2 Hoboken councilmen make 3 requests ahead of vote on Rebuild by Design study


Two Hoboken councilmen have made three specific requests ahead of an expected vote on Wednesday about a Rebuild by Design study related to Jersey City easements.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

1st Ward Councilman Paul Presinzano and 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos wrote a letter to Mayor Ravi Bhalla on Friday that began by mentioning that the governing body tabled a $75,000 engineering contract to perform a study to determine the easements impact on a proposed light rail station.

“The light rail project is part of a large private development called Holland Park that would include 800 residential units as well as a new light rail station,” they began.

“Before the council is asked again to vote on approving the study contract, we respectfully request that the following documents be provided to the council.”

They are seeking written confirmation from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) that says the study would help resolve the matter between Lincoln Equities and Jersey City, all pleadings, appraisals, reports and other supporting documents from the condemnation commission hearing, and “written assurances” from Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) office that says the state would cover additional light rail costs.

“It appears that Hoboken is being asked to pay for this study as a result of Jersey City Mayor Fulop’s demand that Hoboken do so, as reflected in his February 7th interview on Hudson County View [Live & Uncut],” the letter continues.

“The dispute over whether these additional costs exist, and if so, to what extent the State rather than Lincoln Equities would cover them, has been the subject of negotiations between the Governor’s Office, the NJDEP, Lincoln Equities, and Jersey City for over two years … Clearly, this study would directly implicate sensitive matters that are currently being litigated.”

They continue that it is “absolutely critical” that the state fully supports any legislative action taken by Hoboken because they do not want to further hinder Rebuild by Design by taking a position against the state.

While Business Administrator Jason Freeman said at the prior council meeting that the state was on board with the scope of the proposed study, Presinzano and Ramos say they want the state to convey this in writing as well.

City spokeswoman Marilyn Baer said the administration is glad to see the council engaged in this matter, cautioning that postponing the vote again could lead to delaying the project further.

“The Administration is always glad to see council members take an active role in projects as important as Rebuild by Design. This engineering study is the next step in securing the southern alignment portion of the project. During the Feb. 7 City Council meeting, the Administration discussed the impending engineering study, and Councilman Presinzano, in particular, emphasized the importance of completing it within 90 days,” she told HCV.

“Given that an additional postponement of the vote could lead to further unnecessary delays to the critical project, we would expect the Councilman and his colleagues to avoid tabling the vote (again) so the project can remain on track. As always, the Administration encourages constructive engagement and welcomes any constructive questions council members may have.”

Presinzano said in response that the requests from him and Ramos are straightforward: to get assurances in writing.

“While we want to work collaboratively with our neighbor, the last thing we want is for Hoboken to be on the hook for millions of dollars if the study’s outcome contradicts what already appears to have been decided,” he added.

In an interview on February 23rd, Bhalla he was unclear why the resolution in question didn’t receive a vote before explaining what he hopes it will accomplish.

” … What we hope to do is educate why we’re doing that study so that we can make sure that Jersey City continues to be a partner with Hoboken in terms of granting the necessary easements and doing so that also allows Jersey City to build the type of infrastructure that they want to build.”

The Hoboken City Council convenes at City Hall, 94 Washington St., on Wednesday at 7 p.m., which will stream live on their Facebook and YouTube pages.

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  1. After the usual half truths, omissions, political spin and out right lies the Bhalla and his Administrations need to put it in writing.