January 2018 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

20 Jan 2018, Posted by admin in Minutes

Meeting Minutes –January 16, 2018 

7:15 pm – Call to Order / Opening Remarks- President Ben Bernouy

  • North River Sing –  The community chorus presents “Best of Broadway (1970-1999)” – January 28,  4 PM, St. Matthews Lutheran Church (85 Wayne St.)
  • Annual Homeless Point in Time Count (PITC) – January 24 – If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering for the PITC or making a donation for clients experiencing homelessness, please complete the following survey. Questions? Contact Katelyn Cunningham: kcunningham@hcnj.us
  • Drawing Rooms Fundraiser & Art Show – 1/12 – 2/17/18
  • East District Captains Meeting – January meeting CANCELLED

Officer/Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Dermot Ronan

  • Still due checks from other neighborhood associations for DCNA holiday party
  • Anticipating legal expenses in 2018

Construction Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • Bright and Varick: automatic approval went through – City/JCRC still negotiating
  • 328 Montgomery – tabled by planning board at Jan 6 meeting
  • 333 Grand St (Jersey Ave and Grand) update – at the moment, they are no longer allowed to work on the exterior of the building (zoning violation due to use of EIFS); developer is looking for ways to provide community give backs to neighborhood.

Guest Speakers

  • Developer Presentation – 38 Mercer Street
    • Follow up presentation by owner and architect after November 2017 meeting
    • Mercer St. historic firehouse
    • Returned with full set of floor plans/revised drawings
    • Will require changes in language to Mercer Redevelopment Plan to add language that’s specific to the project
    • 2 story addition – historic reconstruction – intent to have green roof system
    • Commercial (Retail) space/ 1 live/work + keep existing parking space
    • Adaptive reuse of the building – only specific to this building

Adjournment: 9:30 PM

November 2017 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

28 Nov 2017, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes, News You Can Use

Meeting Minutes – November 21st, 2017

7:15 pm – Call to Order / Opening Remarks- President Oona Moore

  • Parking Committee Update – Sent list of agreements/disagreements on parking issues to Mayor, asked to wait for new council to be seated to move forward
    • Agreement: Enforcement of parking rules, increase parking enforcement hours; HPHA & PHNA agreed to trial of 3 hour window for parking w/o permit.  Will continue to meet w/ Mayor and Planning to continue looping in vendors (parking meter vendors for high traffic streets)
    • City needs to adopt a layered approach to help to alleviate parking concerns.  Planning Department applied for grant for a professional assessment of parking issues.
  • Looking for volunteers for DCNA Holiday event!  Email vvpanews@gmail.com to volunteer.
  • JC Housing Authority looking for applications for various housing developments
  • Friends of Liberty State Park – Marina is looking to be developed on South end of park. Take action, let your voice be heard!  Protest Rally on December 2nd at 11am near picnic area.

Officer/Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Dermot Ronan

  • Cash position is positive, all in good standing.  Bright & Varick legal fee liability outstanding.

Construction Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • 328 Montgomery – Developed property to become a restaurant space, but appears to have tried to circumvent the process.  Developer wanted certificate of appropriateness but was tabled.  All have to abide by rules.  The original architect spoke out to indicate that he never developed construction plans for the project.  Cannot open without TCO or COO which still has to be approved.
  • Medical Center on Grand Street looking to partner w/ a company to provide some additional services/general practitioner to the community on 2nd/3rd  Floor.  This is in the Montgomery Gateway Redevelopment plan.
  • Wayne Street Bodega – will turn into a cafe under the new regulation
  • Bottom Line: Keep VVPA in the loop, and need to show up when there are public hearings

Bright & Varick – Ceci de Leon

  • Hopeful that this will get moved up to Supreme Court, similar issue in Hoboken which used the same defense as Bright & Varick

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter

  • Barrow Mansion Decorating Party – 12/8/17 @ 7pm – looking for volunteers, bring a friend!
  • DCNA Holiday Party – 12/9/17 @ 7pm – FREE!  All are welcome!  Singers & Dance Party!
  • Irish Dance Fundraiser in March, 2018 – Irish dance lessons, soda bread, etc.  Stay tuned for details!


President – Benjamin Bernouy

2nd VP – Katie Brennan

Secretary – Joanna Arceri


Guest Speakers

PicoTech – Michael – Bright St & Monmouth

  • PicoTech Institute is a local learning center focused on teaching 3D Printing, all types of Engineering, and Design related programs Programs for PreK and above.  They also offer other community and family programs, including Fridays: Community nights 6pm – 9pm, Networking events

New Parking App – Richard Trent

  • Citizen tech project
    • Driver: confusing parking signs
    • Potential solution: map parking signs in downtown; send reminders for when to move car
    • Want feedback to ensure it meets needs
    • Go to Trypavement.com – Hamilton Park data is uploaded currently, but will be adding Van Vorst neighborhood soon

38 Mercer St. – Presented to construction and planning committee, looking for community feedback

  • Redevelopment Plan Amendment Request – will be written specifically to the property, additional height & stories, add ability for work/live use
  • Benefits – gateway to neighborhood will welcome foot traffic
  • Iconic building/firehouse

Community Concerns:

  • Use for ground floor w/r/t parking
  • Overall Height of building
  • Deviations being requested (adding a 4th story to be overall 49′ Height)
  • Deviation for what would normally be allowed (Mixed use is permitted as of right going to multiple residences
  • Purpose of rooftop – working rooftop with deck area which will be set back, other decks are not visible or minimal view
  • How will rainwater be collected?  (storage tank)
  • Communication with neighbors on impact
  • Fire egress
  • Will need more detail/floorplans, request presenters to come back
  • Presenters can provide PDF of information

88 Regent Street. – Departure from what has originally be constructed along Regent Street (but fully approved by City)

  • Looking to build a skinny tower at South end of block
  • Fully conforms to zoning
  • Construction should start mid-2018, anticipated to be a 30-month build-out
  • Pile driving estimated to be about 3 months duration, will be shielded from much of the noise and vibration due to the surrounding buildings already built on site.

Community Concerns:

  • Connection between Jersey Avenue Bridge Extension, the city’s traffic study and this project’s redevelopment plan
  • Parking for Van Vorst residents will be available for rent (this was an amendment to the redevelopment plan)
  • Facade materials being changed as construction gets underway – Developer says “No”

Adjournment – 9:30 pm

October 2017 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

21 Oct 2017, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Slate for VVPA candidates

Ben Bernouy – President
Katie Brennan – 2nd VP
Joanna Arcieri – Secretary


Poltergeist – Martin Casella, actor in the film will talk about his experience making the movie with Steven Spielberg; on Oct 20th

Halloween Party on Oct 31st

Candidate Forums

DCNA held Ward E debate last night (10/17); about 200 people; moderated by Terrence McDonald with a list of 15 people

Yvonne Balcer is videotaping and editing the events so that the downtown neighborhood associations can post them

There is a FB Live video on the VVPA page


VVPA participated with a show in Barrow Mansion; they sold some art this year (vs. none last year); Maria curated a great show with help from great volunteers

Holiday Party will be at Barrow Mansion on Dec 9th

Construction and Planning Update

328 Montgomery (Sol Azteca): they need another set of architecture plans so they are likely

380 Montgomery (St. Bridget’s Renovation): all the comments have been passed on to their lawyer; what are the community givebacks – hard to do that for a project that is as of right, particularly one that is a contributing part of the historic district – doing that alone is basically a giveback; where we can make an impact is where they asked us to give feedback – how do they use the lower floor (as a community space? An event space? A grocery store?) – there are no dumb ideas; send an email to the VVPA website; Gary is the main contact on that particular project

108 Wayne Street: that project is on hold

102 Wayne Street (Old bodega on Wayne street): gonna turn into a cafe; we may see this in the next month or 2 but they are doing everything in accordance with the ordinance; they cannot be open beyond a certain time period

Sol Aztec’s old spot: there is a new tenant there with a temporary certificate of occupancy but they’re in violation of the historic district ordinances; if this continues to be a problem, we will escalate this within the city

198 Wayne Street: an amendment to the Dixon Crucible study area

Scattered site RDP: made and designed to save and preserve old buildings from being demolished

Liberty Harbor North: they’re going to start next phase of construction at 88 Regent; everything they’re doing is in the redevelopment plan; Tom has asked him to give an update to VVPA and also on the corner building (debris falling into people’s yards).

At Large Representatives

Esther Wintner

Esmerelda Trinidad

Joyce Watterman

Rolando Lavarro

Brian Lane


Nick Chiarovallotti

Angela McKnight

July 2017 VVPA Newsletter

24 Aug 2017, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Monthly Meeting Details & Agenda
Whether you are new to the neighborhood or a long-time resident, this is YOUR COMMUNITY.  Stop by and have a glass a wine on us, while you meet neighbors and learn about what’s going on here in your historic neighborhood!  Wine tasting to be provided by our friends at Jersey Wines & Spirits!

This month’s meeting features a meet & greet with councilperson candidates James Solomon, Rebecca Symes and Jake Hudnut.  Additionally, a representative from Traffic & Engineering will be attending to continue the discussion on viability of some of the proposed parking enforcement remedies.


7:00pm – 7:10pm – Welcome and Call to Order – President Oona Moore

7:10pm – 7:25pm – Officer & Committee Reports

  • Treasurer Report – Dermot Ronan
  • Construction Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek
  • Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

7:25pm – 7:45pm – Old Business/New Business

  • Volunteer Survey Update
  • Civic Actions Activities Fair
  • Community input is welcomed for any other new issues/concerns affecting our community, as well as ideas for topics or speakers at upcoming meetings

7:45pm – 8:35pm – Guest Speakers & Presentations

  • 7:45pm – 8:15pm – Councilperson candidates meet & greet
  • 8:15pm – 8:35pm – Traffic & Engineering

8:35pm – 9:00pm – Announcements & Community networking

Community Events
Below is just a partial list of the many, many wonderful events happening in the Van Vorst neighborhood and throughout our city.  If you have a community event that you’d like featured in our newsletter, please reach out to us at vvpanews@gmail.com.  And, as always, if you’d like to get more involved by becoming part of the events committee, the VVPA always welcomes volunteers.  Contact vvpanews@gmail.com to join in the fun!

VVPA Sponsored Events

Films In Van Vorst – June – September
The 13th season of Films in Van Vorst, a FREE bi-weekly outdoor film series is kicking off June 21st!!!!!!!  For those of you new to the area, the VVPA, in partnership with Friends of Van Vorst, hosts a FREE bi-weekly film series at the gazeebo in Van Vorst park.  For those veterans who know the tagline by heart: bring a chair, bring a friend, we’ll supply the popcorn!  For this year’s awesome lineup, click here!

Van Vorst Boogie’s Disco In the Park – August 19th
Get ready to once again break out your dancing shoes!!!  Stay tuned for information on this always highly anticipated FREE dance party in Van Vorst Park!

White Party/Summer Sendoff – August 26th
Last year’s White Party / Summer Sendoff, a dinner party in Van Vorst Park modeled after the Dinner en Blanc in Paris where everyone dresses in white and comes to a dinner party, was a huge success.  So much so that our events committee are planning a repeat party this year!  Stay tuned for details on how to purchase tickets to this special event!

Other Community Events

North River Sing Community Chorus Tryouts – July 25th & August 1st
North River Sing is having tryouts!!  For any budding stars looking to participate in a community chorus, now here’s your chance!  For more information about the group or the tryouts, click here.

Hudson Restaurant Week – July 24th – August 4th, 2017
Looking for a reason to try a new, local restaurant?  You can at the Hudson Restaurant week, where you can enjoy food from participating restaurants via their special prix-fixe menus at a discounted price!  For more information, click here.

JC Department of Recreation’s Free Bootcamp Classes – Tuesdays, 7:15am
Join your neighbors in this free, hour-long bootcamp class sponsored by the JC Department of Recreation.  Meet at the gazeebo in Van Vorst Park.

Election Debates, Sponsored by DCNA
The Downtown Coalition of Neighborhood Associations will be sponsoring debates for candidates running for councilperson for Ward E as well as the Mayor’s Office.  Ward E Councilperson Debate, hosted by Terrence McDonald of the Jersey Journal, will be on 10/7/17 at 7pm at MS4 on Bright Street.  The Mayoral Debate, hosted by David Cruz of NJTV News, will be on 10/18 at 7pm, also at MS4 on Bright Street.  To submit questions for the moderators to ask the candidates, click here.

Seasonal Events

  • The farmer’s market, brought to you by Friends of Van Vorst Park, is up and running on Saturday mornings at the gazeebo in Van Vorst Park.  The Farmer’s Market runs Saturdays, from 8am – 3pm, through December 23rd.
  • The Historic Downtown Farmer’s Market, brought to you by the Historic Downtown Special Improvement District (HDSID), is up and running on Monday’s at the Grove PATH Plaza.
  • Groove on Grove, a weekly local music series at the Grove PATH Plaza, is back for its 10th season!  Performances on Wednesdays from 6pm-9pm.


News You Can Use
As always, we try to bring you as many items of interest that affect our community.  If you have any items that are important to share, please email us at vvpanews@gmail.com.

  • Update: 328 Montgomery – This project will be on the Historic Preservation Commission meeting TONIGHT.  Meeting starts 6pm in City Hall.  Applicant is looking for a new/revised Certificate of Appropriateness for deviations from previously approved drawings and existing Certificate of Appropriateness.   Make sure you come out to voice your opinion on this very significant matter.
  • Grand Street Redevelopment & Jersey Avenue Bridge Traffic Study – Information and plans related to the Grand Street Study can be found on www.grandstreetstudy.org.  You may also provide comments and feedback related to this project via a direct email to Stephanie Brooks, the Study’s Public Outreach Manager – sbrooks@fhiplan.com.  To submit comments, questions and feedback related to the City’s study of the traffic impact of the Jersey Ave Bridge on Jersey Avenue, you should email Andrew Vischio from JC Traffic & Engineering directly – AVIschio@jcnj.org.
  • East District Captain’s Meetings, which are regularly scheduled for the 4th Tuesday of every month at 7pm (typically in MS4 Library on Bright St., but location subject to change), are a great opportunity for community members to discuss crime/crime trends, quality of life issues, and other safety/security concerns with the JCPD.  For more information on upcoming meetings, reach out to the JCDP East District Community Relations Officer, Dina Lionakis, at 201.547.4370 / dlionakis@njjcps.org.



Give Back to your Community!
Periodically the VVPA receives inquiries from civic-minded folks like you looking for ways to get more involved in their community.  Below are a few ways to accomplish this:

VVPA Sponsors –
In order to bring you free and low-cost events throughout the year, the VVPA depends on fundraising and sponsorships from local businesses and community members.  For more information on the benefits of becoming a sponsor, as well as the various sponsorship levels that are available, please reach out to us at vvpanews@gmail.com.

Charitable Donations –
For those looking to make financial contributions, you can go directly to the VVPA website and click on the Donate button!  Don’t forget: VVPA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit group, so be sure to ask your Company to match your charitable contribution!  And, we are registered as a non-profit at Amazon Smile, so every time you shop through Amazon Smile, select the VVPA as your charitable organization of choice, and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to the VVPA.

VVPA Board & Committee Positions –
The VVPA is always looking for people to lend a hand by becoming active on the VVPA board or on one of its many committees: Construction & Development Committee; Events Committee; Membership Committee; Special Projects Committee.  There are no formal requirements other than a genuine desire to help to move the community forward in a positive direction.

Donate Your Professional Services –
Throughout the year, there are numerous opportunities to help the VVPA streamline costs and make our efforts more efficient through donating your professional services.   And, if you have a professional skill you can share with your neighbors at an upcoming event, that would be valuable as well.  All types of talents and expertise are welcome!

Spread the Word –
Make a commitment to bring a new friend, relative or neighbor to an upcoming association meeting or event.  The VVPA welcomes all!

tay Connected, Stay Informed……

  • In addition to receiving news you can use from VVPA, we encourage all residents to sign up to receive Community News / Updates from your elected officials. Sign up for updates from Candice Osborne , Jermaine Robinson and Steven Fulop by clicking on the links provided.  Or, you can reach out to your committee person for assistance on local matters.  Please reach out to vvpanews@gmail.com for additional information on how to reach out to your local committeeperson.
  • Jersey City Resident Response Center is a resource available to all to find answers to commonly asked questions or to report non-emergency concerns/problems to the City of Jersey City (potholes, failure to pick up trash, fallen tree branch removal, etc.).  In addition to utilizing the JCRRC website, residents may also download the app on their phone (JerseyCityConnect) and can attach photos to any request to help clarify the concern (note: directions to download the app have been added to the VVPA website, www.vvpa.org).  We encourage all to utilize these resources to help resolve issues in their community.
  • Stay Informed and Active in your Community by signing up for the NextDoor and Swift911 applications and monitoring local news through NJ.Com/hudson, and the Jersey Journal and Hudson Reporter newspapers.  Nextdoor is a private social network that connects neighbors to talk online and makes communities stronger, better and safer. The City uses the Swift911 platform to send citywide emergency and non-emergency alerts through a variety of channels including voice, text message, email, fax, pager, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.  Registration is free, so join today.
  • JC Parking Authority – To get daily updates on whether or not parking rules are in effect in Jersey City, you can follow @JCParking on Twitter.  Due to a computer error, the Parking Division has not been able to issue permit renewal notices on a regular basis. They are working on correcting this issue. Please check your permit expiration date, and if you have not received a renewal, please call 201-547-5538 or ext. 2115,2117, or 2119.


July 2017 VVPA Meeting Minutes

19 Jul 2017, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes, News You Can Use

VVPA Meeting 07/18/17

Call to Order – 7:10 pm

Officer/Committee Reports

  • Treasurer
    • All accounts in good standing
      • Golf outing raised over $4,500! Next year’s Golf outing already booked – June 8th, 2018
  • Planning and Development
  • Will meet w/ developer re: 102 Wayne St soon regarding their proposed work at this location.
  • 328 Montgomery last night’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) meeting – owner/developer wanted amendment to their proposed plan. Issue ended up being tabled due to unavailability of expert testimony and unavailability of drawings at that meeting, will be on the 8/21 HPC meeting. All encouraged to attend again and speak out! Even if it isn’t on your block, it is in your neighborhood. We all need to support one another as issues develop in the community that may impact any or all of us.
  • 219 Montgomery St. – potential Restaurant? Location currently has COO for 3 commercial spaces. Developer asked if community would be amenable to location being included in restaurant overlay zone, in Cat 1/2 zone, which means it could get liquor or cabaret license. This is a mainly residential street, so committee told developer that it would most likely not be well received by community, but instead suggested a café license would be more amenable.
    • Tip: can check City portal to see if permits have been applied for a construction project
  • Bright & Varick Update
  • Motion to appeal applied, petition to Supreme Court filed. City supporting. Met w/ JCRA who are also supporting our efforts. State courts have up to 90 days to respond, may also have some back and forth between Lawyers in between.
  • We will continue to fundraise to pay Attorney’s bills. We also accept donations from community to help offset costs! Have also reached out to league of municipalities to sign on with us —- we want them to understand that this is a bad precedent being set.
  • Events
  • Movies in the Park – www.filmsinvanvorst.com.
    • July 26th: Audience Choice Movie – check the link to vote via the online poll!
  • 4th Annual Disco in the Park – August 19th , 7pm – 10pm
  • Dinner en Blanc/Summer Sendoff Party – August 26th, dress in all white, bring food! Planning for this event is next Monday, 7/24/17. More details and Eventbrite link to come.
  • March, 2018 – Fundraiser in Barrow Mansion – Irish Band, Dance lessons – more info to come


New Business/Old Business

  • Volunteer Survey – Events throughout the year you can volunteer for. Let us know about what skills you have, what availability you have, etc. Will post volunteer survey again on website.
  • Civic Action Committee – groups sprung up all over JC post November 2016 election. Idea: bring civic action groups together to learn more about them and to sign up for the various groups.
  • Barrow Mansion call for gardeners! Anyone interested in volunteering, reach out to vvpanews@gmail.com and we will get you in touch with the Barrow Mansion.
  • Amazon Smile – set VVPA as your charity of choice so that a portion of the cost your purchases will be donated to VVPA.
  • Parking
    • Increase in parking fine from $60 to $110 for cars parked w/o zone stickers has been approved
    • Will keep 8 zones for now.
    • Special Requests:
      • St. Bridget’s (Montgomery & Brunswick) – currently not in a zone, want to be included in a zone to be able to park near their residences
      • Residents on Center St. want to be included in a zone – there are homes interspersed between businesses there and need resident parking.
      • Montgomery St. – Resident’s only parking on one side of the street proposed (Montgomery between Jersey & Grove). Andrew Vischio working on a draft. Will be presented to VVPA.

Guest Speakers

  • Election Candidates
  • James Solomon
  • Rebecca Symes
  • Jake Hudnut
  • Pat Dugan

Announcements & Community Networking

  • November Elections
    • Ward E Councilperson Debate – October 16th, 7pm, MS 4
    • Mayoral Debate – October 18th, 7pm, MS4
    • Jcprogressives.com – website where you can find consolidated info on candidates running for election Nov 7th
  • Reminder to provide comments on both the Grand Street Redevelopment and Downtown Traffic Study! Emails to provide feedback are in the July newsletter.

Adjournment – 8:50 pm

June 2017 VVPA Meeting Minutes

24 Jun 2017, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes, News You Can Use

Meeting Minutes – June 20th, 2017

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

  • Thanks to Councilwoman Candice Osborne for her service to and support of both Ward E as well as Ward F
  • 2nd Annual Golf Outing & Martini Party – Was a hit! Thanks to the committee who put it together, the volunteers, the sponsors/donors, and all the attendees!  Next year’s date is Friday, June 8th, 2018!

Officer/Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Dermot Ronan

  • Tabled

Construction Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • No projects to present, no significant updates on old projects

Events Committee Report – Oona Moore

  • Movies in the Park – starts 6/21 ~8:30pm. Schedule at filmsinvanvorst.com
  • Disco in the Park – August 19th – FREE Event – bring your kids, family members, neighbors
  • Dinner en blanc / White Dinner Party – Friday, August 25th: Wear all white, bring your own dinner and wine, VVPA supplies decorations, entertainment and dessert – limited tickets will be made available!
  • Feedback/ideas for new events

o   Bring back the Meetball dinner – possibly in the Armory?

  • End of year holiday party – December 9th is the possible date

Guest Speakers

Andrew Vischio, Director, Traffic & Engineering, City of JC

Jersey Ave Bridge Project – No city website yet this project; Turnpike Authority has project on their site, but hard to find. Need links on City website to the available information on this project.

Purpose of bridge is to connect diff parts of city, direct route to JC Medical Center, etc.  Current design is to have 1 lane in each direction with a bike lane (~40’ total width) – since only lane, natural traffic calming mechanism is built into the design. Footbridge will remain in place.  Traffic signal at Johnston & Audrey Zapp and Regent St. & JC Medical Center – metering effect on how much traffic gets to Grand street during travel hours.  Andrew participates in weekly conference calls to coordinate w/ Turnpike Authority.

Fire, Police, Emergency Services – bike lanes are “surface”, not protected so that emergency services can use that lane as well as the shoulder area for travel if needed.


Traffic study was conducted in 2010, and was redone this spring.

Community Concerns:

  • Make the roads safer for all – how will this be achieved with the projected additional influx of cars
  • Traffic – streets in downtown are already at/near capacity during peak hours. What is the plan for addressing any overflow of traffic into the nearby streets (“traffic shift”)?
  • Traffic enforcement – has enforcement been budgeted for?
  • Quality of Life – huge impact on quality of life for residents of the area
  • Noise
  • Congestion
  • Pollution – It is unknown if an environmental Impact Statement was performed for this project
  • Money – Turnpike Authority paid for bridge to be built – $10M, but JC residents will not be paying for maintenance in perpetuity


  • Work with Turnpike Authority to collect data from EzPass to assess who uses this route as a cut-through to the Holland Tunnel and increase the fees for this.
  • Traffic restrictions – reverse traffic flow during peak commuting hours, force traffic down Grand only through no turning signs, and minimize size of vehicles that can use the roadway (or other combinations of ideas to minimize impact)
  • Introduce lights, speed humps, circles, etc. to dissuade this from being a cut through to the Holland Tunnel


Grand St Redesign – Highest profile roadway corridor redesign project which incorporates road diet and safe streets concepts.  Incorporates impact of Jersey Ave Bridge into the design

Road Diet – one lane in each direction with striped median turning lane for large portions of corridor – Emergency vehicles can travel in this median if needed.

Study conducted this spring along entire length of roadway to make safer for all modes of transportation, pedestrians and bikes.  Study to be completed in September 2017, started public outreach effort.  Booth to be set up at Farmer’s Market this Saturday and at Arlington St. Farmer’s Market.  Will have two workshop meetings to get comments/feedback to modify concepts. Will present changes /responses in another public session in Mid-July/August.

Will present preferred alternative / one comprehensive plan.  Phased project.  Goal: safer corridor for all users.  Connecting bike lanes (E-W “spine” connector).  Participate in community meetings!  Info on project will be on Grandstreetstudy.org

Can provide input via website, studies will be forthcoming in the future.


  • Suggested that more specifics be given to public on how their comments are being incorporated
  • Suggested that a terminology of concepts/phrases be shared to enhance understanding
  • Safe streets JC – nonprofit organization – can get information here on urban planning concepts

Other General Traffic/Safety Issues:

  • Light up crosswalk to help pedestrians be able to safely cross
  • Timing of lights on Jersey Ave not yet synchronized
  • Intersection of Varick & York – unable to see walk sign without stepping out into traffic to look over shoulder at traffic light


Old Business/New Business

Parking Changes – committee spoke w/ Mayor and committee and came up w/ some proposals

  • Initial phase: Improve enforcement – this is underway and reaping results already
  • Items to go before council for vote – voice your opinion at the meeting when it is scheduled!

o   Phase II: Increased hours: 8am – 11pm (2 hour limit); Parking fines will be increased from $60 to $110 for parking w/o valid permit (at $60 it isn’t much of a deterrent); bootable 1st offense for certain areas

o   Phase III: develop mechanism for out of town visitors parking

o   Future: Develop mechanism for addressing how residents in high rises are monitored for parking in building vs. allowing them to get zone permits

  • Parking directors of Hoboken & JC, along with vendors for meter machines will meet to develop best approach and practices for parking in JC
  • Put concerns regarding this issue on email to vvpanews@gmail.com, copy Candice Osborne

Citibike Stations – more needed

  • Citibike will be using demand data to determine where to put more stations (demand, density, ridership); contact Citibike to make suggestions

Summary of First Committeeperson meeting

  • JC Democratic Committee responsible for increasing voter registration, turning out the vote and deciding who gets endorsement
  • Group typically meets 1ce/term
  • Introduced amendment to meet more frequently to serve community better – 4x/year
  • Introduced By-Laws
  • Introduced amendment to have at least 50% of officers of committee be elected officials (vs an appointed officer) – a lot of power flows through the officers
  • Increased quorum from 10% to 25%
  • Introduced a number of caucuses to help serve the community better

Sol Azteca

  • Will be moving into 328 Montgomery St., looking to open 4th of July weekend, but there is no COO. Façade not built according to planning – they may be looking to get TCO??
  • Plan is to be BYOB, will be closed Mondays, open 10am -11pm other days

DCNA – October Mayoral and Ward E Candidate Debates will be planned (on separate nights)

JC Unity Walk – Well attended event, large cross section of people throughout the City

Adjournment – 9:05 pm

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 vvapnews@gmail.com

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: Njgrillo.com; 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: www.njtpa.org/plan2045
  • 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).  Newstreetba2016@yahoo.com
  • 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

April 2017 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

21 Apr 2017, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – April 18th, 2017

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

Officer/Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Dermot Ronan

  • All accounts in good standing

Construction Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • No major updates. However, the season has arrived for an uptick in construction activity in general.  Every construction site has a placards on it with contact info to report issues.  Or, call the RRC.

Events Committee Report – Oona Moore

  • 80’s Prom Remix!!!!  Saturday, 4/29/17 –7pm
    • Buy tickets in advance through Eventbrite; $25 in advance, $30 at the door
    • Prizes for best couple, best hair, best costume, prom King & Queen
    • Donations from local businesses for prizes and food
  • Golf Outing – Friday, June 9th, 5pm – tickets will be on sale soon!
    • Skyway Golf Course. Putting contest for non-golfers
  • Van Vorst Farmer’s Market – Begins Saturday, 4/22
    • VVPA will have a table out there to solicit new community members into the VVPA – volunteers are welcome for this weekend or other weekends throughout the summer

Guest Speakers

Councilwoman Candice Osborne

  • Parking Meeting Update – Attendees: Candice, Mayor, Parking Director + rep from each neighborhood association
    • Preliminary ideas/goals, need to be flushed out
      • Reduce zones downtown to a single zone.
      • Increase hours of enforcement 7am – 10pm w/ 2 hr window
      • Issue with non-residents parking (construction workers, Manhattan workers, etc.) can be helped via a Muni-meter.  Idea is if you have a zone sticker = no payment req’d; no-sticker = payment req’d.  Don’t want to out-price other residents in other parts of JC.  Needs to be coupled with enforcement and technology
      • Considering demand pricing.  Example: put in license info and if you are a JC resident, you get 2-hrs for free, but a non-JC resident may pay $20.
      • Need more municipal parking lots!  And need to give consideration to how permits are given to employees of local businesses
      • Additional thoughts from community:
        • City needs to advertise the parking that exists so that people know where to go
        • Turn federal lots (section 8 housing) into city municipal lots?  Candice to follow up
        • Permit parking or rentable spots in new construction building
      • Next parking meeting May 23rd
  • Reval
    • Asked for someone from Company performing Reval to come out to discuss this process at each of the downtown community meetings
    • Goal of rates going into effect 3rd/4th quarters of 2018
    • Everyone is being reassessed (regardless if Tax Abatement property or not) – impact for abated properties will depend on how the abatement is written
    • Asked valuation to take into account flood zoning
    • Will state funding formula change?
      • She will be meeting w/ the state to discuss
      • Funding comprised of two elements: Abbott funding (State Law) plus state adjustment aid, which is the piece that could potentially change.  Have to stay tuned for any information.
    • Estimated rate – assessed value X 1.8% – 1.9% [Note: this is for estimating purposes only – these numbers should not be construed as official!!]
      • Example: $500K Assessment è1.8% – 1.9% would be $9,000 – $,9500
      • Example: $1M Assessment è 1.8% – 1.9%  would be $18,000 – $19,000
    • Community Concerns
      • The City can lessen the impact on citizens by bringing down whole city budget (shrink departments through attrition, etc.).  Or, can the new rateables help bring down the cost to the rest of the city?
      • What impact will this have on property values?
        • As your taxes go up, the value of your property could go down. This is market dynamics
      • Tax Appeals in droves will be a certainty
        • Potential option: 5-year rolling reval?
        • State law needs to change!
      • Civic JC put great info up regarding the tax appeal process
  • Redistricting for voting purposes
    • Can only be done after the consensus (per law)
    • She will be meeting with the county to draw it out so that it can be thought about in advance.   Possibly need to reallocate?
  • Miscellaneous Updates
    • Candice working on an app with department of public safety

Councilman Jermaine Robinson – Ward F

  • Trash – he is trying to respond to concerns about trash in the neighborhood.  One option is to adjust street cleaning time (option came about based on community feedback)
    • Community asked that he consider input from all impacted: teachers, residents, businesses, etc. before any decisions made
  • Gun Violence in Ward F
    • Met w/ Director Shea and Mayor re: enforcement related to recent murder – was in hospital on Easter with the 10 year old who was killed.
    • Bail Loophole: unless classified as danger to society you are out w/in 48 hrs.  Illegal handguns are not considered reason for holding people.
    • Part of the issues is community won’t help the police – fear of being known as a snitch / fear of retaliation
    • Police are not always trusted in the community
    • Trying to convince the experienced officers that know the streets to go back out vs. sending only rookies out to walk the streets.  What can city do to incentivize this?
    • All community is encouraged to attend East District Captain Meetings to hear info, voice concerns – 4th Tuesday of the Month
    • What more can we do as citizens of the city?
    • Can we re-open the gyms to give kids a place to go?
      • City council trying to work with board of education on this issue, but not in City’s control

Kevin Williamson – Director of Recreation

  • He wants to have conversations with the communities in order to make the city’s recreation programs better
  • Recreation programs (after school activities) and schools (safe environments) are reasons that could keep families in this City
    • Sports = safe haven.  Want to make recreation more inclusive: example art, civics, etc.
    • Program: School 15 – learning about being on the “good” side of the law, instead of being on “bad” side, as well as career opportunities in law enforcement.
      • Will track the kids to see what progress takes place over their lifetime: 7th grade to 12th grade.  Helping them finish high school?  Get into college?
      • Mentoring program opportunities available
    • Will designate Ward Captains for each community.
    • Need to cross pollinate city a bit more and help integrate all across the city.
    • RecDesk will be a link in the JC website for information on the options available
    • All inclusive – programs geared towards adults and kids

New Business

  • Angelo working w/ RRC to help immigrants with citizenship applications
  • Mercer Street Stoop Sale – June 17th (Rain Date: June 18th) – Contact Lorraine to participate or for information
  • Recap of parking meeting with Parking Director Mary Spinello
    • Department understaffed – need to hire more, good people
    • Envisioning overlap schedule (example: 6am – 2:30pm; 2pm -10pm) with 14-15 officers downtown area
    • Difficulty ascertaining which buildings downtown have parking so that residents don’t get on-street parking when they aren’t allowed
  • Director of Innovation – Brian Platt wants input:
    • Wireless kiosks – What is the purpose of this? Community want more information on this.
    • Catch basin graffiti art – to try and draw attention to anti-litter campaign
      • General consensus – not in favor of it because it will attract more graffiti. Instead:
        • Reconstitute the “stop the drop” campaign
        • Enforcement of the anti-litter ordinances would help also
        • And, each neighbor can help out if they see issues – report or talk to your neighbors to help address

Adjournment – 9:15 pm

February 2017 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

24 Feb 2017, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – February 21, 2017

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

  • Wine from South Africa in honor of Black History Month – from Jersey Wines
  • Make interest known to Dan to volunteer in a variety of capacities

Officer/Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Dermot Ronan

  • All accounts in good standing, donations welcome
  • Don’t forget to attend our great events to help fundraise

Construction /Development Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • No new developers showed up to be heard
  • New Director of Planning, Anicia Cialone – communications with city should continue to be smooth

o   Looking for a more formal process for community input to development early on in the process

o   Will have her come to an upcoming VVPA meeting

  • Master Plan RFP – still sitting for final approval to go out – information on city portal

o   DCNA  plus other orgs around the city pushed the issue to get the best planning director for the city by doing a national search

  • Holland Tunnel Approach (139), uncovering the covered roadway – Joe Kuna is liaison to city on this project. Follow up w/ Candice for additional information

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

  • 80’s prom – late April or early May in Barrow Mansion – stay tuned for more info!
  • Golf Outing in early summer
  • Films in Van Vorst – send ideas to vvpanews@gmail.com

Guest Speakers

  • 99 Ranch
    • Audrey & Yung – supplied cookies and treats as well as coupons
    • Company originally from Southern California.  99 means longevity in Chinese; ranch is representative of agriculture and symbolic for fresh quality products
    • Asian and American groceries, live seafood + free filleting services
    • Will open in April; Hours will be 9am – 9pm
    • Supermarket is hiring – joined Urban Enterprise Zone Program
  • Bike JC
    • Katie Brennan, Tony Borelli, Patrick
    • Non-profit group, 8 yrs old, advocacy group to make better for bikers and pedestrians
    • All Ward Bike Tour – June 4th, Studio tours, etc.
    • Grand Street Vision –
      • Not here to take anyone’s parking spots away!
      • Thoughts about Grand street? – connects neighborhoods, fast, not aesthetically pleasing, dangerous, not pedestrian friendly
      • Road Diet – complete street vision: safe, well-lit, pretty to walk down, good for pedestrians, cyclists and cars, better visibility at corners
      • Sponsored resolution at City Hall to look into this issue and evaluate options.  Bike JC wants to introduce a protected bike lane.
      • One option: 4 lanes to 3 lanes, two straight lanes in either direction and one which is a shared dual turning lane
      • Christopher Columbus is also another location which is being looked at.  Jersey Ave would be a good
      • Protected bike lanes help prevent double parking and dooring issues
      • Concern about impacts of Grand street revision on Hospital ingress/egress
      • Bikes on sidewalk – not enough education on this!  There is education coming from Bike JC – can use this as an opportunity to spread the word and will push enforcement in appropriate places.  Also applies to electric bikes used for deliveries on sidewalks and in bike lanes.
      • Should be a more city-wide program which includes connectivity of all neighborhoods.  Systematically.
      • Grand Street is a specific problem that needs to be addressed – resolution created to hire an external firm to do it right.  Bid went out to get someone on board, will bring a few people from community on board for some input.
      • Transportation planner should have vision for whole city, grant funding is typically required to be slated for a certain area as funding becomes available
      • Contact:  BikeJC.org; info@bikejc.org
  • Jermaine Robinson – Ward F Councilman
    • Grew up in Greenville, owns light rail café
    • Quality of life is important to him –
    • Turnout is representative of residents’ care for their neighborhood
    • He is here for all of Ward F – no part is forgotten!
    • He wants Jersey City to grow, not just Ward F.  He feels he can help and make a difference.
    • Need to develop a better way to get info to community in advance so he will know our questions and positions so he can better represent us.
    • Committee People want to meet w/him to assist
    • Social Media is important too
    • Let’s figure out a way to unite Ward F!  “Bridging the Gap”

New Business

  • Special Guest Attendees
    • Sandra Lovely – Founded Greenville Neighborhood Alliance which includes parts of Ward F & A.  First Time they all came together to support one another and rally around common goals; Neighborhood Watch Program – 20+ block and neighborhood associations participating
    • Chris Perez – Berry-Hill and Bayside Associations
  • Parking issue
    • Lack of enforcement for zone parking areas is a frustration
    • Way behind the curve in comparison to other cities.  Need to explore other options.
    • Volunteers interested should reach out to vvpanews@gmail – VVPA will help to form a committee, along with members from DCNA to help
      • Pilot program on a one block stretch – grassroots approach
      • Flyers, call RRC to explore options such as one sided or resident only parking to see what works best and then can be expanded
    • Why is enforcement an issue?
      • Appropriated more $ for enforcement, but haven’t hired up to expend those appropriated dollars.  New vision needed w/in city to address this.
      • Function of technology and systems is also an issue – what is City doing about this?  No information at this time.
      • What’s best way to address this?  Call in RRC!
  • JC Arts Council – newly formed organization backed by City of Jersey City, but separate entity
    • March 4th, 12pm – 6pm – 331 Newark Ave – Open House.   Looking for feedback to
  • Announcement: JC For Hilary group recently formed: “if you attack our community, you should not profit from our community
  • Charter School – Spring Gala March 25th @ Historic JC Women’s Club/Casino Night; lccs.org
  • Historic Black Colleges Tour for HS students – free day trip
  • DCNA – planning for Gubernatorial, Mayoral and Council Debates closer to election time
  • Threat of Federal funds coming to sanctuary city – impact?
    • Law Department is fairly confident that the executive order will not be upheld.  Exploring possibility of developing briefs to contest the order.

Adjournment – 8:50 pm

January 2017 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

09 Feb 2017, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – January 17th, 2017

  1. Assemblyman Raj Mukherji
    1. Overview of the tax reval from state legislature standpoint
    2. Overview of Abbott districts and how, according to Mukherji, Jersey City is singled out by legislators in non-urban districts whose constituents’ do not face the same issues as Jersey City residents
    3. Overview of proposed education plans and how legislature is addressing the.
    4. Issues of education funding and JC’s status as an Abbott District will come to head in next 18 months to 2 years.
    5. Next steps:
      1. Contact gubernatorial candidates (Ambassador Murphy and Wizniewski)
      2. Contact Assemblyman Mukherji’s office
      3. Contact legislators in other districts to convey Jersey City’s specific issues as an urban school district
  2. General Business
    1. Overview of upcoming events
    2. Overview Redevelopment plans in VVPA, Master Plan for JC
    3. Noise complaints about Mexican restaurant at Bright & Barrow – call into RRC for leverage against the city
    4. Appointment of Ward F councilman – Saturday, January 24 (special city council meeting)
    5. Call for board positions needed to be filled