May 2017 VVPA Meeting Minutes

16 May 2017, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes, News You Can Use

Meeting Minutes – May 16th, 2017

7:05 pm – Call to Order – President Oona Moore

  • Welcome to all, welcome spring

Officer/Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Oona Moore

  • All accounts in good standing

Construction Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • 198 Wayne St
    • New owner.  Empty property currently.  Have to amend redevelopment plan (Dixon), wanted VVPA thoughts on approach for this.  City Planning will have to re-open the redevelopment plan and send any proposed changes to VVPA
    • June or July there will be a presentation to whole community
    • Not in historic district, but concerns raised by construction committee on how developer will deal with adjacent properties, light/air and parking, etc.
    • Concern: if we change density standards for this property, how will this impact development of adjacent properties
  • 328 Montgomery
    • Moved over to Harsimus Cove — what are the owners planning on doing with the building?  Unknown at this time.  Will follow up with City to get more information if possible.
    • Will need to continue to monitor this to see if a tenant comes in and what planned use they have (not a nightclub)
  • Mercer St Rooftop ordinance/decks
    • Ordinance on the books which protects historic district, but not buildings outside the historic district.  Tried to work on city-wide ordinance.
  • Marco & Pepe will be a French Lebanese Restaurant – will be BYOB

Events Committee Report – Oona Moore

2nd Annual Golf Outing & Martini Party – Friday, June 9th, tee off @ 5pm @ Skyway Golf Course, JC. Tickets available via Eventbrite

  • Non golfers welcome too!  Putting contest & putt-putt game
  • Drinks, food, music, prizes and fun!
  • Discount prices available through 5/26/

Movies in the Park

  • Estimated to start June 14th; runs every other Wednesday throughout the summer @ the gazeebo in Van Vorst Park
  • If you have ideas for movies, email

Arts Events Happening around JC

  • Volunteers for Arts Committee welcome!
  • JC Fridays – 1st Friday in June – art, music, etc. all throughout JC
  • Riverview Jazz Festival – Ogden Ave @ Palm St. Stage – June 3rd – June 10th
  • Brightside Tavern – First Mondays Jazz Performance
  • Victory Hall Drawing Room art shows, artist talks & reception, other events
  • JCAST October 14th/15th

Guest Speakers

Nick Grillo – Running councilman of Ward E; Democrat running as Independent Candidate

  • Born & raised in Village/Hamilton Park area
  • Piano player è pipe organist è Funeral Director è Purchased own funeral home in Bloomfield, NJ è Music Director @ Holy Rosary Church è Co-chair of La Festa Italiana since 1999
  • Political concerns: Quality of Life.  Has seen JC blossom over the years (construction debris, delivery trucks, noise).  Smart development – don’t overbuild, especially in/around historic areas, parking, etc.
  • Reval is a concern.  He is working to help encourage seniors to enroll in senior freeze.  And, has been working with JC Safe Streets
  • Abatements is a concern for him as well, ensuring the abatements are contributing to school funding
  • Embankment – supports making this the “highline” of JC, wants space for artists
  • Contact Info:; Twitter: @grillo4jc; Facebook: Nick Grillo
  • Questions from Community
    • Litter in front of properties – ideas for addressing this?
      • Solution: hire more workers, be sensitive to budget; grassroots campaigns
    • Balancing his own business with needs of being available for meetings as a councilperson?
      • Bec he owns his own business, can hire funeral directors as needed to attend necessary meetings
    • Why running?
      • Likes to help and serve people, loves JC, in very involved in JC, wants to continue to see this neighborhood blossom

Bright & Varick micro-unit project update

  • Background:
    • Project in Ward F.  Blighted site in 2011, at same meeting they adopted a new re-development plan.  Was supposed to be similar to neighborhood with parking.  VVPA not aware of plan.
    • Came to light to VVPA in 2013 – Developer never came to community to present.
    • Redevelopment plan didn’t have statute for density (how many units you can put on a parcel).  VVPA tried to re-open redevelopment plan – two weeks prior to us officially asking, application filed by developer with planning.
    • Developer didn’t want to meet w/ community.  VVPA hired lawyer.
    • Mayor’s office said there is ambiguity on density è need to go to planning
    • Developer wants automatic approval since planning presentation wasn’t scheduled
    • City tried case and lost @ local Hudson County Court.  VVPA got approval from court to take over case from City.
  • Current Status:
    • VVPA filed motion of reconsideration.  Met w/ City this afternoon and they said they will support and file a petition of certiorari.   Big deal: precedent setting – gives way for developers to have a mechanism for circumvent public process and zoning laws.    This has ramifications throughout the state.
    • City is now working in conjunction w/ VVPA attorney – looking to have JC and VVPA legal team work w/ league of municipalities
    • JCRA still owns the property
    • Continue to support – donate online or come to upcoming fundraisers
  • Strength in Community when you decide to do something together!  Simple things make a big difference!

Angela McKnight – Running for Assemblywoman for 31st District: all of Bayonne and parts of JC

  • Born and raised in JC.  Runs Angela Cares – Non-profit that works w/ seniors.
  • Ran for assemblywoman 2 years ago and won!  Has introduced legislation for seniors, disabled, animals, environment, and veterans.
  • Wants to win again!  Workaholic, will roll up sleeves and dig in.  Wants to partner with VVPA and community.
  • Need good person down in Trenton to look out for JC!  She likes to facilitate change.

Old Business/New Business


  • Recognition for Board Member Angelo Estrada’s Community Leadership Awards
  • Reval – go to City’s Website for Property Tax Reval Map for information on who will be coming to do reval in your home
  • JSQ Farmers market on Fridays – Plan 2045 for Transportation Infrastructure will have table up there; For more info:
  • JC Dept of Recreation – Free Boot Camp in VVP @ gazeebo – Tuesdays @ 7:15am
  • Sandra Lovely – Greenville Neighborhood Alliance
    • Board fully formed, Block Association workshop on Thursday
    • Goal: Want to create block associations in Ward A and F and want to bring them together to deal w/ issues.  Accomplishment: have created ~15 so far and have been making progress
    • Unity Walk – 6/10 – get community united to deal w/ violence.  Will have workshops following the walk (Go Fund Me Page).
  • North River Sing – Concert @ St. Matthew’s Church – Sun 6/11 @ 5pm. Theme: “Around the world in 80 minutes”.  $20 suggested donation.
  • Committee people looking to set up meeting with Jermaine Robinson councilman Ward F @ Dixon – will provide info to VVPA
  • Call for Volunteers for events committee and VVPA Farmers Market Welcome Table; Need to continually infuse organization with new members to expand the forces
  • Introduction of all VVP Committee-Persons candidates – Election June 6th
    • Andrea & Patrick Ducas – want to be more vocally connected to political platform; wants neighbors to have a voice.  Want candidates to work for endorsements.  Running for Ward E District 4
    • Bertram Okpokwasilli – current district person for District 28 – have tried to help people with traffic issues.  An attorney in JC, coach @ Roberto Clemente, sings in a group called the Prom Dates.
    • Loraine G – running with Bertram
    • Ben & Lynda Bernouy – Ward F District 30 – Longtime residents; Ben is on Board of VVPA.  Available for questions and very willing to help.
    • Joanna Arceri – E4 – JC resident 4 years, worked on Dan Levin’s campaign

Adjournment – 9:20 pm

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