Second alternate Jane Shinozuka turned in her planning board retirement papers Wednesday morning, leaving the board with two empty seats during a critical time for development issues in Ridgewood.
The East Side resident served on the board for nearly three years. Her resignation comes on the heels of full-time member Costantino Suriano announcing his departure.
In a conversation with Patch Wednesday night, Shinozuka said she didn't feel the council wanted to give her the full-time perks. So after much deliberation, she resigned.
Shinozuka's first term as a board member expired last summer. The Paul Aronsohn-led council majority elected to keep her in tow, but bumped her down from first alternate to second alternate.
"The board sets the agenda, but the council is reluctant to make me a full-time member," Shinozuka said. "They passed me over twice in six months – what am I to make of that? But that's the way the world works. The council says yes or no."
She added: "It just seemed like it was time to go."
Shinozuka was never provided a reason as to why she came back as a second alternate, she said. (She ran for a council seat in the most recent election, one in which the current council majority was elected.)
Reached for comment Wednesday night, Aronsohn said it's inaccurate to say that Shinozuka was passed over twice in six months.
Wendy Dockray, the current first alternate, moves to full-time status with Suriano's recent resignation. As is proper protocol, Aronsohn said, Shinozuka moves to first alternate.
He declined to detail the reasons the council chose to move Shinozuka from first alternate to second alternate in 2012, calling the decision a personnel matter.
But Aronsohn and board chairman Charles Nalbantian both called Shinozuka Wednesday, appealing to her to remain on the board.
"We value her services and we wanted her to stay on the board," Aronsohn said. "That's why we reappointed her last year; it was the consensus of the council."
Nalbantian told Patch Wednesday night he found her to be a valuable member of the board who asked insightful questions. That she could represent views from those living on the east side of Route 17 was an added benefit, he added.
The board is currently without alternate members as it trudges through what is guaranteed to be a controversial decision on re-zoning for multi-family housing in the downtown.
There's no clearly defined timetable for a vote.
Valley Hospital too may return to the planning board after its 'Renewal' expansion plans were quashed by the previous council.
Nalbantian said he doesn't believe the departure of Suriano and Shinozuka will be problematic for the planning board.
Shinozuka may be off the planning board, but she says she'll continue to stay active in Ridgewood civics.