A local redeveloper is seeking amendments to the redevelopment plan for their property at 35 Avenue A in Bayonne, the site of the former Caschem chemical plant.
The redeveloper, the Gamal Group, was initially seeking to construct two residential buildings on the eastern side of Avenue A, and a complex on the western side of Avenue A on the waterfront, potentially including hotel rooms, residential units, a community center and a restaurant. Now that may change.
The City Council will hold a public hearing on the ordinance regarding the plan at its next meeting on Dec. 15. Following the hearing, the council will then have the chance to vote for the original redevelopment plan or for the requested amendments submitted by the redeveloper, according to City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski.
Reworking the redevelopment plan
“We received a request for amendments to this from the property owner,” she said at the meeting.
First Ward City Councilman Neil Carroll, whose ward the project resides in, said that to his knowledge, the changes to the plan were still being worked out.
“It’s still in the process,” he said. “We are waiting to find out the specifics.”
However, Carroll said that he liked the original redevelopment plan and wasn’t necessarily keen on any changes, especially if it has to do with height.
“I know they wanted to do something else,” he said. “I don’t relish tall buildings, as my record shows.”
While it is not clear what exact amendments the redeveloper will be seeking, an attorney on the Gamal Group’s behalf previously objected to the plan when it was up for approval before the Bayonne Planning Board.
The main issues the developers took with the plan was the height limitations and lack of coordination with the developers of the neighboring Texaco site, Togus Urban Renewal. The Texaco redevelopment plan was amended last year to allow for a film studio and associated facilities on the property.
According to the their attorney, the Caschem area has a lot of potential but is being squandered by the height limitations in the redevelopment plan. The plan limits the height of buildings in the area to around 35 to 45 feet depending on the block, which they wanted to bump up to at least 60 feet.
The redeveloper wanted to be able to get a higher density of residential units by allowing the building to be taller yet still under the height of the nearby Bayonne Bridge in that area, at about 100 feet.
The redevelopers also took issue with the restrictions and other specifics in the plan, such as the Caschem site being the anchor for the Texaco site. They said there has been very little discussion with Togus Urban Renewal regarding a unified plan between both sites.
The attorney also alleged that the maximum permitted height in the redevelopment plan was reduced at the request of Togus Urban Renewal and asked that the board change the plan to allow taller buildings.
At the time, the planning board approved the plan without the redeveloper’s suggestions. In December, the city council will decide if it will do the same.
Upcoming public hearing
A public hearing will be held for the ordinance on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers in City Hall at 630 Avenue C. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org and click on the event on the calendar webpage.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.