In a move that is destined to raise the hackles of already irate residents near the 45th Street Light Rail Station, the City Council is expected to approve a traffic diversion request that will also cause the loss of street parking at their meeting on June 20. The diversion is meant to accommodate cranes that will install steel for a new affordable housing development.
According to city officials, the changes may last as long as four weeks and will affect the west side of Avenue E from 44th to 47th Streets.
Last year, a number of residents appeared before the City Council to oppose the project, which would convert a long-vacant piece of land near the gate to the train station into a four-story mixed use facility that would include affordable rental units and retail. One of the objections raised at the heated meeting was that the impact the project would have would be on parking and traffic.
Business Administrator Steve Gallo said the city would attempt to mitigate the impacts of the temporary changes in the area by attempting to provide other parking options for residents. The changes, he said, are needed in order to allow cranes to be used to install steel beams at the site.
Third Ward Councilman Raymond Greaves, in whose ward the project is being done, said the city needed to notify each of the residents in the area.
The diversion of traffic will likely also have an impact on traffic there, possibly causing additional backups, particularly during rush hours when even during good days, traffic backs up coming on and off the New Jersey Turnpike extension.
Last year, when the council approved a 47-unit facility proposed for Avenue E and East 45th Street, many residents raised serious concerns about the impact it might have on parking on streets where parking is already a problem,
The project is being constructed on the site of a former gas station – a site abandoned for about a decade that is part of a string of deteriorating properties that mark the northeast entrance from the New Jersey Turnpike.
The city approved the project with an abatement in order to prime the pump for other possible developments along a rail corridor that has many vacant or deteriorating properties.
This property is part of the city’s scattered site redevelopments and is one of the series of properties along Avenue E near the New Jersey Turnpike exit that the city is seeking to have upgraded. Two properties adjacent to this site are part of a proposed park expansion.
Because of its location near the light rail station, City Planner John Fussa said it is ideal for transit-oriented development, which would provide affordable rentals to people who work nearby.
During their protest last year, some residents said they would prefer to have the property remain a vacant lot rather than generate possible parking and other problems.
Former chemical plant site to become redevelopment area
The City Council is also expected to pass an ordinance and associated resolutions as the first step in cleaning up a heavily contaminated 15-acre site on the east side of the Bayonne Crossing Mall for possible use as a upscale warehouse.
The former site of the AGC Chemical plant is contaminated with an alphabet soup of toxic chemicals, left over from when the plant operated until closing two years ago.
The site, according to Fussa, once contained a building where the operations were done.
“The building has already been demolished,” Fussa said, “and the property is vacant. But it needs to be remediated.”
Among the numerous chemicals reported on the site are chromium and petroleum by-products.
“We want to see the site used for light industrial, and we hope for a modern, high-caliber warehouse distribution center,” Fussa said.
AGC Chemicals Americas, Inc., a subsidiary of the Asahi Glass Corporation, closed down operations at the location several years ago after originally planning to make it the site of its world headquarters.
Fussa said the city has several possible candidates for developing the site but it was too early for him to disclose any of them.
The city ordinance, which could be passed at the May 20 meeting, would make the site a redevelopment area, giving the city and potential developers a number of tools to use for cleanup and eventually redevelopment.
Fussa said that if all goes as planned, there could be a developer named with a few months.
“We want to see the site used for light industrial, and we hope for a modern, high-caliber warehouse distribution center.” – John Fussa
Calling them unsightly eyesores, the City Council is poised to require property owners to remove unused satellite dishes or those no longer in use from private properties.
The ordinance, which will be up for a public hearing at the June 20 meeting, will require property owners to remove all satellite dishes that are “missing cluster dish receivers, are not connected, or damaged,” or else face stiff fines
City officials say that these dishes have sprouted up on the sides and tops of buildings throughout the city, or cling to window ledges, creating an unsightly mess and sometimes posing a danger to the public.
Gallo said that many of these units remain because dish companies do not require subscribers to return the whole unit when suspending service, only one key part. This means that companies who install these do not return to uninstall them, leaving the dish to mar the local landscape.
Gallo said sometimes during storms these damaged or unused units can fly off and become dangerous projectiles.
Councilman Joseph Hurley, however, was concerned about the financial impact on residents who must pay for the removal, since some of them are senior citizens with fixed incomes.
“Do we have a program that can help seniors remove them?” Hurley asked, during the June 13 city council caucus meeting.
Council President Terrance Ruane said the onus to remove the dishes remains with the property owner, but Gallo said in situations of severe hardship, the city might be able to find help for residents to move them.
“But it will be a case-by-case basis,” Gallo said.
Selling or giving away parking permits to become illegal
The city council is expected to outlaw the sale or giving away of residential parking permits to non-residents.
This comes after city official learned that some residents have been taking out parking permits and then selling or giving them away to non-residents, allowing non-residents to skirt the law and park in areas they would otherwise be prohibited from parking in long-term.
Bayonne has a residential parking ordinance that allows residents to park in the city, but limits the amount of time that non-residents can park. Residents can obtain a decal for their cars that allows parking enforcement officials to distinguish resident from non-resident parked cars.