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


January 2015 VVPA Meeting Minutes (Revised)

19 Feb 2015, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

January 20th, 2015 Meeting Minutes

  • Guest Speakers
    • Bill Matsukoudis & Fanciullo LLC & Studio V Architecture presenting on Metropolis Towers
      • Requesting revision of an existing approved redevelopment plan for the coop (Metropolitan Towers). The residential towers approved by the existing plan would be similar to the existing towers and would be aligned along Christopher Columbus. Jay Valgora, architect from Studio V, described the new plan as essentially that the overall goal is to reintegrate the new development back into downtown, including green roofs.
      • Redevelopment plan existing for ~40 years. Within plan, got approval to build 2 new towers. None of stakeholders like the tower ideas, so want to scrap it and get a revised redevelopment plan that will help to reintegrate this property back into the community. Site originally encompassed first city hall and park. Want to bring in elements of how city originally was. Will take 8-10 years to complete, in phases. First phase will be the parking and supermarket.
      • Proposing: narrower towers with a light & airy feel, structured parking within the interior (3), a new street within the property, a new park/green area/green roofs, carry pedestrian walk of Newark Ave into the property, and include retail along the edges (no more fences) so that it leads into Newark Ave.
      • Sustainable strategies / storm water strategies (storm water retention that will help this site and surrounding community)
      • Community concerns
        • High Winds – you address it by breaking up massing of site
        • Rentals vs Coops? Will be decided as project advances and as market dictates
        • Why difference in heights of bldgs.? To be able to incorporate green space, need to go up in height. And, this fits in with the surrounding bldgs.
        • Could this storm water solution carry over to other projects? Possibly – this will be a pilot and hopefully a model for other developments.
        • Permeability and Retention: Today 100% impermeable; future: 32% is green space which will be permeable + green roofs.
        • Today: 800 units. Approved for 1200+ units total. Developer looking to do 1883 units (which is ~600 additional units above approval). Retail – 160K sq ft proposed.
        • Impact of additional ridership on PATH with new towers – have met with Port Authority (PA) to address concerns. Can’t force PA’s hand, but
        • Next step: Drafting redevelopment plan, then will put up website with all the info/renderings. Will do mailing (with email address for questions and the date for the planning board meeting). Bob and Jeff are the planners involved in the project.
    • Derk Garlick, Architect for 518 Jersey Ave
      • The project is the Carolinas Laundromat located at 518 Jersey Avenue. They have filed an application with the HPC and will file one with the Zoning Board shortly.
      • Owner wants to move family into top 2 floors and put retail space below (possibly restaurant instead of Laundromat)
      • Proposing two separate retail stores with a more historic detailing
      • Looking to get on the February Historic Meeting, board of Adjustments in March and Construction in the spring. Will also need planning variances for increasing bulk over existing non-compliance, building & lot coverage, and maintaining existing non-conforming parking
    • Elena from Pasta Dal Cuore – 527 Jersey Ave – www.pastadalcuorejc.com
      • “Pasta Dal Cuore began as a dream born in Colorno, a small town outside of Parma, Italy in 2010 while attending culinary school at ALMA. After traveling extensively thru Italy researching the best restaurants known for their fresh pasta, I returned home to Jersey City with the goal of owning my own pasta shop. It is our mission to make fresh pasta with all-natural quality ingredients. In the near future we are planning on adding cheeses, butters and home-made sauces to accompany our fresh pastas.”
      • Opened in November, 2014 – fresh pasta sold up front, soon will have restaurant in back
    • New Business
      • In the spirit of volunteerism, we ask for folks to help out in any way that they can
      • Planning & Development sub-committee – need help! See Tom to join committee. This is an opportunity to learn about the process and shape the committee around you
      • Liberty State Park – looking for conditional veto for language in a bill which, if allowed in the bill, would allow for the park to be run by concessionaire and allow development on the land
      • Events Committee – community builders, fundraisers, movies, etc.
      • Bright & Varick – VVPA has filed appeal of automatic approval that was granted by Judge via NJ Appleseed (non-profit). Will need help from volunteers, and will continue to need to do fundraisers to pay for this
      • Pedestrian Plaza – Harsimus Cove is running the show on this issue – it really should be a DCNA issue for a more collaborative voice. Oona will bring it up at next quarterly DCNA meeting.
      • Change of use/ownership of real property proposed amendment at the City Council’s 1/20/15 meeting. As realtor, redundant system in place to ensure that property is used as zoned – don’t need this additional fee – adds unnecessary time and month. Community was opposed to it, issue was tabled pending revision.
      • Events: North River Sing at St. Matthews; Art House Productions Snowball on 24th; City Council Meeting on 28th – see vvpa.org for details

February 2015 VVPA Meeting Minutes

19 Feb 2015, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – February 17th, 2015

Call to Order

Guest Speakers

  • Jeff Zak – Revised Plans from 333 Grand St. (Liberty Harbor)
    • Revised redevelopment plan to switch buildings around in plan to accommodate community input.   Looking to be in front of planning board in next month or two. Corner of Jersey & Grand will be resident entrance – the Jersey Ave and Grand Street sides will have retail.
      • “Wet Flood proofing” – allows retail to remain on ground level by using waterproof construction materials inside the retail spaces and utilities located above ground level.
      • Parking – amended zoning to allow VVP residents to park in there (internal ~160/month, external ~100/month). Jeff Zak to send information regarding parking.   Eventually looking to have parking authority create a liberty harbor zone when streets are dedicated.
      • Looking to attract a large, upscale, gourmet “food market” to the location, not a giant supermarket (101 spots allocated for retail market)
  • Ed Ciolko – Construction Manager for 274 Barrow Street (at Montgomery St.)
    • Dr. Florence Chan (owner) – would like to put carriage house on top of 3 garages that are located on Montgomery St. to improve neighborhood, and improve own property aesthetics. Haven’t spoken to Historic Commission yet (formally) about this.
    • Carriage house will be two 1-bedrooms apartments with common means of egress/ingress. Building will be brick with small Juliette balconies that don’t protrude into the neighborhood.
    • Community generally in agreement with idea, with some concerns about stairs and roofline. Concern is about awkward stairs which will be eyesore to neighborhood/not consistent with historic standards and that roofline is not consistent with the neighborhood. Community also wants to know which variances are needed for this project.
  • Angie Szani of United Rescue Recruitment – angieszani@gmail.com, aszani@unitedrescue.us, 201.294.5479, www.unitedrescue.us
    • Community based Emergency Care sponsored Mayor Fulop & JCMC. Volunteers (18+) are trained to respond to health emergencies in JC. Can stabilize people, not administer medication. Pilot program will be the model for the United States.
    • 60-90 hours of training for first aid care until first responders can get there. Volunteers given equipment and app on phone to respond. Goal is to cut response time in half, and looking to recruit ~100 volunteers by July (throughout JC). Training expected to begin in next 3 months.
    • Concern regarding liability Issue – United Rescue volunteers are covered under the JCMC for liability issues.
  • Councilwoman Joyce Watterman – Community Update – Postponed for future meeting.

Committee Reports

  • Events/Cultural Affairs Committee – Eric Carter
    • 80’s Prom in Barrow Mansion on April 11th – Van Vorst Boogie Facebook Page will be updated soon, and looking for people to submit pictures of themselves in the 80’s.Will go on sale 3/1/15 on EventBrite
    • Salsa Merengue outdoor in park – Summer
    • Country Western Hoedown – Fall
    • Meetball – No date yet – still need to find place
    • Always looking for volunteers!
  • Bright & Varick Committee – Ceci DeLeon
    • VVPA gave Rushman points of what we would negotiate for, but for now negotiation is off the table. Full steam ahead on appeal.
  • Construction & Planning Committee
    • Had 1st planning meeting tonight – some folks on committee following up on Metropolis Towers that was discussed at last month’s VVPA meeting
    • Historic Preservation meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, 2/18/15) – City Hall, 6:30pm. All are encouraged to attend. Items scheduled for tomorrow’s HP meeting:
      • 265 York St- Hasn’t addressed majority of changes community requested
      • 124 Bright St. – Not much controversy when it was presented to VVPA in 2014, the Planning + Development Committee reviewed some recent revisions to the materials for the building and did not have any problems with the changes.
      • Grove Street Synagogue – controversy regarding taking lions down when it was presented to VVPA. No idea what they are going to present on or if they incorporated our feedback into the plans.
      • 11 Wayne St. – existing non-conforming issues.
    • Planning issue in Hamilton Park – looking to put a restaurant with liquor license in a location that does not allow this use. There is also an issue with respect to proximity to school. City looking to make this a part of restaurant row overlay to allow the liquor license at this location. The project will need to go to Board of Adjustment for a Use variance first to make this happen. If this mechanism gets used in this location, it can be copied in other neighborhoods. This issue came up at the DCNA meeting – some people want this, but neighbors recognized that if they support it, it can be precedent setting for all of Jersey City.
    • Planning issue – Tom & Ceci (in an advisory role) gave help to planning board to draft Café ordinance.

Officer Reports

  • President – Oona Moore
    • No pressing concerns
  • Treasurer – Tom Ogorzalek
  • At-Large Members – Ben Bernouy (Parking Issues Meeting with Candice Osborne)
    • February 4th meeting with Candice Osborne with Parking Enforcement and Safety. Attendees identified top 5 issues, along with potential solutions:
      • Capacity(abated builders to contribute to fund to build municipal lots; unused spaced in public housing spaces, reach out to retailers to create drop off/pick up zones {e.g. Pathmark, Hospital}; angled parking for double wide streets
      • Day lighting (bumping out curb to prevent parking too close to curb)
      • Enforcement (parking meter through phone – free for residents)
      • Expanding zone hours (make past 5pm)
      • Street sweeping (change time and/or frequency, or hire a person to manually sweep sidewalk).
    • Will create poll on Facebook page to have community vote on top 2 issues they want addressed from the list brought forth at this meeting.
    • Community also very concerned about traffic lights issue that was brought up several times but hasn’t been addressed yet (timing of lights for pedestrians to safely walk)

Other Business/Events

  • Killing Lincoln Movie at 5 Corners Library
  • City Council Meeting – 2/15/15
  • Newark Ave pedestrian experiment from last summer – Early March for community input
  • Safety concerns – attend the Captain’s Meeting for East District – typically 4th Tuesday of the month, but for this month only meeting was moved to 4th Monday of the month at 7pm in the MS4 Library


December 2014 VVPA Meeting Minutes (Revised)

19 Feb 2015, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – December 16th, 2014

  • Call to Order / introduction of board
  • Old Business
    • Review of Putting on the Ritz Soiree
  • New Business
    • The Lincoln Park West Golf Course – Norman Guerra, Chief Executive Officer , Hudson County Improvement Authority
      • Norman Guerra, Michel Cohen, Dale Wesselmen
        • Autonomous agency partners with towns in Hudson County: Re-development work, solar projects, recreation
        • Landfill/wetlands restorations project and capping of landfill
        • Vision: 9 hole golf course
        • Created public walkway and restoration of marine life in the area
        • Eventually (next phase 3-4 years) will get a permanent club house and mini golf
        • Will be open 7 Days a week, will offer tours starting in April, 2015
        • Irrigation system in place, no need to use potable water
        • Target opening date: May, 2015
        • Public Transportation: Busses at corner of Duncan Ave.
        • First public golf course – projected fees of $21 (without cart); will offer in-county and out-of county rates
        • Company called Kemper will maintain/operate course
        • Cost to build? Some of costs financed by DEP for wetlands restoration. In total, approx. $25M
    • 265 York Street – Phillip Gesue will present a design for a new townhouse at 265 York Street with a 4′ height variance
      • Phillip Gesue and Jeff Jordan, Misa Odanaka
      • 12 unit condominium currently with large gravel parking lot
      • Will add a 4 story building, 4 units + site improvement to address drainage and parking issues on site
      • Vision: showpiece for neighborhood with a lot of landscape architecture
      • Plan: reduce parking lot area (~15 parking spots) to allow for landscape architecture to buffer between buildings. Plan is that condominium owners will be allotted a space, except the owner
      • Will additional landscape in front of building will have to be a franchise? Probably, as the existing landscape is franchised
      • Flooding concerns will be addressed as per FEMA. Outside of historic district, can raise to allowable limit plus FEMA elevation. Inside historic district, not clear cut, but overall building height is currently taken from street level. FEMA flood zone is 30”, have to be 1’ above it. Need to figure out how to address windows to complement surroundings – presenters gave 2 options
      • Balance: respect tradition and history, yet be true to yourself and where the profession is going
      • Community concerns: factory looking – do something with the windows to address it? Where is the design at the top of the building (cornice) – building is lacking without it. One comment is that it’s not historic, and yet it’s not modern……it’s too much in the middle and it “doesn’t’ work”. Another comment: put a requirement for mandated uniform window treatments.Brick color is jarring – consider going back to grey option.
      • What specific elements make it fit with the neighborhood? Being brick, proportions of windows, rhythm of windows, overall mass of buildings, and proportions of openings. Building should be “of its time”, and as an architect you need to build something that will “stand the test of time”
      • Going for height variance due to flood issue.
    • Eric Flemming – Lacrosse Program March – June, K-8. No experience or equipment required. www.jerseylacrosse.com. FREE CLINICS!
    • Potluck Dinner Celebration!

October 2014 VVPA Meeting Minutes

22 Oct 2014, Posted by Oona Moore in Minutes

Thank you to all who came out last night.  It was a packed house–

Thanks to Leah Guy from Modern Sage a new wellness, meditation, massage you name it feel good store on Newark Ave.  She kindly brought us a gift bag from her store which we used last night as a door prize.  One lucky gal went home with a bag of goodies!  If you haven’t been to Modern Sage–it’s really a treat for the senses. And Leah knows every product in there…Check it out!  Modern Sage 315 2nd Street.

Dixon Leasing gave us a rundown on their processes and properties in the Van Vorst Park area.  Dixon is an Australian company that bought a number of houses in Hudson County, NY and Brooklyn.  We currently have 22 of their properties in our neighborhood.  They discussed the renovation of a number of those properties and addressed some concerns about the construction and tenants.  Rebbecca Symes  and John Wellendorf are available at anytime if anyone has any issues with their properties.  For a full list of those properties contact us at vvpanews@gmail.com, Rebecca at Rebecca.Symes@dixon.com.au or John at John. Wellandorf@dixon.com.au

We also welcomed a number of school board candidates.  There was plenty of questions raised and some spirited discussions.  The candidates are participating in a forum hosted by Historic Paulus Hook  Association (HPHA) this Thursday October 23rd 7 pm at PS16 96 Sussex Street.  You can check out their FB event page here.In the meantime here are the candidates we met last night.  Get to know them a little better–

The Parents for Excellence Team:  Bertram Okpokwasili, Moncia Kress & Carol Harrison-Aronold.  Betram and Carol are currently Board members and Bertram is a Van Vorster.  Check out parentsforexellence.com

The Children First Team: Gerald Lyons, Gina Verdibello, Lorenzo Richardson.  You can read more about them on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheChildrenFirstTeam

Joel Torres—Joel is running independent of a ticket. He has his own Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/MrJoelTorres and website: http://www.torres4jcboe.com.

Take a few minutes…make an informed vote on November 4th!

Reminder we will be in the park this weekend hanging ribbons on our Breast Cancer Awareness tree.We will also be  ghouling it up on Halloween in the park from 4-8pm handing out candy and hot cider. AND….

SAVE THE DATE!  December 12th–Van Vorst Boogie is back!  In the Barrow Mansion….this one will be a fundraiser for us to continue the free dances in the park next summer.  But wait…it’s going to be a “great” night….food, drinks, live music, DJ Dancing Tony….a very spirited holiday party!

There is still time to get really involved in your community….we are looking for a few good men and women to join our Board of Directors…if you’ve attended at least 3 meetings last year and live in the Van Vorst district you are eligible.  Community service is cool and rewarding…look what it did for Steve Fulop! He was once the president of HPHA!





October 2013 VVPA Meeting Minutes

26 Oct 2013, Posted by admin in Minutes

Ellen Simon & Micheline Amy-Board of Education Candidates

Ellen & Micheline spoke with us briefly on their background and goals
if they were to be elected to the Board of Education. They both have children in public schools here in Jersey City and have been active PTA members. Some of the highlights of their campaign…longer school days for our children to allow time for recess, expanding the federally funded school breakfast program, bringing translators to BOE meetings and having them start later to accommodate parents coming home from work, engaging Neighborhood Associations with their local schools, etc. Great meeting them and we wish them luck.

CAKE LUSH 437 Jersey Ave:
Our construction liaison gave an update on CAKE LUSH/CARVEL, LLC at the corner of Bright & Jersey. This property has been denied a zoning variance in the past for restaurant use, appealed and lost in NJ Supreme Court and was denied by Historic Preservation Commission last month. The same applicant will be asking for the same variance this evening at the Zoning Board of Adjustments, City Council Chamber, City Hall at 6pm. Please come and voice your concerns. STOP BY on your way home from work!

Latest update and strategy meeting for the Bright & Varick Redevelopment project. We have uploaded all our research on this project to a website. If anyone is looking for more information, feel free to direct them to: http://www.brightandvarick.blogspot.com/–

We are still unsure when the developer will present his plans to the Planning Board. We were unable to obtain a set of plans to post on our blog. The JCRA told us that the developer “is concerned with having plans privately reviewed that are not approved by the Planning Department.” You can call the Planning office at 201.547.5010 and ask when they will be available to view. Or if you can go to Planning office: 30 Montgomery 14th Floor. We will let you all know as soon as we do when this in on the Planning Board agenda.

We discussed fundraising. We’ve added a donate button under the What You Can Do page on our blogspot.


Thursday October 24th 7-9pm-BOE Candidate Forum
The HPHA will host a BOE Candidate Forum at PS16 Bradford School 96 Sussex Street. Free and open to the public.

Thursday October 31st 4-?? HALLOWEEN in Van Vorst Park!!
We’re back!!!! Ready for a Ghoul Time??? Stop by for candy, hot cider and spooktacular fun with the Van Vorst Park Association and Friends of Van Vorst Park on Halloween. After darkness, 8:30pm, Hudson Shakespeare Company will be performing a special Halloween treat…

J City Theater is BACK!!
October 11th through 26th 8pm Wednesdays through Saturdays
J CITY Theater launches their 8th Season with Apartment 3A, written by actor and playwright Jeff Daniels. The play is a sardonic romantic comedy that revolves around Annie Wilson, a public television employee who loses her faith in God, men and even PBS. Underground Theater at St Michaels Church 252 9th Street Jersey City. Check out http://www.jcity.org/ for more info!!

February 2013 VVPA Meeting Minutes

24 Feb 2013, Posted by admin in Minutes

Our next meeting will be March 19th–hope to see you there!!All are welcome; snacks served!Email us with questions or ideas for upcoming meetings at vvpanews@gmail.com

Meeting Minutes:

Representatives from FEMA came…   Seymour Smith of FEMA Region II presented and explained the Advisory Flood Maps developed by FEMA from data collected over the past couple of years not including Superstorm Sandy however.  These study maps are advisory only and have no regulatory or insurance implications. They shall be used to update the information on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) which are due out sometime in August when it will undergo a 12-18 month comment period before going into effect. The FIRM maps show each community’s flood hazards and is required for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The FIRM is used to determine who must buy flood insurance.     FEMA Region 2 website: http://www.region2coastal.com/home   Link to  FEMA Advisory Base Flood Elevation Map http://fema.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=2f0a884bfb434d76af8c15c26541a545   Bob Durrin, of FEMA Region 9, a  NFIP ( National Flood Insurance Program) Specialist also addressed our communities questions as to flooding issues that effect the Historic District and how the new rate maps will affect our insurance. He said these flood maps are informative but not regulatory. The new maps out in August will be the ones that will indicate whether or not you will be required to have flood insurance.  He was unsure if there are historic structures in the new flood maps how they would be impacted. Questions were asked regarding storm sewer flooding and he said  the City of Jersey city would need to apply for a 406 grant that would mitigate fixing the storm sewers.   He also spoke about a possible funding option called Increased Cost of Compliance, available to policy owners in high risk areas whose repairs would cost 50% or more of the pre-damaged market value. These funds can be used to reduce future flood damage, “FRED”   to Floodproof, Relocate, Elevate, or Demolish.   A link to the program is here: http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-2/increased-cost-compliance-coverage   FEMA website – flood insurance manual http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program/information-homeowners-renters

FIRM Maps https://msc.fema.gov/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/FemaWelcomeView?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1

Also at our meeting…

Developer John Neu presented his proposed project with his Business Partner and Architects. The project is located within the Liberty Harbor Redevelopment Plan. He will be going back to City Planning requesting amendments to the original zoning that will increase the proposed unit count from 677+/- to about a 1,000 units. A increase of 328 +/- units. These will all be rental units, mostly (1) bedroom. He will also be requesting increases to the allowable building height that range from 38 to 42 stories. There will be 3 phases of construction. The first phase of their plan would include a 40,000 square foot. supermarket, a 30,000 square foot community space (possibly a YMCA) and a high rise residential unit. The architects plan to make it a LEED certified building and they will come back for community input regarding aesthetics.
The developer Scott Seale for 100 Wayne Street presented his project with his Architect and Planner. The project was proposing 7 units for a new building on a currently empty lot. There was discussion about the project, but generally people seemed to like the proposed building elevation and aesthetic, but there were serious concerns over all the variances the project had associated with it, specifically the density. (4) units are allowed by zoning and the project proposed 7, plus renovation to the adjacent building that currently has 11 units. When asked if he had spoken to the Planning office about the project Scott replied that he had and the office was not in favor of the application as it is currently.  He is scheduled next to present before the Historic Preservation Commission.


November 2011 Meeting Minutes

19 Nov 2011, Posted by admin in Minutes

We had a great meeting on Tuesday, November 15th with Tom Shields and Robert Luckritz from the Jersey City Medical Center’s EMS department. They were so informative!! They’ve inspired us to have a CPR class as one of our meetings…stay tuned for more information~ Also if anyone is interested they are giving a one hour behind the scenes tour of the Jersey City Medical Center including the 911 call center, the emergency room and their Neonatal ICU. Thursday Dec 1st at 8:45am and Thursday December 8th at 8:45am….contact amcgee@libertyhcs.org for information. The tours are a on a first come, first serve basis.

Carol Lester, Vice President of the Jersey City Board of Education, stopped in as well to give us an update on the search for the new Superintendent….she asked us to let you all know about an upcoming meeting to which everyone is encouraged to attend. Here’s the info:

PS #30(171 Seaview Avenue) Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 6pm.

President ofthe Board of Education Sterling Waterman has called for this PublicForum to announce Board process and seek community input on theSuperintendent Search- both Interim and National. Your questions or comments will be encouraged so we can moveforward in a transparent and inclusive manner in this vital mission tofind new leadership in Jersey City Public Schools.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving–


February 2008 VVPA Meeting Minutes

19 Feb 2008, Posted by admin in Minutes

VVPA Minutes for February 19, 2008

Police report

No police report this month due to reporting officer’s attendance at Mayor Healy’s State of the City address occurring at the same time.

Jade Celatano, representative, Neighborhood Improvement Division (NID)

This organization addresses neighborhood problems; it is the office of the mayor’s liaison. Problems such as noise, garbage and poorly-placed dog piles can be addressed through this organization.

Questions from attendees:

1. What is the city’s position on litter? For example, is anything being done, or could be done, to reduce the litter blowing around the streets? Could more trashcans be added to the streets to help prevent litter?

The city provides street cleaning. Trashcans have had to be removed due to vandalizing, theft, etc. The organization advocates neighbor involvement to help curb the problem.

Suggestion from members: Contact schools to educate students about litter; have a city-sponsored poster contest to develop excitement among youngsters regarding litter prevention; install London-style trashcans where medal rims with clear plastic bags suspended from them are affixed to telephone poles, etc.

Comment from member: Situation is particularly bad at Palisade Avenue. Neighbors must be responsible for keeping things neat and clean too.

2. Are there new garbage collection laws?

The summer of 2007 marked changes in trash collection. Collection varies by neighborhood. City-wide, trash shouldn’t be put curbside prior to 7pm. For more details, contact the Incinerator Authority.

Mariah Silva, secretary VVPA, old business report

Last month’s meeting featured the following speakers: Cpt. McDonough of the East

District, Margaret O’Gorman of the NJ Wildlife Conservancy Project, Peter Brennan Councilman at Large for the JC City Council and Alice Deupree the architect for a new residence at corner of Wayne and Barrow. For more information, see January, 2008 VVPA minutes.

Jeffrey Furin, Treasurer’s report

The VVPA balance as of 1/8/08 is roughly $4,337. The VVPA just received 501(c)(3) status marking it officially a non-profit organization.

New members

The VVPA welcomes two new members.

Ron Russell, architect for 141 Bright Street (new bar/restaurant)

Mr. Russell was joined by Charles Harrington, attorney and Tom Parisi, property owner. They are proposing restoring the existing 2-story building located at the corner of Bright and Monmouth Streets, tearing down and rebuilding to the same height the adjoining 1story building on Monmouth and erecting a new 3-story building in the currently vacant lot between the existing building and the school (years back, there had been a 4-story residence in this place). Commercial space for a restaurant would span the ground floor of all 3 structures, the 2nd story of the corner building would be reserved for restaurant dining, the 3-story structure would house a private dining room for the restaurant. The remaining space in the 3-story structure would house a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom residence with a large living/dining area. A high parapet would be installed on the roof to cover mechanical equipment blocking sight and sound to the street level. Cornices, brickwork and windows would be restored. Signage for the restaurant would be located on the Monmouth Street cornice. A covered entrance would also be built out on the Monmouth St. side eliminating the current corner entrance.

Questions from attendees:

1. What about parking?

Inspired by the Lighthorse Tavern in Paulus Hook; intended to be a neighborhood place therefore not much parking is required. There will be no parking provided; simply street parking.

2. What is the current building status? At what point in construction process? The building is currently vacant. Right now getting community feedback on plans. Seeking historical and variance approval then make construction plans.

Pending receiving approval, want to start construction immediately.

3. What are the variances you’re seeking?

Expansion of non-conforming; lot and building coverage.

4. Will there be outdoor seating?

Yes, along Monmouth from entrance to stairs of residence and along Bright to end of property. Also intend on doing some planting and general beautifying.

5. Would you consider putting equipment on roof up higher?

Can’t do this on building #1 as it’s in the JC Downtown Historic district, can’t do it on building #3 because the roof is too high to get things there, on building #2 there will be a 4 foot parapet with diffusers on either side to stop sound.

6. What kind of equipment? HVAC, exhaust equipment.

7. Where is trash and delivery?

There is a basement hatch on Bright Street, a basement exit on Monmouth Street and a crawlspace in basement of building #3.

8. Will deliveries take away from street parking? There will be no public spaces taken.

9. Are you keeping the windows? Replacing current tinted windows with clear.

10. What is the name of the establishment? The Brightside or Tommy’s Brightside 11. Will there be a roof deck?

Not for commercial use; just for residents of building #3.

12. What is the total seating?

This will be based on building code. There are 2000 square feet on the ground level and 500 square feet on 2nd floor. Hopefully, there will be at least 100 seats.

Any additional questions or comments can be sent to the VVPA email (vvpa@mail.org) who will then forward them on to the architect. Plans can be found on the VVPA website.

Discussion: Jersey Ave. extension proposal, led by Tony Sandkamp, pres. VVPA Recent study by Jersey City (can be found on VVPA website) to relieve downtown JC traffic congestion. One solution is to extend Jersey Avenue to link up with Audrey Zapp Drive in Liberty State Park adding a four-lane vehicular bridge in the process. There has been much opposition from downtown organizations. The VVPA has been asked to take a formal position.

One resident of Jersey Ave.: As the traffic is now, can’t imagine more traffic flowing directly into this part of town. It’s already bumper-to-bumper.

This would alleviate heavy traffic in Bergen-Lafayette section coming off exit 14B of the Turnpike.

There are obvious neighborhood concerns: traffic would cross traffic from a major hospital (and its emergency vehicles) and a large school (putting school children’s safety at risk).

(Discussion was not fully concluded, although a vote was taken. Tony intended to reflect in a letter that more information was needed for the VVPA to take a stronger stand, but after the group discussion, the vote was: 2 in support of the proposal, 7 against, 3 abstaining.)

Announcements from members

The Grace Seniors (at Grace Van Vorst Episcopal Church, 2nd & Erie Streets) has exercise classes everyday from 10am to 2pm. Come for aerobics, weights, yoga and belly dancing.

Volunteer Saturday mornings at breakfasts for the needy.

Line Dancing at Grace Van Vorst – beginning Friday, February 1 from 6-8pm, $7/adult, kids under 16 free; contact Joyce Davison: 201-659-2211/201-451-5107,

joycegdavison@hotmail.com; ALL WELCOME The church always welcomes donations.

January 2008 VVPA Meeting Minutes

15 Jan 2008, Posted by admin in Minutes

VVPA Minutes for January 15, 2008

Treasurer’s report No report this month.

Police report

Accompanied by patrol sergeant Tim O’Brien, East District Captain Brian McDonagh reported:

1. creation of new JCPD newsletter called “Jersey City Watch” which is distributed at community meetings and can be found online at www.jcpdonline.org

2. success of JCPD Christmas party with about 1500 children in attendance and 2000 toys distributed [Laura Fraschilla added thanks to Pershing for their generous contribution via the VVPA]

3. drop in citywide crime in 2007 by 15 to 20%

4. drop in East District car theft from 272 in ’06 to 199 in ’07

5. two arrests from rash of violent muggings in June, 2007; 16-year-old actor will be tried as adult

6. downtown “tight unit” has been set up; 1-2 officers patrol on bike or scooter

7. East District Community ComStat meeting occurs on 4th Tuesday each month, 7:00 pm at Public School 4 on Grand Street at Varick; Police Chief Comey and the detective commander discuss cases pending and closed and invite the public to work together to mitigate and eliminate problems; all are encouraged to attend

Questions from attendees:

1. Explain the mugging at Carry Drug on Jersey & Bright Streets. Man carrying briefcase of money was held at knife point and mugged; believed to be cased out and not a random act.

2. What is the update with security cameras throughout the city? JC has the largest CCTV system in the state. There are 90 cameras linked into Central Avenue headquarters. Most cameras are along the waterfront; these are from a grant from the federal government through Homeland Security. More cameras are proposed for Jersey and Newark Avenues and Grove and Grand Streets.

3. Have the police gotten new radios recently?

Yes, state of the art. A new Communications Center is being built to house and link communication of all emergency services.

4. What is the JCPD non-emergency number?

201-547-5477; also there is an updated email address: policeeast@jcnj.org Either of these is used to communicate non-urgent safety concerns.

Margaret O’Gorman, executive director, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ The ten-year-old foundation supports rare and imperiled wildlife in New Jersey. There are over 300 species of birds and over 70 species of reptiles in NJ; over 1000 species of wildlife.

NJ is unique for the following reasons:

1. at a bio/geographical crossroads – southern-most state some northern species can survive in; northern-most for some southern species

2. huge diversity of habitat – coastal, pinelands, highlands, beaches, forests, cities, farmlands, wetlands

3. on the Northeast Flyway for migratory birds – more birds pass by Cape May Point than any other point in the USA

The peregrine falcon is an endangered species of NJ. This bird is a raptor that mates for life. The most notable identifying physical characteristics are its “sideburns” and its long wings. It survives in all environments except rainforests. In cities, the birds feed on pigeons. In the 1950s, there were no peregrine falcons whatsoever east of the Mississippi. Through conservation efforts, the number of pairs in NJ currently is 18.

The foundation has installed a nesting box for a pair of peregrine falcons at 101 Hudson Street, Jersey City. This location is closely monitored by two cameras. They constantly capture the birds and the nest from the laying of eggs (usually in March) through fledging, 8 weeks after birth when the newborn birds leave the nest. The public is invited to tune in through the foundation’s website: www.conservewildlifenj.org. Support for the foundation in appreciated: PO Box 400, Trenton, NJ 08625. Margaret welcomes contact through her email: mogorman@conservewildlifenj.org or phone: 609-292-1276.

A few words from VVPA President Tony Sandkamp

Thank you to Dan Webber, VVPA First VP for his efforts in organizing the January senior outreach night featuring food and entertainment. Thanks, also, to the Ressurection Parish for donating the school hall for the event.

Thank you to Pershing for their contributions to the JCPD toy drive and to Laura Fraschilla for her efforts in organizing that contribution.

Peter Brennan, Jersey City Municipal Councilman at Large

Brief introduction and thank you to Captain McDonagh for hard work and to Chief Comey for lowering crime numbers in the South District. July saw 22 new recruits graduate from the Police Academy. July, 2008 should have over 50 grads. Chief Comey would like to graduate over 100 recruits in upcoming years to re-supply the force after many anticipated retirements.

Questions from attendees:

1. What are JC’s biggest challenges?

Crime (JCPD is doing great job, but crime is not ever going away entirely; new JCPD group formed specifically to combat gang activity) and

managing the exploding development (the West Side is being heavily re- developed).

2. What is JC doing to contend with the increasing street congestions as well as increased ridership on the PATH?

Mayor and county executive just met with dept. of transportation to increase bus service in JC. However, regular bus ridership is down due to jitney buses which are generally considered to be problematic due to difficulty in regulating. JCPD does what they can to manage the menacing traffic behaviors by the jitneys (stopping randomly, not pulling to the curb). The Light Rail service is also heavily used with daily passengers up to 40,000.

[from Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop: the PATH is expanding service to 10 cars over next couple of years.]

3. Do you have any updates about the Power House?

JC officials want the Port Authority to move the transformers.

4. What about the Toll Brothers project?

The proposed building may go up to 40 stories. There is a planning board hearing regarding this tomorrow evening.

5. {One member of the VVPA calls on Councilman Brennan to be instrumental in requiring a good design of both the building and surrounding grounds from Toll Brothers. Asks him and fellow city officials to use good forethought and call in official and community organizations for their input in design. Member cited example of construction of PS4, a school between Grand and Bright Streets at

Monmouth Street. Located across the street from a major hospital and a shopping center, it’s no wonder emergency vehicles have trouble getting through traffic. This was not a well-thought-out plan. Please don’t make similar mistakes through oversights in planning the Power House Arts District neighborhood.

[Councilman Fulop adds that Toll Brothers has invited input from the


6. What is your position on the Sixth Street Embankment? This is a battle that’s been dragging on for years and it’s always in and out of litigation. Councilman Brennan grew up 2 blocks from the embankment and it was always an eyesore. Doesn’t want the Light Rail going in but there are many questions surrounding what conversion to a park would cost the city. The acquisition of land alone is at least $3 million but could be as high as $10-20 million. Then the construction of a park could be another $10-20 million. JC has no money earmarked for this project as it has for Van Vorst Park in the past and Hamilton Park currently. The city could get tax revenue from a developer. However, Councilman Brennan has no official position on this.

7. How is the city’s budget?

In the next couple of weeks the budget will be released. JC is inheriting $45-50 million of debt from previous mayors.

Councilman Brennan welcomes communication from the community through his office (P: 201-547-5204, F: 201-547-4678, email: brennanp@JCNJ.org).

Alice Deupree, architect for 307 Barrow Street, LLC

Ms. Deupree was joined by Charles Harrington, attorney and Joe Gianforte both from the developing company for a proposed 12 unit residential structure with parking at the corner of Wayne and Barrow Streets. This lot is the downtown JC historic district and is oversized at 75 x 100 feet. Developers are seeking variances for the following areas:

1. multi-family dwelling (construction of this building will not, however, increase population density)

2. height of building to match surrounding structures (intended to look like continuous townhouse from street)

3. lot coverage (86%)

4. rear yard

The primary façade will be on Wayne Street with entrance for the parking on Barrow St. It will have four 2-bedroom units over 3 floors; units will have communal terraces at the back.

There have been on soil tests as of yet. Developer intends to do screw pilings to minimize inconvenience to neighbors. Will take at least one year to build.

Announcements from members

Line Dancing at Grace Van Vorst – beginning Friday, February 1 from 6-8pm, $7/adult, kids under 16 free; contact Joyce Davison: 201-659-2211/201-451-5107,

joycegdavison@hotmail.com; ALL WELCOME