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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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Where was Esther Wintner and CivicJC? Too young; blame the generation previous. Don't complain about not having a time machine.

Posted on: 2015/11/27 14:45
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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JCMan8 wrote:
I generally look at development as a good thing, but it does seem like the mayor's plan is to approve any and all large scale development without regard to its impact on the city's infrastructure (water and sewer lines, streets and parking, and public transport including busses and the PATH).


Are you serious or just ill informed? Every mid-size/large development in JC requires a 3rd party storm water and traffic impact analysis and several also include an analysis on parking impact (although as part of the city's master plan the goal is for jersey city to be more green, i.e. less reliance on cars that require parking and more reliance on mass-transit and bikes).

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JCMan8 wrote:Is the thinking that it won't be his problem because he'll have moved on in a couple years? Or is there actually some plan to improve the infrastructure as the city grows?


Testifying to Congress, Fulop urges more spending on transportation
http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... ng_on_transportation.html

New Jersey Officials Rip Proposal To End Overnight PATH Service
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/12/2 ... d-overnight-path-service/

Posted on: 2015/11/25 19:09
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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No, he's trying to make friends before his run for governor.

Posted on: 2015/11/25 1:51
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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I generally look at development as a good thing, but it does seem like the mayor's plan is to approve any and all large scale development without regard to its impact on the city's infrastructure (water and sewer lines, streets and parking, and public transport including busses and the PATH).

Is the thinking that it won't be his problem because he'll have moved on in a couple years? Or is there actually some plan to improve the infrastructure as the city grows?

Posted on: 2015/11/24 23:13
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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Wishful_Thinking wrote:
How is JC defining blight - which is required in order for the city or state to seize the properties under imminent domain for the purposes of redeveloping the area. Since New London in 2005, this has been a hot-button topic and many states have reined in the ability to use imminent domain; I don't know if NJ has. Problematically for CIVIC JC, the definition of "blight" is extremely broad - http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB124105581784671561 - and I have no doubt JC will be able to make it stick in this situation.

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Yvonne wrote:
What buses? Buses are an unreliable service especially returning home past 11:00 PM. A cab ride would cost more than a tank full of gas. Not having parking is telling residents in Society Hill, Port Liberte, or residents in the Western Slope they are not welcome. There is limited mass transit especially in cold weather.


This is problem for us. I live in the Heights, and there is only one direct bus to downtown - the 86 which runs down Palisades to Grove Street and Newport. It runs every 30 minutes after 5:00pm, and hourly after 7:00pm. The last bus leaves Newport at 9:50pm. I've had to bail early on classes I take at the JC Art School to catch that last bus!

If you don't mind the 20 to 30 minute walk each way you can walk to JSQ and take the PATH 1 stop, although truth be told I only do this for something really fun like JCAST or the gay pride parade.


There is also the #82 that runs along Summit Ave. from something like 6 to 9am & 3 to 6pm, I am not 100% sure as I have used it very little. I can walk 15 min to the Lightrail, get off at Marin Blvd, almost behind the Boys Club. Those who want to get downtown can very easily.

Posted on: 2015/11/24 22:58
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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Jersey City slealthily moves to redevelop tract adjacent to City Hall |Opinion

By Jersey Journal Guest Columnist
on November 24, 2015 at 5:15 PM

By CHARLES BALCER

In Newark recently planners, developers and public officials discussed how our cities should develop in the future. A phrase they agreed their work should embody was the "Just City".  Among the speakers was Paul Silverman, who along with his brother Eric, are well known developers in Jersey City.

With regard to a master strategy to guide urban land use, Silverman stated that historic preservation would top his list. Silverman said he applauds Jersey City's strict historic preservation laws that protect stately brownstones from demolition when developers come in and want to build on a bigger scale.  He added that this keeps long-time residents from being evicted.

In January the Silvermans bought a small wood frame building on York Street next to the City Hall parking lot.  It's typical of many in the Van Vorst Historic District and is home to four low income families as it has been for over a century. It is part of the fabric that holds the district together.

It appears the Silvermans intend to demolish this building. This came out when the city announced its plan to create a "City Hall Redevelopment Zone" which includes City Hall, its two parking lots and the York Street house the Silvermans bought. In the plan, the city said the building is in disrepair and a blight to the community. Anyone seeing this building could easily challenge that.

When the city creates a redevelopment zone it writes its own ticket to what it wants there. If done correctly, the city's intentions are advertised.  Developers respond and one is chosen by the city. With the City Hall plan, no developer has been chosen but it will be no surprise if the name Silverman is pulled from the hat.

This was done without transparency and in stealth fashion. It eliminates review by the municipal Historic Preservation Commission and leaves the community without a forum to address the "taking and demolition" of a valid property within the Van Vorst Historic District. It also leaves four families out in the cold. The Silvermans don't bear all the weight on this. The City created the climate for this to happen. 

What caught the attention of the public with the City Hall Plan was the liberal use of the word "blight".  There hasn't been blight there for the last twenty years.  Everyone in Jersey City knows it and they all want a piece of that downtown pie for their neighborhood. 

Thankfully a citizens group is challenging this plan saying "The idea that City Hall and an adjacent parking lot constitute urban blight is preposterous. This is prime real estate." The plan says the city wants to rehab City Hall which is in overall good shape, except perhaps the basement which took a hit from Sandy.  The parking lots need to be paved, but consider the parking lot on the south side of Montgomery Street which extends to York Street and is adjacent to the house the Silvermans bought. Imagine what a developer might see with a tall apartment building on it.  Goodbye parking lot and hello selected developer tax break.

The city must be held accountable in its rush to be the biggest on the planet. We expect leadership that transcends personal ambition and gain.  For too long we have heard empty promises while all we wind up with are crumbs from the table of joy. All of us have a stake here and should be treated with dignity and fairness. City officials and developers alike must work to make this a "Just City" and not a "Just Us City".

EDITOR'S NOTE: Charles Balcer is a former Historic Preservation Officer in Jersey City where he resides.

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2 ... o_redevelop_tract_ad.html


Posted on: 2015/11/24 22:35
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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Yvonne wrote:
What buses? Buses are an unreliable service especially returning home past 11:00 PM. A cab ride would cost more than a tank full of gas. Not having parking is telling residents in Society Hill, Port Liberte, or residents in the Western Slope they are not welcome. There is limited mass transit especially in cold weather.


She's right about this. Bus service is atrocious. I live near SPU and I can't get to City Hall via bus very easy int he day, let alone at night.

Posted on: 2015/10/14 14:57
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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In 1991, Gerry McCann bonded $128.9 million for missing state funds. He should have bonded $30 million. That is the year we change to fiscal years and now we are back to calendars years. The point being, some of that $128.9 million went into City Hall to rehab it. Later, during Schundler, different offices were rehabbed. Yes, Sandy did damage, especially to the stairs but Sandy did damage to many areas downtown. Why didn't City Hall apply for fema funds for the stairs? For this administration to say this area needs to be rehab in order to give the site to a developer, (everyone knows who it will be) is a joke. This is an attempt to transfer property to a developer.

Posted on: 2015/10/14 13:17
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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CatDog wrote:
I can't believe they are trying to say that City Hall is blighted. Seriously? It's a beautiful building and in pretty good condition. The article says they're not planning to tear it down, just to get money from the developer to renovate it. But that's some shady business dealing. "Hey, City Hall could use some renovation, know what I mean? Maybe I'll let you build stuff on those properties there if you fix it up, nudge nudge wink wink?"



are you serious? walk around the building and check out the 120 year old foundation... the staircases are pulling apart (which is probably why half the doors are closed) and there are visible cracks in the foundation. the building hasnt been touched in nearly 35 years since there were cosmetic renovations following the fire. the building is in pretty good shape considering its age and the lack of upkeep but is in poor condition on an absolute basis.

Posted on: 2015/10/13 21:15
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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I'm guessing Silverman will be asking for a variance at 202 york street. Completely detached bordering the thin part of the parking lot to the corner property.

Would make a great 10 story, 20 unit building.

Posted on: 2015/10/13 19:04
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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Yvonne wrote:
What buses? Buses are an unreliable service especially returning home past 11:00 PM. A cab ride would cost more than a tank full of gas. Not having parking is telling residents in Society Hill, Port Liberte, or residents in the Western Slope they are not welcome. There is limited mass transit especially in cold weather.

Translation: every single building downtown that anyone could possibly want to go to should have a parking lot large enough to fit every all of these people that could possibly go.

Your insistence on continuing the car culture because you are too lazy to walk a couple blocks is beyond selfish. There is plenty of parking downtown on Weeknights. You might not find it in front of the City Hall, but it's available within a very short walking distance. Stop acting like 1 block is some ungodly length to walk.

Posted on: 2015/10/13 17:30
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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How is JC defining blight - which is required in order for the city or state to seize the properties under imminent domain for the purposes of redeveloping the area. Since New London in 2005, this has been a hot-button topic and many states have reined in the ability to use imminent domain; I don't know if NJ has. Problematically for CIVIC JC, the definition of "blight" is extremely broad - http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB124105581784671561 - and I have no doubt JC will be able to make it stick in this situation.

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Yvonne wrote:
What buses? Buses are an unreliable service especially returning home past 11:00 PM. A cab ride would cost more than a tank full of gas. Not having parking is telling residents in Society Hill, Port Liberte, or residents in the Western Slope they are not welcome. There is limited mass transit especially in cold weather.


This is problem for us. I live in the Heights, and there is only one direct bus to downtown - the 86 which runs down Palisades to Grove Street and Newport. It runs every 30 minutes after 5:00pm, and hourly after 7:00pm. The last bus leaves Newport at 9:50pm. I've had to bail early on classes I take at the JC Art School to catch that last bus!

If you don't mind the 20 to 30 minute walk each way you can walk to JSQ and take the PATH 1 stop, although truth be told I only do this for something really fun like JCAST or the gay pride parade.

Posted on: 2015/10/13 17:26
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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Yvonne wrote:
What buses? Buses are an unreliable service especially returning home past 11:00 PM. A cab ride would cost more than a tank full of gas. Not having parking is telling residents in Society Hill, Port Liberte, or residents in the Western Slope they are not welcome. There is limited mass transit especially in cold weather.
It's not that they're "not welcome" it's that it's a city. Someone can find street parking or pay parking if they want to drive. I bet if Fulop wanted to keep the parking lot you'd bitch about him wasting valuable taxpayer money to maintain a parking lot.

Posted on: 2015/10/13 16:28
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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One of the lots should be a municipal parking lot. It would bring in revenue and alleviate the already difficult parking situation. Even freaking Montclair has a municipal lot! What major city doesn't?

Posted on: 2015/10/13 14:26
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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What buses? Buses are an unreliable service especially returning home past 11:00 PM. A cab ride would cost more than a tank full of gas. Not having parking is telling residents in Society Hill, Port Liberte, or residents in the Western Slope they are not welcome. There is limited mass transit especially in cold weather.

Posted on: 2015/10/13 14:22
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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Yvonne wrote:
How do residents from Greenville or the Heights attend a meeting in the evening? The public park in the two lots at council meetings. City Hall should be open to the public and now you are giving those parking lots to a developer.

I don't live downtown and I never drive to attend a council meeting.

Posted on: 2015/10/13 14:20
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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I can't believe they are trying to say that City Hall is blighted. Seriously? It's a beautiful building and in pretty good condition. The article says they're not planning to tear it down, just to get money from the developer to renovate it. But that's some shady business dealing. "Hey, City Hall could use some renovation, know what I mean? Maybe I'll let you build stuff on those properties there if you fix it up, nudge nudge wink wink?"

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Yvonne wrote:
How do residents from Greenville or the Heights attend a meeting in the evening? The public park in the two lots at council meetings. City Hall should be open to the public and now you are giving those parking lots to a developer.
take a bus or train. Or cab, or Uber, or whatever. Or park nearby. It's amazing to me the things you find to complain about.

Posted on: 2015/10/13 13:50
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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How do residents from Greenville or the Heights attend a meeting in the evening? The public park in the two lots at council meetings. City Hall should be open to the public and now you are giving those parking lots to a developer.

Posted on: 2015/10/13 13:36
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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Is the plan to move city hall elsewhere or maybe have the first 3 or 4 stories of a new building on the site be a new City Hall?

Posted on: 2015/10/13 11:33
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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Designating an area as an area in need of redevelopment is a prerequisite for legally giving a developer a tax break on property. Sure, City Hall and the neighboring block aren't "blighted" by the commonly-understood meaning of the term, but the developers WANT that tax break, really really badly so the city has done some mind-blowingly creative work to explain how an area that isn't actually blighted really is blighted. This tactic has been used over and over again to essentially give politically-connected developers larger profits off of Jersey City real estate, while shifting the cost of infrastructure upgrades on the little guy (usually in the form of increases in the cost of your water & sewer bill, but also in property taxes or reduced public services for existing JC residents).

Posted on: 2015/10/13 5:11
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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From an earlier post under ?city hall redevelopment plan? about this issue. It will be interesting to see what the CIVIC JC lawsuit unearths.... If it goes ahead we might find out what happened regarding the sale of 202 York Street to the Silvermans, just a short while before the City Hall Redevelopment plan was announced. I'll be keeping my eye on this story.


JCGuys, apropos your two posts today, the timing of the sale of 202 York to a developer ? Silverman Bros no less ? is is just a little too convenient for my tastes. It may all be completely above board, but there's a long and sorry history of cities using all sorts of ?creative? approaches to drive people they didn't want around from their homes. So I am curious about the sale. Was it somehow ?forced?? Reading the description of the property in the redevelopment plan made me wonder if they threw the Building or Fire Codes at the owner to encourage a sale? And of course, there could be absolutely nothing untoward about it at all. Venture to guess, we'll never know for sure. It will be nice to get the City Hall restored, but I hope no one was thrown under the bus to do it....


Posted on: 2015/10/13 2:15
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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I kind of agree - it's prime real estate on what is currently a shitty block. But I'd ask - where was Esther when JC gave away the ENTIRE waterfront?

Too little, too late Esther imo.

Posted on: 2015/10/13 1:43
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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For Immediate Release - October 12, 2015

Lawsuit Challenges City Hall Redevelopment Area

Jersey City, NJ ? Jersey City?s Planning Board and City Council are being sued by Civic JC, a grassroots civic organization that is seeking to stop officials from designating Jersey City?s historic City Hall and an adjacent parking lot as an ?area in need of redevelopment.?

?This type of blighting is most often a first step toward the tax-abated development of new condominiums and rental towers,? said Esther Wintner, president of Civic JC.

Ms. Wintner said her group has filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey seeking to void Resolution 15.517, under which the City Council designated the City Hall area as being in need of redevelopment ? meaning the City considers it a blighted area. (The resolution covers three areas: 280 Grove St. ? City Hall, 179 Montgomery St., and 202 York St.)

?The idea that City Hall and an adjacent parking lot constitute urban blight is preposterous ? this is prime real estate?, Wintner said. She added ?It is an extreme example, but only one of many examples, in which the redevelopment process has been used inappropriately by the City to up-zone and to give tax breaks to redevelopers.?

?Ultimately,? Wintner added, ?the taxpayers pay the price for these redevelopment deals -- and the tax abatements that go along with them.?

While the City Council and Planning Board have not said they plan to privatize Jersey City?s historic City Hall, Wintner added, ?what typically happens is that when publicly-owned property is made part of a redevelopment area, the property is eventually transferred to a redeveloper.?
City officials have not released a redevelopment plan for the newly designated area, but public statements made by City officials describe a troubling quid pro quo: in exchange for up-zoning on the parking lot, the as-of-yet unnamed redeveloper will fund some restoration work on the exterior of City Hall and re-do the ?park? in front of City Hall.

The lawsuit argues that the decision to designate this redevelopment area violates New Jersey state law.

?This type of exchange is inconsistent with the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, said Civic JC?s attorney, Cynthia A. Hadjiyannis. ?And even if it were consistent, the City?s efforts to extract developer ?give-backs? to fund public projects haven?t worked all that well historically.?

This is not the first time that Civic JC has stepped up to curb abuse of the redevelopment process. In 2009, Civic JC led the effort to adopt the Redevelopment Pay-to-Play Reform Ordinance, which banned redevelopers and aspiring redevelopers from making financial contributions to local candidates, elected officials and municipal and county political parties. Alongside Civic JC, then-councilman Steven Fulop sponsored the ordinance and pushed for its passage.

Contact: Esther Wintner
Telephone: 201-401-1729
Email: info@civicjc.org


Posted on: 2015/10/13 0:30
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Re: CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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Good. Not to mention that it totally ignores the those properties are in a historic district, IIRC. And the council passed this right after designating the Lincoln Park area an HD without a public ballot (i'm not against this HD, but felt the process was seriously lacking in information and FAIR unbiased public hearings). The irony of passing 1 new district over the dissent by many txpayers, and then passing something that violates the HD that City Hall is in for this administration's gain is appalling.

Posted on: 2015/10/12 21:01
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CIVIC JC sues to stop City Hall redevelopment plan
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Jersey City group sues to stop City Hall plan

By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal The Jersey Journal 
October 12, 2015 at 10:26 AM

JERSEY CITY — Local good government group Civic JC has filed a lawsuit to halt implementation of a redevelopment plan adopted in July that labeled City Hall and two nearby properties as blighted.

Esther Wintner, president of Civic JC, which filed the suit in August, said the plan is the "first step" toward developing the nearby properties and awarding the selected developer a tax break.

"The idea that City Hall and an adjacent parking lot constitute urban blight is preposterous," said Wintner. "This is prime real estate."

Esther Wintner's CivicJC is suing Jersey City over its City Hall redevelopment plan. Pamela Suchy | The Jersey Journal 

The city said it created the plan in hopes of redeveloping a city-owned parking lot on Montgomery Street across the street from City Hall and, in exchange, receive a developer's help to pay for renovations at City Hall and the creation of "green space" in front of and behind the 119-year-old Grove Street municipal building.

The redevelopment plan includes City Hall, the Montgomery Street parking lot and a York Street home owned by local developers Paul and Eric Silverman.

Read more: http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... _city_hall_redevelop.html


Posted on: 2015/10/12 18:05
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