Bayonne City Council scraps redevelopment plan over Conrail parcel inclusion

A new plan will be presented to the Bayonne Planning Board later this month

Bayonne has sent a redevelopment plan for a long-vacant industrial site back to the drawing board.

The Bayonne City Council withdrew an ordinance for the original redevelopment plan of the 140-acre former Exxon site along the Kill van Kull at its May meeting. According to Law Director Jay Coffey, the crux of the withdrawal was the inclusion of a parcel of land owned by Conrail.

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“A letter was sent to the city objecting that Conrail property Block 506 Lot 2 be included in the redevelopment plan that was produced by the planning board,” Coffey said. “The request was by Conrail to have them removed from that plan.”

Instead of moving forward with an ordinance to approve the redevelopment plan following approval by the Bayonne Planning Board in May, the council is starting over.

“So instead of an ordinance going on, we just withdrew the ordinance,” Coffey said. “We previously referred this to the planning board for the production of a redevelopment plan that included all of these blocks and lots. So this referral would just be the same thing that we referred in the past, to acquiesce to Conrail’s request and have them prepare a plan that does not include Block 506 Lot 2 as part of the plan. It’s the Duke Realty property.”

The property is owned by Duke Realty, LLC, and the redeveloper plans to construct anywhere from three to six warehouses on the site. According to Miceli, the warehousing will bring many jobs and revitalize a dormant industrial site.

Coffey continued: “Several months ago, we sent a referral over so that a plan could be prepared. That plan included Block 506 Lot 2, which is owned by Conrail. Conrail has since objected to the inclusion of that property in the plan. Mr. Miceli is here, he also represents Duke. He’s aware of the request to have it removed and the immediate action is that we should send it back to the planning board for essentially the same plan or a plan that acknowledges that block 506 lot 2, the Conrail property, is not included in that plan.”

City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski said she did not see the letter, and asked if the council could approve the redevelopment plan and then amend it later. Coffey said no, and allowed Miceli to approach the podium to clarify further.

“A few days ago we were contacted by Conrail’s counsel, expressing concerns over their inclusion in the redevelopment plan,” Miceli said. “I don’t think there is an issue with us crossing their property, but they don’t want to be in the redevelopment plan. We could talk to your attorneys about the reasons for that, but they asked and we think it’s probably better for the project to go back through the process and take them out. It would benefit the city as well.”

Miceli said he didn’t see the letter himself but spoke to attorneys representing Conrail and worked out what their request was. He said the solution was for the council to pass a “resolution referring this matter back to the planning board for development of a plan that does not include 506.2”

The council voted unanimously to approve the resolution doing so. The plan will likely be presented to the Bayonne Planning Board again at its next meeting on June 14 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall at 630 Avenue C. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org.

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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