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Village of Ridgewood Council Council Meeting Tonight ; 3066,Ridgewood Water, Puppy Mills and Parking

Ridgewood Village Council

August 10,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Village of Ridgewood Council will have its regular public meeting at 8pm tonight with a couple of interesting things on the agenda .

First Ridgewood Water ;

16-233    Authorize Compensation for Participants in Lead and Copper Sampling and Testing Program – Authorizes Ridgewood Water to credit $25 to the water service accounts of the participants in the lead and copper sampling and testing program

16-234    Amend Agreement for Online Credit Card and Bank Account Debit Payment of Water Bills – Elimination of Convenience Fee for Customers  – Amends the existing agreement with Metropolitan Communications, LLC for the processing of credit card and bank account debit payments for water bills so that Ridgewood Water will be charged the $.25 convenience fee instead of the customer being charged.

Then there is parking ;

3542 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Violations and Penalties – Increase Parking Ticket Fines

3543 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Overnight Parking Restrictions

3544 – Amend Valet Parking Ordinance

3545 – Amend Chapter 249 – Streets and Sidewalks – Increase Fines for Paving Moratorium Violations

3546 – Amend Chapter 145 – Fees – Sewers and Sewage Disposal Fees – Increase Annual Service Charge for Out of Village Dischargers

And of coarse land use ;

3540 – Amend Chapter 190 – Land Use and Development – Regulations for Political Signs and Temporary Signs

3541 – Repeal Ordinance 3066

and a few interesting tidbits :

3547 – Ban Puppy Mills


16-246    Amendment to Central Business District Advisory Committee Resolution – Terms of Members

16-249    Authorize Ridgewood Wildscape Association to Fund Treatment of Noxious Weeds at Kings Pond Park

16-250    Declare Property Surplus – Street Sweepers – Declares two street sweepers surplus property and authorizes the Village Manager to dispose of said property


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N.J. judge: Ridgewood has 90 days to clear way for Valley Hospital expansion



RIDGEWOOD — A state judge ruled Thursday that the Village Council has 90 days to adopt an ordinance putting into effect master plan changes that clear the way for a vast expansion by The Valley Hospital, or else the hospital may “move to enforce” her decision through a court-appointed special master.

The ruling, issued by state Superior Court Judge Lisa Perez Friscia, said the council ordinance must be consistent with April Planning Board approvals allowing the hospital to nearly double in size, from 565,000 square feet to 961,000.

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Justice Department investigating Toms River’s zoning laws


file photo by Boyd Loving

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Toms River’s zoning laws affecting religious land uses, including the Board of Adjustment’s requirement that a rabbi obtain a use variance to continue operating his Church Road home as a house of worship. Jean Mikle, Asbury Park Press Read more

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Reader says The recent election has shown that two thirds of the electorate favor more moderate development projects

3 amigos in action Ridgewood NJ

Ridgewood is where it is because our Council has been governing for the benefit of the few and not for the benefit of the many. The tax payers have been fed a steady diet of “take it or leave it”, oversized initiatives with no option to compromise. Why? Because the Council majority has been answering to Valley and the developer special interest groups. If Valley Hospital could have moved off of its completely unreasonable expansion plan 10 years ago, they’d be finished with their construction by now and we’d have a more modern hospital. Whose fault is that? Same goes for the CBD – not a single person who thinks 35 units per acre is too dense has ever advocated for vacant car dealerships. That is the rhetoric of the now-vanquished Ron Simoncini and his “Truth About Ridgewood.” The recent election has shown that two thirds of the electorate favor more moderate development projects. It’s time to undo what the last Council has put in place and start over. Smaller hospital, smaller garage, smaller apartments.

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Ridgewood Councilwomen Gwenn Hauck strikes again?

gwenn hauck

May 13,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Make sure you see page B1 of The Ridgewood News, issue date:  05/13/2016 (Friday the 13th of all things).

There, in the left center of the page, you will find a photograph of Ridgewood Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck posing with Anastasios Kozaitis, President of The Valley Hospital Foundation, and Audrey Meyers, President and CEO of The Valley Hospital and Valley Health System.
The photograph’s caption indicates it was taken during a fundraising event for The Valley Hospital Foundation. Councilwoman Hauck was apparently an attendee at said event (whether by personal invitation or self registration is unknown).
You will no doubt recall that Councilwoman Hauck was one of two individuals who represented Village of Ridgewood taxpayers during mediation sessions held with respect to The Valley Hospital’s “Renewal” project. The other was Councilwoman Susan Knudsen.
In light of her past role as a mediator representing Village Taxpayers, the staff of The Ridgewood Blog questions the appropriateness of Councilwoman Hauck posing with Mr. Kozaitis and Ms. Meyers at the noted venue.
Is it just us, or is this rather bizarre?
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Does healthcare trump the health of a community?

Jeff Voigt Ridgewood

April 7,2016
Village Council Candidate Jeff Voigt

Ridgewood NJ, This past Tuesday’s vote by the planning board sent a clear message to the Village of Ridgewood residents; that healthcare trumps the health and well-being of a community.  Pete McKenna of the Concerned Residents of Ridgewood said it best back in May 2014: The Village will be inextricably burdened in providing a benefit to the region. Is this fair?

The planning board majority (6 in total out of 9; Aronsohn, Nalbantian, Reilly, Joel, Abdalla, Thurston) who voted in favor of the settlement stated that the Village runs the risk of losing a further lawsuit and as well, if the Village loses the lawsuit would keep in effect the 2010 Master plan H zone, a more egregious plan.   However, in the settlement that was negotiated between the planning board and Valley, the terms appeared to fall squarely in favor of Valley, with Valley reducing its size (bulk) by only 3% (and gaining most of what it wanted – to the detriment of the health and well-being of the Village).  The total floor area is now going from 562,000 sq ft. (of hospital above grade structures) to over 1,024,500 square ft. of above grade structures which includes: 653,500 sq ft. for the hospital; 95,000 sq ft. for enclosed rooftop areas; 245,000 sq ft. for parking decks; and 31,400 sq ft. for atriums and courtyards.  I will get back to this.

The term inherently beneficial was used frequently throughout the Whispering Woods hearings (4 in total) and was used as a “stick” by Valley in gaining the expansion approval by the Planning Board.  It is unclear to many whether the concept of inherently beneficial applies to zoning or planning (including me).   However, it was used generously through-out these hearings. An inherently beneficial use of land serves the public good and promotes the general welfare.  As many may know, courts view hospitals under a more favorable light than other types of development (because it is an inherently beneficial use) and due to this, Village concerns about the size of the development may be discounted.  However, courts also view schools as an inherently beneficial used of land.   This was lost in the sauce but mentioned by Lorraine Reynolds back in May 2014.   So a question becomes: Does healthcare trump
education?  The negotiating team lead by Charles Nalbantian (Chairman of the Village Planning Board), who developed the terms of this agreement, thought so.

The Village’s Master Plan has suffered significantly in this process and; as well with other issues that have faced the Village including high density housing.  The primary objective as stated in Ridgewood’s Master Plan is the preservation of Village residential in residential neighborhoods.  Further, as defined in the Master Plan, building should continue to respect the neighborhood character and the rights of adjacent property owners.  These rights (while not explicitly stated in the plan) likely include quality of life, safety, security and a sense of belonging to a community.  Interestingly, these rights affect one’s health and healthcare. These rights have been violated by developers and by Valley.

John Hersperger, Village resident, at the 4/5 Whispering Woods hearing stated the following:  Developers through the use of Ordinance 3066 have ripped the Ridgewood Master Plan to shreds for the purpose of their own self- interests and not the Villages.  Developers as a group, petitioned the planning board at the same time and turned what should have been zoning issues into planning issues.   I would agree with John.  This Ordinance needs to be modified significantly or repealed.  The Valley decision by the planning board could not have come at a worse time for Valley and the Village because of this.

The 3 dissenting views on the planning board by Susan Knudsen, Wendy Dockray, and Debbie Patire all concluded the same thing – the Valley decision does irreparable harm to our Master Plan; calls into question what really is beneficial and; whether a hospital interests should trump the well-being of a Village.

Wendy also stated that the Planning board on behalf of the Village should stand up and fight for what is right, despite the risks.  If we go on to a lawsuit, there likely would be other opportunities to negotiate terms which would benefit both parties.

I was frankly surprised, with having several lawyers on the planning board, that no case law was cited.  A recent NJ Supreme Court case in Princeton called into question the concept of an inherently beneficial use of land by a hospital and whether functions in a hospital such as administration, billing, and marketing should be considered inherently beneficial.  If these are not inherently beneficial, they could be moved to other locations.  If this “concept” were applied to Valley it might lessen the bulk of the Valley expansion in a meaningful way.

Here is what I would do if elected to the council: 1) Propose modification to or repeal  of Ordinance 3066; 2) Work with Valley and the CRR (if possible, as there is a 5/9 court date on the second count of the lawsuit – Valley v Village Council and the council may not have any ability to negotiate based on the results of this case) in crafting a fair and equitable resolution to the Valley expansion.

A follow on blog will address the issue of how Valley might improve its image with the Village.

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Ridgewood Elks the Plot Thickens

ridgewood elks

file photo Boyd Loving

March 31,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Reader say it is a well know fact in Village Hall circles that Ms Green and the Library Board has been looking at the Elks property for some years. If you recall a post here that the L:library Board have been talking about plans for a Performing Arts center in our around the Library. Im sure you could go to the Library Board past minutes and fine that .
Its just to much of a coincidence that this comes up with everything going on in town.I don’t trust these three. Also check current and past board member you will see that 2 Council people were on the board and our mayor was the representive from the Council to the Library. Then there in one of the developers that also was a former member of the board along with one or two of the finical board members. Check it out you will surprised who is involved

Ridgewood Elks assessed value was cut in half in 2014.Their assessed value went from $1,169,300 in 2014 to $584,600 in 2015.
As someone near retirement and looking to cut fixed costs I would like to have that deal. What other taxpayers had their property taxes cut in half? What brought this change about?

Just when you thought you’d heard it all the fly has learned that . . .In Uncategorized on March 1, 2007 at 2:59 pm
Library Board members have proposed buying the Ridgewood Elks Lodge building at 111 North Maple Avenue for library expansion purposes (additional parking and building expansion). Just what we need; another property taken off the tax rolls.
A Graydon Pool Improvements Committee has been formed. Reportedly, one plan under consideration by committee members is converting the existing facility into a year round “mini country club” and imposing significant fees for membership. Can you say “exclusively elite” 10 times fast? Hold onto your wallets tightly ladies & gentlemen!

North Jersey .com July 2015 : A couple of library board trustees said they want to move ahead with the original plan, which called only for the renovation of the library, and add in the construction of a performing arts center next to the library and village hall. This would turn the library and its surrounding area into the cultural hub the members are seeking.

From the Mayors web site : Approximately 40 Ridgewood residents, members of the business community and arts enthusiasts met with Aronsohn and Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli two Saturdays ago to gauge interest in establishing a new performing arts center and the feasibility of turning the idea into a reality. The former bank site was mentioned several times during that meeting.

From the Ridgewood Blog : Also the wife of Glenn F.Jorgensen, founding president of the library board has been appoint chairwoman of the new tiger team (  Financial Advisory Committee ) Looks like the library is set for awhile.

(111 Maple Ave-next to library-across from Kings)

Board of Trustees 2016 ( round up the usual suspects )

Associate Directors

·       Glenn Jorgensen, Founding President

·       Harlan Coben

·       Daniel Cumming

·       Tony Damiano  *

·       Elia Desruisseau

·       Thomas Dougherty

·       Paul Goldberg

·       Joshua Grunat

·       Jacques Harlow

·       Gwenn Hauck *

·       Phyllis Heilborn

·       Teresa Hutchins

·       Jeffrey Karpf

·       Michelle Lenhard

·       William Meakem

·       Barbara Moreira

·       Joan Popkin

·       Deborah Primiano

·       Albert Pucciarelli *

·       Ellen Quinn

·       Catherine Redlich

·       Fred Strype

The Members of the 2012 Financial Advisory Committee (alphabetically)
Rich Barclay
Bayard DeI\/Iallie
Ed Feldsott
Nancy Johansen *
Charlie Kime
John Maxwell
Jim McCarthy
David Sabath
Jim Schimmei
Fran Shovlìn
Roberta Sonenfeld *
Bob Zeller

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Ridgewood panel to review master plan


file photo Councilwoman Susan Knudsen

Ridgewood panel to review master plan

AUGUST 12, 2014    LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2014, 1:21 AM

RIDGEWOOD — The Village Council plans to create a committee of residents, business owners and officials who will be charged with taking a long, hard look at Ridgewood’s master plan.

The decision came during a lengthy discussion at a recent council meeting, spurred by Councilwoman Susan Knudsen’s suggestion that an ordinance — known as “3066” — be modified.

That ordinance requires that developers requesting changes to the village master plan cover the costs associated with those changes, including, for example, the retention of experts to testify on the proposed changes.

Residents opposed to three high-density, multifamily housing developments proposed for downtown contend the ordinance, adopted in 2007, has made it easier for developers to propose changes to the master plan. Some residents, who suggested the ordinance be repealed, said it limits master plan amendment requests to those who can afford to pay for the process.

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