Posted on

UPDATE: Ridgewood Neighbors Question Trade off of Quality of Life Issues vs Healthbarns Rental income to the Village

Healthbarn USA ridgewood
file photo by Boyd Loving
May 17,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ , in April Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld  responded to an email voicing safety concerns over the facility.

Neighbors say that the business Healthbarn USA Inc. was put before the safety of the residents of the community  i.e. painted crosswalks as promised and signage for parking on one side of the street is astounding. Yet amazingly all of the work was done by the town for this business’s 4/1 start date.

The Village has now added lighting in a park that closes at dusk is another issue along with the fact the Ridgewood Water has been there 3 days in a row working to get the business Heathbarn USA a sprinkler for her garden.  A garden that is on Green acres property but not for public use to my understanding.

Residents wonder how classes are approved to go until 9:00 when Ridgewood parks close at dusk. I understand that the lights were in the original plan 6 or so years ago, but the fact that they were never needed and are coming at this time seems more than coincidental.

Residents questions remained unanswered ,what is the current pricing for the lights ?  Who paid for the village water to be tapped into for the business’s personal needs of water for her private garden?  and who will be paying that water bill?  Will this business follow water restrictions when in effect?

Soccer and baseball have started we are already seeing the effect of this large business be given 12 parking spots.  This is causing Ridgewood tax payers to have no choice but to park on the street since the lot is now being taken away.  There are no designated spots for Healthbarn, therefore these private clients are and will continue to utilize the entire parking lot.  Residents of Ridgewood and the teams they are hosting for sports are being pushed into the street.

What is the effect of  this commotion with 25 plus kids in a small home and  25 plus cars an hour will do to the natural habitat green acres is suppose to protect.  Will not the lights deter the natural habitat that the owls maintain there at dusk.

Finally residents are demanding to know what is the percentage of Ridgewood children paying to attend this business?  and again how is it a benefit to our town? Since the Village stated over and over at meetings “this would be a tremendous benefit to Ridgewood”  Tax payers deserve an explanation of why this is a good thing?
Many neighbors actually feel as it is an imposition and very destructive to the neighborhood and to the park itself. The $3700.00 rent that this business is paying ( as did a family who were the tenants before paid ) does not seem like a fair trade off for all that is being taken away from the community and neighborhood.

Dear All,

I would like to clarify, address and correct the details in some of the recent correspondences regarding the Health Barn at Habernickel Park.

Let me start with the claim that a sprinkler system has been installed by the Village for the use of the Health Barn.  This is not true.  No sprinkler system has been or will be installed.  Health Barn will be paying for any water that it uses. We have their usage metered separately. They will also be required to follow any watering restrictions that Ridgewood Water implements.

Ms. Rubin mentions that Health Barn is advertising on their website that they will be providing busing for children in the summer day camp program.  We cannot find any reference to this on Health Barn’s website at all norwill this be occurring.  Please provide the back-up for this claim.

As far as the details surrounding the residences of the children in Health Barn’s classes, Ms. Antine is required by the lease to provide quarterly reporting that will be reviewed by Parks and Rec.  This report is not due until June 30, 2016. I can provide some recent experiences with regard to where the children live that frequent her classes.  Thursday’s seedlings class consisted of 12 children, all of whom were Ridgewood residents. Yesterday, there was a seedlings class of 6 young children – they were all from Ridgewood from the Hillcrest neighborhood.  Also yesterday I observed an older children’s class of about 8 children none of whom were Ridgewood residents.  As of yesterday morning, the enrollment for next week’s school break camp has 15 children, 9 of whom are Ridgewood residents.

As a reminder, by Green Acres rules, this is a park that is open to all, not just Ridgewood residents.

Another issue mentioned was the lighting.  Ms. Vellis is correct that the downward facing lights were in the original plans for Habernickel.  They are in fact a safety feature that should be there regardless of Health Barn.  As with other Village properties, these lights will be on from dusk to dawn.

The Gate House hours at Habernickel are in line with other Village buildings particularly the Stable; this is distinct from park hours.  Ms Antine’s latest class ends at 9:00PM and then cleanup is required.  The Stable, as an example, is open until 11PM.


We appreciate and celebrate owls in our parks.  We cannot move their nests nor do we want to.  We don’t see any issue with the various park activities at Habernickel and the well-being of the owl.


As far as the changes regarding no parking signs, striping, etc.  The no parking signs have been installed on the south side of Hillcrest.  Striping cannot be done until the weather warms up – as soon as that occurs, our Signal Department will stripe.

In Closing:

In speaking with Stacy, she has always been steadfast in her resolve to be a good neighbor and to listen to the neighbors around her.  In that spirit of cooperation, she would like to invite the neighbors to the Gate House so that you can see firsthand the significant improvements to the interior as well as discuss the programs and any other questions you may have.  Please let Janet and myself know if this is of interest to you and we can make this offer to others in the neighborhood….and also let me know if you have any other questions.

Best, Roberta

Best regards,


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