Minutes

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

community.]}

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 fa├žade 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

April 2007 VVPA Meeting Minutes

17 Apr 2007, Posted by admin in Minutes

VVPA minutes-April 17, 2007

No treasurer’s report this month.

Minutes from March Meeting: Members are to look at the website for the minutes of all meetings.

Treasurer’s Report: No Treasurer’s Report this month, as accounts are being updated to reflect the proceeds from the Meetball Dinner held on

April 14, 2007

Police report: No police report this month

Jim Ganley, Code Enforcement Supervisor of the Neighborhood

Improvement District: Jim handed out a form for reporting streetlights that don’t work. Even when you use the form (giving address, pole number when possible, wrap the pole with a bright-colored ribbon that will be easy to see. The person who comes by with the truck can than easily correct the problem.

Joshua Parkhurst, President of the Landmarks Conservancy reported on the various events scheduled Preservation Month (May). There will be tours, events, and a big awards ceremony on May 30, 2007, at the Loews Theatre in Journal Square. Tickets are $25, at Beechwood or at Loews box office the day of the event.

Here is a brief listing of the walking tours available, with dates. For complete information, see the Landmark Conservancy website:

http://www.jerseycityhistory.net/

Sat, May 5, 11:45 am – 3pm, Lafayette History Festival. Meet at Rev. Dr. Ercel F. Webb Park, intersection of Van Horne and Lafayette Sts. Opening reception: 11:45 am. Bus and walking tours. Closing ceremony, 3pm. See website for more events in the neighborhood. All events FREE.

Sun, May 6, 1 -3pm, Italia Village Walking Tour. Meet at Enos Jones Park, Intersection of Pavonia and Brunswick Aves. Cost: $10. See website for more info.

Sat, May 19, 11am -1pm, Journal Square Tour. Meet at Journal Sq PATH Station, Upper Mezzanine Level, by Duane Reed. Tour includes a reception at the Landmark Loews Jersey Theatre. FREE. For more information contact youngpreservationists@gmail.com.

Sun, May 20, 2 – 4pm, Bergen Hill Walking Tour. Met at the front entrance to the Beacon, formerly the Jersey City Medical Center, 50 Baldwin Ave. Cost: $10. See http://www.jerseycityhistory.net/ for more information.

WORKSHOPS AND OTHER EVENTS:

Tues, May 9 and Tues, May 22, 6-8pm

VVPA Pres. Laura Fraschilla Joao D’Souza, Director of Traffic and Transportation Maintenance described the department’s role-it maintains City traffic signals and street lighting systems, handles dumpster and driveway permits, road markings and signs. Dan Webber asked if the department would install Yield to Pedestrians signs if the VVPA paid for them. He said it was the department’s responsibility to provide the signs, and he would look into different locations for them. Intersections, such as Jersey/York and Grove/Columbus, were suggested. The department is working on synchronizing lights to ease traffic flow on major streets. The synchronization at Kennedy and Montgomery was sited by a member as a big success. There was much discussion of the results of the new construction around the 14B entrance to turnpike. The construction solves the problem of traffic turning left into oncoming traffic on Montgomery, but introduces new problems-a roundabout, inconvenient and restricted route to Grand Street and a limitation on routes in and out of Downtown. The plastic barriers have been removed, but the concrete Jersey barriers will be permanent. Two new U-turns are planned to help ease traffic flow, D’Souza said. The neighborhood concern is that Jersey Avenue be used as a “stealth highway” to get quickly from the turnpike to the Holland Tunnel. D’Souza said they were aware of this and were working on the problem.

Joe Curran, Assistant Director, Jersey City Parking Authority addressed issues raised by members. He said you can pick up a guest permit at no cost for visiting friends for a couple of days-just provide registration and license plate info at 394 Central Ave. Over the Christmas week, guests can probably be unticketed for up to a week. The practice of simultaneous ticketing and booting for overstaying the 2-hour parking limit aroused strong feeling. Mr. Curran said that if you object to a ticket, in all likelihood it will be dismissed by the judge in traffic court, so do contest any tickets you think are unfair. If we wish to extend the 2-hr limit, get Steve Fulop involved, and get together a petition from our neighborhood. Hamilton Park, one resident noted, has chosen a 1-hour limit, to keep non-residents from parking on streets and just shifting locations to beat the system. It was decided to table this discussion and talk about it further before taking action.

Mr. Curran said to call the Mayor’s Action Bureau, Jack Carley and Judy Reilly, for problems we can’t get solved by regular channels. A question was raised about it being OK to park in the City Hall parking lot after working hours. Mr. Curran said he had never heard of that, but they didn’t in practice ticket after working hours.

Discussion of parking on Bright Street, which is now unzoned, to allow teachers to park there. But Curran said any teacher can get an Itinerant sticker, so this is unnecessary. Speak to Steve Fulop about getting Bright Street back in the zone.

If you’re having any problems with parking, first call the office number: 201-653-6969. You can reach him from 3:30-11:30, but the phone goes off at 10:30, so after that, try his cell phone, 201-832-0180.

For finding out when alternate-side-of-the-street parking is suspended for snow, call Incinerator Authority, as they make the decision.

Steve Giardino, for the Embankment Coalition spoke about the recent setback when the City Council voted against applying for a bridge loan. From the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT). This loan would provide funds for the city to acquire the open space portion of the Harsimus Stem Embankment. The NJEIT loan would provide almost $5 million to the city, 75% at no interest at all, and 25% at the lowest marketrate interest (about 1%) for 20 years. The loan would provide instant money that can be repaid by reimbursable grants already raised ($3.2 million), a pledge ($500,000), and additional highly likely grant monies. Look at the Embankment website for more details. The application for the loan would have been non-binding; there was no down side at all to applying, and it was a real shame that the Council didn’t take this essentially no-risk way to finally make the Embankment the City’s own property at last. The long lawsuit concerning the Embankment’s ownership is now about to the decided by the State Transportation Board. To get the property, the City must act with the money it has (open space), not the money it wants but does not have now and may never have (light rail). This bridge loan would allow the City to step forward and close the deal immediately. The grants and loans promised are contingent on the City owning the land; they will come through promptly once the City shows its good faith in this project by using the loan money to buy it.

“Stealth Highway”-Mia Scanga spoke out against the “stealth highway” plans that would run the risk of two lanes of cars smashing into the light rail at Jersey Avenue, as well as encouraging the use of Jersey Avenue as a quick way on and off the turnpike. April 30, 2007 at 6pm there will be a meeting at City Hall to discuss the Downtown Transportation Study, including the Jersey Ave issue and much else. Please attend.

March 2007 VVPA Meeting Minutes

20 Mar 2007, Posted by admin in Minutes

VVPA minutes-March 20, 2007

No treasurer’s report this month.

Police report from Captain McDonough: There was an assault on Mar 4 on York St, and a purse snatched. No cars were broken into. There were reports of 3 cars stolen, but this is misleading-one reappeared unharmed the next day exactly where the driver had parked it; had he just forgotten where he parked it? The other stories were equally problematical. Warning: If you have a new and expensive car, don’t leave the owner’s manual in it. A thief will break into the car, get the bar code from the owner’s manual and from that get a duplicate key from the car company. With the new key, the thief will return and simply drive your car away. There have been

complaints about late-night problems in

Van Vorst Park-the new fence has not been installed yet, so the park can’t be closed at 10 pm. Police issued 1272 summonses last month. 60% of them were for speeding. They’re using radar on Columbus Drive and other streets. A resident reported an incident of graffiti. Captain McDonough said the police would follow up on it.

Jim Ganley, Code Enforcement Supervisor of the Neighborhood Improvement District: We had vigorous discussion pro and con garbage containers on the street; some people wanted more of them, as people leaving McDonald’s get about as far as Mercer St. before they finish eating, and have no place to throw the trash but on the sidewalk. Some people liked no trash cans, as householders and businesses overload them, and in any case they are not emptied often by the Incinerator Authority. The issue was unresolved. As for flyers on poles, ads for moving men, etc., the NID will take them down, but not in freezing weather when workers are at risk of falling on ice. Ready, Willing & Able is the outfit that chips ice off storm drains, not the NID.

VVPA Pres. Laura Fraschilla announced the 32nd Annual Meetball Dinner at St. Peter’s Prep April 14, 7-11. Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Take posters and put them in your window. Thank you to Leon Yost for the poster.

Also, Laura said that Robert Vivian, of the Newport Neighborhood

Assn, wants VVPA support for his applying for funds from the Hudson Open Space Trust Fund to create a park on PATH property. PATH has agreed to this use. Steve Gucciardo said Hamilton Park has already written such a letter, and, after a unanimous vote of our membership, Laura will write one from the VVPA.

Joao D’Souza, Director of Traffic and Transportation Maintenance described the department’s role-it maintains City traffic signals and street lighting systems, handles dumpster and driveway permits, road markings and signs. Dan Webber asked if the department would install Yield to Pedestrians signs if the VVPA paid for them. He said it was the department’s responsibility to provide the signs, and he would look into different locations for them. Intersections, such as Jersey/York and Grove/Columbus, were suggested. The department is working on synchronizing lights to ease traffic flow on major streets. The synchronization at Kennedy and Montgomery was sited by a member as a big success. There was much discussion of the results of the new construction around the 14B entrance to turnpike. The construction solves the problem of traffic turning left into oncoming traffic on Montgomery, but introduces new problems-a roundabout, inconvenient and restricted route to Grand Street and a limitation on routes in and out of Downtown. The plastic barriers have been removed, but the concrete Jersey barriers will be permanent. Two new U-turns are planned to help ease traffic flow, D’Souza said. The neighborhood concern is that Jersey Avenue be used as a “stealth highway” to get quickly from the turnpike to the Holland Tunnel. D’Souza said they were aware of this and were working on the problem.

Joe Curran, Assistant Director, Jersey City Parking Authority addressed issues raised by members. He said you can pick up a guest permit at no cost for visiting friends for a couple of days-just provide registration and license plate info at 394 Central Ave. Over the Christmas week, guests can probably be unticketed for up to a week. The practice of simultaneous ticketing and booting for overstaying the 2-hour parking limit aroused strong feeling. Mr. Curran said that if you object to a ticket, in all likelihood it will be dismissed by the judge in traffic court, so do contest any tickets you think are unfair. If we wish to extend the 2-hr limit, get Steve Fulop involved, and get together a petition from our neighborhood. Hamilton Park, one resident noted, has chosen a 1-hour limit, to keep non-residents from parking on streets and just shifting locations to beat the system. It was decided to table this discussion and talk about it further before taking action.

Mr. Curran said to call the Mayor’s Action Bureau, Jack Carley and Judy Reilly, for problems we can’t get solved by regular channels.

A question was raised about it being OK to park in the City Hall parking lot after working hours. Mr. Curran said he had never heard of that, but they didn’t in practice ticket after working hours.

Discussion of parking on Bright Street, which is now unzoned, to allow teachers to park there. But Curran said any teacher can get an Itinerant sticker, so this is unnecessary. Speak to Steve Fulop about getting Bright Street back in the zone.

If you’re having any problems with parking, first call the office number: 201-653-6969. You can reach him from 3:30-11:30, but the phone goes off at 10:30, so after that, try his cell phone, 201-832-0180.

For finding out when alternate-side-of-the-street parking is suspended for snow, call Incinerator Authority, as they make the decision. Number is TK. Also, the number is shown on Channel 1.

Steve Giardino, for the Embankment Coalition spoke about the recent setback when the City Council voted against applying for a bridge loan. From the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT). This loan would provide funds for the city to acquire the open space portion of the Harsimus Stem Embankment. The NJEIT loan would provide almost $5 million to the city, 75% at no interest at all, and 25% at the lowest marketrate interest (about 1%) for 20 years. The loan would provide instant money that can be repaid by reimbursable grants already raised ($3.2 million), a pledge ($500,000), and additional highly likely grant monies. Look at the Embankment website for more details. The application for the loan would have been non-binding, there was no down side at all to applying, and it was a real shame that the Council didn’t take this essentially no-risk way to finally make the Embankment the City’s own property at last. The long lawsuit concerning the Embankment’s ownership is now about to the decided by the State Transportation Board. To get the property, the City must act with the money it has (open space), not the money it wants but does not have now and may never have (light rail). This bridge loan would allow the City to step forward and close the deal immediately. The grants and loans promised are contingent on the City owning the land; they will come through promptly once the City shows its good faith in this project by using the loan money to buy it.

.

“Stealth Highway”-Mia Scanga spoke out against the “stealth highway” plans that would run the risk of two lanes of cars smashing into the light rail at Jersey Avenue, as well as encouraging the use of Jersey Avenue as a quick way on and off the turnpike. April 30, 2007 at 6pm there will be a meeting at City Hall to discuss the Downtown Traffic Circulation Study, including the Jersey Ave issue and much else. Please attend.

February 2007 VVPA Meeting Minutes

20 Feb 2007, Posted by admin in Minutes

1

VVPA minutes-February 20, 2007

No treasurer’s report this month.

Police report: Dina Reilly, Community Relations Officer. Her confidential email, jcpdeastdistrict@yahoo.com is read only by Captain McDonough and her. Telephone: 201-547-5470. Jan 1-Feb 19: 2 B&T auto. One was stuff taken from trunk, so be careful not to leave stuff in trunk as well as on seats. No B&T residences. 3 robberies. What to do if you see someone suspicious: pretend you’re on the phone. Report incident immediately, w/ description: clothes, height, weight, facial features. 2 stolen autos. January: anonymous concerned citizen tip of people checking out autos resulted in an arrest. Call 201 547-5477 for non-emergency, anything suspicious.

Jim Ganley, Code Enforcement Supervisor of the Neighborhood Improvement

District: Street lights now working by the VV PATH station. Steve Fulop will follow up on Montgomery under the turnpike. Telephone 201-547-5683 to report problems to NID. Incinerator Authority telephone: 201-432-4645, x 646 for snow removal complaints.

Sam Shurma, Project Manager, PATH: PATH provides services and charges for them, uses no tax dollars. Named best commuting train service in the country three times in the last 5 years. PATH has 350 cars in their flet, some 50 years old. Checked every night and maintained. They’re buying an all new fleet; we’ll see new card in 2008-9. Also the new PATH station at the WTC. There will be comprehensive signage to say when the next train is arriving. Managers are at 33rd St and the WTC stations to meet the public every Thursday from 7:30-9:30am.

Mia questioned the 10,000 new users from Columbus Towers w/in 4-6 years. No real answer to this from Mr. Sherma, who said they were working on it, would be prepared, although platforms can’t be lengthened due in large part to objections from neighborhoods in Greenwich Village.

If you wonder about delays, call PATHAlert customer service number 201-216627

David Norman: Spoke about the dog run, sent Mark Wesson’s thanks for the VVPA contribution, and Tony Sandkamp for the new bench. Still installing new garbage containers, benches, fencing-waiting for good weather. Norman talked about the new group of volunteers, which is responsible for enforcing rules in the park, w/in and outside of the dog run. Will have signage defining aggressive behavior. Volunteers will wear official tee shirts. Look for more info on Yahoo group Dog JC, and JC Lists. Web address: home.comcast.net~vvpdog.

Andrew Hubsch, VP of Civic JD.org, The group is a 501c4, registered nonpartisan organization, devoted to issues of good governance. Worked on the pay-to-play ordinance that Steve Fulop introduced and which was voted down, but which they’ll continue to work on. They plan to keep a scorecard on how candidates for the ’09 election vote; they’ll send out an e-newsletter every six weeks. Looking for active members. Civicjc.org is the website.

2

January 2007 VVPA Meeting Minutes

17 Jan 2007, Posted by admin in Minutes

1

VVPA minutes-January 16, 2007

Treasurer’s report: Geoff reported a balance of $3777.82 in our treasury

Police report: Captain Brian McDonough, East District Commander, thanked us for our help with the toy drive; they delivered 800 toys to the East District, and had enough left over to help out other districts.

Although robberies and breaking and entering of homes and cars are actually down since last year, cars are still being broken into. As long as you leave property unattended, they’ll break the window. GPS’s. laptops, wallets, all get taken. The police had issued 84 summonses for speeding in the last month in a major crackdown on speeders Officers are now using radar. Also they are riding Light Rail to catch offenders. Mia asked about the cop directing traffic a Newark and Barrow-a wise use of personnel? The officer is being paid by a developer to protect a construction site near there, at no cost to the city.

Steve Fulop says he had a list of 40 street lights that are out, and has worked out a deal so they will be fixed. Complaints were voiced about the intersection of Bright & Monmouth, where a liquor store is a magnet for crime. Steve Fulop said to email him with any information or complaints, and he’ll respond promptly.

Mia urged us to help count the homeless on January 25-the event will be featured on her TV show.

Jim Ganley, Code Enforcement Supervisor of the Neighborhood Improvement District told us about Christmas tree pickup on Thursdays throughout December. Garbage pickup will be in the evening henceforth, 10pm-6am to avoid traffic and get the garbage off the street in less time. Call the NID with any problem, and they will refer it to someone who can handle it. The NID has 23 employees to cover all of Jersey City, but they are effective at problem solving and have a high record of success.

Our featured speaker, from PATH, had a last minute conflict and was unable to speak with us, but we had a lively and discussion-filled meeting anyway.

November 2006 VVPA Meeting Minutes

15 Nov 2006, Posted by admin in Minutes

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VVPA minutes-November 15, 2006

Police report: No police report this month

Jim Ganley, Code Enforcement Supervisor of the Neighborhood Improvement District brought NID Newsletters for November, and discussed local issues. Among other helpful hints, he reminded us that if we don’t shovel a path two feet wide in front of our houses, we’re liable for a ticket 8 hours after it snows. He urged us to help neighbors out who can’t shovel. Question? What’s the minimum amount of snow that gets ticketed? If it’s slippery, you can be ticketed, even if there isn’t much snow. For light dusting of snow, use snow melt.

Jay Cockerell, JCity Theatre, told us about the upcoming production of

Tuna Christmas, their latest production, to be put on in the sanctuary of Grace Church Van Vorst. This comedy has a large cast of characters, all played by two actors, with the help of wigs, props and frequent costume changes.

President Laura Fraschilla announced the DCNA Christmas Party, to be held at the Bar Majestic on December 12, with free food and a cash bar, and also the Christmas Toy Wrapping Party, at the Barrow Mansion on Dec. 19, 2006. The party is held during the regular monthly meeting time., 7:309:30pm. The Pershing Company has donated toys, and the VVPA will vote on contributing money to buy additional toys to wrap. The toys will go to the West District for distribution, and to Rev. Jones in the Lafayette neighborhood. Additional toys will go to a Jan. 6 party, where the East District Police will distribute them,

Leon Yost made a motion that the VVPA donate $200 to buy toys to supplement Pershing’s contribution. The vote was unanimous in favor.

Suzanne Mack, JC Board of Ed member, took questions from the membership. Regarding the old school building and trailer: The new PS 3 is still not quite finished, so for the time being the old PS 3 is in use-for some programs, and also for programs for the Boys and Girls Club. The Board is working with the Paulus Hook Assn to do major repairs on PS 16. May need the trailers. Re: Complaints about lighting-(PS 3 bright lights late at night disturb neighbors). Lights should be on motion sensors. Call 201915-6348 with complaints. Mack will send Richard Dwyer an email about street lights.

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October 2006 VVPA Meeting Minutes

17 Oct 2006, Posted by admin in Minutes

VVPA minutes-October 17, 2006

Police report, by Sgt Hines, Officer DiStefano, and Community Relations Officer (East District) Tina Rielly:

This month: B&T to automobiles, 4 B&T to residences, and 3 robberies (for which four people were arrested). Stolen autos: a Lexus and a VW. 2 B&T autos. We were warned to leave nothing on car seats. Visible GPS devices, iPods, etc, attract thieves to parked cars. One residential B&T, and the actor was arrested. Mia Scanga reported that a pit bull escaped from a car and attacked her dog, who required extensive treatment at the vet. The people in the car appeared to be casing the neighborhood, but there was no way to prove this. Unfortunately, no laws deal with dog-on-dog attacks, only dogs attacking people. We were told that most crimes from 3-7 pm were juveniles, night-time crimes are by adults. You can have your home checked to make sure it’s as burglar-proof as possible. For this free service, call Tina.

Paul Sullivan, president of Pro Arts talked about the Artists’ Studio Tour, and the many events over the weekend-the Opening Party is at Victory Hall Friday night, and Beck will be at Loews in Journal Square Saturday night. There are films, a closing party at the Jersey City Museum, and lots of other events. He handed out postcards detailing times and places.

Jennifer, from the SID, said that we could get leaf bags at 1 Journal Square Plaza, Monday through Friday. We had a vigorous discussion of trash and trash receptacles in public places. Some people object to them as they attract garbage-they are filled up by residents dumping household garbage bags in them. Others say trash receptacles are badly needed-no place to throw a coffee cup, especially around the PATH station at Grove Street. We should talk to Steve Fulop about it, ask him to get out a survey to determine the best policy. Question about a possum in a back yard: Call animal control.

We discussed whether fences around parks would deter drugs and loitering. Leon made a motion that we ask Steve Fulop to pursue putting a fence around the Wayne St. Park, frequented by drug dealers. Mia seconded the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 9 yes to one no.

Mia talked about the dog run in Van Vorst Park, which is coming along well. More funds are needed, and she said that a $100 gets a plaque and

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getting an item named for you. A waste station, commercial grade, costs $420, and Mia made a motion that the VVPA pay for one. The amount was rounded up to $500, and the motion passed, with a vote of 9 in favor and 1 against.

The meeting adjourned at 9:10pm.

September 2006 VVPA Meeting Minutes

19 Sep 2006, Posted by admin in Minutes

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VVPA minutes-September 19, 2006

Police report, by Sgt Hines and Officer DiStefano:

B&T = Burglary and Theft. This month: 9 B&T to automobiles, only three B&T to residences and businesses (this is down), 3 stolen autos, 3 robberies, notable because four people were arrested for committing them. Improvements: Captain McDonough has staggered shifts around the clock, eliminating the standard half hour of low coverage while the midnight shift comes on. 120 officers working, about 120, up from 90; this includes 4 extra officers paid for by government, now working Hamilton Park, where they’ve had a lot of trouble. Can be deployed elsewhere when conditions permit. Will probably be getting another 5 new graduates. Call Officer Dena Riley if you’re interested in helping with a neighborhood watch.

Steve Fulop:

Asked the VVPA to sponsor him in a marathon. Gave us good news: Restaurant Row is beginning to happen. A new place at 1sst and Grove, another two doors down from LITM, a new Thai restaurant opening. He and Bob Cotter are working on a redevelopment plan for the south side of Newark, which is in worse shape than across the street.

Steve says he spent his first year setting up more professional relationships throughout his district, and his second focusing on parks. Owen Grundy pier will be completely reconstructed, including the walkway, as will Colgate Park. Hamilton Park gets a major restructuring, a great plan with a lot of community input. The VVP Dog run is just about ready to go-the initial bid was way too high, so the plan was reworked, now down to about $100,000 in cost. $30,000 in private funding has been obtained for the fence, and it’s inches away from being built. Public Works will build in it-house, saving a lot of hassle. The Italian Village park at First St is now on deck. In his third year, he’ll tackle ethics and corruption, especially the practice of allowing dual government jobs.

Questions for Steve Fulop: Update on re-val? It will come. When the equalization ratio falls below 70 or 80%, that’s a sign a re-val is likely-and we’re now at 25%. Most critical: Corzine has rejected JC getting a million bucks or so just because we’re a big city, and also funds as a distressed city, because we aren’t collecting enough taxes. So no extra funds until we have a re-val. It will take two or three years to go from door to door and inventory all the buildings. The usual course is to set the wheels in motion, get the process begun, so the tax bills start coming to residents just as the new mayor is taking office, so he’ll have to deal with the mess.

Sandy Cockerel on his theatre company, J City Theatre, now based at Grace Church Van Vorst. Its opening production is JB, the Pulitzer Prize winning play by poet

Archibald MacLeish, opening Sept 28 at 8pm at GCVV. Buy tix, $18, $15 for seniors, at SmartTix.com. See their website, jcity.org, for info on their complete season.

Election: Erma Yost, election officer, presented the slate of VVPA board members:

President, Laura Fraschilla; First VP, Bill Donohue, 2nd VP Carrie Furin, Secretary, Anne 2

Barry; Treasurer Geoffrey Furin, At large: Dan Webber, Amy Sanders, Rory Sortino. You have until 10 days before the next meeting (Oct 17) to submit other names.

Treasurers report: from Carrie Furin: $5943.72 in the treasury

Marlene Sandkamp made a motion that we sponsor Steve with $500 for the county child abuse charity the marathon money will go to, seconded by Mia. It was passed unanimously.

Archives: Anne asked for VVPA “pioneers” to send emails giving memories of the reval struggle and other battles, as she’s collecting info on the VVPA history for our new website.

Tony Sandkamp adjourned the meeting at 9 pm

Submitted by Anne Barry, Secretary