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Ridgewood Petition Could Force Vote On County-Run Parking Garage

The deck could address the longstanding downtown parking crunch.
The deck could address the longstanding downtown parking crunch. Photo Credit: Facebook

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. – Ridgewood voters could determine whether the village should partner with the Bergen County Improvement Authority to build a parking garage, thanks to a petition drive that fetched more than 1,300 signatures.

“This is a huge victory for the residents of Ridgewood who want to have common sense solutions to parking and how it is funded,” petitioner Lorraine Reynolds said.

“[We] just want Ridgewood to have full control and flexibility of the pricing structure, especially when it comes to resident and non­resident commuters using the garage,” she said.

Officials earlier this month approved allowing the BCIA to build the multi-level, 325-car Hudson Street deck and lease it back to the village.

This came after a proposed $12.3 million bond ordinance to have the village handle the job itself failed to gain the necessary votes.

Residents launched a grass roots movement against the BCIA option, obtaining nearly double the amount of signatures needed to put a binding referendum question on the ballot during the May 10 village elections.

In response, Ridgewood Mayor Paul Aronson last week said he plans to propose an $11.5 million bond ordinance for the construction and new renderings at a special public meeting this coming Wednesday.

If the five-member council produces the four votes necessary, the village will bond the project on its own -- elminating the need for a referendum question.

If not, Aronsohn said, officials would have no choice but to pursue the already-approved deal with the BCIA.

Either council member Michael Sedon or Susan Knudsen, who opposed the first bonding ordinance, would have to vote differently in order for it to pass.

That could happen, Sedon said.

The petition “helps bring the majority vote back to the table and reintroduce a bond ordinance to fund the garage through Ridgewood,” Sedon told Daily Voice.

“We have renderings forthcoming – hopefully we’ll have them next week – which councilwoman Knudsen [and I have] been asking for,” he said.

Sedon said he, Aronsohn and other officials last week discussed possibly raising parking meter rates and extending enforcement times to 8 p.m. This, he said, could help fund the bond.

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