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Re: 2017 Reval ~ Property Inspections
#1
Home away from home
Home away from home


Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:
Quote:

Dolomiti wrote:

Of course, you should feel free to put your money where your mouth is, and if you personally own in DTJC you should sell now. Right?


I live in DTJC as a renter... I have chosen to to sit out the market until things are clearer. Or, if things go sideways, until the dust settles somewhat.

We should know more by mid to late 2019, after the impact of the upcoming tax changes have been fully experienced.


There are lot of moving parts to the Federal tax changes. Seems clear that for owner-occupiers in high tax locations the net effect of the changes – limit of 10k for the combination of state, local, income/sales and property tax is negative, making the reval’s impact more severe by increasing overall cost of ownership. However, deductions for property taxes on rental properties might remain deductible (fully or partly) to landlords’ businesses, as could the mortgage interest deduction – being a business expense. Then there’s the matter of how pass-through income for Type S corporations (LLC’s) will be treated.

At this point I’m not certain what made it into the final bill regarding investment real estate– something did as there was some commentary about how it appears very favorable to the president. In any event, it appears now that the tax changes for property tax deductions will be much less significant for landlords. Consequently, the impact of the reval increase looks to be a good deal LESS for landlords than owner-occupiers.

Owner occupiers in high tax areas might respond by renting their houses, and living in a rental themselves. You and your neighbor could “swap” houses, renting to each other, to obtain the favorable tax treatment accorded to landlords. Transfer ownership of your place to the “My place is for rent, LLC.” That would free up the entire 10k to use for state and local income taxes, make the property taxes deductible and as a bonus make the mortgage interest deductible. Obviously, all depends on the actual numbers.

Now that would be some unintended consequence – making the economics of changes for property tax deduction overall more favorable to “high” cost states…. There would be no point in a low tax state to try and turn your owner-occupied property into a rental - it wouldn’t increase your deductions. Of course it all depends on the specifics of the final bill. The devil is in the details, as they say….

Seems very tough to predict what the net, final impact will be on the JC housing market.

Posted on: Today 1:00
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Re: Port Authority plans to extend PATH to Newark airport
#2
Home away from home
Home away from home


http://www.nj.com/traffic/index.ssf/2 ... nsion_is_plan_b_if_g.html

The arithmetic is simple: 10 car trains run every 3 minutes, carry 90% more passengers than 7 car trains every 4 minutes. And the 25-30 minute trip time EWR to WTC is roughly equal to JSQ - 33rd St. Yes, almost double the capacity….

Expect NJ and PA Officials to be very circumspect in their public statements about this plan – even to the extent of making outright mis-statements about the facts. Why? Because if NY thought for a second there was a way to completely get rid of the PABT, they’d be all over it instantly.

Posted on: 2017/12/6 12:36
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Re: Port Authority plans to extend PATH to Newark airport
#3
Home away from home
Home away from home


I’ve been in Florida enjoying some warm weather, accumulating a few days out of NJ before year end. Now I’m back and want to follow up on this for anyone who might be interested in more details.

It is 100% certain PATH will get rid of the HOB – WTC and JSQ – 33rd lines. Eventually those lines will be forced shut because of compelling economics and unrelenting increases in commuters. Given the sensitivities, and likely push back, the PA will be very quiet until it’s a done deal, so of course they are being very coy, but it’s inevitable. And the naysayers, City operatives and developer shills who often post here aren’t interested in telling you the truth. You need to think for yourselves…. It is patently obvious to anyone who rides PATH today there are serious capacity problems. The deniers have hidden agendas to push. Here’s what going down, and if it’s done well, it could be a big plus.

To cope with future trans-Hudson commuter demand and plug PATH’s $450 million annual deficit, the PA needs to extract more efficiency and better monetize the value of the downtown H&M tubes. It seems they’ve found a way. The EWR extension is key to unlocking that value. With a PATH extension to EWR, the tunnels to WTC can carry thousands of higher-fare paying riders everyday. Listers, the PA isn’t spending $1.7 billion for us and a few lower Manhattanites to pay $2.75 for a quick ride to Newark airport. No, it’s about finding a lot more commuters who will pay higher fares to use PATH. It’s a big plus for JC and NJ, but it raises significant issues, including re-configuring PATH.

The plan turns EWR – WTC into the major NJ/NYC commuter rail line. The scoping document doesn’t say it that way, but it’s clear. The new EWR station, next to I-78, Rte 22, 1&9, Amtrak, NJT, and close to the Turnpike and Parkway, will have intermodal facilities. The PA wants every commuter it can get on PATH from all the buses and cars that go by there daily. They’ll charge for EWR station “access”, and run as many trains as possible. All for a paltry $1.7 billion. Even at double ($3.4 billion), it’s a bargain. And NY can’t delay or stop it because, unlike the PABT, it’s all here in NJ.

It’s a great idea for everyone who goes past the airport on their way to NYC. It takes buses and cars off highways, and generates money for the PA. It takes pressure off the Gateway tunnel ($30+ billion) and PABT projects ($10+ billion), both still unfunded and over a decade away. Heck, the PABT will never be re-built if NY gets its way. They’d happily leave us stranded in NJ. Expect a huge fight, and long delays before you see a new PABT. Our friends in NY see the PA bridges, tunnels and bus terminal as giant pipes that send “their” jobs, money, and taxes to NJ by the bus and train load every day.

The passenger “access” fee for the EWR station will be about $10 – 3.5 times today’s $2.75 fare. This means revenue from one, full EWR train (10 cars, $12.75 fare) will be about five times that of a full HOB – WTC or JSQ – 33rd train (7 cars, $2.75 fare). If you’re running PATH, with an annual $450 million deficit, which line has priority? A line that generates one fifth the revenue…? I don’t think so.

How does it impact the HOB – WTC and JSQ – 33rd lines? Just run more trains, you say. Well, at present there’s a “bottleneck” that limits system capacity so it can’t run more trains. The federally mandated “headway” gap (the time between trains) for crossing point safety limits the number of trains that can run. Get rid of the crossing points for trains from HOB and JSQ and you can run more EWR – WTC trains. Recall, the EWR trains have the 5 fold revenue increase, and 40% greater passenger load. At the margin, HOB – WTC, and JSQ – 33rd trains cost PATH revenue and capacity, so it’s a matter of when, not if, those lines go for more EWR trains. Of course, even without crossing points PATH eventually reaches the limits of the then much higher capacity constraints. But that’s a long way off.

There’s some good news for JC in all this. With the crossing points gone, PATH can operate faster and more frequent service on the lines that remain, EWR – WTC and HOB – 33rd. Adjust your commute and take your pick which one you’ll ride. You’ll have less wait time and faster rides. Getting to the airport from JC will be fast, easy, and cost less – no taxi, Uber, etc., and no traffic tie ups to worry about. You won’t need to leave an hour earlier, in case there’s a jam on the Skyway or Turnpike.

IMHO the benefits far outweigh any down-sides, but I get that some people won’t like it. And it’s not perfect, so I do have some questions for the PA. Will the access charge apply only to the airport station? What about a discount fare for airport staff? Will we be left standing in the dust at JSQ or Grove St, by trains full of higher-fare paying commuters from EWR? Will PATH run WTC trains that start empty from JSQ, and Grove St? Have your say now Listers, make sure they’ve thought about the details and the plans are robust, work for JC, and are implemented accordingly.

But know this: the service will change, it’s inevitable. There’s way too much money at stake.

There’s over 400 pages of report about trans Hudson commuting from the PA, here and here:
https://www.panynj.gov/about/pdf/Trans ... ummary_Report_9-21-16.pdf
https://www.panynj.gov/about/pdf/Trans ... ll_Appendices_9-21-16.pdf

Posted on: 11/29 16:13
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PATH - proposed Newark Airport extension
#4
Home away from home
Home away from home


Take a good look at this fellow Listers.

http://www.panynj.gov/path/pdf/PATH_E ... Document_November2017.pdf

There are a couple of public meetings planned for comments.
http://www.panynj.gov/path/pdf/PATH_E ... Meeting_Flyer_English.pdf

From the document:
“The new PATH station will be designed to allow for the construction of commuter parking, thereby providing the potential for expanded trans-Hudson transit access for commuters. The size of the parking facility analyzed in the EA will be identified based on potential demand and cost effectiveness criteria, and its design will be developed during a station area planning effort, which will solicit input from key stakeholders. Different parking facility options may be analyzed in the EA to capture the effects of plausible scenarios. The parking facilities analyzed will likely include a surface lot and/or a parking garage for daily commuters.”

On balance, this could be a great idea but ONLY IF service frequency is greatly increased. Significant additional commuter loads are likely from the planned “park and ride” facilities located just off I-78 and Rte 22. More trains will be needed. The scoping document states 3 minute frequency during rush hour.

Increasing service frequency on PATH is not simple. The federally mandated “headway” gap that must be maintained between trains complicates things. It becomes critical at crossing points where the lines intersect, as the number of train that can “fit” while maintaining the required “headway” is limited. So, to run more trains on a given line, PATH must reduce train crossings on that line.

Although they’re not saying it just yet, this means eventually it’s goodbye HOB to WTC, and possibly even to JSQ to 33rd. Sooner or later, eliminating crossing points where those lines intersect with the EWR to WTC line becomes the only way to “fit” more trains on the EWR-WTC line. Otherwise, how do they carry all those additional commuters from EWR and beyond – short of building new PATH tunnels?

For some (many?) JC commuters this could mean problems. However, IF WTC service becomes much more frequent, as the document states (do we believe the PA…?) the negative impact for those folks is mitigated (somewhat) by better WTC service. For many, including other JC commuters, increased WTC service frequency will be a huge plus.

To sweeten the whole deal for everyone, why not have a single set fare that includes BOTH PATH and the NYC Subway? Or allow people to buy reduce fare “transfers” across the systems. And while they are at it, please fully integrate the PATH and subway fare systems. I saw no mention of those ideas in the document.

Posted on: 11/23 8:45
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Re: Man Found Stabbed in the Chest in Jersey City (Newark ave between Grove and Erie)
#5
Home away from home
Home away from home


Quote:

TheBigGuy wrote:

Would love to see the source of your quote because the only location quote I saw was that the incident occurred in the vicinity of 135 Newark Ave.

Maybe you and GrovePath can go down during the day and interview the business owners in the vicinity? It did say early morning... If it helps you, remember nothing good ever happens after midnight.


ROTFL – you tried to Google that “quote”…?

There’s no need for me to waste my time speaking to store owners / staff to figure out what goes down around here. Someone was stabbed in the vicinity of the Newark Ave Pedestrian Plaza, right there on JC's famous, high class, restaurant row. If anyone did know what happened, I've no doubt they wouldn’t tell me…. SMFH.

Posted on: 11/21 21:31
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Re: Man Found Stabbed in the Chest in Jersey City (Newark ave between Grove and Erie)
#6
Home away from home
Home away from home


Quote:

MikeyTBC wrote:

Because then they couldn't charge 2200/mo for a shitty basement studio in a "desirable" area.


+1 LOL. Yeah, so true…. But it’s the back story I’m most interested in.

Terrence, how ‘bout you try to get the lowdown from your JJ buddy, intrepid Police Reporter, Michaelango Conte…? He should be on the job with these crime reports.

Posted on: 11/21 20:07
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Re: Man Found Stabbed in the Chest in Jersey City (Newark ave between Grove and Erie)
#7
Home away from home
Home away from home


Quote:

TheBigGuy wrote:
Quote:

CatDog wrote:
Probably because it would be bad press for them and unless they're involved at all it's not really relevant. If someone gets stabbed outside a residence, should they mention who lives at the residence?


+1 Maybe GrovePath can still stop by the two businesses and ask anyway?


I don’t particularly need to know the name of the DTJC business a crime occurred outside of, but I DO need to know the general vicinity. An address doesn't immediately help me with that - I have to Google it to find the location. Turns out 135 Newark Ave is in the middle of the pedestrian plaza in DTJC’s restaurant row.

I need that information for my own personal safety, so I know where to be careful and where to avoid completely. I need to know: “The stabbing victim was found outside a restaurant located on the downtown Newark Ave pedestrian plaza”, so I can decide if, and when, I go to that vicinity.

Stabbings in the middle of supposedly safe, busy areas of DTJC concern me, as does the absence of news coverage about these crimes. What else doesn’t get reported, and why not…?

Posted on: 11/21 12:59
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Re: Fair current value for a home with low taxes.
#8
Home away from home
Home away from home


Quote:

MDM wrote:

... but the frightening totality is still being ignored.

https://www.newjerseyalmanac.com/opinion.html


Spot on MDM. Well, with the minor exception that I haven’t ignored it…. I am ready to go the instant some Government official tells me I have to “pay up” so they can still get their pension. NJ is at the bottom of the heap when it comes to funding future pension obligations. I personally don’t see it moving from dead last, and if it does, it won't be with any help from me since I had no part in making the mess. http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research- ... -pension-funding-gap-2015.

The taxes on the house I sold will go from around $14,000 to between $36,000 - $42,000 depending on the final assessed value and rate. $3,000 a month taxes (maybe more) for the privilege of living in JC…? No thanks! And that’s before any school funding changes, and any increases in income taxes – thanks Gov. Murphy.

Then, add in the mess PATH has become. Even after the new carriages and signals, NJTPA says PATH reaches capacity by the "mid 2020's". Me? I think it’s already there, and the mid 2020's claim is a straight up lie. Come to JC, "Make it Yours." Too bad you can’t get to work, or home again without big delays, notwithstanding punitive property taxes.

Where does all that money go? Whatever, I know I’ve reached my limit. I’m definitely not shelling out $36,000 to $42,000 each and every year to fund these crooks.

Posted on: 11/2 21:22
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Re: Fair current value for a home with low taxes.
#9
Home away from home
Home away from home


Indeed. I sold my downtown property because of the reval’s predictable impact on taxes and prices. I was paying about 0.7%, so it was obvious the tax hit will be significant. Definitely more than I want to pay for the dysfunction, corruption and inadequate services that characterize this city. I was hopeful Fulop might turn things around, but after 4 years it’s obvious he’s as bad as his predecessor. In any event, with the potential reduction / loss of the property tax and mortgage interest deductions, I’m confident in my call. I might buy again when the dust settles, but for now I’ll keep renting. I also see some other issues that could make things even worse. The state shovels over $450 million each year to the JCBOE! If NJ is looking to fill a pension hole, well there’s money to be had for the taking. Changes to school funding support from the state to the JCBOE will have a major impact on property taxes.

Posted on: 11/2 13:10
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Re: Replacing shut off valve on the water main line
#10
Home away from home
Home away from home


iGreg, I personally wouldn't use copper in a steam system for several reasons. The expansion coefficient of copper and the heat loss through thin-walled copper pipe is too great. Also, assuming you can find them, sufficiently large, correctly sized copper pipes on the steam-supply side would be cost prohibitive. For steam, I'm of the view that iron (black) pipes and threaded fittings are the way to go. You're dead right that there will be some corrosion and “mud” sediment build up over time. That said, the iron pipes in the old house I sold recently were 100+ yrs old. With a little TLC over the years – changing a valve, flushing a radiator like you suggested – that system still worked great. I was in awe of the craftsmen who installed it all those years ago. If you're installing a new hot water based system, then of course, you're absolutely correct copper, almost without exception, is the better choice.

Posted on: 9/14 12:54
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Re: Replacing shut off valve on the water main line
#11
Home away from home
Home away from home


Brewster, I'm not aware of anyone else in JC interested in, or capable of, doing that kind of work correctly. The last time I had work on my steam system I found a contractor from New York. The guy knew exactly what to do and how to do it. However, after dealing with the City Building Department for permits and inspection, he vowed he'd never, ever in a million years to come back to JC. Story of JC.... Use Building Dept contacts to “discourage” outside contractors from doing work here. Or put the parking police onto the contractor each and every day. Who wants competition if you can lock up the local market completely. The end result - very few reliable, competent, reasonably priced contractors around.

I should add to my prior post, just briefly. Those steam / return pipes (to and from the boiler) must be correctly sized and pitched as well. The near boiler piping needs to be BIG. If you're replacing a boiler, follow the boiler manufacturers directions for the near boiler piping very closely. And make certain the steam lines in the basement are insulated – it makes a huge difference to efficacy and speed of heat delivery to the right places.

Posted on: 9/14 7:57
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Re: Replacing shut off valve on the water main line
#12
Home away from home
Home away from home


Dinger, we might be saying much the same thing, but it could help to make sure, to possibly prevent someone from making an expensive mistake installing incorrectly sized steam radiators or boiler.

Certainly, the starting point is a heat loss calculation for the building, adding each room's heat loss on the coldest anticipated day, so the system can meet the most extreme demands. Here's how I'd go about it. For steam heat, I size the individual room radiator BTU/hr for the heat loss of that room, then I total all those radiator loads, add an inefficacy “fudge” factor (say 25%), and that's the boiler size required in BTU/hr output. I'd then round up, if needed, to the larger nearest sized boiler. So, for example, if I calculate say 92,000 BTU/hr total load, I'd use a 100,000 boiler, not a 90,000.

Over-sized radiators for an otherwise adequate sized boiler – steam system, not hot water – will result in rooms with short runs from the boiler getting too hot, and rooms with the longest runs from the boiler heating too little, or not at all.... Steam will condense in the nearer, oversize radiators and never get to the distant radiators at the end of the run.

Over-sizing the entire system, but with matched boiler and radiator capacity, increases inefficiency due to short “on” cycles. It wont be cold, but some efficiency is lost. Of course, if its efficiency you're after steam isn't the best. But as you know many old houses around here have one-pipe steam systems that are tough to convert to hot water, so basically they're stuck with them.

Right sized radiators (BTU/hr), pitched so they drain correctly, with properly functioning radiator air vents, and radiator steam valves left fully opened, along with the right boiler control settings – particularly the pressuretrol – means steam will do well enough.

Posted on: 9/13 22:29
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Re: Home Improvement - downsizing radiators
#13
Home away from home
Home away from home


Quote:

hero69 wrote:
yesterday i happened to be in an apartment in manhattan that was undergoing extensive renovation. i noticed that the large victorian cast iron radiators had been replaced with much smaller cast iron (and less intrusive imo) radiators, given that many houses now have double pane windows and insulation, is it practical to reduce radiator size by 50%, 25%? just wondering...any info, constructive feedback welcome


Absolutely. Those old radiators were sized for un-insulated buildings. Moreover, back in the day it was believed that keeping the windows closed was bad for your health – causing respiratory problems, influenza, TB and so on. Accordingly the steam heating systems were (over) sized to cope with windows that would be left open in winter.

With steam heating it's important to match radiator “capacity” and steam generation capacity (BTU's/hr) of the boiler, particularly so you don't undersize the boiler. If that happens steam condenses in the system and the distant radiators never get hot. Over-capacity of the boiler is also an issue, but at least you wont freeze with an over-size boiler. Charts on line give you the BTU capacity of a particular size radiator so you can "match" boiler output to radiator load.

Here are a couple of useful links:
http://www.columbiaheatingsupply.com/ ... ng%20Capacity%20Guide.pdf

https://heatinghelp.com/systems-help-center/category/steam

Posted on: 9/13 15:54
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Re: window replacement - historic district
#14
Home away from home
Home away from home


light12v, I've left a lengthy PM for you. I'd have posted it, since I think everyone should know how the HPO and HPC operate and what might done, but the post was just too long. The situation is difficult, but I think there are several possible approaches to improving things. No guarantees though....

Posted on: 8/6 23:22
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
#15
Home away from home
Home away from home


Quote:

papadage wrote:
Quote:

Bamb00zle wrote:
Quote:

Pebble wrote:

5. The city's website EXPLICITLY states that vinyl siding is NOT permitted. It is possible that another material that isn't wood could be but vinyl is definitely a no-no.



This 100% wrong. See the Zoning Code at 345-71. l. 9. There is no explicit prohibition on vinyl siding in the Historic design standards.

Here's the link, scroll down to L. 9. for the applicable section.

https://library.municode.com/nj/jersey ... _ARTVZODEST_S345-71HIDEST



He would still need a certificate of appropriateness to install vinyl siding.


Correct, there is no absolute, blanket, explicit prohibition of vinyl siding. It is highly noteworthy that the Code does NOT explicitly prohibit vinyl in all situations, and leaves open its use in some applications. You can apply for a Certificate of No Effect or for a Certificate of Appropriateness, depending on the particular circumstances. The only limited prohibition on vinyl is for covering a masonry surface of a building in a historic district.

Here's why it is so noteworthy the code doesn't contain wording that explicitly prohibits vinyl. When a law, regulation or code, DOES NOT state some simple prohibition explicitly and clearly, you know that it was left out deliberately. If vinyl was not permitted under any circumstance, the code would clearly and simply state: “Vinyl siding will not be approved for any use.” This code does not contain an absolute, blanket prohibition on vinyl siding, and it is NOT there because it CANNOT be there. A blanket prohibition of vinyl siding in the code would be inconsistent with the enabling provisions of the MLUL, which only permit regulation of “preservation.”

For Fernandez it is not clear if he even needs a Certificate of Appropriateness, or indeed any permission at all from the HPO or HPC, since he maintains his application was made before the HD came into effect. In that case, all he needs is a permit from the Building Department, which he says he received.

There is a very pertinent example of a permit obtained before the the HD was effective that allowed something that would be almost impossible with the HD in effect – the demolition of an entire historic structure, right in that district. It was a remarkable stroke of good luck. The owners couldn't have timed their application for demolition better if they had known in advance what was about the happen. If you're interested in the details, it was reported in the Jersey Journal. If memory serves me it was a Jewish Community Center...? Today, with the historic designation in effect, if the owners applied to demolish that building the City could stop the demolition and the owners would be obliged to “preserve” it. However, back at the time, the City said the application was made before the historic district designation went into effect, and consequently they had no lawful authority to stop the demolition. Lucky for them, hey?

If Fernandez' applied AFTER the HD was in effect, then yes, he needs some Certificate from the HPO or HPC to use vinyl. It depends on several factors including what siding was already present on his house. If a house already had vinyl siding when the HD came into effect, then it is outside the authority of the City to compel the owner use something else. No doubt the City would try to insist on the use of expensive new, fake historic looking wood siding by denying the application for a Certificate of No Effect or Appropriateness. However, it is outside their limited authority to regulate anything but “historic preservation.” If there is nothing historic to preserve, attempts to force owners to undertake preservation activities such as “restoration” or “reconstruction” are beyond their lawful authority.

Posted on: 8/4 9:32
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Re: More details on tax bills
#16
Home away from home
Home away from home


Quote:

dtjcview wrote:
Quote:

Yvonne wrote:
Recently, State Senator Brian Stack sent a letter to his constituents asking for input on legislation that might become law. So, I have two suggestions I hope the senator will consider.

First, I want legislation on the property tax bill I receive. There is a box on the tax bill that says, "State aid used to offset local property taxes." That box includes a figure showing my taxes would be higher if the state did not give money to the various agencies that receive my tax dollars. (more)

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2 ... e.html#incart_river_index


WTF. Can ANYONE make sense of their property tax bill?

How about something simple like:
1.WE THINK YOUR PROPERTY IS WORTH: $Xm
2.WE CHARGE YOU IN TAX: 7.x% $Xm = $n/year


And
3. WE WILL CHARGE YOU THIS MUCH EXTRA WHEN NJ CUTS SCHOOL AID TO THE JCBOE: = $Y/year

Posted on: 8/3 22:23
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Re: window replacement - historic district
#17
Home away from home
Home away from home


I want to clarify a point in my post about the JC Historic Code requirements for historic windows. In the event anyone uses it for some reason subsequently, I want to be 100% accurate. In my previous post I used the word “reconstruction” instead of “restoration”*. The Jersey City Code at §345-71. L. 1. b. i. uses “restoration.” That section of the historic preservation code is regularly abused by the City.

The key points of my post don't change at all: 1.) The HPC and HPO's lawful authority is limited to regulating “preservation.” 2.) “Historic preservation” is only possible if something still exists from the past. 3.) HPO / HPC demands that owners use new, fake, “historic-looking” windows to replace NON-historic windows isn't historic “preservation”, so is outside their limited authority to compel.

The HPO and HPC abuse that section of the historic preservation code by ignoring a critical clause. In so doing they make it seem the code applies to replacing historic and NON-historic windows in historic district houses. It doesn't, and the clause they ignore shows it doesn't. Ignoring a critical clause isn't just a mistake, it's willful abuse, and it ought to stop. I've bolded the critical clause they ignore:

If historic windows have deteriorated to a point precluding repair, rehabilitation or restoration, based on documentation submitted by the applicant, or a field inspection by the Historic Preservation Officer, replacement windows may be approved under a Certificate of No Effect if they match the historic windows....

This clause specifically refers ONLY to historic windows that have deteriorated. Everything following in that sub-section of the code is exclusively about deteriorated historic windows. The code is totally silent about replacing existing NON-historic windows in historic buildings. Replacing NON-historic windows with fake, “historic looking” windows isn't “preservation”. You can't preserve something, here a historic window, that doesn't exist.

So what is that section of JC code about? It describes what you must do when you have a deteriorated, existing historic window. You retain (preserve) as much of the original, historic window as possible. Everything of the existing historic window that can be saved must be “preserved”. Parts that are beyond repair must be “restored.” It means that if part of an original, historic window can't be repaired, you can't tear out the entire window. You must “restore” the beyond repair part and keep all the rest of the window.

For example, consider an existing historic window with a sash so badly deteriorated it can't be repaired. The sash holds the windowpane and moves when you open the window. The code allows you to make a new sash (or part of it), essentially identical to the historic sash, and use that “restored” sash to repair the existing, historic window. Only the “beyond repair” part, the sash, is “restored.” The rest of the window must stay and be preserved. That's “historic preservation.” As it is custom work, it can be (is) very costly, and you should carefully consider that before you buy a house in a historic district.

This reading of the code is fully consistent with the “preservation” purpose and language of the MLUL. “Restoring” only the beyond repair part and keeping all other parts of an existing historic window, to make the window fully operational, is “preservation.” Mandating such work is within the HPO and HPC's limited authority under the MLUL enabling “preservation” provisions.

In contrast, activities that are not “preservation”, for example, requiring that owners replace NON-historic windows with new, fake, historic-looking windows are beyond the HPO and HPC's limited authority allowed by the MLUL. Reflecting this limitation the JC Historic Code is completely silent about the replacement of existing, NON-historic windows in historic buildings. There's not a word about that situation anywhere in the code. There can't be because municipal zoning codes can't demand things that aren't permitted by the MLUL. And clearly, when a law or code is silent about something it can't be read to compel the thing about which it is silent.

When HPO and HPC demands go further than “preservation” activities they are misapplying the code and acting outside their lawful authority. And when they leave critical clauses off sections of code they are supposed to know and correctly administer, thereby changing the meaning of the code, that is plain, willful abuse. It is damaging to property owners, it ignores the State MLUL, and it raises serious legal risks for the City with Federal Housing Law. The City should put a stop to it.


*A note about definitions of “restoration” and “reconstruction”:
Although similar, the words “restoration” and “reconstruction” have particular meanings when used in Historic Preservation Codes and Guidelines. The best definitions (clearest, most precise, easiest to understand) are found in the Secretary of the Interior's Guidelines for Historic Preservation. Updated guidelines were released earlier this year. The JC Historic Code specifies the Secretary's Guidelines as the standard the JC HPC shall follow.
See: https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/treatment-guidelines-2017.pdf

In the JC Historic Zoning Code, the definition for “reconstruction” (§345-6. - Definitions) is so badly expressed it doesn't make sense. It seems a typographical error was made repeating part of the wording from the definition for “restoration.” That's a problem because when wording in a law, regulations or code is poorly expressed and not “understandable by a person of common intelligence”, the law or regulation (or part of it) is invalid.

Posted on: 8/3 22:16
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
#18
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Quote:

Pebble wrote:

5. The city's website EXPLICITLY states that vinyl siding is NOT permitted. It is possible that another material that isn't wood could be but vinyl is definitely a no-no.



This 100% wrong. See the Zoning Code at 345-71. l. 9. There is no explicit prohibition on vinyl siding in the Historic design standards.

Here's the link, scroll down to L. 9. for the applicable section.

https://library.municode.com/nj/jersey ... _ARTVZODEST_S345-71HIDEST


Posted on: 8/3 17:33
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
#19
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All this talk of lawsuits made me think of the harassment suit Dan Wrieden, the City Historic Preservation Officer (HPO), bought against the City. He claimed somethings about his boss harassing him. I wonder what the City's defense was/is? Maybe it's all settled by this point?

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... ey_city_cruz_lawsuit.html
http://hudsoncountyview.com/wp-conten ... /anthony-cruz-lawsuit.pdf

In my experience, observing things over the years, Dan has abused the historic preservation code for a long, long time. If I were his boss, I would have said some choice words to him out of frustration at what he, and the HPC, have done....

Anyone know anything about the status of that suit? I haven't seen anything reported since that initial filing.

Posted on: 8/3 8:43
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
#20
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Quote:

light12v wrote:
....perhaps you can enlighten us about Farrell's affirmative defenses contained in the document link below, particularly the one that states " City Defendants are entitled to ABSOLUTE STATUTORY IMMUNITY" & advise if you perceive Fulop's Individual Interests as in Concord or in Conflict with Jersey City's interests.

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3903312-Show-Multidocs.html


This might give you a sense: http://www.federalpracticemanual.org/chapter8/section2

“Absolute immunity bars any action against officials in the conduct of their office even for actions taken maliciously or in bad faith. Absolute immunity focuses on the governmental function being performed and the nature of the responsibilities of the official, not on the specific action taken.3 In deciding whether officials performing a particular function are entitled to absolute immunity, courts generally look for a historical or common-law basis for the immunity in question.4 With one exception, absolute immunity is restricted to those persons performing judicial or legislative functions.”

Without getting into the weeds, and oversimplifying to the point of some inaccuracy, the City asserts its officials and employees are protected, “immune”, from claims arising out of the discharge of their responsibilities as government employees and representatives. Here, the idea of “Qualified” and “Statutory” immunity is to protect government employees from certain lawsuits that might arise from their official duties. Of course, there are some limits to the protection afforded by “immunity.” Government officials can't just do or say whatever they want no matter how damaging or destructive and expect to be protected. However, broad latitude is generally given in matters related to their jobs.


I don't have an opinion on your other question about the Mayor, as I simply don't know enough about the matter.


What I do have an opinion about is the abusive use of the Historic Preservation rules. The HPO and HPC routinely exceed their lawful authority in the application of these restrictive Zoning rules. The ultra vires actions of the HPO and HPC have prevented many people from repairing and maintaining their houses because of the cost of the work demanded. It has caused a huge amount of damage to many people and particularly to individuals and families of limited means, and of color, for many years. The current City Administration has done nothing to stop this abuse.

The powers granted to the City under the MLUL to enable regulation of historic preservation are limited to just that: “historic preservation.” An example of the application of these limits is seen in the provisions in the MLUL regarding “demolition by neglect.” The lawful power of a municipality is limited only to requiring an owner undertake “stabilization” of the deteriorating historic structure, to preserve it from slow destruction. That is all the law permits. It does not authorize a municipality to compel or order any other kind of work on the historic structure.

Those same limits apply to all Historic structures, whether they are in danger of “demolition by neglect” or not. The City does not have the lawful authority to require anything more of an owner than “preservation.” And you can't preserve something that doesn't exist. Attempts by the City to make owners re-create “fake historic” features such as wood windows, cedar siding, iron fences, anything that does not still exist in some form, are not “historic preservation” and are therefore outside the City's lawful authority.

Posted on: 8/2 11:18
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Re: NO QUALIFIED IMMUNITY 4 Fulop... So Who PAYS 4 his Legal Defense ?
#21
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Quote:

light12v wrote:
Quote:

jerseymom wrote:
(Webbie - Should be combined with current thread on topic)

This Might Help those of us Playing at Home - Begin at Page 30


Thank You for properly locating my post & providing a link to the Federal Judge's document that I was referencing.


Thanks light12v and jerseymom. This is all getting rather interesting, don't you think? Stay tuned, the next episode could be even more exciting.

Posted on: 8/1 9:56
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
#22
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Quote:

light12v wrote:
I live down he block & have watched this property steadily deteriorate over the last 2 years.
It is SAD that what started out as an private propertyowner's attempt to lend new purpose to an aging structure in the area, ... have resulted in this property falling into additional disrepair.


Well put, light12v, I agree completely. HPC and HPO over-reach with the historic preservation rules makes it very difficult (or impossible) for owners to repair and rehabilitate these wonderful old houses where many have lived for decades. A reasonable, balanced and lawful application of the historic preservation rules would mostly be beneficial, helping people maintain their homes and preserve the character, diversity and soul of these special neighborhoods. The current heavy handed, over-zealous approach by the HPO and HPC, with it's ensuing disparate impact effects, runs counter to overall public good.

Regarding the West Side, many residents, including families who have owned their homes for several generations, expressed well-founded concern when the Historic District designation was rammed through by the City. During the Ordinance second reading City Council members promised to update and clarify the historic preservation rules. Well, no surprise, that never happened. At that same time, it was appalling to see Joyce Watterman vote in favor of the new district. Doesn't she know how these types of restrictive zoning rules have been abused over and again, for decades, to the detriment of minority families, and families with limited resources? She should be ashamed of that vote.

Since you live in that district, and with November's election coming up you might reach out to Councilman Chris Gadsen about all this – I don't live in that Ward. You'll recall he won handily last time, against Fulop's hand-picked, historic preservationist, City attorney candidate. In a community debate before that vote, Fulop's guy showed he was totally clueless, telling homeowners we need more Historic Preservation Officers to “help”! No one was fooled, and of course he lost. I've also heard the City is trying to introduce another historic district around Astor Place. Folks over there should be very concerned and get involved in the lead up to the elections. Ward E homeowners are also affected and should ask their candidates what they will do to stop the abuse of the historic rules.

Unless the City clarifies that the Historic Ordinance is limited to “Preservation” and can't be used to compel owners to undertake “restoration” or “reconstruction”, it will take a law suit to stop the abusive, aggressive, over-reach by the HPO and HPC. A thoughtful judge reading a well researched and argued brief, including all the applicable sections of State law (MLUL), City Zoning code, legislative and regulatory history, and the context in which it was all developed and is applied, will inevitably conclude there are limits, and HPO and HPC actions often overstep those limits. A suit bringing a disparate impact claim would rely on a relevant 2015 Supreme Court ruling and federal laws.

It will need a dedicated attorney, someone (or group) who has been aggrieved or suffered disparate impact, with the time, money and interest to bring a case. In my opinion, the outcome is clear. I've looked at several historic preservation matters and it is not a forgone conclusion that municipalities and HPC's prevail. I believe the court will find many actions of the JC HPO and HPC outside their limited authority to regulate “preservation” and would clarify the limits of their authority. In a disparate impact case in Federal Court, you'd have to wonder if the City isn't liable for damages given they've been so derelict in their oversight of the HPC's misuse of the Ordinance, and the resulting harms so serious.

Posted on: 7/29 13:15
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Re: Can JC kick it's parking addiction?
#23
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Quote:

dtjcview wrote:

But I'd bet every developer in JC would prefer to build more units and less parking - since most of it goes to waste.


Seems the key to me.... Every developer wants to make more money. And they don't live with the consequences of their poor planning and design.

Instead of just deleting the parking so they make more money, have developers contribute to a capital fund that is dedicated to improving mass transit.

Posted on: 7/23 9:03
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Re: Can JC kick it's parking addiction?
#24
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Quote:

dtjcview wrote:

By setting parking minimums for new development, the city is effectively subsidizing that parking out of my tax dollars. Without the parking requirement, the developers could build more units and supply greater tax revenue. How is that any different to your constant complaint about tax abatements?


Hmm, I'd have thought the opposite more likely true. An apartment with a parking space is worth more, it's assessment is more, and consequently it has higher property taxes. A car space uses no city services so on that basis I'd say the owner of the apartment with the car space is subsidizing those without car spaces.

Posted on: 7/22 20:02
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Re: Can JC kick it's parking addiction?
#25
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I'd certainly love to see us move to a less car-centric world. However, with NJ / JC's inadequate mass transit system (Jitneys, NJT, PATH, HBLR) and crumbling commuter infrastructure (PA bus terminal, Amtrak's Hudson tunnels, Penn station tracks, etc.) I don't support this kind of extreme approach.

It would have the effect that only those wealthy enough to own cars and parking spaces will be able to get around easily at will, which strikes me as an “equity" issue worthy of careful consideration.

And I don't think problems with ride share are fully appreciated yet. What happens if large numbers start using ride share to commute? Ten of thousands of (driverless?) cars carrying a passenger or two, instead of mass transit trains and buses carrying thousands. And where do all those ride-share cars park at non-rush hour times when they're not needed? And who pays for that?

Without adequate transit infrastructure in place to handle the additional load this doesn't seem like a good idea to me. I'd need to see PATH, NJT (and AMTRAK and MTA....) improve their games first. I'd be much more amenable to initiatives that restrict freedom of mobility when well functioning alternatives are in place.

Posted on: 7/22 12:14
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Re: Developers break ground on Jersey City micro-units apartment building
#26
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Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:
Not that I want to defend the Building Department, but I should also clarify that the situation with my building was somewhat unique/special: it used to be a condo building that, after the economy tanked in 2007, couldn't move the remaining units, so they decided to rent unsold units, and all those units had to be retrofitted according to new standards for legal renting. It was a mess, from what I heard from management. Every inspection would turn up new "deficiencies" and the process would drag out for each unit that needed to get a CO. Of course, the shenanigans were rampant. I am sure Azul has it right.


Even that sounds bizarre to me. The building code for “multi-family buildings” applies by building characteristics (number of dwelling unit, height and so on), not by condo or rental as far as I am aware....

Since 1977 and the UCC, if a building met requirements of the Code edition in effect at the time it was built – which it must have otherwise you couldn't have lived there since it wouldn't have had a CO – then that's it. New Code editions can't be applied retroactively in these situations. Even older buildings bought into compliance with the retrofit Code in the late 1980's were “grandfathered” in once the retrofit requirements were met and the CO or inspection "pass" issued.

The only possible wrinkle I can think of would be IF it was a conversion from condo to rental that involved significant new rehab work on the building. That would have triggered the requirements in the Rehab code.... and in most cases a need to meet current Fire Code requirements.

Every time I hear about these things I find myself thinking something nefarious is going down. What a great way to pick up a very cheap building. Issue some Fire Code violations, amp up the fines, and wait till the owner runs out of money. You have to wonder....

Maybe some City employees / Fire Code folks monitoring this site will shed some light on the mystery for us.

Posted on: 7/21 16:03
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Re: Developers break ground on Jersey City micro-units apartment building
#27
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Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:
I am often surprised and/or puzzled by the building codes and the many changes that seem capriciously enforced. At my previous building, some inspector decided that having windows facing onto a hallway through which people could evacuate was unacceptable, and so the building had to plaster over the windows of an apartment, which led to the unit losing almost all of its sun exposure. The apartment essentially became a windows-less box, with the only windows being located towards the back of one bedroom. The inspector claimed that if there was a fire inside that unit, and people in the building needed to evacuate, that the windows could potentially explode onto the hallway and injure those trying to evacuate. It seemed so far fetched, but the building had no choice but to comply, or they wouldn't issue them a CO.


What is it about the JC Building Department Fire Inspectors that these issues aren't picked up at the time of plan review? They review and sign-off that plans meet code BEFORE a building permit is issued. I hear about this nonsense time and again and now think it might be deliberate malfeasance.

It reminds me of the craziness with Mike Razzoli and Atomic Wings. The City eventually settled the suit bought by the owner. But not before he was nearly driven to bankruptcy. Great way for someone to pick up a cheap building – very tough (illegal even?) to sell something with a Fire Code violation and no CO. I have to wonder how often this nonsense goes down around here....?

Posted on: 7/21 14:17
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Re: 2017 Reval ~ Property Inspections
#28
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Quote:

Pebble wrote:
Not for nothing, but the reval has been discussed over the course of *years* not days. The reval began in Fulop's inaugural year (2013). That means people have had 4 years to prepare and "phase in" the potential cost of their tax bill. They have been able to determine whether they can afford or not the increased cost.


Indeed not for nothing. Fulop stopped the reval, and if the City has made any announcements indicating the potential tax rate post-reval, they've been well hidden from me. Perhaps had they gone on the public record indicating the anticipated range of the expected rate, people might have had a better opportunity to prepare. But that didn't happen. And the City didn't conduct revals for over 25 years either.

The City bears a large measure of culpability for this mess, and should undertake reasonable steps to mitigate the inevitable negative impact as the tax changes are implemented.

As I think I've said here before – I'm not paying any more tax than I already do to the City and State. I've taken several steps to insulate myself from any future increases. Unless the City and State start showing some degree of responsibility and reasonableness, well they'll just have to do without my contributions altogether.

Posted on: 7/17 13:59
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Re: 2017 Reval ~ Property Inspections
#29
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Quote:

brewster wrote:

Cutting the overpaying but not raising the underpaying would leave a tax deficit, and therefore a budget deficit. That won't fly.


Issue some bonds – the City's credit ratings keep getting upgraded.

The disruptive effects of huge tax increases have to be worse than some medium-term City borrowing. Leaving it to the individual homeowner to borrow is problematic as many won't have the income stream to support the loan, be old enough for a reverse mortgage, or have the necessary documents for the very onerous loan application process....

It can't be impossible for the City to help, they just need to be willing.

Posted on: 7/17 13:24
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Re: 2017 Reval ~ Property Inspections
#30
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Brewster, surely it's possible to allow tax reductions immediately – so there's no delay, and no need to explain anything – for those in that category. And, at the same time, for those with large increases, say over $5,000 per year, allow a “phase-in” period of several years, for example, 5 years. One requirement being that over the course of the phase-in period the entire amount of taxes owed would be fully paid. At the end of the “phase-in” the yearly taxes would revert to the “correct” amount. If the property is sold or otherwise transferred in the meantime, the entire balance owed as of the sale/transfer date would become due and payable immediately.

It has taken successive City Administrations 25 years of irresponsibility to arrive at the mess the City is in today regarding this reval. It's not any way reasonable to try to “fix” it all over the course of just 6 months. Yes, for those who are due to receive a tax cut, give it immediately. But the economic harm of a huge tax increase delivered over 6 months will severely and adversely impact many people.

The negligence and intransigence of City Government, resulting in this looming mess, is one of the reasons I sold my property and moved to a rental. When it becomes apparent to people what is going to happen with their taxes I anticipate a distinct cooling in the property market. I might buy back in at that point, although the fiscal mess at the State level is also a major negative for me.

Posted on: 7/17 12:46
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