How Bayonne moves forward with development, preserving open space, parking, and a host of other related issues may be affected by the meetings that were held recently about the city’s master plan.
“Community involvement sessions” were held in the city’s three wards seeking comment and ideas from residents. On March 1 it was the City Council Chambers, on March 2 Washington Community School on Avenue B, and on March 3 it was the Bayonne Senior Citizen Community Center on West 4th Street.
The city has been working on the reexamination since last fall, but these meetings were the first specifically held to solicit public responses in a face-to-face setting. In February, the city sought comments through an online survey and printed copies of the survey available at City Hall.
Eight hundred people participated in the survey, and gave the city its first broad look at how residents want the city to move forward in the many areas that a master plan affects, including public safety, cultural activities, transportation, parks and recreation, and education.
As many might have expected, development in Bayonne was one of the major focuses of the survey and one of the main topics of the three workshops.
At the Washington Community School meeting, Mayor James Davis started off the meeting with brief comments about why the community’s support was pivotal to the city making the choices residents want.
“Throughout this process I’ve made it a point to explain how important public participation is in the success of the re-examination.” – Mayor James Davis
At that same meeting, development was a constant topic in at least two of the three breakout groups. Several attendees were among those at City Council and Planning Board meetings last summer opposing a nine-story development at 46th Street and Broadway and a 22-story development at North Street, next to the 8th Street Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station.
Some questioned why buildings more than five stories can’t be exclusively built at the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor or on the perimeters of the city. They said they did not want buildings of those heights on Broadway or in what are now residential neighborhoods with only one- and two-family houses.
Francis Reiner of DMR Architects in Hasbrouck Heights, who is leading the city master plan re-examination, also led the community workshop.
Response to survey was good
The city and the mayor were buoyed by the 800 responses to last month’s survey, a very good response, according to Reiner.
“I was incredibly pleased to receive the results of the community survey that was conducted in concert with the re-examination of the city’s master plan,” Davis said. “I’m even happier to hear that more than 800 responses were collected as part of this effort.”
Davis said that cities Bayonne’s size often collect only 200-300 completed surveys.
“Throughout this process I’ve made it a point to explain how important public participation is in the success of the re-examination,” Davis said.
The comments from the three community meetings, and two more in the spring, will be combined into a report to be released later in the year.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.