In swift fashion, the Bayonne City Council unanimously approved proposed tax-abatement agreements and gave the green light on several urban-renewal projects around town. The initiatives bolstered the city’s ongoing redevelopment agenda, which is expected to bring changes as soon as this summer. The council met on March 16.
Also known as a PILOT (payments in lieu of taxes), tax abatements exempt developers from paying regular fluctuating taxes and instead agree to make payments to the city over time that are comparable to current taxes.
The agreement would allow for 662 Avenue C Urban Renewal LLC, a 33-unit residential space with residential parking, to receive financing for the project which otherwise would not be feasible without the tax abatement. According to 3rd Ward Council Member Gary La Pelusa, Sr., the agreement is a fair one.
“The 662 Avenue C Urban Renewal LLC has demonstrated that they spent more than a million dollars on improvements on this property,” La Pelusa said. “They also had to pay a redevelopment fee, and I believe they deserve the PILOT on this.”
Under PILOT, the municipal budget is allowed to receive up to 95 percent of the fee, and gives 5 percent to the county.
The financial approval of the PILOT programs at the City Council meeting Wednesday is a major step forward for Mayor James Davis’s Master Plan Re-Examination and established the foundation that will lead to groundbreaking changes in the coming months.
“And now you got people going ‘Oh! Somebody is finally going to do something with this.’”—City Law Director Jay Coffey, Esq.
Changes on the way
Wednesday’s City Council meeting authorized the Planning Board to begin conducting preliminary studies on several sites around the city.
The research, zoning, and permit process will begin at 662 Avenue C.
A plan of action to construct three separate commercial buildings with 26,056 square feet of retail and associated parking at 195 East 22nd Street were discussed.
Soli Development Inc. is proposing plans to construct a six-story, 24-unit luxury apartment complex that will include two levels of parking at the Doolan’s Auto Repair, 676-688 Avenue E. The site has been vacant for over a decade, and City Law Director Jay Coffey, Esq., said that construction on the lot is long overdue. People have been driving by the site for years and wondering why it is still vacant. “And now you got people going ‘Oh! Somebody is finally going to do something with this,’” Coffey said.
Construction will begin at each site within the next six months.
Fundamental zoning research at the abandoned Texaco site was also approved by the City Council. A 10-story apartment complex, ball parks, a public park and recreational promenade have all been proposed for the 71-acre site that has been dormant since the 1980s.
Hearings for the initial plans of each site will be discussed by the Planning Board at the Zoning Board Meeting on Monday, March 28.
Clark Park, near 8th street and Avenue C, was awarded $390,000 in funding for upgrades. Preconstruction meetings for the park will begin early next week. A redesign of the park’s layout would keep the park’s basketball courts and playground but will now include a boat-themed water feature.
A $7,000 grant from the New Jersey Emergency Agency Assistance (EMMA) will be used to revamp the dock ramp at the G. Thomas DiDomenico Park, also known as the 16th Street Park. The ramp was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy.
Renovations to the parks are slated to be completed by August.
The next city council meeting will be held on April 20 in council chambers at 630 Avenue C.