Ridgewood Council Greenlights $11 Million for Water Treatment and Sparks Debate Over Land Jurisdiction

In a recent, densely packed meeting of the Ridgewood Council, the members addressed numerous legislative and infrastructural matters, among them a contentious $11 million bond ordinance for new water treatment plants and a debate over village jurisdiction regarding properties owned by state and county. Amidst these weighty issues, other matters like tree planting plans, technological improvements, and even concerns over Zoom functionality surfaced.

The passage of bond ordinance 3963, allowing for the construction of treatment plants to centralize the treatment and remediation of PFOA and PFAS with a financial appropriation of $11 million, was a standout point in the proceedings. This signals a significant commitment by the council to ensure clean water and environmental safety for the village.

A highlight of the meeting was the disagreement around ordinance 3962, which sought to amend land use and environmental provisions in Ridgewood. During the public hearing, Boyd A. Loving voiced confusion over the wording, saying, “I do not believe that the village has any jurisdiction on any properties that are owned by the county, nor the state of New Jersey, or the Board of Education.” In response, the council and the attorney agreed to clarify the wording without changing the substance.

Furthermore, the meeting was abuzz with other new ordinances related to parking restrictions, license entitlements, fees, and technological updates. Particularly, Ordinance 3964 aimed at amending the code regarding prohibited parking, while ordinance 3965 and 3966 looked at licensing, payment of fees, and how the council conducts its business.

The meeting was not without its technological hiccups. A citizen complained about being ignored during a Zoom meeting, raising concerns about the system’s functionality. This led officials to promptly address the matter, acknowledging the technical oversight.

The discussions also saw a substantial push towards improving the village’s appearance and technological infrastructure. Plans for tree planting were approved, and a contract was awarded to Down Street Service Inc. for an amount not to exceed $63,405. Additionally, resolutions were passed regarding the installation of horizon small nodes at various locations. A debate emerged around Verizon 5G nodes, with a correction from a citizen affirming they were indeed related to 5G.

Residents’ concerns were also addressed, such as trash pile-up, delays in processing Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests, the need for more athletic fields, and concerns about the resurfacing of roads and the placement of 5G nodes. Rorick Halaby thanked the leadership for the progress on the new village website and emphasized its value. A dialogue ensued regarding the potential departure of Valley Hospital, including the implications for affordable housing.

The meeting also featured heartfelt expressions of gratitude, as Denise Lima, an ovarian cancer survivor, thanked the council for recognizing Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Frank Mortimer expressed gratitude to the Ridgewood Fire Department for their response to an electrical fire.

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