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Citizens for a Better Ridgewood : Recap of Wednesday’s High Density Housing Meeting

Village Council Meeting

photo by Boyd Loving

Editors note : Great job to the Citizens for a Better Ridgewood but we would like to point out the it is an Elected Officials JOB to listen to their constituents concerns , council members do not need to be thanked because it took 500 screaming residents to show up to a Village Council meeting to pay attention to obvious short comings in their misguided efforts to transform Ridgewood into Hoboken .

Hello Friends and Neighbors!

We would like to thank each and every one of you!
Thank you for sending emails to Village Council members and for showing up at Wednesday night’s meeting.  Hundreds and hundreds of concerned residents came to Village Hall!  Many of you not only showed up, but you waited on line, spoke at the podium and stayed late into the night. Your comments were thoughtful and heartfelt.  We are grateful for your passion and support.

Council Tables The Vote and Orders New Studies
The meeting lasted 5.5 hours and 76 residents took to the podium, almost all in favor of housing but at a lower density level.  At 11:00 pm, council members began discussing whether or not to continue the public hearing to another date, as it was already late into the evening.   Councilman Michael Sedon made a motion to table the ordinances until a fiscal impact study could be done, which would help determine the effects the new apartment buildings would have on the tax base.  Councilwoman Susan Knudsen seconded the motion, and asked that a comprehensive traffic study and school impact study also be completed.

These are three important studies that were never conducted at the Planning Board level.  The Planning Board is not allowed to consider fiscal or educational impacts in decision-making. Although this seems unreasonable, it is common practice throughout municipalities everywhere.  The financial and school-related considerations are left to elected officials, who have the final word and who are presumably much more in touch with the public at large.

Some traffic studies were conducted at the Planning Board level. However, the studies were specific to each proposed development and only addressed the traffic effects at individual each site. The studies never addressed the cumulative effects that developing all of these sites at the same time, while also adding a parking garage and an assisted living facility, would have on traffic in downtown Ridgewood.  Similarly, the analyses that were done at the Planning Board level to estimate the number of school-aged children that may be added to our school district if hundreds of apartments were to be built, were based on data from other towns in the state of NJ, but not towns with school districts comparable to the Ridgewood Public School system.

Mayor Paul Aronsohn agreed with the need for further studies and voted yes with Sedon and Knudsen.  Councilwoman Gwen Hauck initially expressed concern about the additional cost and time needed to complete studies, but she ultimately went along and voted to approve the studies.  Deputy Mayor Pucciarelli was the only one to vote no at the time, because he was intent on finishing the process of public comment before taking any action.  Once public comment was finished, Mr. Pucciarelli appeared supportive of further studies.

Next Steps
The Public Hearings have been continued until Monday, November 9th, with the hope that the new studies will be completed in a timely manner.   We are thankful that our Village Council is moving forward with these additional studies, and it appears as if democracy has prevailed. Now it is up to you to continue to show up to the meetings.  As the process continues, residents will be able to listen to the experts and question them as well.  This is your opportunity to fully participate and have a stake in how our village moves forward.  Please continue to stay engaged!

Final Note
We encourage you to reach out to your council members to thank them for hearing us and for agreeing to continue the process with further studies.  We continue, as always, to encourage respectful and thoughtful dialogue!

If you know of any one who would like to receive CBR emails and notifications of upcoming meetings, please tell them to email us and put “Add me to Email List” in the subject line.

Thank you again for all of your support!!

Citizens for a Better Ridgewood

9 thoughts on “Citizens for a Better Ridgewood : Recap of Wednesday’s High Density Housing Meeting

  1. Mayor Paul Aronsohn agreed with the need for further studies and voted yes with Sedon and Knudsen. Councilwoman Gwen Hauck initially expressed concern. The only reason he voted “yes” because he knew he was outvoted. ( Just like the Valley Vote)The best was they hung their buddy Albert out to dry on the vote. Believe me if the Hauck had vote no our Mayor would have changed his tone and vote.

  2. Note: I was at the meeting and I counted every speaker and wrote down their names. Some names I could not hear because the speakers were placed so their backs were to the audience, making it very hard to hear their names. After they stated their names, then they got bolder and you could hear their messages LOUD AND CLEAR.

    Anyway for the record, I logged 84 people speaking OPPOSED to the high density housing, and one who simply questioned Mr. Aronsohn about accepting a bribe (I mean donation) from a developer. I counted five who were in favor, one of whom was a developer with a plan on the table and one of whom was his attorney. Those two don’t really count, do they?

    If you count the two developer guys, that is 89 people (84 plus five, not counting the bribe-questioner who did not weigh in pro or con), with only 5.6% in favor.

    If you delete the two developer guys, that is 86 people with only 3.5% in favor.

    Now of course my math might be wrong because I don’t have a full time job. But, I guess that puts me in the majority since only one person in the room has a full time job.

  3. I dislike our deputy mayor as much as the rest of you but I think you are “burying the lede.” I do not think he meant, or even said, that he was the only RIDGEWOOD RESIDENT with a full-time job. I believe he was talking about the COUNCIL–thereby outing the mayor, who has claimed to have a job for years but clearly does not. The two councilwomen are not employed outside the home. The third male councilman LOST HIS JOB PARTLY BECAUSE THE MAYOR DROPPED A DIME and told his Staten Island boss that his running for council IN ANOTHER STATE would be a conflict of interest. Even the guy’s own legal team disagreed, but by then the councilman had left. This issue must never be allowed to die. Somebody, preferably a federal investigator, needs to get the mayor in a small room, shine a light on his shiny head, look him in the eye, and ask what happened. I would give a lot to be that investigator. Even in an elevator. He would not be able to look straight back.

  4. P.S. Check out the mayor’s response to the deputy mayor’s “day job” comment on the tape.

  5. Wednesday’s council meeting was incredible. All of us are so grateful to CBR for spear heading this . The fact that apron. 500 people showed up at the meeting and hundreds more emailed the council truly represents a mandate. Conservatively speaking, one person speaking out represents 20. 800 x20 is 16,000 vices. In a town of around 16,000 adults that is a mandate. my hope is that the council will recognize this and remove the vote that will enable high density housing in Ridgewood.

  6. Sorry for the misspellings. I have auto correct which puts in words it thinks I mean!

  7. 1:58 – I listened again and Pooch did not say the only councilmember or the only one on the dais with a job. He said he was the only one with a full time job. Everyone in the room heard it that way because they all groaned and boo’ed.

  8. The only one in town? in the world? He can’t have meant that even if he said it–especially considering that speaker after speaker had been stating “I’m a lawyer” and “I’m in advertising” and “I’m in real estate” and so on, and, well, an entire town can’t be unemployed at the same time. I believe that whatever he said, what he meant (he was flustered, for a change, and grasping for words) had to be that he was the only council member with a day job. Well, a mystery.

  9. I didn’t listen again; but I remember him saying the only COUNCIL member with a day job. That is a rude and crude remark from a rude and crude individual.

    He should be ignored by the town.

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