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>Breaking News – Change of Use & Banking Ordinances Defeated!

>Following a heated Public Hearing in a packed meeting room on Wednesday
evening, Village Council members voted to withdraw two draft zoning
ordinances. One would have required formal Planning Board review of any
“change of use,” the other proposed restrictions on new financial
institutions in the Central Business District.
Mayor David T. Pfund was visibly shaken by the unusually large meeting
turnout, and overwhelming negative public reaction to the proposed “change
of use” ordinance. Speaker after speaker cited specific problems with
Ridgewood’s Building Department, in particular the unresponsiveness of the
Department’s director. Everyone who spoke believed that adding an
additional layer of bureaucracy, and resultant costs. would certainly drive
small businesses away from Ridgewood.
Council members promised those in attendance that a recommendations from a
recently completed process audit of the Building Department would be
implemented swiftly, and that resultant change would be for the better.
However, Mayor Pfund hinted that he would likely try to reintroduce a
modified version of the “change of use” ordinance at a later date.
Council members provided no explantion as to why the “banking” ordinance was
pulled. However, astute observers of Council matters believe several banks
would have quickly challenged the proposed ordinance’s constitutionality in
court; i.e., huge legal bills, and furious taxpayers, in the waiting!

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>Change of Use

>Proposed Ordinance – Site Plan Approval for Change of UseThe proposed ordinance regarding Site Plan Approval for Change of Use would require site plan approval for any change of use. A change of use is a material change in the character or intensity of a use, such that there is the potential for different impacts to the site, neighborhood or community. For example, a restaurant that originally serves dinner only, but later changes to add live entertainment, could be considered a change of use, since it would create issues related to traffic and parking, noise impacts, etc.This type of ordinance has been implemented in Allendale, Montvale, Oakland, Teaneck and Westwood. Click here for the draft ordinance.

the Fly on the Wall has told the Ridgewood blog that this ordinance could damage property values in down town Ridgewood as well as merchants .

Readers sound off……

So who cares if 5 other nearby municipalities have similar ordinances? What’s the real issue here? What happened, or does the Council think will happen, if this ordinance isn’t adopted? Property owners will suffer tremendously if this ordinance is passed. However, the Village’s land use planner and local attorneys will gain – more billable hours! It’s frustrating enough now to get through the zoning process. Why add yet another layer of bureaucracy? What a way to run a Village!

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>$544K contract for the installation of artificial turf at Maple Park

>Tonight, Village Council members are scheduled to award a $544K contract for the installation of artificial turf at Maple Park to Dakota Excavating Contractors, Inc. of Bergenfield, NJ. The Council had promised that this project would be 100% funded by grants and private contributions. However, the contract with Dakota is being awarded prior to all external monies being received. So, and you guessed it, property tax revenues will be used to offset the “temporary” deficit. Shouldn’t Council members have waited until all money was in hand?

the Fly on the Wall has told the Ridgewood Blog that less than 20% of the money promised has actualy been raised ……

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>Ridgewood Resident Kristine Di Grigoli Paige Solo Exhibit at C.Magor Gallery

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Kristine Di Grigoli Paige a Ridgewood resident has been known as primarily a performance artist, having performed publicly since July 25th, 2002. Recently she has put more of her focus and her energies into translating her life’s experiences into art. Her first project was the completion of the “B&W” (Black and White) series and the start of her new square foot series “Eyes”. Her travels, friends, and music all play a significant role in her work, including her life long obsession with mysterious veiled women. She generally works with acrylics, a habit formed by painting in front of live audiences and needing a quick drying time. When studying an image she alters it to borrow its structure, its shadow, and provide her interpretation. The outcome will provide movement of emotions sometimes indescribable but likeable. Currently she is attracted to texture, giving some of her work a three dimensional quality. She often uses bold colors and will challenge tradition in order to express herself. Her work is modern in style but is often more significant by what it makes you feel. A painter by day a Club Photographer by night and once the sun goes down she puts down her brush and pallet and takes up her newest love photography. Frequently on evenings and weekends she can be found in New Jerseys hottest night clubs capturing youthful exuberance on digital images and recording this generations efforts to define itself.

“Life of an Artist” Kristine Di Grigoli Paige Solo ExhibitionWorks from 1997-2006 June 22-July 6th, 2006 First Open Reception Thurs. 6/22/06- 5pm till 9pm

(Kristine will be painting live) Special musical Guests the BloodSugars and Rich and Royal
Second Open Reception Thurs. 6/29/06- 5pm till 9pm Location: C. Magor Gallery 21 Oak Street Ridgewood, New Jersey 07450
(201) 670-0555 Gallery
(201) 362-0552 Kristine
Visit this artist portfolio at http://www.thesoundandvision.com/

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>Breaking News – Close Call At Orchard School

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Personnel from Ridgewood EMS, Fire, and Police Departments responded to a midday motor vehicle accident in front of Orchard School. Fortunately, no school children were nearby when the accident occurred. The driver, who sustained minor injuries when her car rolled over on its side, was transported to Valley Hospital. Board of Education President Mark Bombace was the responding on-duty Fire Capitan. Fast response and great work by Ridgewood’s Bravest & Finest!

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>Our Congressman Scott Garrett pushes for lower Gas Prices

>Dear Friends:

Last week, the House of Representatives took another step toward lowering the price of gas at the pump. I was proud to support the Refinery Permit Process Schedule Act (H.R. 5254), which would increase our domestic supply of gasoline by removing obstacles to the refinery permit process.

Because of an overly burdensome regulatory process, no new refineries have been built in the U.S. since 1976. The total number of domestic refineries has dropped down to a mere 148 and nearly half of all our operating refineries are located in the Gulf states, where they continue to be affected by Hurricane Katrina. The average retail price for gas rose by 46% within one week of Katrina’s landfall. And, production shut-downs in the Gulf have resulted in an estimated 340,438 fewer barrels of domestic oil on any given day.

The Refinery Permit Process Schedule Act will help to eliminate needless bureaucratic delay, while preserving high environmental standards. And, by increasing our supply of domestic gasoline, we’re reducing cost to the consumer. Specifically, the bill establishes a Federal coordinator to help manage the multi-agency permitting process, giving special attention to the role of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure strict compliance with environmental standards.

The bill also directs the President to designate three military bases closed during the recent base closure and realignment process as locations for refineries. And, it ensures that at least one of those new refineries will be specifically designated as a biofuel refinery. H.R. 5254 passed the House by a vote of 238 to 179 and now awaits consideration in the Senate.

Skyrocketing gas prices are putting too much pressure on family budgets, and Congress needs to tackle the issue from all angles. That means passing tax credits and other incentives for expanded alternative fuel research and development. It means increasing domestic oil production. It means supporting enhanced fuel efficiency. And, it means passing gas tax relief, such as that I have drafted in my Surface Transportation and Transportation Equity Act, which would reduce the Federal gas tax for any corresponding increase in state gas taxes.

Furthermore, just a couple of weeks ago, I crossed party lines to support a Democrat amendment to end a subsidy program for oil companies. I am committed to a multi-faceted strategy to end your pain at the pump.

Sincerely,

Scott Garrett
Member of Congress

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Wreck-O-vation or Renovation?

Ridgewood _Train_station_theridgewoodblog


NJ Transit has announced their intention to make Ridgewood’s train station
fully compliant with provisions of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) by
installing high level, wheelchair accessible platforms. Ramps and/or
elevators will be constructed to facilitate platform access from street
level. The platforms will be approximately 700 feet long, and equipped with
canopies to provide shelter in inclement weather. The canopies will also
house lighting, closed circuit television cameras, and loudspeaker paging
equipment.

At the suggestion of Village Council members, NJ Transit has proposed
constructing the platforms and canopies at a location that would shift train
embarkation and disembarkation to a point beginning at, or beyond, Franklin
Avenue and heading magnetic north. That is, the southernmost end of the
platforms would be located at Franklin Avenue (or north of Franklin Avenue);
their northernmost end would be approximately 700 feet further up the
tracks. Constructing the platforms and canopies at this location would
ensure that the vista between North Broad Street and the Garber/Wilsey
Square areas would not be blocked by the high level platforms and canopies.
In conjunction with completion of the ADA related renovation project, NJ
Transit will shift disembarkation for homeward bound commuters to the train
doors facing Pease Library (instead of those facing North Broad Street).
Commuters will exit onto a high level platform, and then make their way to
staircases or elevators, then through pedestrian underpasses to North Broad
Street. Staircase and underpass access will also be provided to the
existing commuter lot opposite Garber Square.

Is protecting the vista between North Broad Street and Garber/Wilsey Square
important enough that commuters won’t mind such a significant shift in the
point at which they will be getting on and off their trains? Also, will
there be evening delays associated with a trainload of commuters trying to
access a limited number of staircases from the high level platform to
pedestrian underpasses? What do you think?

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>No Bid Contract ?

>During their scheduled June 14th Public Meeting, Village Council members plan to approve a $90K “no bid” contract with Environmental Renewal, LLC of West Paterson, NJ for the disposal of grass clippings collected curbside during calendar year 2006. During May’s 2006 Public Budget Hearing, Mayor David T. Pfund advised taxpayers that expenses associated with grass clipping disposal would total less than $80K for the same period.
Why such a large “no bid” contract; is this even legal? What happened in the past 30 days that caused a $10K jump in costs? Should we expect more price increases later this year? Why is the taxpayer base as a whole being saddled with this expense? That is, wouldn’t it be wiser just to charge those who use the service? And finally, who owns Environmental Renewal, LLC and what connection, if any, does he/she have with Council members?

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>Update :back rent due

>During the Village Council’s June 7th Work Session, Village Manager James M. Ten Hoeve publicly provided Council members with an update of the “back rent due” issue involving the VOR owned building at 6 Station Plaza. Mr. Ten Hoeve disclosed that the Social Services Association of Ridgewood, Inc. hadn’t made a rent payment to the VOR in over five (5) years. He further revealed that internal and external audits failed to catch the missing revenue, and the fact that Social Services’ lease for the building had expired in 2002.
Although the VOR’s Finance Department has been successful in collecting rent monies due for YTD 2006, Social Services still owes the VOR approximately $9K in back rent. Representatives of the Social Services Association advised Mr. Ten Hoeve that paying the $9K due would cause significant financial hardship on their organization. On June 21st, Council members will decide whether to forgive the $9K, or force payment.
Should taxpayers be forced to eat the uncollected rent? Should heads roll in the Finance Department?

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>Around the Village

>Free Outdoor Movie Night at Graydon
Rescheduled Date
June 10th at 8pm a free outdoor family movie “Madagascar” will be shown. This fun animation tells the story of four animals that escape from New York Central Park Zoo. They have no idea what wild life is really and their adventures will surprise everyone! Bring your family and a chair or blanket and enjoy!

Greg Caldarone, Kasschau Memorial Shell
Tuesday, June 13th Greg will present Popular and Italian Standards at 8:30pm. Kasschau Shell is located on Veteran’s Field, behind the Ridgewood Library.

Holly Wallack Wien, Expressionism in Oils and Collage at C.Magor Gallery 21 Oak Street
June 8 – June 21,2006
Opening Reception: Thur June 8 5:00-9:30pm 2nd Reception: Sat June 10 5:00-9:30pm This exhibition features work.

Independence Day Celebration!
Click on ridgewoodjuly4th.org for more information
This year is the 96th Annual 4th of July Celebration in Ridgewood! This event is organized by volunteers – to help volunteer, please call 201/602-1922. To purchase tickets, get directions, make a contribution, review the parade route, event weather conditions click on the website. Time Schedule: 9am Flag Raising 10am Parade begins at Godwin & Monroe 6pm Veteran’s Field Gate Opens 7pm Veteran’s Field Entertainment 9:15 pm Fireworks For recorded information call: 201/444-1776

$7 Million Referendum to expand Ridge and Willard – The Ridgewood BOE has tentatively approved the development of a proposal to expand the Ridge and Willard schools if funding is authorized by a referendum in either September or December of 2006.

Ridgewood to Start RevaluationThe Village of Ridgewood has recently been ordered by the Bergen County Board of Taxation to perform a revaluation for the year 2008.