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Willett Advocates for the Old Garagezilla !


March 28,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Village Council candidate Janice Willett ( )is advocating for the old oversized, too big for the foot print “Garagezilla “.

Village Council Candidate Janice Willet snoozed“Bottom line, we need to build a parking garage. But the question is where and how large. The current Council is looking at several proposals for a three-story garage on the Hudson Street lot—but the Council also imposed the restriction that the garage should fit strictly within the footprint of the lot and that it should hold about 240 cars. The existing surface lot has 75 spaces, so that’s only 165 incremental spaces. At a cost of roughly $10 million, or $60K per incremental space, they will be the most expensive new parking spaces on the Eastern seaboard (see p. 5.4-6 of this study). And we won’t really be adding any parking at all, because the Brogan and Ken Smith lots, which were formerly used by commuters and others, held about 160 cars.

We can do better. Let’s allow the garage to extend six feet beyond the footprint, as previous designs did, for a gain of at least 225 incremental spaces instead of just 165. And then let’s get the garage built.”

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One of the initiatives important to Ridgewood council members elected last year is to build a garage on Hudson Street

Jeff Voigt Ridgewood Council

October 6,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Ridgewood blog staff translates Jeff Voigt’s recent pro garage letter to the editor  .


One of the initiatives important to Ridgewood council members elected last year is to build a garage on Hudson Street, an area close to the train station. Prime users are rail commuters during the day and restaurant goers at night.  NOPE – the taxpayers do not need to spend a fortune just so commuters can park in an ugly garage and restaurants can pad their wallets.

In this three block area, there are 50 restaurants with close to 3,000 seats. Ordinances that deal with such intensity of use issues generally call for one parking space for every two to three restaurant seats or; approximately 1,250 parking spaces needed for the restaurants alone. There is a supply of 655 parking spaces in this area.  This is total bullshit.  At any given time there are more empty spaces in Ridgewood than you can count.  Just walk a block or two before sitting down to your meal.  This is some funky math that our elected official is playing with.

Add to this, that on any given night approximately 280 of these spaces are taken up by restaurant employees. In other words, the supply is actually 375 spaces for restaurants goers or; a shortage of 875 spaces.  In my conversations with restaurant owners, they’ve told me during the first seating for the Thursday through Saturday high-demand times, their customers are able to find a parking space. However, at the second seating many out-of-towners will drive around for 15-20 minutes in frustration, not find a parking space and then leave. This obviously hurts our village’s businesses.  The central valet may solve this.  Or they can park on Cottage place and walk two blocks, just like you would do in the city.  Come on people…..walk a little, or spend millions and millions of dollars on an ugly garage?

Back in 2015, a non-binding referendum for a garage on Hudson Street was voted 2-1 in favor for building a garage by voters. So why can’t the Village Council move forward on this?  Voigt conveniently fails to mention that in 2016 there were TWO referendums that reversed this, one of which was binding.  And he conveniently fails to mention that the 2015 referendum was flawed because Aronsohn and company gave false information to the voters who thought they were just voting for “more parking.”  Furthermore, Voigt neglects to mention that he signed the two VOTE NO TO THE GARAGE petitions, he collected signatures himself for these, he solicited people to sign, he made a video encouraging people to sign, and his wife and daughter signed.

In early February, a subcommittee was formed to figure out how best to move forward in building the garage. The mayor and one other council member volunteered quickly for the committee, preventing other council members from serving. Due to public meeting laws, no more than two council members can be present at any one time on official business.   The Mayor said on October 4 at the Village Counci meeting that no such subcommittee was ever formed, she is therefore obviously not on it, and other members of the council all agreed publicly at the meeting that they are not on it and it does not exist.  Voigt was conveniently (and inexplicably) not in attendance at the meeting on October 4.
I believe the mayor needs to be taken off the garage subcommittee and replaced by a council member who wants the garage built. Why she is on it, is a mystery to me. She has never come out publicly in support of the Hudson Street garage.  The Mayor cannot be taken off a subcommittee that exists only in the fantasy corners of Voigt’s corrupted brain.  Furthermore, the Mayor did in fact publicly support the Hudson Street garage, voting in favor of it while stating that it needed to be smaller.  Another FACT that Voigt gets wrong.

Information coming out of the garage sub-committee has been virtually non-existent.  Even as a council person, I often first hear about the Hudson Street garage at public meetings.  There is no garage subcommittee.  Got it Jeff?  It does not exist.

The public has a right to know about such issues as building a garage. It is their money that will be spent.  The public has a right to know that Councilman Voigt spews lies with every breath he exhales.

Jeff Voigt
Ridgewood, Sept. 24
The writer is a soon-to-be-former Ridgewood councilman.

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the Fly …always a buzz about parking in Ridgewood


….the fly has noticed that with every new suggestion for parking changes there is a concerted push to undermine the Mayors efforts .Who could believe that here in “turf town” that people suddenly are concerned with an empty strip of grass at the Ridgewood Train Station. Mind you years of neglect didn’t seem to make an impact. Every new suggestion is attacked by the same group that brought you “Garagezilla” an ill fitting monstrosity with its sole purpose was creating taxpayer funded parking so private developers didn’t have to. Recent events on Bogart and Cambridge suggest  a further attempt to undermine the Village council efforts ,with engineering over reach and a failure to communicate. The Financial Advisory Committee’s recent debacle  with their “alternative facts “garage report gave away the game proving unequivocally that the FAC is behind attempts to undermine Mayor Susan Knudsen as they were with previous Mayor Kieth Killion.

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Ho Ho Ho , don’t worry folks. Yes, taxes will go up up up because of the garage


Ho Ho Ho , don’t worry folks. Yes, taxes will go up up up because of the garage, but if you buy thousands of dollars of items in the central business district , you will get a discount on your taxes. What $10. Remember, Hache said they are working on a plan to offer rewards for shopping in business district ; you get a property tax discount. My foot !

Ridgewood will lose its distinction of being charming and villagey and quaint. And the garage will need a big police presence. Very muggable at night in the dark. Police cost money ; raised taxes, big time.

And it is a horrible location. That intersection now is the pits to drive through.

Yes, how will the garage be paid for? Raised pricing on parking? I won’t pay more to park and spend in the CBD. Even with the promised discount on my taxes.
They will tell us that the garage will pay for itself, with use? I ain’t usin it. Even in the daylight, it is a trap for muggers.

Huge , no matter what size and ugly for charmin historical Ridgewood.

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Angry Reader pitches Garagezilla for Ridgewood


“Limiting demand”?
ENOUGH of the posturing bullshit.
ENOUGH of the “planning”
ENOUGH of the “studies”
Build the garage and ignore the social gadfly ilk that screwed the pooch the first time around. The CBD needs the garage, it’s not just for the restaurants but it sure as hell is for the commuters. That’s what we all do here…commute. Except for the no life to much time on their hands ambulance chasing news photographers…they have WAY to much time on their hands.

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New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center : Referendum Petitioning

Ridgewood garage referendum

Ridgewood friends,

If it weren’t for the guidance and extensive knowledge of Renee Steinhagen, Executive Director of NJ Appleseed, we would be dealing with a massive parking garage, encroaching halfway into Hudson Street, being funded, built and run by the BCIA. Renee and her staff gave us the tools we needed to defeat the massive garage proposals. They have extensive knowledge of referendum petitioning, and were incredibly supportive.

When asked to send to send a bill, Renee said she will not, but rather requested our group contribute to NJ Appleseed, so that they can continue their mission:
“New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center is a non-partisan, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. For over 10 years, we’ve striven to correct systemic problems that are at the root of injustice in our state.”

This is the link to donate online. Share this link with your Ridgewood friends!

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Candidate Josh Gottheimer Presents his “Economic Plan” in Ridgewood today at 11am

Joshua S
June 28,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  Josh Gottheimer will outline his “comprehensive plan” to spur economic growth and create jobs in New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District Wednesday.

Gottheimer another PR person like Ridgewood Mayor Paul Aronsohn .Not sure many residents will share any enthusiasm given the bad taste the Jim Mac Greevey mouth piece has left in Ridgewood .Gottheimer donor list is a who’s who of Big Government ,Unions, pro Wall Street bailouts, pro-corporate welfare , pro-crony types looking to remove the last impediment to getting their hands on more tax payer money.

According to his press release ,Gottheimer will be joined by local business leaders at Ridgewood Cycle Shop at 11 a.m in Ridgewood on Wednesday to present his “comprehensive plan” to spur economic growth and create good-paying jobs for 5th District families. The local business leaders seem to be a laundry list of the same people who brought you “Garagezilla ” and other crony related projects the soon to be former mayor Paul Aronsohn tried to jam down residents throats in Ridgewood .

For his part Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) will be in Wyckoff at the Blue Moon Mexican Café at 2pm on Thursday to discuss issues facing small businesses, like restaurants, in New Jersey including  taxes and health care.

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The Preserve Graydon Coalition: Vote NO to GarageZilla, Tuesday, June 21


All information courtesy of The Preserve Graydon Coalition

Events since our June 8 newsletter describing tomorrow’s special election reinforce the importance of voting NO.

The two continuing and three incoming council members do not support the current iteration of the garage, believing that anything built at the corner of Hudson and South Broad Streets should be smaller and not stick out into the street.

The same concern to preserve the Village’s historic character that led the Preserve Graydon Coalition to oppose ill-advised ideas about replacing Graydon with a concrete pool now drives us to join a number of grassroots groups and individuals to oppose the $11.5 million parking garage bond in tomorrow’s binding referendum.

More than a radical alteration in our skyline
Even now, at the 11th hour, many, perhaps even most, residents do not comprehend what’s at stake. And it’s more than a big garage.

Although the official word is that the $11.5 million bond that is the sole item on tomorrow’s ballot would not inevitably fund any particular garage design, it is generally understood that the contract, already prepared and ready to go, would force the new council’s hand, giving them little leeway in determining what, if anything, should be built on the parking lot at Hudson and Broad, and taxpayers would be stuck with the bill.

The garage construction contract that has been readied in hopes of a “yes” vote is said to incorporate a 6% penalty on either side for making changes even though it’s impossible to predict everything that will happen. If the referendum passed and the contract were quickly signed before the outgoing council’s final day, June 30, the new council’s hands would be tied. Apparently that is precisely what the outgoing council members desire, although they deny it. Tomorrow’s special election could have been scheduled for next month, weeks after the new council had taken office—but the “council majority” set it on the first possible day.

Several members of our Village Council have put their concerns in writing. Excerpts, with full text available through the links that follow:

Councilman Mike Sedon:
“I will be voting no in Tuesday’s special election.
In order for the new council to move forward with a comprehensive parking plan for the Central Business District, which includes a reasonable parking structure, it is imperative that we can do so without having our hands tied by the outgoing council majority.
A no vote will not defeat a parking structure. It will allow us, the new council, to incorporate such a structure into the fabric of our CBD along with other solutions that have been mentioned in the past by some of my other colleagues and myself.
A true parking committee should be formed that includes residents, property and business owners along with Village officials to further explore any other ideas that could improve our situation.
The mayor’s previous parking committee did not include residents, and in my opinion resulted in information that appeared filtered and then potentially misrepresented when it reached the wider public.
This outgoing council majority has proven over and over that they cannot be trusted, and I for one will not give them any more trust by supporting what has become a monument to deceit and manipulation.”

Councilman-Elect Ramon Hache:
“Ultimately we have a parking distribution problem in our CBD, not a parking deck problem. We have already begun planning for more cost-effective solutions that will require minimal expenditures. . . . The notion that a single parking deck will solve our parking problem is in itself an outdated 90 year old idea.”

Councilman-Elect Jeff Voigt:

Short video:

Letter to the Editor, The Ridgewood News, June 10, 2016:
“. . .the Hudson St garage addresses a symptom but not the disease. . . . I am voting no (to not adopt ordinance No. 3521) on June 21st. As a Village, let’s put together something that makes sense, is clear as to what our monies are to be used for, and makes our central business district more user friendly.”

Residents are shocked by the lengths to which Paul Aronsohn and his yes-persons on the Council have gone, along with the Village Manager and others, to make their garage happen.

Dave Slomin, representing Ridgewood Citizens for Reasonable Development (RCRD, formerly Citizens for a Better Ridgewood), notes that the garage would set new guidelines for size and scale that developers would use to obtain permission to construct bigger and more dense buildings here. High-density developers could seek garage-related “parking variances,” giving them the opportunity to build as big as they wanted under new high-density ordinances passed by the outgoing mayor’s voting bloc.

The group recommends voting no in the referendum for reasons outlined here:

RCRD supporter Jim McCarthy shares his views in this short video:

A new lawsuit and a new ethics complaint
A lawsuit has been filed in Superior Court claiming misuse of Village funds and employees’ time to create a video posted on the village website that urges residents to vote for the referendum:

In addition, a complaint has been filed with the Local Finance Board in Hackensack—the agency that enforces the Local Government Ethics Law—by the Open Government Advocacy Project of the New Jersey Libertarian Party. The letter names Mayor Paul Aronsohn and Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld as having violated “N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.5(c), which prohibits a local government officer from ‘using’ or attempting to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others.”

The video was watched several times by Rev. Msgr. Ronald J. Rozniak (Father Ron), Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, who wrote in his weekly bulletin yesterday (pages 2-3) that it “lists a number of entities that were consulted. You will not hear the name of Our Lady of Mount Carmel mentioned . . . . Incredibly, the single largest reality, neighbor, directly across the street from the deck, not four or six blocks away was ignored. This is despite the fact that Mount Carmel hired its own traffic consultant from an equally reputable traffic consulting firm.”

If reducing Hudson St. to two lanes would “eliminate the on-street parking on the church side of Hudson,” he wrote, it would “unquestionably have a negative impact on the operations of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.”

More quarters in the meter for longer hours
To repay the bond—a loan, after all, not a gift—we would face extended street parking meter hours and fees, including at the Route 17 Park & Ride, rising incrementally over time. This would add insult to injury for taxpaying residents while driving shoppers and diners to the many surrounding towns that provide parking for free. Only a few years ago, when meter hours were extended to 8 pm, downtown business owners objected to the council and the end time for feeding meters reverted to 6 pm. Why would 9 pm fare better than 8 pm did?

For these reasons, we consider it essential to reject the proposed bond and to vote NO onTuesday, June 21.

If tomorrow’s referendum passes, the three outgoing council members, while stating repeatedly that the new council will be in control, are prepared to rush-approve a contract for an enormous garage via a special council meeting a week before leaving office. That would leave the new council in a “bind.”


Only by voting down the referendum can residents prevent GarageZilla from rising above all it surveys at the corner of Hudson and Broad.

Where to vote: wherever you usually do. Polls will be open from 6 am to 8 pm.

To share this message (please do), click on “Forward this message to a friend” below the pail photo below.

Marcia Ringel and Alan Seiden
Co-Chairs, The Preserve Graydon Coalition, Inc., a nonprofit corporation

“It’s clear—we love Graydon!”

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$11.5 million bond for Ridgewood garage: yes or no?


Special election Tuesday, June 21

from the The Preserve Graydon Coalition :

On Tuesday, June 21—in less than 2 weeks—Ridgewood will hold a special election for a binding referendum (unlike the nonbinding referendum on the parking garage last November) on whether the Village should bond $11,500,000 for a parking garage on Hudson Street.

Bonding…and binding.

See below for important information on voting by mail.


What the ballot will say

You will be asked to answer yes or no to this question:
Shall ordinance No. 3521 submitted by referendum petition providing for the Council of the Village of Ridgewood to issue $11,500,000 [in] bonds or notes to finance the cost of constructing the Hudson Street parking deck, be adopted?

What the ballot doesn’t reveal

The $11.5 million bond was linked from the start to garage design “D,” consisting of 4 stories with 5 parking levels. The southern wall would extend 5 feet beyond the existing parking lot, over the sidewalk and into Hudson Street. The narrower street would contain two lanes rather than the current three: one for parking across the street from the garage and one as a combination “thru lane” and turning lane into the garage.

If the referendum passes

One might think that with a binding referendum coming up, garage-related activity would be “on hold”—but no. In their zeal to make this project happen and to fulfill promises made, the outgoing council “majority” of Mayor Paul Aronsohn, Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli, and Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck, aided by Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld, are actively pursuing completion.

Their goal is to sign a contract just before leaving office, committing the Village to Design D and letting the new council cope with the fallout.

Progress toward a construction contract is well under way. A consultancy firm was recently hired to confirm cost estimates by the architectural firm that created Design D and to engage in preconstruction preparations. If the referendum passes, that same consultancy firm will go out to bid immediately. Legal advice has been sought at taxpayer expense as well. Yet a “no” vote on theJune 21 referendum would nullify all this. How’s that for fiscal responsibility?

If, as the “council majority” continues to insist, the bond is not tied to any design, why is a firm being paid $20,000 to work further on Design D, only weeks before the result of a binding referendum could stop the project in its tracks?

In addition, rumor has it that the contract would carry prohibitively steep penalties for making any changes (change orders), further tying the new council’s hands while committing the Village to this massive edifice permanently.

Residents who want a garage, please note: the three incoming and two continuing council members are not opposed in principle to building a parking garage, including on Hudson Street. All, however, acknowledge that the designs proposed to date are too big. They’d appreciate a chance to think smaller and to try lower-cost, less-disruptive ways to enhance downtown parking. They do “get it,” and they want to do something. But not this.

On May 10, voters made a clear statement of trust for the incoming council. The three new council members won in every district. A “no” vote on the referendum would allow them and their two continuing council member colleagues to do their job unshackled by “deals” of the past.

How to vote

If you want the new council to be given the chance to try comprehensive, achievable parking solutions designed to benefit commuters, residents, and the entire Central Business District, voteNo to the referendum.

If you approve of the amount of the bonding, have no problem with under-the-radar deals, and are willing to let garage design “D” rise noisily in the mist, you may wish to vote Yes—with the understanding that the three council members who have pushed so hard for this project will be out of office on July 1, leaving the new council members—and us, the taxpaying residents— holding the bag. A very big bag.

It may be of interest that Rev. Msgr. Ronald J. Rozniak, P.A. (Father Ron), Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (down the street from the proposed garage), stated flatly in the church’s June 5 weekly bulletin: “the parish will never endorse the [currently proposed parking] deck.” (Full statement at The church’s traffic consultant, he continued, considers the planned reversal of direction of Passaic and Hudson Street traffic unnecessary.

Why that reversal? Because behind the scenes, an agreement with special interests was made to reroute the traffic.

The traffic-direction-reversal plan can be reversed. But the enormous structure that has been dubbed GarageZilla and GarageMahal, once built, would loom over us for a very long time, as would paying for it.

Please ignore whatever means may be used over the next two weeks to entice or confuse voters into approving the $11.5 million bond (and, unspoken, Design D) on June 21. Let’s recall the acres of “Vote yes for parking” signs that littered the landscape before last November’s referendum, when it was known but not divulged that all the garage designs under consideration at that time would have occupied a significantly larger chunk of Hudson Street than Design D. Many whovoted “yes” later wished they hadn’t. What else don’t we know?

Developers and others are desperate to build this thing. The lame-duck council members pushing for it would not be accountable for it.


Consider voting by mail

If you can’t vote in person on Tuesday, June 21, or if it would be inconvenient, consider voting by mail.

June 21 is the day after RHS graduation. Ridgewood schools will have closed for the summer. Many residents will be on vacation already or busily planning trips. You don’t even need a reason to vote by mail; if it appeals to you, do it.

If you or your teenage children (age 18+ by June 21) who are registered voters wish to have a say in what happens with this enormous and precedent-setting downtown project, but may be out of town or otherwise occupied or preoccupied and might not vote that day…you can vote by mail (now called Vote by Mail Ballot, no longer Absentee Ballot), if you start soon.

There are two steps: applying for a ballot and receiving it, then completing the ballot and mailing it in.

For each voter in your household, print and complete a copy of this application form: Apply forvote-by-mail ballot.pdf

Or pick up a copy at the Village Clerk’s office during Village Hall business hours (8:30 am–4:30 pm, MondayFriday). Or call and ask to have one mailed to you: 201-670-5500 ext. 201.

Indicate which election: Where you are asked in which election you wish to vote by mail, check “Special.” Where you’re asked to specify, write: Referendum. For the date, write June 21, 2016 (or 6/21/2016). (We have done this in the application form provided above.)

Your name: For your vote to be counted, you must write and sign your name precisely as it appears in the voting records. If you aren’t sure about a middle initial, spelling, or other item, you can check. Go to: or Click on “Am I registered?” and follow the simple instructions.

Remainder of form: Fill in your address, the date, etc. Fold, seal, and apply first-class postage (one 47-cent or Forever stamp).

If you mail the application form, the county clerk in Hackensack must receive it at least 7 days before the election (that is, by Tuesday, June 14). Therefore, it’s best to send the form promptly.

You may also submit the application in person at any time up to 3 PM on the day before the election (that is, by 3 PM on June 20).

If you mail the application, in due course you will receive a ballot for the election requested. On the ballot, check the desired box (Yes or No) and mail the form. A return envelope will be provided, but you must use your own first-class stamp (again, 47 cents or Forever). (Ballots for future elections may require more postage, depending on weight.)

Vote-by-mail ballots must arrive in Hackensack before the closing of the polls on election day (June 21). Mail early—at least five days before.

Once you have applied for a Vote by Mail ballot, you must vote that way.

If you have questions about obtaining or using a Vote by Mail ballot, you may call the League of Women Voters of New Jersey at 1-800-792-VOTE.

Dads Night Band concert at Graydon:
Sunday, June 12, 3–6pm
Lifelong Graydon member and longtime Preserve Graydon Coalition supporter Pete Diamond proudly reports that the Somerville–Hawes Dads Night Band will play the first show in Graydon‘s all-new SummerConcert Series on Sunday, June 12, at 3pm.

Free to Graydon badge holders; $10 for others. Some of the proceeds will support the DadsNight Scholarship Committee.

Here’s their attractive flier.

Marcia Ringel and Alan Seiden
Co-Chairs, The Preserve Graydon Coalition, Inc., a nonprofit corporation

“It’s clear—we love Graydon!”

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Vote ‘NO’ on June 21st, and let the new Ridgewood council pick a contractor for Hudson Street Garage after July 1st


June 6,2016

Text copied from post by “Take Back Ridgewood”Facebook page :
The referendum petition which over 1200 Ridgewood residents signed and submitted under Home Rule to the village clerk, called for a referendum question in November election with the following text:
“Shall Ordinance No. 3521 authorizing the Council of the Village of Ridgewood to issue $11,500,000 bonds or notes to finance the cost of constructing the Hudson Street Parking Deck, currently contemplated as a 4 story, 5 level Parking Deck, be ratified?”
Our Mayor and current council majority are forcing this election before they leave, and they changed the referendum question to:
“Shall ordinance No. 3521 submitted by referendum petition providing for the Council of the Village of the Ridgewood to issue $11,500,000 bonds or notes to finance the cost of constructing the Hudson Street parking deck, be adopted”
Summary: Over 1200 Ridgewood residents submitted a petition, asking for a question in November election for 11.5M bond for a 5 level garage. The Mayor and his team fast tracked that election and removed the text about 5th level from the question.
1.Mayor Aronsohn is trying to ignore May 10th election and people’s will. If this question is voted “yes” on June 21, he will award a 5 level garage contract in his last 9 days. NO BIDDING has been done for this 11.5 Million$ contract and the details are only known to Gwenn / Paul / Roberta / Albert (I.e. Parking committee). The new council elects and Susan and Mike will have to work with this new contractor for project completion, while they are NOT being part of the contractor selection process or any other design / engineering discussions. Mayor Aronshon and his team will not be here to see through this project to it’s completion – and won’t have any accountability. Why are they hiding the contractor selection process from other council members?
2. Mayor Aronshon is again pulling the “it’s only financing question” card, which he did in November election. He is writing to residents saying “Basically, do you support financing and building a parking deck at Hudson Street that could cost up to $11.5 million.”. He is hiding the fact that this special election was called for because of the size and design of the garage. The residents united to stop the financing because of the size of the garage.
Please vote ‘NO’ on June 21st, and let the new council pick a contractor for Hudson Street Garage after July 1st. So they can see through the project to it’s completion and can be held accountable for picking the right contractor.

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Conflicts of Interest Need to be disclosed on all Development in Ridgewood

Ridgewood Guild kids activities
May 3 2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Tony Damiano is the owner of Mango Jam ,  When the train station was renovated a lot of parking spots were taken away and because of his business’ location it is difficult to park near his business.Tony Damiano is also the President of the Ridgewood Guild .

 We can understand how someone with a business interest in the central business district would support a garage but we question all the significant conflicts of interests on the HPC ,Historical Preservation Commission.

Tony was recently appointed a member of HPC. There was a vote at HPC for design D. He could not attend and send a letter saying since the new design ‘fits the lot’ he was voting for it. Another member who owns a building right next to the garage voted for this design. When this vote was later questioned, they just said it was a ‘poll’ not a ‘vote’.

Published on Mar 10, 2016 this is all the footage Dana Glazer recorded at the Historical Preservation Meeting in Ridgewood. This is typical of how public meetings are currently in our town. We look forward to a time when ‘civility’ is more than just a political catchphrase and commissions like this do more than just green stamp massively inappropriate changes to our village.

Historic Preservation Commission Members:
Vincent N. Parrillo – Chairman
Joe Suplicki – Vice Chairman
Lynne Brady
Barbara Ferrante
Tess Giuliani
James Schimmel
Tony Damiano
Isabella Altano – Alt

Michael Cafarelli – Secretary

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Ridgewood Council Candidate Voigt supports garage that fits. Vagianos demands loyalty oath for the Garage Mahal

Jeff Voigt Ridgewood

Dear Editor,

I recently received an invitation from Paul Vagianos, local Ridgewood business owner, on behalf of Progress for Ridgewood, inviting me to participate in a candidate forum at the Park West Tavern on May 2 nd . I was rather surprised to learn that the price of admission to the forum,however, was a signed pledge to support the immediate construction of a five level (Design D)parking garage at the Hudson Street site. It would be inappropriate for me to make any pledge about matters to be decided shortly in an upcoming Village referendum. What are candidates to do if the referendum vote doesn’t come out in their favor, and they are elected? Not honor the referendum?

While I agree Ridgewood needs more parking and; even agree that an appropriately sized garage at this location should be built (i.e. one that fits with the surrounding character of the neighborhood and does not impact traffic adversely), we should also look at other parking solutions throughout town. The Riche and Associates 2002 report (the only recent study done on parking) even stated that traffic would be an issue at the Hudson Street location and;recommended other sites as more appropriate for a garage (i.e. Ken Smith site and North Walnut St). Lastly, based on Ridgewood being designated as a transportation hub (as part of the $20 billion Gateway project essentially linking Bergen County to NY Penn Station), as time goes on, we likely will require more parking options that fit with our Village.

Also, this election is about multiple issues; not just one issue. It is more appropriate to focus our efforts on comprehensive master planning and inclusive governing for all of Ridgewood.  If elected, it is my intention to respect the results of the garage referendum vote and to work with my fellow council members to address all issues efficiently and effectively. Needless to say I declined the invitation, keeping instead my pledge for open, transparent leadership working with all interests in the community. This is the most effective way to ensure the best outcomes for our village.

Paul Vagianos needs to carefully re-consider what he is asking: Seeking a pledge from the candidates that will pit prospective council members against one another – those who will sign on his demand vs those who won't – even BEFORE the election. It is exactly this type of divisive and binary thinking that has created the current toxic climate. It has to stop; enough is enough.

Like all the candidates, I have my views, they are well formulated and clear, and I am open to listening to the other side. However, I want no part of any organization that proposes a restrictive litmus test for those who would seek to serve in public office.


Jeffrey Voigt

Candidate for Village Council

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I try to keep my local political opinion out of Tips From Town. It hasn’t been easy. I am not a journalist, but I appreciate ethics and it is my understanding media outlets have an obligation to equal and fair reporting. Of late, there have been complaints The Ridgewood News is presenting one side more than the other, and has been making it difficult for residents to place informational ads, quoting arbitrary rules and guidelines. These same rules and guidelines do not seem to apply to developers. Hopefully, this is simply poor management and/or an oversight at the newspaper, but either way, the two sides of this discussion are not getting equal exposure. So, I post this opinion piece. Happy to post one from the other side if you care to pass this along .
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Ridgewood : OUR WAKE UP CALL

3 amigos in action Ridgewood NJ


April 6,2016


If the events that transpired last night do not shake your faith in the sham of a process that has transpired, nothing will. We are being held hostage by an institution that is engaging in a scorched earth policy against Ridgewood. They do not want to be a good neighbor and it is clear they would rather destroy our neighborhood than offer any real compromise.

I’m extremely disappointed that the majority of PB members did show a spine. I understand their concerns but we have to be firm in our resolve that this is not right for Ridgewood and we will continue to fight. What is the point of a Planning Board that can’t plan???

I’m sure many of you realize this, but if you haven’t made the connection yet to the Valley expansion, Garagezilla, and the increase in allowed housing density in town, let this be clear: any judge and court will. Therefore, even if you haven’t signed the garage petition yet, please consider doing so. We need to show the courts and other interested parties that we aren’t going to cause self inflicted wounds first in order to help prevent a hospital that will triple in size in a residential neighborhood.

Secondly, the upcoming VC election is more important than ever. We need to get strong defenders of our town in place because clearly the troika in charge of this town has had their own agenda. Please consider supporting Bernie Walsh and Jeff Voight in May.

Thank you.

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Unfortunately our process was hi-jacked by self-interests who used Ordinance 3066 to turn what should have been zoning issues into a planning issue

Jeff Voigt Ridgewood

March 23,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog


Ridgewood Nj, Candidate Jeff Voigt offered his view of tonight’s events, “While we may not be able to stop the vote for the high density housing – we need people to attend to demonstrate via a large turnout that the few should not benefit to the detriment of the many.

Unfortunately our process was hi-jacked by self-interests who used Ordinance 3066 to turn what should have been zoning issues into a planning issue.  The planning board could have denied any of these applications but chose not to – resulting in a deviation from the original Master plan and a change in it.  Each of these high density housing developments should have been decided individually and separately by the zoning board.  Initially they were (i.e. the Enclave).  However when the Enclave developers realized that there were too many variances that they were seeking and; that they were going to have major issues with the zoning board, they did an end around the zoning board and went to the planning board.    The makeup of the planning board needs to be closely scrutinized by the new council to ensure it is non-partisan and holds Village interests of highest importance.

There is a case, decided by the 2008 NJ State Supreme Ct. – Riya v Township South Brunswick 2008 which ruled that if areas of a township/municipality are rezoned, they need to be consistent with the surrounding zones.  It is my concern that what has occurred in Ridgewood goes against this ruling – as an example: commercial zones between the train tracks/Chestnut/Franklin Ave have been rezoned for residential use – which is inconsistent with these existing zones.  Why the Council would expose us to potential lawsuits I believe is reckless on their part and smacks of favoritism for the few (e.g. developers) to the detriment of the Village.”