Ridgewood News

By Paul Aronsohn

Happy, healthy New Year and welcome to the January 2015 edition of the Mayor’s Corner – my monthly Ridgewood News column that seeks to make village government more accessible, more transparent, more user-friendly.


Council Agenda


The council will meet three times this month – January 7, 14 and 28.   On the agenda will be the municipal budget, downtown parking, the redevelopment zone and a host of other important topics.


All of our meetings are open to the public.  Residents are encouraged to attend and participate. Please visit our website for more information – ridgewoodnj.net – or to watch the meetings online.


The Year Ahead


Over the past year, Village government has been moving at a fast pace.  From municipal budget reforms to downtown parking improvements to basic government service fixes – such as better leaf pick-up and a better permitting process – we have been moving forward on several fronts.


And as we look to the year ahead, I can assure you that this fast pace and full agenda will certainly continue.


To facilitate our efforts, we are working with Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld to develop and utilize “project teams” to proactively address some of our bigger workstreams.   Each will include Roberta and me, one other Council member and the appropriate mix of Village professionals.  Each will meet as needed and will tee-up issues for consideration and action by the full Council as needed.   And while there will clearly be overlap among these workstreams, each will present us with a unique set of challenges and opportunities and each will therefore benefit from a certain degree of focus.


Thus far, we have created four such teams.


  • The Redevelopment Team:  We have a great opportunity to make a long-overdue improvement to the central business district by enhancing the Franklin Avenue corridor and by adding significant parking capacity in the center of town.  Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck is serving on this project team.


  • The Parking Team:  Through recent changes to our downtown parking policies, new meter technology and (hopefully) the construction of a parking deck or two, we have the opportunity to enhance the vibrancy of our downtown and the overall quality of life in our Village.  Councilman Michael Sedon is serving on this project team.


  • The Planning & Zoning Team:   By reviewing our myriad of planning and zoning  ordinances – some of which, like the one dealing with “haberdashers”, are clearly out of date – we have the opportunity to make sure that we are attracting the right type of businesses and allowing the right kind of development.  Councilwoman Susan Knudsen is serving on this team.


  • The Central Business District Team:  By working closely with the business and arts communities, we have the opportunity to take our downtown to the next level … making it even better and even more central to Village life.  Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli is serving on this project team.


Granted, there are and will be a host of other “big” issues on the Council’s agenda, but these project teams will allow us to organize and work through some of the bigger, more overarching issues on our plate.


If you have a topic that you would like us to address, please email me at paronsohn@ridgewoodnj.net or Roberta at rsonenfeld@ridgewoodnj.net .


Mark Your Calendars


Planning Board:  The Planning Board has an ambitious schedule for January, possibly meeting four times during the month.  (Check the schedule at www.ridgewoodnj.net .)  Among other things, we are working to conclude our hearing on high-density multi-family housing.   This is very important.   And this deserves everyone’s attention and participation.


Martin Luther King, Jr.:  Please join us at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration, which will be held on Monday, January 19 at 10:00am at the Ridgewood United Methodist Church.  This year’s theme will be “Standing on the Side of Justice.”  This is among the best, most important events all year.


Jamboree:  I know that the performances will be next month – February 4-7 – but with Claudia O’Rourke directing this year’s production, I am sure people will want to get their tickets early.  Please visit this website – www.rhsjamboree.org – and please remember that Jamboree is all about having fun and raising money for need-based college scholarships for graduating RHS seniors.


Office Hours


I will be holding my monthly office hours tomorrow, Saturday, January 3 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Village Hall Council Chamber (4th floor). All Ridgewood residents are welcome


Please contact the Village Clerk’s office (201-670-5500, ext. 201) to make an appointment, or just take a chance and stop on by. If you’ve got an idea, question or concern, I want to know about it.


Mayor Paul Aronsohn can be reached via email (paronsohn@ridgewoodnj.-net), through his

Twitter account (@paularonsohn) or through the Village Clerk’s office.