The Jersey City Council approved the acquisition of 100 acres of land for $180 million Bayfront project during another marathon meeting that went until around midnight this morning.
By Katherine Guest/Hudson County View
The council approved the resolution by a vote of 6-1(1), with Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley voting no and Ward D Councilman Michael Yun abstained. Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano was absent.
Ridley, who expressed reservations about the afford housing aspect of the project after last week’s special meeting, explained prior to her vote why she was against bringing the project in its current form to her ward.
“Why would you take people who are in need of affordable housing and place them on the outskirts of the city divided by a four-lane highway with little to no access to transportation?,” Ridley rationalized.
The original plan, dating back to 2008, called for 8,000 residential units, with five percent of those being dedicated to affordable housing. However, the new plan could result in up to 30 percent of the 8,000 units being affordable housing.
According to figures released from the city prior to the meeting, the municipal government is anticipating planning fees, historic landfill remedy, prepayment and demolition to cost about $105 million.
From there, they estimate infrastructure costs to be anywhere from $60 to $80 million.
At last night’s meeting, Ato Tuazon, Ward A resident and leader of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, pushed for the necessity to create an inclusive multi-income development that reflects the diversity of the city.
“The Bayfront development presents a great opportunity for Jersey City to address and help lessen the housing crisis in a big and immediate impact. If done properly, we will have thousands of units that will be affordable and available to thousands of decent, ordinary and hard-working families in a short time,” said Tuazon.
Additionally, Rev. Donavon Shoemaker, a Ward A resident for the past 46 years and Pastor of First Wesleyan Church on Woodlawn Avenue, shared a similar view on the redevelopment project.
“We need to realize that 30,000 families in our growing city are in housing stress. In fact, in Ward A and Ward B, most of the households would qualify for the type of affordable housing that would be on site,” said Shoemaker.
In the early 2000’s, Jersey City Together, multi-faith based coalition, sued Honeywell in federal court over the site’s chromium contamination. After winning the case, Honeywell was ordered to clean up the West Side region in 2003.
Since then, the group has remained in the forefront of affordable housing for the Bayfront project, aiming for a Newport-like area in line with affordability.