Minutes

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
    • JDROBINSON@JCNJ.ORG
    • 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

November 2016 Monthly Meeting Minutes

18 Nov 2016, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – November 15th, 2016

7:35pm – Call to Order – President Oona Moore

  • Call to action – decide as a community how we want to be. Take small actions to stay informed and improve your community.   Reach out to other communities in JC – better solidarity in the future.  Start local!
  • Welcome Bill from the New JSQ Community Association – Motto: “Clean, Green & Safe”
  • City Wide Coalition is still a goal to understand issues across the city – strength in numbers.
  • Planning Board Meeting Update – 328 Montgomery was on the agenda (new location for Hard Grove Café?). Facade was on agenda, applicant will be required to reconstruct according to original design.  Board stressed that Zoning/Nick Taylor stay on top of this project, including clearly defining hours of operation, what is it zoned for (Restaurant 1 & 2 – not a bar or nightclub).

Officer / Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • All accounts in good standing, no outstanding bills, in good shape with projected operating expenses for the rest of the year

Construction /Development Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • Meetings generally held same day before the VVPA meeting. No need to be in the business, just have to have a need to want to help!
  • Goal: streamline process, keep lines of communication open, and make process inclusive. Work with developers prior to their VVPA community presentation to work out any issues that may be of concern for the community.  Has been beneficial to getting advance notice of development in community.  Saves time and money.

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

  • Halloween event was a success, great turnout.
  • Annual end-of-year celebration / open House in December in conjunction with DCNA and the Barrow Mansion on Saturday, 12/10 @ 7pm!  Music, caroling, food, wine, etc.  Bring a food pantry item to donate.  Friday night 12/9, help to decorate the mansion ~7pm – looking for volunteers – pizza will be served, bring some wine to share!
  • 2017 events are being planned – stay tuned for details.

Election Slate

  • President – Oona will extend for 6 months
  • First Vice President –Gerry Bakirtjy
  • Second Vice President – Ben Bernouy
  • Secretary – Yolanda will extend for 6 months
  • Treasurer – Dermot Ronan
  • At-Large – Angelo Estrada & Karen Lorentz
  • Important for the board to carry on strong – we have made great progress with the city, let’s keep the initiative going! Anyone who is interested in serving on the board, please let us know!

New Business

  • Ideas for recruiting new people?
    • Rebecca, president of Harsimus Cove Association – doing a door knocking campaign with pamphlets
    • Farmer’s Market in Van Vorst Park – get a volunteer to be out there on Saturdays to talk about VVPA
    • Get stories in NJ.com and Hudson Reporter
    • Perhaps create a director of membership position for VVPA?
  • Rally on Sunday – about kids & families and coming together.  Our community starts with us, so take action.
  • Thanksgiving Food Drive for needy families – city hall & each Fire House and Police District by Friday
  • 20th Annual Toy Drive – registration in process with RRC.

Guest Speakers

  • Rebecca Symes, GC for Dixon & Nelson (architect)
    • Rework of design, based on community feedback
    • Roof desk on rear addition, attaching existing garage to existing building – include interior staircase for access to roof deck (also serves as emergency egress)
    • 3-6 months construction estimate, trying to get on December agenda

Adjournment – 8:45 pm

October 2016 Monthly Meeting Minutes

24 Oct 2016, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – October 18th, 2016

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

  • Always looking for volunteers to help with our social events, looking for community members to be engaged with city/community meetings, and to be involved with the association in leadership positions/board positions, etc., so please let us know if you are interested
  • Bring a neighbor to a meeting or an event – spread the word!

Officer / Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • All accounts in good standing, no outstanding bills, in good shape with projected operating expenses for the rest of the year

Construction /Development Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • Montgomery Gateway Redevelopment Plan (328 Montgomery) – applicant went before historic board approval. Rec’d approval w/conditions, still have to go in front of planning board.  The VVPA highly encourages all interested parties to go to the associated planning board meeting to express all concerns you may have about quality of life, use for the space, etc.  Stay tuned to our website for information, will also do an email blast.
    • VVPA sent letter to City summarizing community concerns with this project
  • Bates street development project, part of the Bates Street Redevelopment Plan (area by Pathmark by Turnpike) – developer had previously presented, this is their return to VVPA for update.
  • Planning & Development sub-committee – developers usually reach out in advance before presenting at VVPA monthly meetings. Anyone interested in being on the committee, reach out to vvpanews@gmail.com.

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

  • JCAST – initial VVPA involvement in this event.  Had 32 artists, over 70 works of art, did sell a few pieces.  Next potential art event will be JC Fridays will be in December – stay tuned for information.  Sponsors: Jersey Wines & Spirits, Van Hook Cheese Shop, Wurst Bar, JC Fish Store, Brightside Tavern.  Thank the sponsors by supporting their businesses!
  • Halloween in the Park on 10/31 from 4pm-8pm in Van Vorst Park by the gazeebo.  Candy & cookie for the kids, cider for the adults.  Volunteers welcome from ~1pm onward to help out.
  • Annual end-of-year celebration / open House in December in conjunction with Barrow Mansion – details forthcoming!

Election Slate

  • President – Oona will extend for 6 months
  • Second Vice President – Ben Bernouy
  • Secretary – Yolanda will extend for 6 months
  • Treasurer – Dermot Ronan
  • At-Large – Angelo Estrada & Karen Lorentz
  • Important for the board to carry on strong – we have made great progress with the city, let’s keep the initiative going! Anyone who is interested in serving on the board, please let us know! 

New Business

  • Parking – continues to be difficult to park.  Enforcement agent was checking stickers for zone parking.  In particular, there is a lack of enforcement on Wednesdays (b/c no street sweeping).  Speak up and contact your city representatives if you care about this issue.
    • City hasn’t sent out reminders because according to the Parking Authority, the computers were down and they didn’t have money for stamps.
    • Contact RRC or the newspapers to state your concerns!
  • Bright & Varick – oral arguments were last week.  Need to wait for judges to decide if automatic approval stand or not.  If it is ruled that the automatic approval will not stand, project will go through the normal process: planning board, etc.
  • The Old Pathmark is becoming a 99 Ranch store – estimated opening in March, 2017

Guest Speakers

  • Bates Street Project
    • West of Old Colony Plaza –37K sq ft. site, mixed Use Building.  As of right fully compliant project with Bates Redevelopment Plan.  Project required “benign changes” to redevelopment plan: wanted to expand usage for project and in exchange, developer will expand Bates Street.
    • Likely rentals, no affordable housing planned at this time.  128 residential units 12 stories down to 4 stories steps down in accordance w/ plan – mix of units from 1-4 BRs.
    • Potentially 200-250 people may be living there, potential shuttle to/from downtown transportation (PATH, etc.).  No traffic study done yet; however, developer is providing more than required number of parking spots for residential units.
    • Retail area – 28.6K sq ft of space with several stores, including one “big box” store (too early in the project to determine what stores will go in there), self-storage and some office space.  Several community members expressed concerns about minimal parking being provided for the stores, asked developer to look at this again and come up with additional options, as the lack of parking will have a huge impact on the surrounding communities.
    • Wants to go before board on Nov 1st, honored commitment to VVPA to come back and re-present.
    • Projected demo in Dec/Jan; 18-24 month projected construction period
  • Board of Education Candidates introduced themselves to the VVPA and provided a short overview of their platform and why they are the best candidate/team for the BOE.  To see the candidates in a more extensive forum, be sure to attend the highly anticipated Board of Education Candidate Forum on Thursday, 10/27 from 7pm-9pm hosted by the Historic Paulus Hook Association (HPNA) and moderated by Leila Sadeghi, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership at Saint Peter’s University.
    • Education Matters Team – Sudhan Thomas, Angel Valentin, Gina Verdibello
    • Fix It Now Team – Mussab Ali, Kimberly Goycochea
    • Building Bridges – Natalia (“Natasha”) Loffe
    • Jersey City United Team – Luis Felipe Fernandez, Asmaa Abdalla, Matthew Schapiro
    • Rowan For JCBOD – Mark Roan

Adjournment – 9:05 pm

September 2016 Monthly Meeting Minutes

04 Oct 2016, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

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

  • Kudos to the board, invite community members to participate on board. It is important for all to participate and volunteer to continue to make this a strong community.
  • Some of the achievements of these past two years: updated bylaws, established events committee, established art curator position, strengthened board connection, etc.
  • As a community, you can be active by getting on the mailing list, bringing neighbors to meetings, participating & bringing solutions to the table, getting on a committee, or making donations.

Officer / Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • All accounts in good standing, no outstanding bills
  • Boogie in the park and the White Party – community builders, broke even on the events

Construction /Development Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • Montgomery Gateway Redevelopment Plan (328 Montgomery) – new use applied for. Application is tabled for a special meeting because there was insufficient information architectural plans.  Will try to align more closely with the 1938 photograph of the façade.  Owners were invited once again to come to VVPA meeting to address concerns (prior invitations were not accepted).  Community members are encouraged to attend planning board meetings to your voice concerns.

o   How does this impact the 2 week opening for this property that is advertised?  There is no COO for this property!

o   Designated area “Commercial reuse area” within a historic zone.  NOT a commercial district.  Big difference as it impacts noise, etc.

  • Dixon Properties is redeveloping a church. They came to the VVPA and worked in community input into the design.  As a result the project was approved easily.  This is the type of development-community relationship that is healthy.
  • Master Plan kickoff meeting – to help look at city as cohesive whole to look for larger vision for the city. Community input welcome.

o   Any redevelopment plan in place remains, a revised master plan doesn’t supersede the existing redevelopment plans.  The master plan outlines the City’s goals, with a vision to get there.  Redevelopment plans will have to work within the confines of the master plan.

o   Theoretically we should see minimized redevelopment plans after the master plan is in place.

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

  • Successes this summer: Films in Van Vorst, White Party, Boogie in the Park
  • Upcoming Events: Halloween in the Park (on 10/31 from ~4pm-8:30pm in Van Vorst Park), Poltergeist in Van Vorst Park (possibly?) – stay tuned for details!, Winter Holiday Party in the Barrow Mansion, possible NYE party.
  • JC Arts & Studio Tour – VVPA participating with Barrow Mansion on Oct 8th 5pm – 11pm and Oct 9th 5pm – 11pm.  Art exhibit, sale, music, wine tasting courtesy of JC Wines.  Looking for volunteers to help out!
    • Bike JC tours go to various studios throughout the city – will encourage participants to stop at Barrow Mansion
  • Taste of Hudson (October 6th) – Exchange Place – $50 includes small plates and drinks, profits go to Boys & Girls Club of Hudson County.
  • 4th St. Halloween Party – October 27th

Election Slate

  • Looking for new members to get involved, plenty of support from community and current/past board members
  • Elections slate will be presented in October, vote will be held in November

New Business

  • Friends of Liberty State Park Halloween Party – “Terminal of Terror” (in the train terminal in LSP).

Guest Speakers

  • Pam Andes – discussed honoring Dr. Medrano, a well-known doctor who had a practice for over 50 years on Jersey Ave. by naming a street after him
    • Business located on corner of York St. & Jersey Ave since 1971.  This office became a center for community networking.  He was a pillar of the community that helped neighborhood children, gave second chances to many people.  Community would like to honor him by a street dedication.  Need 75% of the people on the block to approve.  Petition coming – be on the lookout if you’d like to sign.
    • Reopening his chiropractic practice – soft opening this Sunday.
  • Captain Scerbo – Tabled
  • Kim Jeblick – reintroduced Maximum Motion Fitness
    • 25 year resident of JC, in business for 13 years (original studio on Montgomery St. then 340 Grove St., now expanded to Charles & Co building (262 Grove St.).  All invited to come for a personal tour and to enroll as new or returning students.
    • Offer classes (yoga, zumba, pilates, toning, etc.), Personal Training, traditional Gym equipment (weights,  machines)
    • Would love to get involved w/ JC Arts / JC Fridays.
  • Bret Schundler – discussed property tax reval and the school funding implications
    • Former Mayor Schundler was also Former NJ Commissioner of Education
    • 60K units under construction or approved (some may take up to 10 years to build out).  This impacts extra need for schools, but the final impact is a function of whether or not people want to raise families here.  Will there be seats available when the extra population increases?  Can expansion keep up with population growth?
      • Charter school alternative options make people want to stay here, but county has expanded programs it offers and the schools are getting better.
    • NJ Law – state is legally obligated to build school facilities for Abbott school districts (32 districts).  At best, each district may get a new school every ~7 years.
    • School funding reform act would be required to change to impact property tax in JC.
      • This law was passed at end of Corzine Administration.  Essentially, a model developed with a budget projection to fund education.  Inputs: wealth of community and financial wherewithal to fund that education.  State covers the balance.
      • In theory, the growth of ratables in the City generally increases the community’s overall financial wherewithal which would up the community’s contribution and decrease the state’s burden.  However, a second bill was passed with essentially a hold harmless provision which recognizes that communities shouldn’t be punished (financially penalized) for its growth, so local taxpayers are held harmless for the contribution they are responsible for.
    • The Reval is definitely going to happen and will definitely increase some property taxes.  However, this will not increase the overall levy (so the City doesn’t get more money); rather, the Reval is essentially determining / redistributing who is paying what share of the City’s levy.
    • For illustrative purposes, let’s assume that on average since 1989, property values in JC have risen 300%.  And, let’s assume that since 1989, your property value has increased by 600%.  The Reval will take into account the disproportionately increase in the VV Park area and therefore the share you are paying will be increased.  May also affect property values and also impact gentrification as some who do not have surplus discretionary income may be forced to leave/sell.  Upon appeal to county tax board, you may get reduction.
    • Prop 13 – Can we effectuate this in NJ?  Will be difficult to get rest of state to get on board with this.  Hard to pass state legislation on a municipal issue.
    • Abatements/PILOTS – money not getting to schools
    • Levy and how you divide it:
      • Pilots – relates to the total size of pie; Reval has to do w/ carving up the pie.
      • If city controls spending, your share may increase, but if it is on a smaller pie, that may offset your increase.
    • What can community do?  Could ask Fulop to have assessor do proactive reassessments (small districts) – look at sales in small districts to adjust the average market change.

Adjournment – 9:00 pm

July 2016 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

26 Jul 2016, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – July 19th, 2016

7:05pm – Call to Order – First Vice President Gerry Bakirtjy

Officer / Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • All accounts in good standing

Construction /Development Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • 87 Bright St. – on historic board agenda, conditional approval, in front of planning tonight, made all changes we requested, worked well w/ community
  • 328 Montgomery St. – owner/applicant filed w/ bldg. dept. all proper documentation to continue on interior work only (Certificate of no effect), supposed to post the permits. Historic preservation officer met w/ contractor last week to ensure HVAC on roof is minimally visible from public right of way. Filed to do renovation to front of bldg. – filed w/ historic and planning board (minor site plan approval required). Interior is supposedly still a restaurant. For concerns w/ project, attend historic and planning meetings.

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

  • Movies in the park underway!   Bring a chair, bring a friend, popcorn is free. Full schedule at filmsinvanvorst.com.
  • August 20th – 3rd Annual Disco in the Park (FREE!) – DJ Marvillous is back!       Working on getting a food truck for the event (food for purchase), NJ Dance academy will give free Hustle dance lessons. There will be prizes and fun!!
  • Save the Date! August 26th – Top secret event in Van Vorst Park — by invitation only, so stay tuned and check your email! Get on our email list to be invited.
  • Sept/Oct – possible 80’s homecoming dance – stay tuned.
  • Poltergeist will be shown in the fall – one of the neighbors of Van Vorst starred in it, will come to speak about it.

New Business

  • St Matthews Church International Potluck Event – 9/25/16 from 1pm-4pm. Bring a dish to share and help celebrate the true melting pot that is Jersey City.   More information to come – stay tuned!
  • Reminder – update your app to JC Connect to interact with the City’s Residents Response Center.
  • VVPA does not meet in August – next monthly meeting is September!

Guest Speakers

  • Making Strides of Jersey City – Anna, Community Manager for Hudson County American Cancer Society
      • The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk is coming to this part of Jersey City this year! Will start at Newport Plaza. Expect 8,000 – 10,000 participants
      • Walk is October 23rd, all are encouraged to participate. Reach out to makingstrideswalk.org for more information or to find the event and to register to participate.
      • In addition to the walk, American Cancer Society also supports those affected by cancer in many ways (for example, giving free rides to/from hospital, places to stay for treatment needs, etc.). To find out more about what service they offer, reach out to cancer.org.
  • Rehabbing St. Bridget’s – Mike McNamara of Pro Arts Group/4th St. Arts
    • Tabled
  • Meet & Greet – Captain Scerbo of the JCPD East District (new addition to the agenda)
    • Law enforcement 20 years, was last 3 years commander of cease fire unit. Looking forward to partnering w/ community group.
  • PATH Update – Clarelle DeGraffe, Deputy Director of PATH, Rebecca Cassidy, PATH Customer Support, & Kevin
    • Hoboken-33rd St. line to be shut down for 17 weekends, midnight Friday – 5am Monday, August 6th – December 19th, 2016 for required service upgrades, including positive train control installation (which was mandated under the Bush Administration).
      • Various options examined to conduct the work and it was decided to shut down weekends as this has overall least impact on riders.
      • Will run NWK to WTC and additional service on JSQ to WTC at targeted times throughout the day while work is underway. Will have direct service from HOB/EWR to WTC on weekends while work is underway.
      • Will run bus shuttle from WTC to near 33rd St Station with various stops along the way – rep will give voucher at turnstile at WTC (if you choose to use NYC subway instead, that cost will not be covered). Frequency of bus service ~10 mins during day, 25-30 mins overnight. Can ride both uptown and downtown on bus.
        • At public’s request, PATH will consider amending the voucher distribution process to allow for those who go in to NYC Friday via the 33rd St line and may come home after midnight to be able to pick up a voucher at a location other than WTC.
    • Positive train control (PTC) has numerous benefits, including keeping trains a safe distance apart, which in turn allows PATH to run more trains. Currently, for safety reasons, cannot run trains close than 4 minutes apart. The PTC will allow for trains to move more closely together. Trains may be able to be run on JSQ line ~every 2 mins, but has to be balance w/ HOB line. With PCT, expect system wide capacity increase of 20% (will be purchasing additional cars to meet this anticipated increase). PCT will allow for increased service / shorter wait times, real time information in path station (will be available when whole project is completed – 2018)
    • For additional information, or for copies of what PATH personnel distributed to meeting attendees, click here.

Other PATH concerns/comments:

    • When is direct service from JC to NYC late nights and weekends coming back?       The vast majority of riders go to JC and beyond, not HOB.
      • Pilot in 1993 with direct service, then post 9/11 went to current format (“around the world service”). Subsequent to 9/11, Superstorm Sandy came along. System needs constant maintenance, coupled with the fact that PATH is making $2B in investments in capital projects over the next 10 years. “Around the world service” is needed for effectively managing the construction and maintenance work. May be considered again in the future to go back to direct service, but not at the moment.
    • Will wifi be installed as part of this PCT project?
      • No, wifi is a potential future project (its currently unfunded)
    • How is PATH funded?
      • No tax $, funded through fees from tolls, airports, bridges, tunnels, etc and Federal $ for Sandy relief projects. Run at a deficit every year.
    • Where is transparency in updating public on progress of project?
      • Will be available on PATH website.
    • WTC stairs/escalators very narrow – hazardous.
      • When additional platforms open at WTC, will run NWK line off that (wider platform & stairs), and put HOB on smaller, more narrow platform.
    • Backpacks – smack into people, causing fights, conductors don’t care
      • Will consider a courtesy campaign, will ask conductors to make random announcements or possibly a sweeping campaign to highlight passengers being conscious of their impact on one another.
    • Conductor Engagement
      • Looking to increase conductor engagement with the public, particularly w emergencies
    • Handicapped accessible entrance @ Grove Street
      • Projected to be completed by end 2017

Adjournment – 8:05 pm

June 2016 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

28 Jun 2016, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – June 21st, 2016

7:05pm – Call to Order – First Vice President Gerry Bakirtjy

Officer / Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • Golf Outing – took in ~$3800, after expenses; Art Show was part of JC Fridays – took in about ~660. These profits allow us to be able to fund other events and donate to other organizations.

Construction /Development Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • 87 Bright St – nothing substantive to report at this time
  • 28 Bright St – nothing substantive to report at this time
  • York St. – fully enclosed, scaffolding up
  • 328 Montgomery St.
    • Background:
      • 30-year old redevelopment plan in place for location. Redevelopment plan doesn’t have a termination date.   Development is as of right to be a bar/restaurant, but it is not confirmed at this point what it will be until plans are submitted to City.
      • Currently at 100% lot coverage with only one ingress/egress, therefore maximum occupancy would be limited to 49 people, including staff
      • Owner filed a certificate of no effect w/ historic commission for interior only work, including steel grate on front door. Permit issued to perform this work, but when they tore the steel grate down, they also tore down part of the façade. City issued a stop work order on this project, community believes this is being ignored by owners. Applicant filed w/ historic for front façade renovation.
    • Current Status & Next Steps:
      • Ray Meyer, head of construction department, will allow applicant to continue work when they submit plans and documents for Kitchen hoods, HVAC systems and get approval for plumbing and fire permits. Approved permits have to be posted on the bldg. in plain sight.
      • It is believed that the applicant will be required to go in front of the historic board, then will have to submit minor site plan and go in front of planning board.   Applicant has not submitted application yet.
    • Community Action Items:
      • Enforcement is handled by the Police, so if you observe issues that require enforcement, contact the police non-emergency number (201-547-5477) as well as calling the Resident’s Response Center (RRC – 201-547-4900) and/or sending photos, etc. to the RRC via the Jersey City Connect app. The RRC will alert office of construction who has the ability to levy fines and issue stop work orders.
      • Public can voice concerns about this at historic and planning meetings
      • VVPA’s Construction and Planning Committee will reach out to Adam to provide additional information as it becomes available.

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

  • Movies in the park in full swing!
  • Upcoming events – garden tour + winetasting w/ limited tickets (fundraiser), white party (supper party in the park – candles, flowers, tablecloths, byo food & drink), disco in the park in August (DJ, food truck). Stay tuned!

New Business

  • Membership vote on Embankment Preservation Coalition Donation Request
    • Motion for $400 to Embankment made, seconded, and approved
  • Noemi from JCRRC provided information on how to sign up for Jersey City Connect app – will post on website.
  • Community request to add speed humps on Mercer between Jersey Ave & Varick St., looking for VVPA to support this
  • Resident only parking – if there is a desire for it, you need to get a petition that is approved.       Reach out to RRC for additional information on the process.

 

Guest Speakers

  • Embankment Preservation Coalition
    • Functionally abandoned, but not legally abandoned. This is a historic asset, want to convey that message to federal government. Surface Transpiration Board is doing a historic review —- need all the comments to discuss the historic value of the embankment.
    • State and Municipal Landmark – important to culture and history of city
    • For additional information, please go to: www.embankment.org
    • Looking in the future to make this open space and pushing to establish connected greenways (non- motorized transportation system can be augmented into existing system). Key to green space area is directly connected to rail areas.
    • Timeline for next major decision – end of summer
    • Action Items: Send Postcard (Use the word HISTORY in your communications to support this campaign)
  • Marc Wesson, Friends of Van Vorst Park – Tabled
    • Marc was not able to make it, but asked that you reach out to him directly to submit any inquiries about the park or to offer suggestions for how to improve upon the park: www.friendsofvanvorstpark.com
    • Marla Priest, Director of Mana Wine
    • Works at Mana Contemporary – Journal Square area
    • Started wine program there (Mana wine is not a retailer) – they offer programs from basic 101 level to sophisticated level for wine enthusiasts, as well as Art and Wine Storage.
    • For additional information, reach out to Marla: www.Manawine.com
  • June Jones, Executive Director Morris Canal Community Development Corporation – Tabled

Adjournment – 9:00 pm

April 2016 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

20 Apr 2016, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

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

Officer / Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Tabled
Construction /Development Committee Report – Tabled
Bright & Varick Committee Report– Tabled
Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

  • Art Show in connection with JC Fridays – June 3rd at Barrow Mansion. Calling all artists to donate art, as well as volunteers to help out with the event. Contact Maria @ bestcats99@yahoo.com for additional information and to participate!
  • Inaugural Golf OutingJune 10th – Skyway Golf Course at Lincoln Park West – food & drinks included, more info to come soon, so stay tuned!

 

New Business

  • Parking Concerns & Community Action Items
    • Per Councilwoman Osborne, each neighborhood to come up with their own areas to pilot red zone painting/enforcement in trouble spots. Will send list to her, and community to monitor/advise how pilot is going.
      • Meaningful discussions about change must include Traffic Engineer, Director of Parking Authority, and Representative from the Law Department to see what kind of clear ordinance is viable and enforceable.
      • Resident only parking proposed on streets where there is parking on only one side – what is criteria to establish which streets will be resident only?
      • Enforcement is paramount to this to make it successful – more people were hired for this purpose.  Community suggested change color of annual sticker to help make enforcement easier.
      • James Solomon – community member with background in urban planning will be doing a community presentation for the Heights neighborhood organizations to discuss options for parking concerns. Willing to do something similar for the Downtown neighborhoods – stay tuned, more information to come on this.
  • LSP Letter to Army Corps of Engineers re: Commercial Barges
    • Received request from Candice Osborne’s office to ask us to sign on to letter to oppose commercial barges, general consensus from association is to sign on to this letter.
    • NJ/NY Baykeeper – go to their site for additional information on this issue
  • Master Plan
    • Mayor agreed to find funds this year to move forward with a master plan for the city. Planning Department will draft RFP to do nationwide search for firm to assist with this.
    • Need 1-2 reps per association to liaison with (VVPA recommendation: Tom Ogorzalek & ean Gallagher).
    • Other non-VVPA board members are also encouraged to step up to volunteer & share in the load for this or any other initiatives where community leadership is needed.
    • Bayonne also has done recent work in this area, opportunity to learn lessons from their approach
    • Boston City Planner conference call –
      • “Meeting in a Box” – funnel information to city in the same way
      • Office of Neighborhood Services – staffed by professionals to be liaison between City and the communities
      • Long term vision with great website for information
  • Zone captain for Great Jersey City Cleanup needed – contact vvpanews@gmail.com to volunteer
  • Get to know your Neighbors Initiative – Invite leadership from other community groups to introduce themselves and bridge the gap between neighbors.  Will help to bond across neighborhoods.
  • Columbus & Barrow Parking Lot – Del Forno Real Estate asked Aaron (a community member) what the community would like in that spot. Just goes to show, we can influence and make a difference in the development process!
  • Donation Request for Embankment Preservation Coalition – go to their site for additional information and to donate
  • Property Tax Reval – video available about reval & property tax appeal process – see our newsletter for link
  • Future Meeting Topics/Ideas – email suggestions to vvpanews@gmail.com

 

 

Guest Speaker Captain Dan Sollitti, East District (stand in for Director Shea)

  • Schools – better drop off plans needed, additional police presence is not feasible. Looking to reconfigure the traffic patterns, working with school parking guard coordinator (Cynthia Vazquez) to evaluate parking guard personnel skills, working with school safety officials to address.
  • Deployment of Officers – Information about the stats can be obtained on City Website. Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) information on calls for service.       Also can look at police radio on your smartphone.
  • East District – Thankfully not many violent crimes, but have many Property crimes & quality of life crimes. Will be getting additional officers soon to help address some of these issues.
  • Coffee with a Cop Program – open forum for discussion between community & police. Community suggested having it at Van Vorst Park – stay tuned for information!
  • Interaction from community groups helps drive where police are dispatched to prevent issues, so reach out to Captain Sollitti or Dina to let them know about your concerns.
  • Reach Captain Sollitti via the JCPD website (http://www.njjcpd.org/east-district).       Email feedback form on police website to report ongoing issues (do NOT use the form to alert police to crimes in progress; instead, call 911)
  • Curfew for kids in the park – 11pm (dedicated curfew crew)
  • To report non-emergency issues (e.g. persons sleeping in Park), use the Non-Emergency Number: 201-547-5477

 

Adjournment – 9:00 pm

March 2016 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

21 Mar 2016, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

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

Officer / Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • Lost about $200 on the RED party (due inclement weather); however, was not intended to be a major fundraiser
  • New Rental Agreement w/Barrow Mansion includes 3 events at the Barrow
  • All bills up to date (except Legal Bill for Bright & Varick)

Construction /Development Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • Café on corner of Bright & Barrow – given another temporary COO, working towards achieving full COO
  • Barrow & Wayne corner 2 houses renovated – open house tonight by Dixon Properties

Bright & Varick Committee Report– Ceci de Leon

  • Waiting to be scheduled for hearing

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

  • March 26th – Annual Easter Egg Hunt & Bonnet Contest – volunteers welcome (sign up via vvpanews@gmail.com)
  • Upcoming Events

o   Movies in the Park

o   Wine Tasting – Limited Capacity in Barrow Mansion (classroom type setting)

o   Golf Outing still being planned for the spring

o   Disco in the Park

New Business

  • Reiterate to Mayor the need for “No Bikes on the Sidewalk” signs (reach out to him and RRC)
  • Post-winter, Pedestrian signs should be put back on the road – email Candice & RRC to help push the issue
  • National Search for Planning Director, still not clear on vetting process and who is going to be on selection committee
    • Bob Kotter helped JC receive many awards for the work he did during his tenure during planner – all are encouraged to review his resume as part of this process
    • Going away party – Liberty House – April 30th
  • State of the City Address – 6pm on Wednesday, March 16th

Guest Speakers

  • Pedestrian Mall – Brian Platt, Director of Office of Innovation, JC

 

    • Mission: Address Quality of Life Issues that residents face ad revitalize commercial corridors to reinvigorate Small Business
    • Newark Ave Pedestrian Mall (Iterative Process)
      • Cycling in Pedestrian Mall needs to be addressed
        • Cannot ride bike at all in a Commercial District; Outside a Commercial District, can ride on sidewalk if you are 9 and under
        • Will be doing a social media push for bike safety, working with County and Bike JC to help with signage
      • Consider Seasonal use of plaza or put events on during winter
      • Monty’s back to work; Hard Grove Café – will building be shored up and ready to re-open soon? Unknown. City bought property next door and will be involved in the lawsuit to help facilitate.
      • Ideas: Bioswale tree pits (green infrastructure to absorb/retain groundwater) on opposite side of street as light pole, add ADA access points —- the bioswales and any changes/additions will allow for 15’ of access for emergency vehicle access
      • Residents state that they don’t have a good idea of what the comprehensive plan/goal is for the Pedestrian Plaza and feel that this isn’t very pretty yet. City wants to make it a destination and social place. Looking to spend $ on the next phase, now knowing that most people like the idea of the pedestrian mall. Go to jerseycitynj.gov/pedestrian mall for more information, contact Brian directly at BPlatt@jcnj.org
      • Additional security/police available during peak times, good partnership with Downtown SID to clean up
  • Traffic Safety – Deputy Mayor Marcos Vigil, Joe Cuna – Municipal Engineer and Andrew Vischio from Transportation, Traffic & Engineering
    • Mayor tasked him with re-conceptualizing tax abatement policy.       Pulling plug little by little on tax abatements in Downtown. Incentivizing development in other parts of the City. Besides focusing on Journal Square, focusing on Ward F & MLK.
    • The Hub Annex – moving forward with consolidating new city offices on MLK corridor. Looking for new ways to attract businesses there, such as pop up shops in the area over the holiday.
    • Suggestion: Establish Community Boards throughout the City?
    • Master Plan – Planning Group was tasked with coming up with a plan for Community outreach for updating the City’s Master Plan
    • Search for City Planner – Placed Ads with Regional Planning Association and American Planning Association. Rough timeline – will look to close out application process within the month. Small vetting committee in place, Deputy Mayor is heading up Committee.       Will have to place an acting Director in the interim.
      • Disconnect between what Deputy Mayor knows and what communities know – creates a chasm and thus the rumor mill. Deputy Mayor invited to DCNA meeting to bridge that gap.
    • Traffic & Engineering Department handles traffic signals, timing, flow, etc. –
      • Jersey Ave Bridge – This is moving forward, potential bid date for end of this year (still in design phase). Most of the decisions are out of City’s control. Travel lanes 10’ each, 3’ buffer between traffic and bike lanes, 7’ bike lane. Pedestrian bridge will remain in place.
      • Traffic pattern assumptions built into Sam Schwartz study
      • What may discourage traffic cut through: Narrow lanes slow down, HBLR crossings, limit truck traffic (by ordinance), Right or Left turn only during rush hours, etc.
      • Traffic Light synchronization, functionality – will be changing signals so Walk signal comes up automatically (without having to push the button) throughout the City
      • Safety Improvements – Received grant from NJTPA for Montgomery from Grove to Baldwin. There will be a meeting in May, VVPA will be invited.
      • Share concerns via email, and they are available to come back periodically for community updates (jcunha@jcnj.org, avischio@jcnj.org)
  • Development 158-162 Mercer St.– Kirk Mitchell
    • Burned out church and rectory looking to do 8 new high end units in Church – 4 duplex units (1400-1700 sq ft space each), two 3BR “flat” units (1600-1800 sq ft), and two 4BR duplex units (2500-2700 sq ft); Looking to do two units in Rectory space – bottom floor is a 1 BR unit (nanny’s quarters possibly) and the second unit will be 3 floors
    • Will require new use for church to be repurposed for residential application, will need approval for dormers to allow for headspace for top levels.       Timetable 14 months -18 months once construction starts. Will be looking for variance for project for the parking requirement (2.5 spaces)
    • No major objections from community, generally supportive, would encourage developers to look into getting use of HUD parking lot across the street.
  • Development – 254 Montgomery St – Nelson Benedides?
    • Proposal: Garage restoration (access on Barrow St.) with full restoration of carriage style doors & new roof deck over one story garage (with internal staircase). The restoration will “beautify” the current aesthetics of the garage.
    • Set back 18” from face of garage. Community concern about precedent for historic district and concern for adjacent property owners. Dixon is open to other ideas from community.
    • Will also be restoring the fountain

Adjournment – 10:15 pm