Re: Symes / Solomon runoff
Posted by JPhurst on 2017/11/8 15:15:21
I think there needs to be some community input into the development process while also recognizing that residents do not have a NIMBY veto.
As the OP point out, state law, specifically the Municipal Land Use Law, governs the procedures by which development occurs. A developer has to obtain approval from the necessary boards, most notably the planning board, and sometimes the city council for things such as redevelopment plans. Those meetings provide for public input.
In Jersey City, there is at least an unofficial policy, predating Fulop, where if there is any perceived opposition, the Planning Board will tell the developer to meet with the community, usually through the established neighborhood association, to see if they can address such concerns. In some cases, that process leads to agreed on changes. In other cases, the developer holds firm. Sometimes that means a developer will receive approval for their plans over loud community objection because they have a right to it. The microunit development on Bright Street is a good example of that, although the city buckled down and had to be forced to approve through litigation because VVPA was so adamant in fighting it.
In other cases, if the developer doesn't have a right and needs a variance or something else, they may lose. VVPA successfully fought off a license for a sidewalk cafe and restaurant also on Bright because it wasn't required by zoning, and the owner inexplicably refused the offer to table their proposal pending a meeting with VVPA.
Some developers are more proactive and seek community input earlier. The Silvermans do this a lot and had a productive relationship with neighborhood groups, to the criticism of some residents who felt the relationship was too cozy.
To the extent Rebecca wants to create formal Community Boards or something similar, that have binding authority to approve or deny plans, that is not consistent with the MLUL and will require changes to the law from Trenton. To the extent she wants to increase the level of community input and do more of it up front, it can be done to some extent though likely not through an ordinance.
Note, I support Rebecca, but don't speak for her or the campaign on this point. I think that the criticisms of the policy from the OP, as well as from Jacob Hudnut during the campaign, have some validity and require that she recalibrate and refine her proposal.
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