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

February 2016 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

25 Feb 2016, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – February 16th, 2016

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

Officer / Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • Awaiting receipts from RED Party
  • In good standing, made payment towards B&V legal fees
  • Treasurer will sit with Events Committee to plan/budget
  • Sponsorship per event should be explored

Construction /Development Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • On the horizon: brand new project for 16 Bright St (in Bright St. Redevelopment plan – empty lot by Firehouse).
  • Café on corner of Bright & Barrow – garbage issues, City gave Temp Cert of Occupancy.       Complaints made to City, but they have not been responsive. All residents encouraged to reach out to RRC if they have issues or email Brian Blazick.

Bright & Varick Committee Report– Ceci de Leon

  • Waiting to be schedule in court

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

  • RED Party was fun, but due to the weather the turnout was a little lower than expected
  • Will be a Golf Outing in the Spring, date TBD

New Business

  • DCNA Town Hall Meeting (1/26/15) Recap


    • Items of discussion in meeting: Development; Transportation; Open Space; Quality of Life; Jersey Ave Bridge; Casino
    • Mayor agreed to perform traffic study in the spring to determine impact of Jersey Ave Bridge on downtown
    • Planning Director retiring – DCNA asked for national search for replacement to get best candidate for the job. Need forward thinker, person with requisite skill set. DCNA will be writing letter to formally request that a national search be performed (will be placed on VVPA website when available).
      • ACTION ITEM: Email Mayor (Fulops@jcnj.org) re: your thoughts on the Planning Director position and transparency for posting and hiring
    • Reval – Mayor said that he was adamantly against it.
  • Parking Ordinance –pending reschedule post-DCNA Town Hall Meeting. Ben and Oona to follow up with Councilperson Candice re: rescheduling meeting
    • Candice wants to implement a pilot for 3 hour grace period, enforcement until 11pm. Pushback from community – questions about benefits of the 3 hour period and how this will be enforced have not yet been answered.
    • ACTION ITEM: Voice your concerns about the parking ordinance proposal at vvpanews@gmail.com and they will be gathered together and presented to DCNA for unified position.
  • Booting Ordinance – tabled in City Council because no discussion between Parking Authority and City Council for how to enforce it, insufficient resources to enforce it. Will most likely be re-presented again when details worked out.

Guest Speakers

  • Pedestrian Mall – Brian Platt, Office of Innovation, JC Mayor’s Office


    • Tabled – will be rescheduled to March
  • 87 Bright Street – Chuck Harrington, Anthony Vandimark
    • Originally proposed 4 units and commercial space in September for continuing non-conformance use. Took community feedback and adjusted plans.
    • New proposal – 2 family structure, including one unit on the first floor and an upper triplex unit with an elevator. Project also includes two additions. May need height variance to be elevated out of the flood plain. Made setbacks to accommodate community concerns about light and air. Roof deck will be green.
  • Proposed Development Project at the foot of Jersey Avenue near the Morris Canal Basin (“The View”) – Nathanial, Project Manager; Architect Jay Valgora
    • Joint Venture between numerous renowned firms. Project part of previously approved Grand Jersey Development Plan. Engaging neighborhood associations to ensure community concerns addressed.
    • Larger buildings planned to be 45 stories and 65 stories, using same or less built area (smaller footprints, but taller buildings).       Currently approved for 2M sq feet, which equates to approx. 2000 units. As of now, primarily rentals; unsure of affordable housing.       Commercial space – not finalized yet, but there will be some.   Parking not finalized yet, also adding on-street parking.
    • Jersey Ave Bridge will impact their design. Will work salt water edge into design to create transition into community. Working w/ city and State w/ how to address combined sewer outflow issue.       Remediation will be needed, is in flood plain, so will need to be elevated.
    • Looking for 7-8 year timeframe for project, much of the infrastructure and parks will be in earlier phases. Will need to amend the redevelopment plan – reconfigure blocks to have more sensible relationship with property lines
    • Project Design Principles:
      • Bring the park into the City – gradual transition to the park;
      • Increase pedestrian & Bike access, minimize vehicular impact – traffic circles
      • Create buildings integrated with the landscape (smaller footprints, open spaces, push parking below level and burm into site)
    • Community concerns: addnl transit to support additional community members (exploring possibility for additional HBLR stop, extended water taxi service), need for better coordination between Turnpike Authority, City, Project, and Residents.
    • LSP was very positive about design

Announcements & Community networking

  • Still looking for Block Captains – to volunteer, email vvpanews@gmail.com

Adjournment – 9:15 pm

January 2016 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

24 Feb 2016, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Vvpa 1/16/2016

Frank from the RRC

  • Call RRC for the trimming of trees.   Do not cut tree limbs yourselves.


  • All accounts in good standing
  • No outstanding bills, (except legal)
  • Negotiated new lease with the Barrow


Next event – Red Party – Dance Party Feb 13th Saturday / $20 ticket

Construction Committee report

Bates St. RDP

  • PD committee met with Bates Street RDP developer asking for feedback on an amended RDP.
  • They will come back and present to the group when they are further developed (site plan approval) Probably around March.

Morris Canal Redevelopment Area

  • LSP Basin (near bridge)
  • 6 story buildings residential with 2 tall towers (50 stories) alot of landscaping
  • End of the canal – west of the footbridge;
  • Not part of LSP
  • Cul de sac is part of their project
  • Very early stage – shopping around to get community support prior to anything
  • Working with the epa – to redo the sewage issue.
  • Keep an eye on the available open space
  • Make a park
  • Stream encroachment, contamination
  • Will present at Feb VVPA meeting

Barrow / Columbus development

  • No news ; rehabilitation of building on Barrow and Wayne is moving in a snails pace.

Status of the Jersey Ave Bridge – on hold from the state level

Traffic signal change

  • Left turn on Columbus and Jersey Ave (walking an issue)
  • Pressing button doesn’t work, Montgomery at school – changing signals, etc…
  • Traffic and engineering person to come to talk

Developer – 274 Barrow Street

  • Ed Ciolko and Nick Teremi? Working with developer (Office on Newark and Coles )
  • Redesign of project previously presented.
  • 3 story, masonry
  • (2) 1 bedroom flats with (2) 1 car garages.
  • Main entrance off of Montgomery
  • 2 principal uses on one lot and density
  • 3 units in the existing building with 1 professional office
  • Same lot coverage, more building coverage
  • Marvin windows – no brick samples
  • 707 sf units (1 bedroom)
  • Schedule as soon as possible
  • Dan and Tanya working on it from the planning office
  • Would they consider 4 larger units instead of 6?
  • Gary – not contemporary enough.
  • VVPA will write a letter summarizing the comments

JC fish stand – Jill and John

  • Open 11 – 7 M-F;   10 – on sat, closed Sunday
  • Farmers market on grove st and VVPA
  • Want to bring as much wild caught fish
  • Menu will change everyday
  • Sourcing from Huntspoint,
  • Mussels, clams / oysters
  • Partnering with farm to table people to provide meals, soups, stews.
  • Deliveries come in at 11, website has info of what they have by 12

General Update

  • Parking Issue…no clear indications from Candice on 8-11 requirements –
  • She is clear that no one is happy, proposed an opt-in/opt out option, no concrete answers
  • She got sick and went into limbo
  • What it the motivation?
  • Paulus hook has been in discussions with Candice about parking time zones since she got into office.
  • Oona has spoken with DCNA – HCA has opted out, (Rebecca on board) until enforcement can be addressed

DCNA is hosting mayor meeting, Tuesday the 26th Grace Van Vorst

  • Coming up with questions, sending to mayor in advance.
  • Finalizing questions tonight…
  • Half DCNA questions, other half public
  • Development / Redevelopment Plans
  • Retaining experts? Other municipalities?
  • What is the communication between other municipalities and us?
  • Budget transparency/ Analysis
  • Jersey Ave Bridge
  • Casino – why is the community against the casino?
  • Quality of life
  • Reval

Brian Platt coming in Feb to talk about pedestrian mall

November 2015 VVPA Monthly Meeting Minutes

07 Dec 2015, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – November 17th, 2015

7:07pm – Call to Order – President Oona Moore

  • Moment of silence for Meredith Lippman – Hudson County Cultural Affairs, Van Vorst Neighbor

Officer / Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • Accounts in good financial standing

Construction /Development Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • Columbus Towers – developer haven’t come back to city planning as of yet, will reach out to Candice Osborne and Bob Kotter, head City Planner for update
  • 243, 261, 263 York St – sent revised drawings to development sub-committee for this proposed project; not all concerns addressed from when they presented previously, awaiting developer to make changes

Bright & Varick Committee Report– Ceci de Leon

  • Waiting to be scheduled by courts
  • Need to pay attorney’s fees
  • VVPA still not fully involved in the conversation – it’s between developer and city (despite our desire to be involved)

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

  • Haunted Gazeebo and Shake your Ghoul thing – very successful!
  • Barrow Mansion Development Corporation in cooperation with VVPA – Deck the Halls on Friday, 12/4/15; Open House Party/Tour of Mansion on Saturday, 12/5/15. Free and open to all!

Election for 2016 VVPA Board Members –Dan Webber, Elections Officer

  • Uncontested positions, per by-laws the individuals below assume the positions at the end of tonight’s meeting:
  • President – Oona Moore
  • 1st VP –Gerry Bakirtjy
  • 2nd VP – Jeff Agnew
  • Treasurer – Tom Ogorzalek
  • Secretary – Yolanda Foley
  • At Large – John Ross
  • At Large – Ben Bernouy

Voting on Changes to VVPA By-Laws – Dan Webber

  • Increased voting limits of members from $400 to $499
  • Board can spend up to $500 w/o submitting to a general vote, can approve it 2x w/in one month
  • Voting for funds requested at a meeting will be pushed to the subsequent meeting
  • At large positions will be permanent positions; President can appoint 2 additional positions at their discretion; past president will stay a permanent position; positions will be for 2 years, and elections for positions will be staggered; Nominations moved to October; Elections moved to November
  • New bylaws have been adopted.

New Business

  • Guest Speakers Riverview Neighborhood Association President – Kern Weisman & Treasurer – Roger; and Esther Wintner – involved with Civic JC and with neighborhood association in Lincoln Park
  • Discussed community concerns with DRAFT Central Ave Redevelopment Plan without Community Input or consideration for infrastructure, transportation, etc. Also discussed lack of Master Plan for the City and City’s continued ignoring of this concern.
  • Downtown Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (DCNA) – Top 3 Common Neighborhood Issues:
  • Master Plan – vision for city?
  • No more redevelopment plans without community input!
  • Spot zoning/restaurant under the guise of overlay zone
  • Strength in numbers for common city issues! Want to come together across the city to address these as a city. JCNC – Jersey City Neighborhood Coalition
  • Discussed how to move forward as a collective

Guest Speakers

Frank Scalcione from the JC Residents Response Center

  • Located room 106 in City Hall; Open 8am – 8pm
  • Process: complaints submitted – submitter provided tracking number as a reference (tracking #s create accountability) – issue addressed – response to submitter
  • Internal process to prioritize calls exists; however, resident isn’t informed of prioritization or timeframe for resolution
  • Recent PSE&G milling & paving issues – were resolved without RRC initially; however RRC says it is important to involve them so they can address quickly and create log/tracking
    • Signs up less than 24 hours on Varick between Columbus and Montgomery – JCRCC needs to get involved to address this immediately.
  • People don’t have confidence in the RRC’s ability to rapidly address issues in real time situation
    • What is done with the data from the complaints? Is there a data dashboard being developed? Not sure how/if this is being analyzed.
  • Call JCPD Non-Emergency Number for off-hours issues: 201.547.5477; JCRRR needs an off-hours response center person for non-emergency time sensitive issues.
  • JCRRC need to set expectations for submitters for timeframe for when issue will be resolved, or when JCRRC will get back to submitter.
  • JCRRC stated they follow up with submitters to ensure that the issue was resolved to their satisfaction.

274 Barrow Street Project: proposed 2-story addition to existing single story 3 car garage located on Montgomery St.

  • Tabled

Announcements & Community networking

  • Many committee people, working on getting a list of all committee people in the area, as well as preparing a map to identify block captains; increases network, increases safety.
  • Members will be working on updating logo for brand identity
  • Newly appointed Directors: Angelo Estrada, director of outreach; Dermot Ronan, director of special projects (brochure for new residents, sponsorship committee)

Adjournment – 9:15 pm

October 2015 VVPA Meeting Minutes

23 Oct 2015, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – October 20th, 2015

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

  • Appointed Director – Angelo Estrada, founding member of association, will be tasked with outreach
  • Appointed Director – Dermot Ronan – will help w/ VVPA brochure, sponsorship
  • New Position: Past President – Marlene Sandkamp

Election for Board Members – Slate Announcement [Voting Scheduled for November Monthly Meeting]

  • President – Oona Moore
  • 1st VP –Gerry Bakirtjy
  • 2nd VP – Jeff Agnew
  • Treasurer – Tom Ogorzalek
  • Secretary – Yolanda Foley
  • At Large – John Ross
  • At Large – Ben Bernouy

New Business

  • Parking changes proposed by Candice Osborne – Aaron Morrill, Committee Person
      • Concerns/Ideas:
        • Muni-meters on all streets – residents can have stickers and flags for guests;
        • No Change in street cleaning due to accumulated debris from trees causing blocked culverts;
        • Lack of vetting with neighbors for proposed changes;
        • Use of public garages will get more use if muni-meters exist on streets;
        • All changes are dependent on ticket enforcement;
        • Increase in non-resident parking from 2 hour to 3 hours is detrimental to residents, encourages non-residents to use spots residents are competing for;
        • Many huge restaurants coming in – where is the parking that goes along with it? City needs to incorporate issues like this into the master plan.
        • One neighbor’s recommended reading: “The High Cost of Free Parking”, by Donald Shoup.
      • 2nd Reading will be at next City Council Meeting – all are encouraged to attend and voice their opinions
      • Link to Slideshow containing the proposed parking changes can be found here.  Please send all comments you may have on this proposal by November 1st to Candice Osborne (candice@candiceosborne.com) and copy VVPA (vvpanews@gmail.com) to help establish a neighborhood position.

Officer / Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Tom Ogorzalek

  • Tabled

Construction /Development Committee Report – Gerry Bakirtjy for Tom Ogorzalek

  • 224 Barrow – will come to next meeting, still need to meet w/ Historic Preservation
  • 224 York St – revising drawings
  • 87 Bright St – revising drawings to address our concerns
  • City Hall Redevelopment Project – Civic JC Lawsuit filed lawsuit.  VVPA and Hamilton Park voted to support. Cynthia will go to DCNA whenever we need her to discuss with other associations.
  • Jersey Ave Bridge – Candice replied to DCNA letter. Due to deep DEP issues, bridge is on hold for now. Want new person in traffic/engineering to come to next meeting.
  • Christopher Columbus Project – on hold with developer.

Bright & Varick Committee Report– Ceci de Leon & Marlene Sandkamp

  • Cynthia (lawyer) hasn’t heard from city, would like to send letter to City on our behalf indicating what VVPA would like to see at this lot.
    • Per letter from Rushman (developer), his terms are: 24 units, 12 ground floor parking spaces, 20 year tax abatement; Dismissal with prejudice, but keep automatic approval in place; Formal action saying there was no ambiguity in the plan; JCRA modify contract dates
    • VVPA’s position: 16 units/no parking or 24 units/12 parking spots; Cap development at a height that is consistent with historic neighborhood, No abatement, no automatic approval. Any plan will need to be looked at for massing and density before being approved.
    • Motion made for VVPA’s position as described above, seconded, and majority voted in favor of the VVPA position.

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

  • Halloween Ghoul Bash – Buy tickets online, will also need volunteers throughout the night – contact VVPA to volunteer. Food, drinks, DJ, dancing, prizes at the party. Tell your friends!
  • FREE! Haunted Gazeebo in Park – Bring kids!
  • FREE! Rocky Horror Picture Show on Saturday, 10/24, in Van Vorst Park

 Voting on Changes to VVPA By-Laws

  • Proposed changes to VVPA By-Laws can be found here.  All will have until next meeting for suggestions/changes.  Will discuss and vote next meeting on the proposed changes.

Guest Speakers

Board of Education Candidates Presentation – Elections 11/3/15

    • Everyone has skin in the game: good public schools paves the way for our future leaders. Having a strong education results in strengthened community, good jobs for kids and enriched lives. As homeowners, you need to be concerned with the school budget as some of your taxes pay for schools.Gina Verdibillo – Independent Candidate, Ballot Position 2D
      Vidya Gangadin – Current Board President, Ballot Position 3D
      Marilyn Roman – Current Board Vice President, Ballot Position 4D
      John Reichart – Ballot Position 1D – not in attendance

Announcements & Community networking

  • Committee People working on appointing block Captains
  • Thanks to Sheridan Bell , 1st VP, who is stepping down from the board after his term ends this year.
  • Petition for lighting in Van Vorst Park Dog Park is posted on “Next Door” app/website.  You can also access the link to the petition here – all are encouraged to check out the petition and to join the Next Door application for additional information

Adjournment – 9:05 pm

June 2015 VVPA Meeting Minutes

01 Jul 2015, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – June 16th, 2015

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

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


Officer / Committee Reports

Treasurer Report – Tom Ogorzalek

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

Construction Committee Report – Tom Ogorzalek

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

Bright & Varick Committee Report– Ceci de Leon

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

Events Committee Report – Eric Carter/Marlene Sandkamp

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


Guest Speakers

Deputy Mayor Marcos Vigil

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

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

Joyce Watterman

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

Announcements & Community networking

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

Adjournment – 9:15 pm

May 2015 VVPA Meeting Minutes

03 Jun 2015, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – May 19th, 2015

Call to Order – 7:05 pm Officer/Committee Reports

  • Treasurer Report – Tom Ogorzalek
    • All accounts in good standing. As a reminder, the funds that are raised by VVPA go towards community enhancements/events.
  • Construction Liaison Report – Tom Ogorzalek
    • 128 Bright St – part of redevelopment plan, got approvals, delayed construction but should start in ~30 days.
    • 265 York St – will start construction in ~15-20 days, will post sign w/ phone #s on site.
    • Bright & Barrow – storefront glass going in – Tom will review plans to see if it the construction conforms to the approved plan. It was approved years ago by Historic Board. The project is part of the Bright Street redevelopment plan.
    • Concerns have been raised regarding the building under construction on the corner of Barrow and Wayne. (Delforno Building) – Historic Board approved it already, but it appears that construction is taking a long time and appears to be stopped.
  • Bright & Varick Committee – Ceci DeLeon
    • VVPA attorneys filed a Motion to supplement the record; The Developer’s attorney then filed Motion of Opposition to that. VVPA attorneys then filed a Motion Requesting Leave to reply to that (basically to oppose developer’s opposition). We are currently waiting to see if the Motions will be accepted into the record.
  • Events/Cultural Affairs Committee –Marlene Sandkamp
    • June 10th – first showing of 11thAnnual Films in Van Vorst. Movies will be every other Wednesday in the summer, rain date is the following week. Rain announcements are posted on JC List, tweeted, and emailed. Popcorn available!
    • June 20th – Van Vorst Salsa night – will have DJ & dance instructor, food truck available to purchase food
    • August 22nd– 2nd annual disco in the park
    • Special Donation – Dixon Advisory is supporting by making a $10K donation to the Films in Van Vorst. 237 Montgomery Street is most recent renovation —- Rebecca is available to give neighbors a tour to see what types of renovations Dixon does (tour before June 15th!)
    • Always looking for volunteers! Come 30-45 minutes before films to set up, or stay behind to help pack away the movies paraphernalia. Send an email to vvpanews@gmail.com if you are interested in volunteering for Films or any of the other community events.


Issues for the Good of the Community

  • Canopy onbodega on Wayne– gates always down, aesthetically unsightly.
    • Call/use RRC app for Mayor’s residence response center
  • Jersey Ave & Newark St. – potted plants/benches – benches are facing the street, not potted plants.
    • Write letter to City Parks/Recreation because city owns benches
  • Who issues parking permits? Building on Barrow/Wayne – permits for 4-5 cars for months on end
    • Call/use RRC app for Mayor’s residence response center
  • First time attendee – Chairman of Board for JCMC – all neighbors invited to behind the scenes enhancing life tour. Next tour June 9th. New Women’s Health Center opening on Grove Street by PATH.

Guest Speakers

  • Jonathan Schwartz & David Minno of BNE Group
  • Project located on corner of Barrow & Columbus. Currently there is a historic 4 story brick building and large parking lot on the site (comes mid-block between Columbus & Wayne).
  • Proposal to restore building at front of property to current 4-story size. Taller portion of building would be set back from rear, Columbus & Barrow – proposed full height of the building – 18 stories. Club room & fitness room @ 4th floor – some units have private terraces. This level begins the setback. Proposed green wall along height of garage on Wayne St., proposing green roof as well. Vehicular entrance in/out proposed on Barrow.
  • Current redevelopment plan is zoned for 8 stories. When Developer initially came to VVPA, they preliminarily discussed plans for 14 stories all along site. The new plans keep heights at 4 stories along curb to address community concerns, and in order to make this an “economically feasible” project (according to the Developer), they need to make up the difference by making an 18 story tower in the back of the property.
  • Looking to amend redevelopment plan. Parking lot is outside bounds of historic district. When redevelopment plan gets reopened, it is available for public comment.
  • Community Concerns:
  • Trafficvehicular entrance on Barrow will add too much traffic on one way streets that are already congested. Consider moving entrance to Columbus.
  • Building HeightProposed 18 story height not appropriate for community. Plan is Egregious and obnoxious. Adjacency of PATH stop and width of Columbus, according to developer, makes it appropriate.
    • Community Impact – blocking light of surrounding community, impact to other neighborhood associations/concern for setting precedent to build large towers in small neighborhoods, noise concerns from constant hum of machinery.According to developer, won’t throw shadows to south to surrounding neighbors. For pedestrians, they will notice cornice line along the street, not the full height of the building.
    • Environmental Impact – Potential pile driving would severely adversely affect historic homes, community is full of toxins in the ground and in the buildings – how will you protect the neighbors/neighborhood from contamination?
    • Parking – 140 units planned, but only 56 parking spots planned. How is this good for the neighborhood?   Where are all the extra cars going to park when the neighborhood is already congested? Also, if you are getting rid of the parking lot that currently exists, where are all those cars going to park?
    • Infrastructure – How can PATH keep up with this influx of people when we are currently underserved? How will this impact the already overtaxed sewer system?
    • Elected Officials
      • When does this stop??? You create ordinances to stop chain stores, yet you allow this monster construction proposal to go through without question.
      • Constant changes to redevelopment plans – our elected official need to recognize this and help in this matter. We can’t always be fighting requests to change redevelopment plans – you need to stop this at the source.


Because of numerous concerns regarding this proposed Development, VVPA will schedule a follow up meeting dedicated to this topic.

  • Candice Osborne, Councilwoman, Ward E
  • Comments to Councilwoman about Development:
    • Very frustrating and wasteful of community time to have to keep fighting Developers that come in with ridiculous asks. This was a final Redevelopment plan – when does final mean final?! Redevelopment plans being amended don’t require public notice (Candice looking to change this to include notice process).
    • If we are opposed to plan, how do we make our voices heard?
      • Funnel through neighborhood association, or call councilwoman. Speak at planning board (public hearing), city council 1st reading (not allowed to speak during this reading, but can sign up 5 minutes at the end of the meeting to speak), or 2nd reading of city council.
    • Parking Update – Conducted brainstorming session w/ 2 neighbors from each association. New construction – can’t get parking on street if parking is available in the building (developers feel tenants won’t pay for parking, but if your building has parking you can’t get zone permits). Loophole in parking enforcement because hours are 8-5pm w/2 hr window on each side where you are allowed to park. Looking to close loophole. Proposal to reduce street sweeping to 2 day/week, not 4 days/week. Limited resources/employees. Too many zones – maybe dual zones? Streets where we have no parking where it shouldn’t be.
    • Quality of Life/Crosswalks – 50 new intersection signs ordered. Crosswalks – all but 5 painted that are not on repaving schedule or PSEG schedule.
    • Newark Ave Pedestrian Mall – Taken all feedback, trying to organize comments into buckets to address (design, operate, legislate). Permanent closure = traffic feeding into other neighborhoods. 3 lanes – 2 will be closed, one will remain open.
    • Combined sewer storm systems – What will proposed project do to our neighborhood? Will need to follow up w/ MUA. Consent decree to replace sewers. Different ways to solve problems.Depending on developer’s plan, there may be retention requirements for the plan – could be less impact to sewer system (especially if plan is replacing a parking lot where all runoff goes into the system).
  • Committee person elections
    • Bertram & Lorraine – 29th district (ward F). Every district has 1 male, 1 female. Vote on reorganization of state/city democratic committee. Lowest level of political entrée. Large voices. Bertram is interested in school, kids. Election is June 2nd.


Announcements &Events

  • Full listing of events and announcements available on May Monthly Newsletter


  • Winner of Golf 4Some package was announced

Adjournment – 9:10 pm

March 2015 VVPA Meeting Minutes (Updated)

19 Mar 2015, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Call to Order

Officer Reports

  • President – Oona Moore
    • No pressing concerns
  • Treasurer& Construction Liaison – Tom Ogorzalek
    • Accounts in good standing
    • 265 York St. – Presented letter at Historic Board Meeting re: concerns about cornice, window size, massing for project. Project conditionally approved pending change to windows
    • 518 Jersey Avenue Laundromat approved
    • 227 Montgomery – minor concern re bulkhead – project not approved, special meeting needed by Historic Commission
    • 124 Bright St. – tabled
    • 223-225 Pavonia – spot zoning concerns, precedent setting concerns, once variance granted, it is allowed for the life of the property – several of the neighborhood associations against it (Paulus Hook and Harsimus Cove). Item pulled from meeting agenda at developer’s request
    • DCNA pressuring for new master plan
    • Purpose of Various Meetings:
      • Historic Preservation Commission – all projects inside Historic District
      • Board of Adjustments –projects asking for something not allowed by zoning (variance requests)
      • Planning Board – projects in conformance with zoning, but due to scale, may need to come in front of this board; also, projects asking for change to redevelopment plan
        • City Planning usually requests that developer comes to local community before presenting to them (although this is not codified yet)

Committee Reports

  • Events/Cultural Affairs Committee – Eric Carter
    • 80’s Prom in Barrow Mansion on April 11th – Porta official after party – need to update on Website; Need additional volunteers for specific duties on the night of the event – contact Eric Carter (ericblairc@yahoo.com) to volunteer
    • Salsa Merengue & Disco nights planned outdoor in park – Summer
  • Bright & Varick Committee – Ceci DeLeon
    • Briefs due April, attorney looking for extension due to other obligations. No further updates at this point.

Other Issues for the Good of Our Community

  • Pedestrian Mall (Newark Ave.) – Nothing resolved yet, need another meeting to address multitude of concerns (police issues, traffic, noise)
  • Re-examination report – historic district expanded to include parts of Lincoln Park; all re-examination reports become an addendum to the ordinance
  • No updates on playground equipment for Angel Ramos Park
  • Metro Towers – No final redevelopment plan yet with City planning yet
  • Street sweeping started, will start enforcing Thursday
  • Potholes aggressively being addressed by city – call Resident Response Center to report them
  • Community concerns re: “911” calls – lack of response, untimely response and giving hard time – Angelo to discuss with Police Captain

Guest Speakers

  • Continuum Design (Tom Ogorzalek) – 220 York St. – Ish Sadek, Owner, Silverman, Construction Manager – Project exceed allowable bldg. coverage for the property and requires a deviation, but is in conformance with all the setbacks. Project will be scheduled to be heard at Historic Commission and Planning Board in April.
    • Met with Historic & Planning already
    • Tried to keep in look and massing of other buildings in the area