vigorous Debate on Elks Club Purchase

ridgewood elks

photo by Boyd Loving

July 12,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Village of Ridgewood debated moving move forward with the purchase of the Ridgewood Elks club , Councilwomen Bernie Walsh objected to the purchase of the Elks Club for Ridgewood Water , at $200,000 over the appraised value plus $500-700 to 1.5 million in renovations for 30 people . Walsh reiterated that the purchase was just for Ridgewood Water.

Walsh went on noting that class “A” and class “B” office space are plentiful in Bergen County and there was no need for such a major under taking . Walsh felt is was just, “not a smart idea at this time”.

Former Mayor Knudsen pushed the idea for consolidation of space as well as the Elks is last contagious piece of property near the Municipal complex creating greater efficiencies  . Mayor Hach wanted confirmation on the renovation estimates because there seemed to be significant disagreement about what was or was not estimated .

Posted on

Reader says RIDGEWOOD COUNCIL: WAKE UP AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT HEALTH BARN (and its owner STACY ANTINE).

Habernickel HealthBarn USA protest

file photo by Boyd Loving

The council created this problem and the time has come for the council to fix this problem.
This “business” has destroyed what was once a lovely and charming neighborhood.
As a reminder, the principle that government must be both “limited in power and ACCOUNTABLE to the people” lies at the core of our constitutional traditions (especially so in local government). Take action against Health Barn or we the people will take action by voting you out when your terms expire…
Can you hear us know?

Posted on

Ridgewood Council strife finds a venue in Superior Court

Jeff Voigt Ridgewood Council

Nicholas Katzban , Staff Writer, @NicholasKatzbanPublished 7:22 p.m. ET July 13, 2017 | Updated 7:22 p.m. ET July 13, 2017

HACKENSACK — A Bergen County Superior Court judge found probable cause Thursday to proceed with three harassment complaints against Ridgewood Councilman Jeffrey Voigt.

The complaints against Voigt were filed by three residents who say the councilman made their unlisted cellphone numbers, emails and home addresses known to the public via posts on his Facebook page.

The judge dismissed Voigt’s counter complaint against the same residents.

http://www.northjersey.com/story/news/bergen/ridgewood/2017/07/13/ridgewood-council-strife-finds-venue-superior-court/476048001/

Posted on

Ridgewood council weighs changes to train station lot

Mark Krulish , Staff Writer, @Mark_Krulish2:57 p.m. ET April 27, 2017

RIDGEWOOD — In an effort to add parking spaces at the train station, the council is weighing a plan to reduce the size of a grass median and create new spots for compact cars.

The design, presented by Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser to the council Wednesday, calls for narrowing the island on the western side of the train tracks by 4.5 feet to accomodate parking for compact cars on both sides of the median. The new layout would add 41 spots.

http://www.northjersey.com/story/news/bergen/ridgewood/2017/04/27/ridgewood-council-weighs-changes-train-station-lot/100970076/

Posted on

Ridgewood Council Debates Moving the Bus Station to Train Station Property

Ridgewood -bus-station-theridgewoodblog

April 6,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood  NJ, at the Wednesday Council meeting ,Village Engineer Christopher Rutishauser spoke at length on the addition spaces at the train station . Rutishauser suggested some compact car parking spaces to add more spaces  . He also said the new plan would involve the planting of more trees at the train station then currently exist.

The Village engineer also suggested moving the Ridgewood Bus Station to the Train Station Property and claimed a net increase in parking spaces would amount to 38. (28 at Train Station and 10 more at Van Nest  Square ).

The advantage would be more (10) spaces CBD parking near Van Neste Square, and buses would travel on Franklin ave instead of East Ridgewood Ave . The current bus station is in need of repair and  has been a point of contention for the Ridgewood Police department.

According to New Jersey Transit over 900 people take the bus per weekday,300 on Saturday and 100 Sunday’s . There are 6 bus routs the   163,164, 175, 722 ,746, and 752 . On a typical weekday there are 301 bus movements through Van Neste. With peak movement being 7:30-8:30 am (38) and 6:00-7:00 pm (21).

Rutishauser assured the council  the cost would be around $300,000 .

The council peppered the engineer with questions on traffic congestion  and traffic flow at the Train station as well as Franklin Ave. They asked about the impact of new previously approved development coming to the Central Business District  which will add to Franklin avenue traffic. The discussion also veered to returning the Gerber square streets back to their original  two lanes .

Critics were quick to point out : It seems that Chris ” Bike Lane ” Rutishaser is at it again . He has pulled his new old plan to move the bus station to Westside by the train station. I wonder how much this will cost and what about the addition traffic in the area. This should be good. I hope the council learns from his last “traffic calming “design fiasco.”
Posted on

Ridgewood Council Appoints Brigette Bogart as Part-time Village planner

building-plans-3
March 3,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The Village council has hired Brigette Bogart of Brigette Bogart Planning and Design Professionals to serve as the village’s part-time planner, replacing the departed Blais Brancheau.

Bogart will attend planning and zoning board meetings, as well as review development applications filed by third parties, among other duties. Compensation will be an amount not to exceed $60,000.

According to the firm’s website, Brigette Bogart Planning & Design Professionals LLC was established in May of 2012 as a full service planning and design firm that recognizes the need to incorporate sustainable planning and appropriate urban design concepts into the future development projects.

Bogart has a Master of City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania, 2000 and a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture, North Carolina State University, 1997.

She has been awarded the 2008 NJPO Achievement in Planning for Borough of Park Ridge Rehabilitation Project,
2011 NJPO Achievement in Planning for the Township of Fredon Master Plan ,and the 2012 Recognized by Sustainable New Jersey as a member of a Certified Green Team.

Bogart previously worked for 12 years for the well-known Westwood-based planning firm Burgis Associates. In 2003, Bogart was named a Partner with Burgis Associates where she had been involved in all aspects of physical planning. Over a 12-year span, she has represented several municipalities in the review of subdivision and site plan development applications and the preparation of land use regulations as well as master plan elements. In 2010 She received her certification in Grant Writing.

Many residents may remember Bogart as the planner who testified on behalf of Citizens for a Better Ridgewood in 2014 during public hearings on the master plan amendments that would eventually rezone several parcels of land in downtown Ridgewood. Bogart said the rezoning requests “appear to be akin to spot zoning,”

She advised the Ridgewood Planning Board to engage in a cautious process, asking it to think about a “vision” for Ridgewood’s future as it moves forward. At the time their vision seemed more like Union City than Ridgewood .

Bogart herself took a cautious tone did not voice a stance against the developments, but she noted instead that the developments, though possibly at odds with Ridgewood’s best interests, would also help Ridgewood meet some of the current objectives in its master plan, such as enhancing aesthetics of certain areas downtown.

In the end, Bogart testimony reinforced the CBR’s contention that the problem was not development but “jumping from 12 units an acre to 50 units an acre seems reckless at best.”

At that time, the proposed amendments called for a density of 50 units per acre, which members of the grassroots organization CBR as well as most of the Ridgewood community, found unacceptable. Amendments were passed over a year later by the Planning Board reducing the density to  35 units per acre.

The Village Council also added two new members to the Planning Board, Carrie Giordano was appointed as the first alternate member of the board with a term that expires on June 30, 2018. Frances Barto was named as the second alternate, given a term of a little over two years that expires on June 30, 2019.

The village also engaged the Trenton-based Clark, Caton and Hintz planning firm for an amount not to exceed $35,000 to work on issues related to affordable housing.

Posted on

Ridgewood Council to Appoint New Village Manager at Tonight’s Council Meeting

New Ridgewood Village Council

file photo by Boyd Loving

Reminder: RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE COUNCIL Meeting
MARCH 1, 2017
PUBLIC WORKSHOP AGENDA – REVISED

1. 7:30 pm – Call to Order – Mayor
2. Statement of Compliance with Open Public Meeting Act
Mayor: “Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided by a posting on the bulletin board in Village Hall, by mail to the Ridgewood News, The Record, and by submission to all persons entitled to same as provided by law of a schedule including the date and time of this meeting.”
3. Roll Call – Village Clerk
4. Flag Salute/Moment of Silence
5. Public Comments (Not to Exceed 3 Minutes per Person – 40 Minutes in Total)
6. Motion to Suspend Work Session and Convene Special Public Meeting
7. Motion to Adjourn Special Public Meeting and Reconvene Work Session
8. Special Public Meeting – See Attached Agenda (below)
9. Presentation – Removed from Agenda
10. Discussion
a.Ridgewood Water
1.Award of Contract – Water Billing and Data Collection Services – Second Year
2.Proposed Ordinance – Water Emergencies
3.Agreement to Exchange Geographical Information System Data with Bergen County
a.Parking – None
c. Budget
1.Budget Reserve Transfer
2.Award of Professional Services Contract – Vehicle Parts & Service
3.Award of Contract – Horticulture Supplies – Year One
4.Award of Contract – Coach Bus Transportation Services
5.Award of Contract – Graydon Pool Water’s Edge Cafe – Concession Refreshment Service
11. Discussion Cont’d
d. Policy
1.Proposed Ordinance – Facility Use and Rental Fee Updates
2.Proposed Ordinance – Land Use and Redevelopment

12. Review of March 8, 2017 Regular Public Meeting Agenda

13. Manager’s Report

14. Council Reports

16. Public Comments (Not to Exceed 5 Minutes per Person)

17. Resolution to go into Closed Session

18. Closed Session

A. Legal – Valley Hospital Litigation; Settlement for Property Damage; Contract for Parking

B. Contracts/Negotiations – Bulk Water Purchase; Potential Purchase of Property

C. Personnel – Blue Collar & White Collar Negotiations; Appointments to Boards and Committees; Village Planner Consulting Services

19. Adjournment

VILLAGE COUNCIL SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETING

MARCH 1, 2017 7:30 P.M.

1. Call to Order – Mayor

2. Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meeting Act

MAYOR: “Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided

by a posting on the bulletin board in Village Hall,

by mail to the Ridgewood News, The Record, and by submission to all persons entitled to same as provided by law of a schedule including the date and time of this meeting.”

3. Roll Call

4. RESOLUTIONS

17-56 Appointment of Planning Consultant – COAH Matters and Related Litigation

17-57 Appointment of Planning Consultant for Land Use Boards,Village Council, and Review of Applications

17-58 Appoint Members to Planning Board

17-59 Appoint Members to Library Board of Trustees

17-60 Appointment Members to Community Relations Advisory Board

17-61 Appoint Members to Stigma-Free Task Force

17-62 Appoint Members to Parks, Recreation and Conservation Board

17-63 Appoint Village Manager

MOVE: SECOND: ROLL CALL VOTE:

5. Adjournment

Posted on

Reader asks Ridgewood Council on the feasibility of a property tax reduction for seniors

Ridgewood Realestate

file photo

At a recent council meeting I asked the council to consider asking our CFO to prepare a report on the feasibility of a property tax reduction, such as 10%, for seniors–whether all seniors or only those with income under a certain level (based on income tax returns) TBD. Other towns do this. It’s fiscally sound for all: a house sold by one or two seniors will go to a family with children, further burdening the school system. With our new all-day kindergarten, and the strong possibility of numerous new apartments looming, we will attract more people with very young children attending school from K through 12. Seniors are around during the day to keep an eye on the neighborhood when others are at work. Seniors volunteer and patronize stores, restaurants, the movie theater, and services such as hair salons on weekdays. A tax reduction each year, especially as taxes rise but a fixed income does not, might help some seniors to remain. Another point that needs to be far more widely known is that seniors with income under a specified amount are entitled to a property tax reduction through the state. The council and website should announce this and provide details, links, forms at Village Hall, etc.

Posted on

Ridgewood Councils Multifaceted Approach to Parking

Ridgewood Village Council

Their platform was a multifaceted approach. They did discuss tiered parking prices for commuters, one way streets with diagonal parking, a garage, subsidizing Uber, parking apps, possibly using the Zabriskie lot, employee parking, etc. The council discussed the parking rates in October and November, before voting on it. I don’t believe any member of the public complained about the price being tiered higher as you got closer to the train. The Financial Advisory Committee suggested raising the commuter passes as well as the meters, especially the meters on the streets closer to the train station (75 cents and hour was suggested). The council chose to keep the meters the same, except to lower 60 meters at Cottage to 25 cents an hour for CBD employee parking. These were both done to try to entice more people to use the Cottage Street lot, which remains mostly empty all day.
When the previous council was planning a garage, they said the garage would be mostly for patrons of the CBD. They said commuter parking would be on the upper levels.

Say the garage was built at Hudson. If 2 cars started from the same location, one drove directly to the Cottage lot, parked, & walked to the train platform. The other car drove directly to a garage at Hudson Street, drove round and round to the 3rd level, parked, came down to street level, and walked to the train platform- my guess is that the timing would be pretty much the same.