Posted on

Twp of Washington Debates Purchase of Three Acres of Property Adjacent to an Existing Sports field

129897848 1596067963911876 7529103627247777565 o

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Twp of Washington NJ, Twp of Washington Mayor Peter Calamari said in a Facebook post that ,”There seems to be renewed concern about development at the 450 Pascack Road property. How often does over three acres of property come available adjacent to an existing field? I would like to see the town acquire the property using the proceeds from the grant we are likely to receive from the Swim Club property purchase. What better way to spend open space grant money than to acquire additional property that would remain open space next to the town’s flagship field. I hope everyone will recall my dedication to acquiring the Swim Club property. I was involved with the group that mobilized the residents into showing their support for that purchase after it was initially turned down by the Council. Your voices and concerns were heard loud enough to get one member of the council to change his mind. Please let your voices and concerns be heard again for this purchase. I want to publicly state that although I do not have a vote on allocating money for the purchase, I am in favor of purchasing this property.”

Continue reading Twp of Washington Debates Purchase of Three Acres of Property Adjacent to an Existing Sports field

Posted on

The Wild Duck Pond Restoration in Ridgewood

0 1

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, started in 2021 with a $1.7 million budget the Wild Duck Pond project is a restoration which will restore both the ecological function and enhance the public use of the existing Wild Duck Pond Area. Funding for the restoration project comes from the Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund and a grant from NJ Green Acres. The man-made waterbody constructed in the 1900’s for ice production and adapted by the Parks Commission in the early 1950’s as part of the new Saddle River County Park, has ceased to function as designed: to divert water from the Saddle River down a conveyance channel and through the pond back to the Saddle River. As the Saddle River’s elevation has decreased and the pond’s clay liner deteriorates, the pond and channel needed vital reconstruction to restore the health of the pond’s ecosystem.

Continue reading The Wild Duck Pond Restoration in Ridgewood

Posted on

Fort Lee Hit With “Parkgate” as Mayor and Council Eye Historic Park for Parking lot and Turf Fields


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Fort Lee NJ, recently, the residents of Fort Lee discovered by accident, that their passive park is at risk of being turned into a 100 car parking lot, a softball field, and a soccer field.  The park is home to thousands of trees that fight both air pollution, noise pollution, provide shade to walkers/runners and home to so much wildlife.  All of this planning has been done without any notice to any residents.

Continue reading Fort Lee Hit With “Parkgate” as Mayor and Council Eye Historic Park for Parking lot and Turf Fields

Posted on



the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Saddle River NJ, The Garden State Preservation Trust has approved and recommended to the New Jersey State Legislature nearly $87 million in funding for projects to develop or update parks, playgrounds and fields, including $1 million for Vista Park in the City of Paterson, to help enhance quality of life statewide, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced today. The Vista Park site in Paterson – one of many in the state that benefit from the grants — would add 40,000 square feet of green space, among other amenities.

Posted on

Reader asks So why doesn’t the council do a true economic evaluation (and read the Green Acres law) and give the residents a true perspective?

Green Acres

Isn’t it time to say “yes some people LOVE Health Barn” but how much is it costing the Village of Ridgewood? As has been pointed out, their activities spread over much of the property rent free while preventing residents from having access to “Their park”. They take many more than their assigned parking spots, for free. They even serve alcohol on Village property! Has anyone checked into the insurance they need? Or is she “self insured” by Ridgewood? A drinker gets into an accident? Ridgewood has the deep pockets and it is OUR property on which the drinking occurred. I’m willing to bet that she has not told her insurance company that she allows alcohol to be served there. She certainly doesn’t want her basic policy (if she has one) to be raised to cover that. Why should she? So far Ridgewood has provided immediate free response to all her requests. Susan, as much as you love them, you have said their costs to the village should be counted in. So why doesn’t the council do a true economic evaluation (and read the Green Acres law) and give the residents a true perspective? So far the only “Green” in this whole boondoggle seems to be her bank account! Ridgewood, instead, apparently is happy to allow her freedom, at no additional cost, to do anything she wants. That leads to red ink for us. You can’t keep avoiding reality. Villagers will not shut up until some honest answers are presented by the Council. We’ve been asking for several years; how long are you going to continue to not acknowledge we have a problem? And if you claim there is no problem, please give us honest answers that prove it!

Posted on

Green Acres is Funding a Business in Ridgewood’s Irene Habernickel Family Park?

Habernickel HealthBarn USA protest

file photo by Boyd Loving
August 9,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Green Acres Mission:To achieve, in partnership with others, a system of interconnected open spaces, whose protection will preserve and enhance New Jersey’s natural environment and its historic, scenic, and recreational resources for public use and enjoyment. The Green Acres Program was created in 1961 to meet New Jersey’s growing recreation and conservation needs. Together withpublic and private partners, Green Acres has protected over half a million acres of open space and provided hundreds of outdoor recreational facilities in communities around the State.

It is actually a green acres property where in the by laws it states “no for profit ” business in the park. It is not a junk park it is becoming one because of the business placed there. It is actually a beautiful park that half of it is used for town sports and the smaller parcel is actually used by many many people to take a nice passive walk without constantly being around children and noise. Why can’t the seniors in town have some place to go that is quiet? And of course neighbors are upset with a business being there especially when it does not benefit Ridgewood in any way!!

But according to it was approved by Green Acres.

“The village then consulted with a real estate professional to get a recommended baseline bid, posted multiple real estate listings and held open houses to find a new tenant. Before moving forward with a new lease, the village received approval from Green Acres since the land was purchased using grant money.”

So I guess the real question is ,is Green Acres just a scam?
Posted on

Dogs are permitted at Habenickel Park in Ridgewood

ridgewood 4th parade rescuedogs

August 7th 2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog and readers

Ridgewood NJ, Dogs are permitted at Habenickel. According to ordinance 212-29, dogs are only prohibited at Citizens Park, Graydon Park, Maple Park, Pleasant Park, Twinney Pond Park, Van Neste Park and Vets Field. Of course the RWD News had a photo of someone with a dog in Van Neste a week or two ago. And Aronsohn and Hauck had their dogs at Van Neste for some dog parade thing. So the rules are broken all the time. Was the kid badly hurt at Health Barn? Dog bite wounds can be very nasty. Dogs who bite are nasty.

You are correct that the dogs are permitted at Habernickel – but watch this how Paul, Roberta, Albert everyone laughed at a neighbor in front of over 100 residents and told her that she was breaking the law by walking her dog in that park.

Roberta flip-flops more than GW Bush. When the neighbor complaint that permitting kids in the passive area will affect her dog walking, they laughed at her because that suited them at that time to silence her. When HealthBarn wanted to install a dog feeding station for their marketing, Roberta allowed her, and they responded to a resident that “read the code, dogs are allowed”.

Posted on

Habernickel Park: Only One Resident Showed from the Affected Neighborhood

Habernickel HealthBarn USA protest

photo by Boyd Loving

February 4,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Only one (1) resident from the affected area showed up at the meeting last night.  The plan seems to be moving forward with just some minor tweaking required in the contract language.  The main sticking issues from the neighborhood’s point of view are:  1) increased traffic, including large school buses during the school year between 10 AM and 3 PM, 2) signage on the building and, 3) possible field use conflicts (with softball, soccer, etc.).  Most could not believe that only one (1) person took the time to show up given the amount of new bus traffic in the neighborhood and the potential interference with local sports , possible loss of property values as well as the potential conflict with Green Acre funding.

see below

Good Afternoon 

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns.  While the change in zoning from residential to business is not under Green Acres’
jurisdiction, the use of Habernickel Park most certainly is.  The Village was forthcoming in educating Green Acres in the business
looking to lease the Habernickel Gate House.  The Village sent me a brochure and directed me to the HealthBarn USA’s website. However, while I did see the popularity and many accolades of this business it did not translate into the number of potential students
you have given me.

You are correct that busses bringing students to the Park on a regular basis would be disruptive to community as
would 60 to 75 students attending classes on a daily basis in addition to the park’s regular visitors.  However, I do want to point
out that the programing will go through the Village Recreation Department or Community School and that ultimately the Village
has control of the course offerings.  Additionally, private clients cannot be served in this location; Ms. Antine would need
to bring her classes / workshops to her private clients.  

You are also correct that the classes being proposed to be held are not all recreation / conservation oriented however Green Acres has stressed and the courses encouraged the use of the parkland in the programing.  N.J.A.C. 7:36-25.7(f) (attached) allows for the use of a building that existed on funded parkland at the time of receipt of

Green Acres funding as a recreation center provided the town complies with the change in use procedures at N.J.A.C. 7:36-25.6.  

Green Acres believes that the type of classes / workshops that will be offered at the Habernickel Gate House are of the sort that would be found at any community or recreation center.

I appreciate your concerns regarding traffic and the business getting bigger.  Green Acres does not want the size of the Business,
HealthBarn USA, to negatively impact the park due to the business they are conducting onsite.  Green Acres looks at HealthBarn USA as a concession, providing to the residents a service the Village could not do on their own.  It will
not be allowed to become the headquarters for HealthBarn USA.

I am copying Janet Fricke on this email as she is responsible for addressing the public’s concerns regarding this change in use.  I
encourage you to voice your concern at the Public Hearing scheduled for Wednesday evening so that you can get the answers to your questions regarding how many classes, how many students, traffic, etc. .

Thank you for taking the time to contact me.  If you have further questions please let me know.  The State Offices are closed tomorrow, Election Day.  However, I will do my best to respond back in a timely fashion.


Nancy Lawrence
Compliance Officer
Bureau of Legal Services and Stewardship
NJDEP Green Acres Program
Mail Code 501-01, P.O. Box 420
501 East State Street, 1st Floor
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420
609.341.2054 direct
609.984.0608 fax

Posted on

HealthBarn at Ridgewood’s Irene Habernickle Family Park


HealthBarn at Irene Habernickle Family Park

From the Village of Ridgewood web site

Irene Habernickle Family Park – HealthBarn FAQs

The below document represents answers, approaches  and comments to questions, concerns and issues that were raised by residents and the Council regarding the leasing of Habernickel’s Gate House to Health Barn, USA.  The Village Council will discuss two resolutions at the Wednesday, February 3rdmeeting: one to change the use of the Gate House for recreational and educational purposes, and the second to authorize the signing of the lease between Health Barn and the Village. The vote on these resolutions will not be held until the Council session on February 10th.   Any comments or questions can be directed to Roberta Sonenfeld ( and Janet Fricke (
Gate House at Irene Habernickel Family Park – HealthBarn, USA
Response to Frequently Asked Questions

Traffic Safety Issues

Ridgewood Police Department completed a traffic study on Hillcrest Road in the Habernickel Park area during the fall recreational season; additional studies are planned – one for winter, another for spring recreation season.  The traffic study shows that the average speed falls within a safe area and even though there were a couple high end speeds that percentage was minimal.  As far as existing volume, the street has a low volume even though this area is a known “cut through” street.  Traffic study was passed on to the Engineering Division for review and implementation.

The Village Engineer recommended:

Short Term:

Stripe 2 crosswalks- at Norman and at Hillcrest.  Double yellow center line on Hillcrest Rd. (Morningside to Monroe); signage to alert motorists that they are approaching a crosswalk.
Paint white “Tic” marks on Hillcrest at private driveway openings to allow for better egress.
Amend ordinance to allow for parking on the park side (north) of Hillcrest and not the opposite (south) side. Ordinance  #3517
Plans were presented and approved at the monthly Citizen’s Safety Advisory Committee Meeting held December 17th, 2015.  Resolution #16-21

ii.         Long Term:

Extend sidewalk in front of park to Andover Terrace;
Installation of sidewalk on south side of Hillcrest – Morningside to North Monroe.

Speed humps/ bumps are not recommended by Police or Engineering Division; the double center line is recommended for traffic calming.
Bus Drop Off (M-F 10am -3pm only) – Procedures will include drop off at entrance to Gate House. Buses may park in parking lot or return to premise for pick up.  Engine idling prohibited.

Operation of Facility

When the Village purchased the Habernickel property in 2004 using Green Acres funding, a conservation easement was required to be placed on the deed.  The easement states that Green Acres rules and regulations must be followed for this property.  Green Acres requirements have been followed by Ridgewood, including most recently, the hearing to alert the public to the proposed change in use.

The Village Recreation Department will establish a satellite office on the second floor of the Gate House. The office will be used to provide any assistance or support necessary and will be staffed as needed.

No zoning changes were necessary for the Village to make this change in use.

The change will allow Recreational/ educational programing for the Gate House; no overnight accommodations or private counseling sessions in the Gate House are defined in the Lease.

HealthBarn will be required to follow procedures in the lease to make any improvements to the Gate House.  The cost of improvements (including permits) will be covered by tenant.

Community Gardens are allowed in parks with permission from the Director of Parks & Recreation.  All maintenance and related costs will be responsibility of HealthBarn. There will be no use of the Horse Barn itself.

Signage – A sign is allowed on the Gate House. Location and size is addressed in the Lease. Prior to installation, approval from Director of Building Department and a permit is required.

Security/lighting analysis will be made by Ridgewood Police for the exterior of the Gate House and will recommend appropriate action.

The hours of operation of any of the programs will be in accordance with the items listed on Schedule A – Mondaythrough Saturday – 9:00AM to 5:30PM; Wednesday and Friday evening. 6:30PM to 9:00PM.  The Tenant will be permitted to open and close the facilities a half hour before and after the operation of the programs.  Any temporary adjustments to days/hours of operation must be requested five (5) business days in advance, in writing, to the Director of Parks and Recreation or the LANDLORD.

The Gate House facility provides space for additional education/recreational programs for local youth that cannot be held elsewhere in Ridgewood as facilities are being used to full capacity.

Building Code Officials and the Fire Inspector have inspected the Gate House.  They will make professional recommendations when questions arise in their area of expertise.

Park areas to be used by HealthBarn – the Gate House , Teaching Community Garden, and potentially some Habernickel field areas will be used by HealthBarn as approved by the Director, Parks & Recreation.

Green Acres does not deny public access to parks that are in the Green Acres program.

Student drop off and pick up area will be at the entrance to the Gate House.  If parking is needed during classes, 12 onsite spaces will be used in the parking lot.  In addition 3 staff parking spaces are available in the Gate House garage/driveway.

Mini buses carrying up to 14 may drop off at the Gate House entrance; mini buses may park in the parking lot for no more than 2 hours. No engine idling is permitted for any buses. Full size buses (carrying not more than 48 passengers) are permitted only during the hours of 10:00AM to 3:00PMMonday through Friday to drop off at the Gate House entrance.  Buses can park in any offsite designated parking lot and return at agreed time for pick up.

Animals are not allowed unless by special request for a program or a certified service animal.

HealthBarn is a vendor to the Village of Ridgewood and as such all programs will be regularly inspected, reviewed and monitored by the Director, Parks and Recreation.

The Tenant understands that it is expressly prohibited from operating and holding private consultation sessions at the Gate House and on Habernickel parklands.  One upstairs room will serve as an office.  The building shall not be used for living quarters.

The Gate House and all programs shall be open for inspection by Landlord at any time.

Health Barn’s curriculum has been reviewed by Green Acres and Ridgewood Parks and Recreation to ensure that the educational and recreational standards are of high quality for each age group.  It is not a daycare or babysitting operation.  This enrichment educational experience provides families with nutritional guidance to facilitate better mealtime behaviors for a healthy lifestyle.

The Tenant will have appropriate number of students attending programs for each age and program type as approved through Ridgewood Parks & Recreation Department.

Business Issues

HealthBarn moved due to Abma’s Farm wanting to use their space to expand their own business.  Ridgewood staff visited the HealthBarn operation at Abma’s Farm.
A local real estate professional conducted an analysis of the location to determine the base bid for this lease.  The lease requires an annual Tri State CPI increase.

The initial lease is for 5 years with renewal for 1 more year adhering to Green Acres rules.  A capital improvement of $50,000+ entitles the tenant to a 6 year lease.

The Lease document will be available to the public when it is complete.

Required Insurance coverage is $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 is aggregate. The Village of Ridgewood is listed as additionally insured.

All employees, agents and representatives of HealthBarn must have satisfactorily passed background checks.  Documentation will be kept on file.

The Gate House will provide program space as well as office space for registration, planning and operational needs.  No overnight accommodations are permitted.  The Gate House will be regularly monitored by the Parks and Recreation Department and will be inspected by the Ridgewood Building, Fire and Health Departments and comply with all of their requirements.

The Village is not entitled to the Tenant’s business plan.

The Lease includes legal language to protect the Village if the tenant does not follow lease requirements and termination is needed.

The tenant of the Gate House is required in the lease to submit a quarterly listing and analysis of classes and programs, including attendance, staffing, and related costs to the Director, Parks & Recreation Department for review.  The tenant’s current listing of programs is part of the Lease as Schedule A and is the standard (baseline) for all HealthBarn programs.  Birthday parties are an approved use by Green Acres.  If the tenant wishes to make changes to programs, it must be cleared five days in advance by the Director of Parks & Recreation.

Posted on

Schedler property needs to be preserved

Save Our Schedler Members & Friends at the Schedler House3

file photo by Boyd Loving

Ridgewood parcel needs to be preserved

The town in which I live, Ridgewood, owns a 7.5-acre parcel known as the Schedler property in the northeast corridor directly abutting Route 17.

It represents the last large piece of green acres in Ridgewood. Schedler serves as a buffer for the community, defending us from the noise of the highway and the pollution. The town is determined, with the insistence of the Ridgewood Baseball Association, to build a regulation-sized baseball field there. So what’s wrong with that? The answer is everything.

For one thing, the location. It has been shown that increasing levels of noise are associated with increasing incidence of strokes, especially in the elderly. Playing fields also facilitate flooding whereas woods act as a deterrent.

Second, it is very well documented that exercising along busy highways increases one’s chances of developing respiratory disease, cancer and cardiovascular disorders. This problem is particularly worse in children, who have a more susceptible physiology. Recently, News 12 reported a new medical study that showed increased incidence of leukemia in children under the age of 15 who played in proximity to busy thoroughfares.

Lastly, in a time of constrained fiscal budgets, it would cost a lot less to leave nature alone. A field for our children would be great, but can’t it be built in a place that does not jeopardize their health?

Decisions that affect the health and well-being of our citizens, especially our children, should be guided by the facts. Not every piece of land needs to be developed; on the contrary, nature needs to be preserved.

We should take a page from the book of Theodore Roosevelt, who in his great wisdom, when entrusted with the stewardship of our great beautiful land, decided to conserve portions in their natural state for his time and posterity.

We, the citizens, must demand that our government behave just as responsibly.

Salvatore Infantino

Posted on

State says Ridgewood must replace land


State says Ridgewood must replace land

OCTOBER 6, 2014    LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2014, 11:06 AM

Ridgewood has been tracked down for a 32-year-old gaffe.

According to the Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld, the village was recently told by Green Acres, a state conservation program, that it needed to make amends for a piece of Green Acres-encumbered land on South Broad Street that Ridgewood sold to the Bergen County Housing Authority – way back in 1982.

The village sold what was a public playground to the Bergen County Housing Authority to provide public low-income housing, Sonenfeld said, and now the diversion “has to be adjusted.”

“In order to correct this, we need 1.9 acres of open space. The other requirement is that we have to spend at least 1:1 value for the property that was sold to Bergen County Housing … And we have to replace the outdoor facility [the playground] that was on that property when we sold this,” Sonenfeld said, later noting that the village needs to buy “more than one parcel” of land and is currently in negotiations with one party.

“We need to do this, because if we don’t,” she noted, “we’re not eligible for future Green Acres grants, and we’re not eligible to get payments on our current outstanding grants.”

– See more at: