After residents expressed a number of concerns, the Bayonne council yet again stalled the Clayton Block redevelopment plan during last night’s meeting.
By Katherine Guest and John Heinis/Hudson County View
Since the previous meeting on June 22nd, irregularities with the master plan decreased the level of approval from Bayonne natives, which ultimately caused the council’s to question the planning board.
Peter Franco, a frequent speaker at public meetings, specifically honed in on the council’s reexamination of the redevelopment plan to bring in franchise businesses and luxury apartments for people with disposable incomes.
He believes that this is in direct contradiction with an industrial manufacture company.
“I caution you by saying why is there a rush for this?,” he asked.
“Clayton is still paying taxes and if your theory of raising the median household income to attract Starbucks and Panera Bread is correct, then why would we practically scrap this for something that doesn’t conform to the area?”
Council President Sharon Nadrowski, reassured the public a heavy industrial building wasn’t the vision for the city, even though the council has yet to vote on the plan.
“We are not looking to undermine other investments that are going on and I agree that is not what this council’s vision was,” she said.
Joe Wisniewski, who often speaks out about responsible development in the city, said he wouldn’t mind the project if it was designated for an area with more space.
” … It really doesn’t fit there. And if Clayton had found an adequate place in the town, we wouldn’t have any objections to it, it’s just that where it is,” Wisniewski began.
“And if you’re looking to redevelop that area, per say, you want to have somebody higher end, like a Starbucks, whatever that’s gonna be there, and you don’t want to have a cement manufacturing company, trucks there, interfering and double parked.”
Another resident, Melanie Flora, said that hours of operation, production and manufacturing were all additional concerns of the project.
Jonathan Guldin, an attorney from Clark Guldin representing Dermitt’s Concrete Corporation, did his best to try and alleviate residents concerns.
“Is the plan consistent with the Master Plan or designed to effect the Master Plan’s purpose?,” Guldin questioned.
“And I think if you look at this, just on the surface, there is no possible way you can reach the conclusion that putting concrete manufacturing and concrete block on this site, given the transformation is consistent with the Master Plan.”
Guldin continued that in 2013, the city hired an outside consultant to do an outside study on the potential redevelopment, which reaffirmed it was consistent with the Master Plan.
After about 30 minutes of discussion, Nadrowski recognized the many concerns brought forward and no one on the council brought a motion forward to vote on it.