With everyone in Union City buzzing about the increase of taxes and city spending, there haven’t been many opportunities for the city to increase the money that it will take in. The city’s Redevelopment Agency discussed just that at its Sept. 26 meeting.
The board met to talk about changing the zoning for the property on 27th and Bergenline Avenue, the two-block lot where the New Jersey Transit bus depot sits. The depot was sold as one of the one-shot revenue deals in last year’s municipal budget.
“The property is now zoned strictly for commercial,” said Public Works Commissioner Tina Yandolino. “We want to change this to include residential.”
The seven-member board of city residents agreed unanimously about the rezoning.
While this property was once considered too contaminated to build residential property on, Yandolino said that it just needs the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to approve a remediation to remove the contaminants from the site.
According to Yandolino, NJ Transit is responsible for the remediation.
After the property is approved for rezoning, developers will be able to re-bid for the property.
Not just any project
The first proposal made for the property by Treeco, a North Jersey-based development firm, was rejected by the agency. The proposal was for a large supermarket with a 115-spot parking garage.
“This proposal doesn’t have the long range plans for the future of our city,” said Yandolino. “It was mediocre at best and wasn’t going to attract any new people to the area.”
Pointing to at least four other supermarkets in the area, Yandolino said the agency felt that the supermarket would only take business away from the other supermarkets that already existed.
“There has to be something better for our community than a supermarket,” said Yandolino, who envisions an area as having an upscale residential complex, office buildings and commercial space. “A city within a city could be built in that space. We want something with vision. This could be the beginning of the Renaissance of our city.”
A project that includes commercial and residential space would also bring in more tax ratables to the city. “This will be an asset to the community and would help the taxpayers,” Yandolino said. She added that developers have already been contacting her about submitting proposals for the property.
A resolution to allow the city’s Planning Board to review the new zoning for this property will be brought before the Board of Commissioners at its Oct. 3 meeting. After the Planning Board has reviewed the zoning changes it will go back to the Board of Commissioners for approval before the city can accept bids on the property.