After an evening filled with hostile questions from residents, confusion led the Bayonne City Council to table a measure to vote on a controversial 46th Street redevelopment plan – which includes a 10-story building.
Those who were against this 88-unit plan mainly talked about their concerns with the building’s height of 120 feet, open space, density, parking and the possible tax abatement for the development.
Some refer to the initiative as the “Resnick’s Redevelopment Plan,” since the building would be near Resnick’s Kitchen Cabinets – a hardware store – on the northwest corner of 46th Street and Broadway in a neighborhood lined with two-story homes.
After four hours, 34 speakers took the podium and 23 spoke about the potential new development.
David Solari, a lifelong Bayonne resident called the council “sellouts.”
Another resident, Peter Franco, asked about the rumored tax abatement for the plan, to which Business Administrator Joe Demarco replied, “at this stage there, is no application for tax abatement.”
Franco also stated his concern that the redevelopment plan seems to be on a “ fast track.”
This question was later supported by LD-31 Republican nominees and Bayonne resident, Matthew Kopko.
“Mr. Demarco, is Michael DeMarco your brother?” he asked. As DeMarco admitted he was, Kopko highlighted the residents’ concern on the possible conflict of interest.
Michael DeMarco is the president of Mack-Cali, the realty corporation behind the Resnick Redevelopment plan.
“What is your process of conflict?” Kopko asked the council.
“There is no conflict of interest,” DeMarco boldly stated, “There are no financial benefits for myself or any of my family members.”
According to DeMarco, the proposal was submitted in April, while Michael assumed the position in Mack Cali in June.
While Bayonne residents still seemed confused by DeMarco’s ties with the project, Second Ward Councilman Sal Gullace was even more befuddled during the final vote.
First, Council President Sharon Nadrowski explained that the council was not confused by the questions during the public comment portion of the meeting. “We wanted to give you an opportunity to speak,” she explained.
She also commented that plan was not on the “fast track” and it went through the “proper channels.”
Third Ward Councilman Gary La Pelusa Sr. motioned to table the plan, but that was defeated by First Ward Councilman Tom Cotter and Council President Nadrowski’s votes (2-2, a tie defeats the motion).
City Clerk Bob Sloan then asked for council to consider the resolution for the plan, and while Cotter voted for it, Gullace stated “no.”
While his vote received a loud applause, his statement directly following his vote, seemed to have caused Nadrowski to motion to table the plan for the next meeting.
“I’m sorry about it, I’m just voting because I want to see the building and I want to see what’s going on,” stated Gullace, contradicting himself moments after voting no.
The next city council meeting will be held on Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.