Jersey City’s Powerhouse Arts District receives 30-year tax abatement

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After Downtown Jersey City received another 30-year tax abatement for the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan, one frustrated resident told the council flat out: “the plan is stupid.”

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The Jersey City Council voted unanimously (9-0) to pass amendments to the Powerhouse Arts District (PAD) Redevelopment Plan.

The amendment to the plan is to create a new “Southern Edge Transition District” at the corner of Warren and Steuben streets. This will permit a building height bonus of 65 additional feet and require a theatre and other art spaces on the 2nd floor.

During the meeting, a student from Snyder High School – who also attends Nimbus Dance Works – Ellesia Turner, told the council that dance has kept her out of trouble and away from gun violence.

“I haven’t gotten into a fight only because I have been so focused on dance. This means so much to me,” said Turner.

Nimbus Dance Works is a Jersey City dance academy in need of a theatre. Many members of Nimbus Dance works addressed the council about the need for culture and arts in downtown Jersey City, but one frustrated Jersey City resident fears the rise on her taxes due to the redevelopment plan.

“My next tax bill when this passes, should print out the name of the artist and their income guidelines on my tax bill,” said Yvonne Balcer.

According to the PAD Redevelopment Plan, there are restricted units that shall remain subject to affordability and certified artist occupancy requirements of this provision for a period of 30 years – from the date of which the first certified household takes title of the property as owner or renter.

“You are talking about an income guideline from 80 percent to 120 percent a year for an artist? This is ridiculous!” said Balcer.

However, according to the U.S. Department of Housing Urban and Development (HUD), the workforce affordable housing income levels are restricted, and are estimated to be between 80 percent to 120 percent average median income (AMI).

“80 percent of a one-person household is $42,950” said Martin Vigil, the deputy mayor of Jersey City.

“A two-person household is $49,050, and for a three-person household, it’s $55,200.”

“Well you know what, sometimes I do art myself, where is my 30-year tax abatement?” Balcer asked the council.