June 2015 VVPA Meeting Minutes

01 Jul 2015, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – June 16th, 2015

7:10pm – Call to Order – President Oona Moore

  • Reminder that we are all volunteers – we are working on documenting processes to make it easier for all to volunteer in the future
  • Working on getting tips onto the website for how to contact elected officials
  • September nominations; October elections for board positions


Officer / Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • All accounts in good standing. As a reminder, the funds that are raised by VVPA go towards community enhancements/events.

Construction Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • Last month – Columbus redevelopment plan project. A lot of community input. Collected all emails and concerns and sent letters to elected officials, Mayor, City Council & planning committee. Community in favor of development, but it should be in accordance with development plan.
    • Next step? Committee will reach out to Planning on this.
    • History: owners of the property created the development plan, but that deal fell through. They want to change redevelopment plan based on income projection that parking lot will generate.
  • 243-245 York St. – proposed addition to garage (build on top of it). Looking to expand a non-conforming use so will have to go in front of historic and planning.
  • No construction started on York St. project
  • No news on 3 projects that another developer wanted to do on York St. Developer doing redesign
  • Important Public Meetings – All are encouraged to attend and learn more about what is going on in your neighborhood.
    • Monday 22nd – Turnpike Authority meeting on Jersey Ave. Extension – 5pm City Hall
    • Tuesday 23rd – City Hall property study (non-condemnation study). No current redevelopment plan, but one may be in the works.

Bright & Varick Committee Report– Ceci de Leon

  • Motion to Oppose to Motion to Supplement – denied by judge. Rushman offered us settlement to stop the appeal. Made options and offers. Legal committed convened, Corporate Council wanted to get together
    • 16 units on corner of Bright & Varick – best option
    • Corporate council asked for what VVPA wants – ideally parking on 1st floor if 5 stories, no parking if only 4 stories. At this time we did not ask for legal fees as Corporate council essentially thought it might be a deal breaker.

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

  • Films underway! Runs every other Wednesday in summer, schedule available on filmsinvanvorst.com.
  • Summer Salsa in the Park – June 20th, 7pm; Disco in the Park – August (date TBD).
  • Potential Golf Tournament in September
  • Always looking for volunteers! Come 30-45 minutes before films to set up, or stay behind to help pack away the movies paraphernalia. Send an email to vvpanews@gmail.com if you are interested in volunteering for Films or any of the other community events.


Guest Speakers

Deputy Mayor Marcos Vigil

Attorney by trade, started this year in JC. His role essentially is:

  • Economic Development/Real Estate Development – usually gets involved in a big projects and projects outside of the norm, meets with Planning & HEDC and new innovation team (Grant from Bloomberg Foundation to development main street businesses/permitting processes).
  • Interacts with JCRA/MUA/EDC (separate entities from the city). Dialogue with the city for overall policy, but they report to their own board
  • Push for Affordable Housing
    • MLK Drive and Monticello Ave (Ward F). Area has been ignored by largely by previous administrations, trying to make amends now.
    • Pep Boys facility – 20% affordable at 80% of AMI (Market Rate) for 20 years (Pilot Program). Formula is based on HUD Guidelines. For this project, it is specifically called out for how many of each type of unit is required (X number of 2-BRs, X number of 1-BRs, etc.).
    • Want to balance how we do development and the types of citizens that gravitate towards JC.
  • Master Plan for the City? Would be ideal if we had the right staff or if the city had developed at the same rate across the city. Not in the works at the moment. City needs to take more of a leadership role in pushing for community concerns (parks, transit within the city, etc.) as well as others that may not be in the City’s jurisdiction (PATH, schools, etc.). Need to take advantage of what developers want to get what city/community wants.
    • Need a more systematic and effective process for getting notified of development (not a handshake encouragement – needs to be more firm).
    • Using “Inadequate Staffing” as a reason is not acceptable to the community. What about Open Sourcing, Competition, Turn to Citizens to pull on their resources?
  • RRC is best way to get quick action and get guided to the right department.
  • Ordinance passed streamlining cultural affairs processes and making cultural affairs department responsible for helping manage the process. Working on putting this online to be able to track where you are in the process.
    • Met with SID recently to address concerns of small business and how events impact the community. Sometimes these events have a material impact on the small businesses.

Joyce Watterman

  • Working on improving process for disseminating information to community re: development
  • Bring concerns to your council people and they will do their best to fight it
  • She is an advocate for affordable housing
  • Work closely with councilpersons
  • Public notices is a major issue that has been skirted over for years. Needs to be fixed. Why can’t we put an ordinance in place to make this a requirement? We also need to know when redevelopment plans are amended. Candice created an ordinance for the redevelopment plan notification, Joyce will ask her to include notifications in the ordinance.
  • Is City equipped to address Jersey Ave Extension? If we can’t fix simple things like traffic lights, how do we have hope for major things like the bridge? Need to look at community input into concerns. We need to hold our professionals to a higher standard!
  • Suggest having Directors (such as Traffic Engineering Director Joe Disouzza?) come to Community to come to our meetings. Could this be coordinated to be more community-wide?
  • Joyce suggested Town Hall meetings to Council – not approved yet, but still under consideration.

Announcements & Community networking

  • Reminders:
    • Monday 22nd – Turnpike Authority meeting on Jersey Ave. Extension – 5pm -8pm, City Hall. Reach out to elected officials to encourage them to come to this meeting to understanding our concerns (Freeholders, Assembly people, committee people, etc.)
    • Tuesday 23rd – City Hall property study (non-condemnation study). No current redevelopment plan, but one may be in the works.
  • Full listing of events and announcements available on June Monthly Newsletter
  • Allison will follow up with Block Captain idea

Adjournment – 9:15 pm

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