Davis and Ashe-Nadrowski again spar over redevelopment in Bayonne

Items on the Planning Board agenda have become a point of contention

The March 8 meeting of the Bayonne Planning Board was cancelled due to a lack of quorum. This marks the second meeting this year that was cancelled for such reason, the first being in January.

While the meeting, along with the February meeting, were intended to be virtual, the next meeting of the Planning Board is set for April 12 at 6 p.m., in person in the municipal chambers at City Hall at 630 Avenue C.

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It is not clear if the agenda for the meeting will roll over. There were three items up for a public hearing, including for final major site plan approval for a six-story multi-family building with 180 units, a consistency review for the controversial Gamal Group East redevelopment plan, and the presentation of a redevelopment study to determine if 66-68 Prospect Avenue and 62 1/2 Prospect Avenue is a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment.

This marks the second time the six-story multi-family building was postponed. And already on the April agenda is the final major site plan review for the 18-story Silk Lofts tower and a six-story building across the street. However, it is not clear if the proposal will actually be up for a public hearing and vote or will be postponed to another meeting. The application was scheduled for April prior to Mayor James Davis announcing that he would pause redevelopment until an impact study could be completed to determine how it has affected and will continue to affect the city.

Ashe-Nadrowski questions redevelopment pause

Following the meeting’s cancellation, City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, who is also a commissioner on the Planning Board and is running for mayor in the upcoming May 10 municipal election, criticized Davis for stating he was pausing redevelopment but moving these projects forward.

“While this week’s Planning Board meeting was canceled, it’s important that we acknowledge what continues to be proposed by the Davis Administration despite the objections voiced by Bayonne residents,” Ashe-Nadrowski said. “Just a few weeks ago Mayor Davis called for a “pause” of certain projects so that the City can look at the true impact of development – I couldn’t agree more. The difference here is that actions speak louder than words and talk is cheap.”

Ashe-Nadrowski said she is against all three of the aforementioned items that were on the agenda.

“The March 8th meeting agenda included a Redevelopment Plan for 2nd Street and Avenue A, the final approval of a large luxury apartment complex on 5th Street, and the study of a residential area near the corner of Prospect Avenue and Mechanic Street that includes existing 2 and 3 family homes,” Ashe-Nadrowski said. “To be clear – I have serious reservations about all three items and would vote against them as presented.”

According to Ashe-Nadrowski, she took issue with the nature of each item on the agenda.

A rendering of the proposed six-story residential building by Bayonne Luxury Waterwalk, LLC.

“Each item symbolizes how City Hall is truly broken,” Ashe-Nadrowski said. “Not one item provides consideration for the middle class, senior citizens, traffic congestion, or the general concerns of the existing neighborhoods. The justification in the study of Prospect Avenue and Mechanic Street is particularly troubling.”

Additionally, Ashe-Nadrowski dismissed Davis’ redevelopment pause as rhetoric: “So, while Mayor Davis continues to spin campaign rhetoric, and prove that he doesn’t really mean what he says, the City suffers. We need real community engagement, real conversations, and real leadership in City Hall.”

Davis campaign responds

In response, Davis campaign spokesman Phil Swibinski said the mayor does not support the proposed projects either.

“Sharon Nadrowski is so desperate to manufacture an issue that she’s now trying to criticize Mayor Davis for projects he doesn’t even support and that haven’t even been approved,” Swibinski said. “As she acknowledges, Mayor Davis has called for a pause on new residential development – a courageous stance that shows his commitment to fighting for residents’ quality of life.”

Swibinski also criticized Ashe-Nadrowski’s track record on redevelopment.

“On the other hand Nadrowski has voted for dozens of long-term tax giveaways to developers, selling out neighborhoods in the process,” Swibinski said. “Bayonne voters know who they can trust on development, and it’s not Sharon Nadrowski.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com. 

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