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Deputy Mayor to Host Habernickel Family Park Tour this Saturday

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Village of Ridgewood Deputy Mayor Pamela Perron will be hosting a walking tour of Habernickel Family Park this Saturday! The tour starts promptly at 10 am.

Continue reading Deputy Mayor to Host Habernickel Family Park Tour this Saturday

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Senator Joe Pennacchio has introduced legislation helping towns meet a significant portion of their affordable housing obligations through regional contribution agreements

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Senator Joe Pennacchio has introduced legislation that would help towns meet a significant portion of their affordable housing obligations through regional contribution agreements (RCAs).

Continue reading Senator Joe Pennacchio has introduced legislation helping towns meet a significant portion of their affordable housing obligations through regional contribution agreements

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

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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

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Presentation of Draft of Ridgewood Master Plan at 7/19/2022 Planning Board

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, this coming Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 7:30 pm in Village Hall, there will be an informational presentation of the complete draft Master Plan, including the Open Space and Recreation and Environmental Resource Inventory Elements.

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Bergen County Democrats first Order of Business Raise Taxes

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January 6th 2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Hackensack NJ, on Wednesday, the three Bergen County freeholders elected in November were sworn into office. Turning Bergen into the bluest of counties and making all county officials in Bergen, Democrats.

The annual reorganization meeting, Freeholders Mary J. Amoroso, Germaine M. Ortiz, and Thomas J. Sullivan were sworn in for their first full three-year terms. Freeholder Tracy Silna Zur–now entering her fifth year as freeholder–was elected as board chairwoman and Sullivan was selected as vice-chair.

The Democrats remained true to form and immediately began by raising what promises to be the first of many tax increases, the open-space tax.

The move increases the open-space tax back to 1 cent per $100 of assessed valuation, which is expected to bring in $12 million more annually for a popular program that had seen its funding cut by 75 percent in recent years.

While many embrace the idea of open space, the devil is as always in the details.Money is often used by the politicly connected for ball fields ie turf and to warehouse space, creating buffer zones for wealthy enclaves and keeping prime real-estate off the market so less desirable projects can not be built.
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NEW JERSEY FREES UP $67M FOR OPEN SPACE, RECREATION PROJECTS

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TOM JOHNSON | NOVEMBER 23, 2016

Money represents first to come from stable source of funding approved by voters in 2014

Credit: newsworks.org

For the first time in two years, the state is looking to award up to $67.4 million in funding to municipalities, counties, and nonprofit groups to acquire open space and develop recreational projects.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is accepting applications for the first chunk of money to be doled by a new stable source of funding approved by voters back in the fall of 2014 for Green Acres projects.

A dispute between the Christie administration and the Legislature that lasted months derailed the annual disbursement of grants and loans to towns and other groups for park development, land acquisition, and, for the first time, stewardship of protected land.

https://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/11/22/state-frees-up-67m-for-open-space-recreation-projects/?utm_campaign=Observer_NJ_Politics&utm_content=New%20Campaign&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=New%20Jersey%20Politics

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TONIGHTS RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE COUNCIL’S PUBLIC WORKSHOP AGENDA

village Council

October 5,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, tonights Village Council agenda features ; parking,Kings pond, lighting in public parks ,Airbnb,tree preservation and updates to the “Open Space Master plan”.

THE RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE COUNCIL’S PUBLIC WORKSHOP AGENDA

OCTOBER 5, 2016

1.         7:30 pm – Call to Order – Mayor

2.         Statement of Compliance with Open Public Meeting Act

Mayor: “Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided by a posting on the bulletin      board in Village Hall, by mail to the Ridgewood News, The Record, and by submission      to all persons entitled to same as provided by law of a schedule including the date and             time of this meeting.”

3.         Roll Call – Village Clerk

4.         Flag Salute/Moment of Silence

5.         Public Comments (Not to Exceed 5 Minutes per Person – 30 Minutes in Total)

6.         Public Hearing – Bergen County Open Space Grant – Kings/Gypsy Pond

7.         Presentation

  1. TAP Grant Opportunity8.         Discussion
  1. Ridgewood Water
  1. Award Contract – Ridgewood Press
  2. Award Contract – Professional Engineering Services – Various Improvements to Booster/Transfer Stations
  3. Award Contract – Professional Services for the Feasibility Study for Removing PFCs at the Carr Treatment Facility
  4. Award Contract – Control Valves at Various Locations
  5. Award Contract – EUS – SCADA Software, Hardware & Support b.         Parking
  1. Tiered Parking Meter Prices and Parking Permit Pricing
  2. Parking Reallocation at Parking Lots
  3. NJ Transit Parking Garagec.         Budget
  1. Update of Open Space Master Plan – Survey
  2. Kings/Gypsy Pond Grant
  3. Award Contract – Rebid of Furnishing and Delivering of Polymer – Water Pollution Control Facility
  4. Award Partial Contract – Street Paving
  5. Renew Lease on Chestnut Street Lot Garbage Pad
  6. Update of Health Department Retail License Fees 

    d.         Policy

  1. Stigma-Free Task Force Advisory Committee
  2. Tree Preservation Ordinance
  3. Amend Chapter 190 – Land Use – Zoning Regulations for Religious Land Use and Zoning Regulations for Houses of Worship and Public Utilities Different in Nature with Different Standards
  4. Encroachment Agreement for Titos Burritos
  5. Lighting Policy in Parks
  6. Regulations for Airbnb
  7. Best Practices Inventory and Resolutions to Affirm Current Procedures
  8. Human Resources Manual 

    e.         Operations

  1. Traffic Calming Proposal – Bogert Avenue and Cambridge Road
  2. Sherman Road and Stanley Place Safety Improvements
  3. County Shared Services Road Resurfacing 

    9.         Review of October 12, 2016 Regular Public Meeting Agenda

    10.       Manager’s Report

    11.       Council Reports

    12.       Public Comments (Not to Exceed 5 Minutes per Person)

    13.       Resolution to go into Closed Session

    14.       Closed Session

    a.         Personnel – Police Department

    b.         Contractual – Shared Services Agreement – Washington Township

    c.         Legal – Legal Bills

    15.       Adjournment

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Reader says What happened to peace and quiet? You can’t even just sit on a park bench any more without acres of concrete?

Village of Ridgewood

Park is SMALL. Stop filling everything up. A stage when not in use (i.e., 99% of the time) would co-opt open space. We need more of it, not less. Everybody seems to think their kids are future Broadway stars. Get with the program–amateur performances are for the performers. Noise in the middle of town would just drive people away. What happened to peace and quiet? You can’t even just sit on a park bench any more without acres of concrete? Even sitting in the dark on a summer night is nice. No need for Klieg lights. How about Strobes?

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Ridgewood many tree lined parks to beat the heat

Twinney Pond Park

July 29,2016
the staff  of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, a park is also a nice place to beat the heat and Ridgewood many tree lined parks . Take advantage there are more parks than your realize ; the mission statement of the Ridgewood Department of Parks and Recreation is to preserve open space and provide facilities and year round recreational activities that meet the needs of all residents.

Parks
The Division of Parks is responsible for the maintenance of all Village owned parkland, athletic facilities, planting of flowerbeds (in cooperation with Project Pride) and landscaping throughout the community. In addition, the division is responsible for the preparation and maintenance of the Graydon Pool facility and grounds as well as all departmental special events throughout the year.

Shade Tree
The Shade Tree Division is responsible for the maintenance and care of approximately 15, 000 Village owned street trees on 100 miles of public ways, as well as additional trees and shrubs in parks and on other public grounds. This includes all aspects, such as removal, planting, and pruning. The Shade Tree Division does a tree planting for Arbor Day, which is usually the last Friday in April. The division currently offers a memorial tree/bench program to honor the memory of a friend or family member.

Citizen’s Park
Located at the corner of Godwin Avenue and North Monroe Street. Citizen’s Park includes a softball field, multipurpose field, a small sided softball field, an open play area, benches and gardens.

Dunham Trail
Located between Grove Street and Spring Avenue along the Ho Ho Kus brook and the public service right-of-way. Dunham Trail is one of the Village wildscape areas.

On Dunham trail look for:

Sycamores and a wild cherry tree with shiny gray bark.
Triassic Sandstone, like that used to build Manhattan’s brownstones.
A linden tree wrapped in Poison Ivy rope.
Springtime Dogtooth Violets, False Solomon’s Seal, Spring Beauties, Yellow Primroses, Pink Japanese Knotweed, and the biggest patch of Canadian Mayflowers in Ridgewood.

Graydon Park
Located on the corner of North Maple Avenue and Linwood Avenue. Graydon Park offers a hockey court, skateboard park, basketball courts, swimming, ice-skating, picnic area, shuffleboard, children’s playground, shelter, and restrooms. Click on the following link to find all that Graydon Pool has to offer – Graydon Pool website.

Grove Park
Located on the south side of Grove Street, just west of the Saddle River. This is one of Ridgewood’s wildscape areas, which include nature trails for walking.

In the 32 acres of beech forest and field that make up Grove Park, you will find:

Spring flowers that bloom between April and May before they disappear when the shade thickens.
The tulip poplars are the tallest and straightest trees in the wooded area.
You can look for the honeycombs located on top of the bee tree.
Turkey Tails and fungi can be found on fallen logs.

Kings Pond Park
Located off Lakeview Drive by the Midland Park border. Kings Pond Park offers a natural wildlife area, ice-skating, when permitted, and nature trails for walking. Kings Pond and Gypsy Pond offer a great variety of birds and mammal life.

In the parks you can also find:

Large glacial rocks at Park entrance are Canadian Shield Boulders.
Along the railroad track, wild azalea (pinxter) bloom.
Bracket fern and fiddleheads abound in the woods.
Ducks, Canada Geese and over 40 species of birds live here.
Wild garlic and mustard are abundant.
The general depth of the ponds is about 3 feet.

Leuning Park
Located on the corner of Northern Parkway and Meadowbrook Avenue. Leuning Parks offers an open play area.

Irene Habernickel Family Park
Located at 1037 Hillcrest Road in the northern most corner of the Village, this ten-acre park property has an abundance of mature trees. These trees help to define various areas of the property.

This special park property offers an opportunity for both passive and active recreation through the balance of wide open space, ball fields, natural areas, and a one-acre pond.
In the development stage; plans are to revive the dam and bridge area, install a children’s playground, multi-purpose fields, several walking trails and an arboretum complete with gardens.

This new park is soon to include nature programs as well as other passive opportunities as wildlife prevail such as mammals, reptiles and assorted birds.

Maple Park
Located on the corner of Meadowbrook Avenue and Northern Parkway. Maple Park offers one of Ridgewood wildscape areas as well as a community garden (Link to community garden page), part of the fitness trail (link to the parcourse fitness circuit page), benches, flowers, and nature trails. A regulation turf field hosts soccer, lacross and softball year round.
On the west and east banks of the Ho-Ho-Kus brook between Graydon Pool and Meadowbrook Avenue.

In Maple Park, look for:

A 70-year-old wisteria tree.
One of the largest stands of red cedar in this part of New Jersey.
A Porcupine (Sweet Gum) Tree.
A half dozen of different varieties of fern.
Fig-leaf magnolias with thin graceful leaves.
An herb garden.
On the east side of the brook, delicate grasses, berry bushes, and wild flowers that attract butterflies and birds of many descriptions.

North Road Park
Located on North Road, off of Glen Avenue east of Route 17. This is a natural wildlife area.

Pleasant Park
Located at the end of Stevens Avenue, behind Hawes School. Pleasant Park also offers one of the Village’s wildscape areas.

Pleasant Park offers a natural wildlife area, which includes:

Fallen “nurse” logs, nourishing many insects, lichens, ferns and fungi.
Green beggar ticks, jewelweed, ragweed, and purple loosestrife, all in the late summer.
Quaking aspen trees, with flat leaf stems (petioles) that quiver in the breeze.
New York ferns and lady ferns.
Grape vines.
Sassafras or “mitten” trees, whose name comes from the shape of the leaf.
A tree trunk shaped like a giraffe.
A wide variety of birds reside in this wooded community, which makes for excellent bird watching.

Schedler Property
This recent open space purchase is located between Route 17 and West Saddle River Road with development plans yet to be determined.

Twinney Pond Park
Located at the north end of Red Birch Court. Twinney pond offers a wildlife area, nature trails and ice-skating.

At Twinney Pond Park, this three foot deep kettle pond created by glaciers, you can see the following:

Sunfish as they sweep clean spots on the pond floor to make nests.
Shaggy Birches, Pin Oaks, and Locust Trees.
Veronica, they look like tiny orchids on the ground.
Button Bushes that will produce white pompoms this summer.
Dragonflies, with clear wings outspread, and Damsel Flies, with wings swept back and colored.
The life cycle of a tadpole.
Ice skating when the weather and ice permits.

Memorial Park at Van Neste Square
Located at East Ridgewood Avenue between Walnut Street and Oak Street. Van Neste offers a relaxing location in the center of town. Located in the park are the War Memorial Monument, benches, and gardens.

Veteran’s Field
Located at the corner of Linwood Avenue and Northern and Parkway. Veteran’s field is home to softball fields, hardball fields, multipurpose fields, running track, fitness circuit, amphitheater, open play area, and restrooms.

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October 2015 Allegations on Schedler Park Project in Ridgewood Still Need to be Rectified

Save Our Schedler Members & Friends at the Schedler House3

file photo by Boyd Loving

July 22,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, In October 2015 Resident Jacqueline Hone raised several issues pertaining to the Schedler Park Project including the allegation that the applications for Open Space Funds were fraudulent .

Ms Hone basically received the blow off from the Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld  and she sent a second email exclaiming ,”A citizen’s complaint should not be viewed as a threat, but rather an opportunity to dismiss wrong doing and restore/gain public trust. As public servants, Village Manager and Council, have a fiduciary obligation to investigate citizen’s complaints and afford the complainant due process. The complainant has a right to receive a panel decision, with detailed explanation, as to whether allegations are sustained, not sustained, deemed unfounded or exonerated.”

As of now the allegations pertaining to the Schedler Park Project still stand and many Schedler area residents are still looking for answers .

From: Jacqueline Hone
Sent: Tuesday, October 6, 2015 1:48 PM
To: Gwenn Hauck; Paul Aronsohn; Susan Knudsen; Michael Sedon; Albert Pucciarelli
Subject: Notice of Complaint Village of Ridgewood

Mayor and Council Members:

In regards to the Schedler Park Project, I would like to file a complaint and draw your attention to the following for scrutiny and disciplinary action.

On 9/8/15 and 9/16/15 it was brought to your attention, that the applications used to obtain approximately $2 million in Open Space grants, were completed with intentional omission, false and misleading information, without municipal endorsement, and without public notification as required.

Village Manager and Counsel quickly diverted attention and dismissed the matter saying submissions of incomplete applications, to Bergen County, is acceptable and common practice.  This is not a matter of submitting incomplete applications. The applications are fraudulent and were submitted with the intent to receive funds. If the facts were known, the site plan for Schedler would be in violation of County and State provisions. Thus, the Village should not proceed with the Schedler plan as is.

1) Village Manager, Roberta Sonenfeld, submitted an application, on or about 9/1/15, seeking $100,000 of Bergen County Open Space Funds. This application was submitted with blatant, intentional, false and misleading information, without Council endorsement and public notification as mandated. The application shows the Village Manager committed $100k of municipal funds (tax payer’s money) without Council approval. What authority, if any, does the Village Manager have to authorize and commit tax payer’s money without Council approval? Under what authority was this done?

When confronted about the allocation of municipal funds, Village Manager stated the 100k would eventually come from the Ridgewood Baseball Association (RBSA) via gift donation. However, since the RBSA money was yet to be received, municipal funds were allocated in its place. Once the gift is received, it will be moved into the municipal funds account. What authority does the Village Manager have to front tax payer’s money and act as a temporary lender to the RBSA? This accounting practice is suspect and I believe also constitutes commingling of funds, which is prohibited. If this was done for the RBSA, why wasn’t this preferential treatment extended to the Friends of the Historic Zabriskie House.

2) Land Use Restriction: The State and County have strict provisions regarding Open Space, Green Space, Historic Preservation and full disclosure of threatened wildlife, vegetation and environmental impacts. As such, development at Schedler would have strict limitations, regulated land use and mandated historic, wildlife and vegetation preservation.

-Site Plan: The initial Open Space application, used to acquire the Schedler property, stated the land would be used for 60/40 active/recreation use and no lights. It was under this plan that the Village was granted Open Space funds. Violating the County Deed of Conservation Easement, the Village of Ridgewood revised and adopted a new plan showing 70/30 active/passive recreation area, lights, and a two-story concession building with recreation hall.

-Revenue/Profit: This park will generate a substantial amount of money…concession stand, hall rental, field time, uniforms, player enrollment fees, membership fees, field rentals etc. Additionally, site plan includes two-story building. Full second floor to be used as meeting room or rented for sports related functions (possible discrimination). RBSA involvement is an arguable breach of contract with the County and in violation of Open Space and Green Space guidelines.

-Historic Structure/Features /Elements: Historic house, features and elements were not fully disclosed to County. In some circumstances they were completely omitted. The preservation of the home and parcel was abandoned by the Village. Proper disclosure would mean strict preservation and limitations of park development and use. (See attached NJ DEP National Register of Historic Places, 2009, 2015 grant application).

– Environmental/Wildlife/Vegetation: Adverse environmental factors, threatened wildlife and threatened vegetation were not disclosed on applications. Full disclosure would mandate preservation and impose strict site limitations. This omission is how the Village is proceeding with Phase 1, demolition and clear-cutting of the last green acre parcel in our area (7 acres), which will expose hundreds of residents and wildlife to noise, pollution, Route 17,  high volume traffic, dangerous conditions and irreversible damage.

– State and County Clearance: This property, directly on Rt. 17. North, within feet of an interstate commuter Park & Ride, is the last green space in the area. All this is being done without expert studies and without notification to or clearance from Bergen County, New Jersey Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Historic Preservation.

3) Public Meeting Notifications: The Village has demonstrated a pattern of questionable omission and secrecy (see attached). Now, out of the blue, a meeting has been scheduled (10/7) to accept a second 100k donation form the RBSA and to present another revision of the Schedler Park plan. The agenda was just posted to the Village website. The general public has not been notified these matters will be discussed on this date. As such, again residents are being robbed of their right to participate, review the process, verify gifts and prepare for public comments/questions prior to the meeting. This matter must be tabled until all of the above is addressed. County Open Space Guidelines States:

As part of the application submission, the municipality shall hold a Public Hearing on a proposed park development project before it submits its application. The applicant shall publish a notice of the public hearing in the official newspaper of the municipality. The hearing must be advertised as a display ad at least 15 days before the hearing. The hearing notice must specifically reference the proposed Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund Municipal Program Park Improvement application. The public hearing must be held in the evening, and may be held as part of a public meeting, as long as the hearing is properly advertised.

Council has a fiduciary obligation to cease and desist the Schedler Park Project, until this matter is investigated and cleared of wrong doing.  Continued dismissal of the above, is gross negligence and an act against public good. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.  Failure to act and proceeding with Phase 1, intentionally permits irreversible damage to public health, safety, general welfare, public land and historic/vegetation preservation.

I believe State/County provisions and the Deed of Conservation Easement prohibits most of everything the Village is proposing at Schedler. We want due process, expert studies and a park which represents the true needs and desires of our neighborhood residents. Please allow us to present the facts before it’s too late.

We look forward to hearing from you and moving forward in the right direction. In the meantime, thank you so much for your attention.

Respectfully,

Jacqueline Hone

______________________________________________________________________________
From: Jacqueline Hone
Date: October 7, 2015 at 2:31:35 PM PDT
To: Albert Pucciarelli <apucciarelli@ridgewoodnj.net>, Gwenn Hauck <ghauck@ridgewoodnj.net>, Michael Sedon <msedon@ridgewoodnj.net>, Paul Aronsohn <paronsohn@ridgewoodnj.net>, Susan Knudsen <sknudsen@ridgewoodnj.net>
Cc: “rsonenfeld@ridgewoodnj.net” <rsonenfeld@ridgewoodnj.net>
Subject: Re: Notice  of Complaint Village of Ridgewood

Council:

I received a message from Mrs. Sonenfeld, pertaining to my complaint, which read…

Ms. Hone,

I find your email to be threatening, highly inaccurate and defamatory; as such I will not respond to it.

Notwithstanding Ms. Sonenfeld’s decision not to respond, IS a response. A citizen’s complaint should not be viewed as a threat, but rather an opportunity to dismiss wrong doing and restore/gain public trust. As public servants, Village Manager and Council, have a fiduciary obligation to investigate citizen’s complaints and afford the complainant due process. The complainant has a right to receive a panel decision, with detailed explanation, as to whether allegations are sustained, not sustained, deemed unfounded or exonerated.

Instead, upon receipt of my complaint, the Mayor inappropriately forwarded my complaint to the subjects involved in the allegations (village officials). This can be seen in the Village Manager’s email thread below.

Let me make my request specific and clear: With profound respect my email, subject: Notice of Complaint Village of Ridgewood, is a formal complaint filed with the Council. With that email, I placed the Council on notice of wrong doing and a cease and desist on all matters pertaining to the Schedler property. Furthermore, I asked for due process and protection from Council.

Given all of the above and the nature of this complaint, I formally request this matter be transferred to another jurisdiction, outside the Village of Ridgewood.

Sincerely,
Jacqueline Hone

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UPDATE : Ridgewood Neighbors Clash With Healthbarn over Busing

Habernickel Park Gate House
May 17,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, Healthbarn busing continues to create problems in the neighborhood and now Stacey Antine Founder of Health Barn ,is referring questions to Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld and Tim Cronin.
Neighbors near the facility feel Healthbarn should be answering neighborhood  themselves and not referring questions to the Village .
Neighbors claim the buses are creating noise, traffic and pollution problems in the neighborhood as well  the obvious  dangers to pedestrians, cyclist and school children.
Stacey Antine is currently telling neighbors to stop contacting her  and contact the Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld with their issues and questions further inflaming the situation.
On May 16, 2016, at 5:17 PM, Stacey Antine, MS, RDN <stacey@healthbarnusa.com> wrote:

Hi everyone, please take me off these emails.  I am following the lease schedule as best as I can to ensure the safety of the children and make it as seamless as possible for the neighborhood.  I’m working directly with Roberta and Tim to adjust as needed, so please direct your concerns or questions to them directly.

 
Thank you so much.

 
Stacey Antine, MS, RDN

Founder, HealthBarn USA

Author, Appetite for Life

Director, HealthBarn Foundation

NEW LOCATION:  1057 Hillcrest Road,

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Notice of Complaint Village of Ridgewood

Village_Manager_Roberta_Sonenfeld_theridgewoodblog

Ms. Hone,

I find your email to be threatening, highly inaccurate and defamatory; as such I will not respond to it.

 

Roberta

Roberta Sonenfeld
Village Manager
201-670-5500, ext. 203

From: Paul Aronsohn

Sent: Tuesday, October 06, 2015 2:49 PM
To: Matt Rogers; Heather Mailander; Donna Jackson
Cc: Roberta Sonenfeld; Janet Fricke
Subject: Re: Notice of Complaint Village of Ridgewood

Sent from my iPhone
On Oct 6, 2015, at 2:45 PM, Matthew Rogers <msr@mrogerslaw.com> wrote:

This should be shared with Heather/Donna because of the allegations of improper notice of the meetings.

 

From: Paul Aronsohn [mailto:paronsohn@ridgewoodnj.net]
Sent: Tuesday, October 6, 2015 1:52 PM
To: Roberta Sonenfeld; Matt Rogers; Janet Fricke
Subject: FW: Notice of Complaint Village of Ridgewood

 

​Roberta, Janet, Matt —

 

FYI

 

Paul

 

Paul S. Aronsohn, Mayor

Village of Ridgewood

@paularonsohn

From: Jacqueline Hone <jhone201@yahoo.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 6, 2015 1:48 PM
To: Gwenn Hauck; Paul Aronsohn; Susan Knudsen; Michael Sedon; Albert Pucciarelli
Subject: Notice of Complaint Village of Ridgewood

 

Mayor and Council Members: 

 

In regards to the Schedler Park Project, I would like to file a complaint and draw your attention to the following for scrutiny and disciplinary action. 

On 9/8/15 and 9/16/15 it was brought to your attention, that the applications used to obtain approximately $2 million in Open Space grants, were completed with intentional omission, false and misleading information, without municipal endorsement, and without public notification as required.

Village Manager and Counsel quickly diverted attention and dismissed the matter saying submissions of incomplete applications, to Bergen County, is acceptable and common practice.  This is not a matter of submitting incomplete applications. The applications are fraudulent and were submitted with the intent to receive funds. If the facts were known, the site plan for Schedler would be in violation of County and State provisions. Thus, the Village should not proceed with the Schedler plan as is. 

1) Village Manager, Roberta Sonenfeld, submitted an application, on or about 9/1/15, seeking $100,000 of Bergen County Open Space Funds. This application was submitted with blatant, intentional, false and misleading information, without Council endorsement and public notification as mandated. The application shows the Village Manager committed $100k of municipal funds (tax payer’s money) without Council approval. What authority, if any, does the Village Manager have to authorize and commit tax payer’s money without Council approval? Under what authority was this done?

When confronted about the allocation of municipal funds, Village Manager stated the 100k would eventually come from the Ridgewood Baseball Association (RBSA) via gift donation. However, since the RBSA money was yet to be received, municipal funds were allocated in its place. Once the gift is received, it will be moved into the municipal funds account. What authority does the Village Manager have to front tax payer’s money and act as a temporary lender to the RBSA? This accounting practice is suspect and I believe also constitutes commingling of funds, which is prohibited. If this was done for the RBSA, why wasn’t this preferential treatment extended to the Friends of the Historic Zabriskie House. 

2) Land Use Restriction: The State and County have strict provisions regarding Open Space, Green Space, Historic Preservation and full disclosure of threatened wildlife, vegetation and environmental impacts. As such, development at Schedler would have strict limitations, regulated land use and mandated historic, wildlife and vegetation preservation. 

-Site Plan: The initial Open Space application, used to acquire the Schedler property, stated the land would be used for 60/40 active/recreation use and no lights. It was under this plan that the Village was granted Open Space funds. Violating the County Deed of Conservation Easement, the Village of Ridgewood revised and adopted a new plan showing 70/30 active/passive recreation area, lights, and a two-story concession building with recreation hall. 

-Revenue/Profit: This park will generate a substantial amount of money…concession stand, hall rental, field time, uniforms, player enrollment fees, membership fees, field rentals etc. Additionally, site plan includes two-story building. Full second floor to be used as meeting room or rented for sports related functions (possible discrimination). RBSA involvement is an arguable breach of contract with the County and in violation of Open Space and Green Space guidelines. 

-Historic Structure/Features /Elements: Historic house, features and elements were not fully disclosed to County. In some circumstances they were completely omitted. The preservation of the home and parcel was abandoned by the Village. Proper disclosure would mean strict preservation and limitations of park development and use. (See attached NJ DEP National Register of Historic Places, 2009, 2015 grant application). 

– Environmental/Wildlife/Vegetation: Adverse environmental factors, threatened wildlife and threatened vegetation were not disclosed on applications. Full disclosure would mandate preservation and impose strict site limitations. This omission is how the Village is proceeding with Phase 1, demolition and clear-cutting of the last green acre parcel in our area (7 acres), which will expose hundreds of residents and wildlife to noise, pollution, Route 17,  high volume traffic, dangerous conditions and irreversible damage.

– State and County Clearance: This property, directly on Rt. 17. North, within feet of an interstate commuter Park & Ride, is the last green space in the area. All this is being done without expert studies and without notification to or clearance from Bergen County, New Jersey Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Historic Preservation. 

3) Public Meeting Notifications: The Village has demonstrated a pattern of questionable omission and secrecy (see attached). Now, out of the blue, a meeting has been scheduled (10/7) to accept a second 100k donation form the RBSA and to present another revision of the Schedler Park plan. The agenda was just posted to the Village website. The general public has not been notified these matters will be discussed on this date. As such, again residents are being robbed of their right to participate, review the process, verify gifts and prepare for public comments/questions prior to the meeting. This matter must be tabled until all of the above is addressed. County Open Space Guidelines States: 

      As part of the application submission, the municipality shall hold a Public Hearing on a proposed park development project before it submits its application. The applicant shall publish a notice of the public hearing in the official newspaper of the municipality. The hearing must be advertised as a display ad at least 15 days before the hearing. The hearing notice must specifically reference the proposed Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund Municipal Program Park Improvement application. The public hearing must be held in the evening, and may be held as part of a public meeting, as long as the hearing is properly advertised. 

Council has a fiduciary obligation to cease and desist the Schedler Park Project, until this matter is investigated and cleared of wrong doing.  Continued dismissal of the above, is gross negligence and an act against public good. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.  Failure to act and proceeding with Phase 1, intentionally permits irreversible damage to public health, safety, general welfare, public land and historic/vegetation preservation. 

I believe State/County provisions and the Deed of Conservation Easement prohibits most of everything the Village is proposing at Schedler. We want due process, expert studies and a park which represents the true needs and desires of our neighborhood residents. Please allow us to present the facts before it’s too late. 

We look forward to hearing from you and moving forward in the right direction. In the meantime, thank you so much for your attention.

 

Respectfully,

Jacqueline Hone

 

Posted on

Schedler property in Ridgewood : Any solutions should benefit entire village

Schedler Park

DECEMBER 11, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2015, 12:31 AM
THE RIDGEWOOD NEWS

Any solutions should benefit entire village

To the Editor:

The “Officials face open space shortage” article on the Schedler property (The Ridgewood News, Dec. 4, page A1), exposes the perennial “zero sum” thinking that plagues village politics. It concludes: “…an unpopular decision in the eyes of one [or the other] group of people will have to be made.” The absence of a community-wide vision for our village perpetuates endless acrimonious interpersonal and intergroup relationships. Rather than focusing on special interest groups’ differences, we need a holistic approach that compares our community to surrounding ones, to North Jersey, and to our nation as a whole.

The obvious characteristics of our town are stark and too often ignored: 1) As this article states, we have the largest school system in Bergen County; 2) Ridgewood is one of the wealthiest communities in New Jersey with the one of the highest tax burdens; 3) We are universally [yes, the Internet] seen as a schooling magnet community so families move here; and 4) We have zero public policies designed to retain empty nesters, zero availability of over-55 housing, and zero assisted living facilities in the Central Business District.

We may want to believe we are “Lake Wobegon … where the men are strong, the women good-looking, and that all our children are above average,” but our denial of aging results in social engineering that ignores life stages and destroys a multigenerational family community.

Saying Ridgewood is exclusively a nuclear family-child raising community, lacks both a historical perspective and a desire to imagine the future. Well into the 1930s, smaller New England towns practiced “home relief” where aging homeowners unable to support themselves in retirement were maintained at the town’s expense, and when they died the sale of their homes reimbursed the town’s costs. Into the 21st century, Ridgewood is a powerful draw for upper middle class families from world cultures in which multigenerational families are the norm. Furthermore, a slower growth economy means all of our children will carry elder care obligations which are outside the range of what Social Security or Medicare can provide.

The Open Space worries reported here pale in the face of wider community concerns. Where 2,000 youths get to play baseball in a community of 25,000 is a valid special interest concern. Saving a complete forest as a barrier between a quiet neighborhood and Route 17 is also a valid special interest concern.

In reality, all the wooded areas closer to residential properties could be preserved while limited commercial development could take place preserving older growth trees. Taking up opportunities for commercial development that bring down taxes for all residents and help reverse the “aged cleansing” social engineering practice that characterize our town is the right thing to do for the majority of Ridgewood families. This is what leadership in a democracy should be all about.

Martin Walker

Ridgewood

https://www.northjersey.com/opinion/opinion-letters-to-the-editor/ridgewood-news-letter-any-solutions-should-benefit-entire-village-1.1472086

 

Posted on

Ridgewood Consevancy group to continue projects

Twinney Pond Park

DECEMBER 11, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2015, 12:31 AM
THE RIDGEWOOD NEWS

Conservancy to continue work

To the Editor:

This time of year gives us a chance to reflect on the recent past. The Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands is extremely grateful for the community support we have received. Without this, we never would have been able to accomplish all that we have in 2015. Our tasks have been numerous, from continuing the plantings at North Broad Street, running a Second Annual Daffodil Festival in conjunction with the Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Committee, placing a large decorative planter at the train station plaza, planting 5,000 more daffodil bulbs towards our ultimate goal of one for each resident, to organizing a cleanup at Twinney Pond Park with the Ridgewood Wildscape Association.

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Twinney Pond Park is a unique ecological gem, a kettle pond dating back to the ice age. Ridgewood native and Rutgers ecologist Jean Epiphan has completed a thorough report on the vegetation. It has been determined that by removing the worst of the invasives and replanting with natives in the spring, that we will be able to help preserve this extraordinary park. We are making this project an ongoing educational opportunity for our Ridgewood students. Our Dec. 6 cleanup was a huge success and brought in countless community volunteers of all ages.

Our goal is to keep working on projects throughout the village, to enhance and improve our wonderful and varied parks. As we embark on our Annual Membership Drive, we urge you to look at our website to find out more information on our projects and to sign up to help: cfrpl.org.

Our sincere thanks for your support and our best wishes for the holiday season.

Cynthia Halaby

President

Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands

Posted on

Schedler woods must be preserved for Ridgewood

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OCTOBER 30, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2015, 12:31 AM
THE RIDGEWOOD NEWS

Schedler woods must be preserved

To the Editor:

When it comes to the Schedler property, we mustn’t be naughty and we can’t afford to be nice.

We mustn’t be naughty and remove a majority of the trees for a 90-foot athletic field, but likewise a “nice park” as many residents recommend won’t do either.

Ridgewood, Bergen County, America and the rest of the world is experiencing an environmental crisis of unprecedented proportions due to a dire lack of what we now call wildscapes: undeveloped land where our ecological system can flourish.

Because we have so few remaining acreages of woods and forests, the balance of plants and wildlife required to produce food, the quality of our air and water is seriously threatened.

There has always been a “necessary reason,” as it is phrased, for woods to be replaced by development.

We are told we need another shopping mall, a strip mall, another housing development, another parking lot, another athletic field. You name it and there is an excuse for trees to be chopped down.

But now the time has arrived where it is vital that to preserve every acre of remaining woodland.

Therefore, it would be irresponsible to develop Schedler to any degree whatsoever.

Let our 7 acres of Schedler become a beacon, a lodestar, perhaps even accruing the power of a meme, communicating that we in Ridgewood know that those wild woods left alone are of the utmost value.

Diane Palacios

Ridgewood

https://www.northjersey.com/opinion/opinion-letters-to-the-editor/ridgewood-news-letter-schedler-woods-must-be-preserved-1.1444789