More than one month after a very contentious meeting in Bayonne when the Zoning Board voted down a proposal to build a Muslim Community Center at 109 East 24th Street, Bayonne residents are still voicing their concerns over redevelopment of the area.
During yesterday’s Bayonne City Council hearing, the Council introduced a resolution that calls for the city’s planning board to “conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether certain property located at 105 East 24th Street and 107-113 East 24th Street constitutes a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment pursuant to the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law.”
Residents then had the opportunity to question the Council on the type of redevelopment the City is pursuing.
“Please explain what is going on with this site because this is the site of the proposed mosque that was voted down by the Zoning Board. Has it changed ownership, what is going on?,” asked Rosemarie Bond, an East 25th Street resident.
Bayonne Business Administrator Joe DeMarco provided many of the answers residents were demanding.
He told the East 25th Street resident that the developer, Parkview Realty Holdings, which is building an 180-unit apartment building on Avenue F between 23rd and 24th Streets, has been in discussions with Bayonne Muslims, which owns the property at 109 East 24th Street – the site of the failed community center.
“The developer has had conversations, since the decision by the Zoning Board, to see if the [Bayonne Muslims] was willing to sell. The developer has requested what could it be approved to build there,” explained DeMarco.
“All this is is a request by the two property owners jointly to see if there’s a different use for the property [at 109 East 24th Street].”
Another local resident, Melanie Flora, asked why is Parkview Realty Holdings even part of the discussion.
“Why is Parkview even involved and on record as the entity requesting this?”
Again, DeMarco said this was a fairly routine process.
“As I explained to the resident before you that this was a joint request between Parkview and Bayonne Muslims to ask if we can review these properties to learn what is permitted there as a preliminary step,” exclaimed DeMarco.
“Traditionally, one of the forms required before the onset of the study is a consent by the owner [Bayonne Muslims] that they are okay with a preliminary study.”
As the hearing concluded, one Bayonne resident explained, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that many residents are concerned about the city’s intentions for the property at 109 East 24th Street.
The resident added that she feels the city is trying to undercut the zoning board’s March decision, which voted down a Muslim community center.