The Bayonne Planning Board has postponed two hearings on planned redevelopments in the city, including one that has been carried for months at this point. The board voted unanimously (5-0) to do so on both projects at its July 12 meeting.
The board also opted to tabled appointing a Board Secretary until the next meeting on August 9, due to the small number of commissioners present. The position was left empty by former commissioner and former City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski.
The five out of nine board members present included Chairwoman Karen Fiermonte, Vice Chairwoman Maria Valado, Commissioner Thomas Maiorano, Commissioner and Mayoral Designee Ramon Veloz, and Commissioner Ahmed Lack. The four absent board members included City Councilman At-Large Loyad Booker, the council’s designee on the board, Commissioner Michael Quintela, Commissioner Jack Beiro, and Commissioner George Becker.
Woodmont Bay Club Phase 2
The first application postponed was proposed by Woodmont Bayonne Phase 2 Urban Renewal, LLC. The redeveloper is seeking to construct a four-story, 85-unit apartment community with on-site parking at the former Bayer site.
The site is adjacent to the already constructed first phase of the Woodmont Bay Club. Located at 190 West 54th Street, the four-story 220-unit project finished construction at the site of the former Hi-Hat catering hall in 2019.
The former Bayer site is located between West 52nd Street and West 53rd Street. The area is generally defined by rows of “box homes” and the odd industrial warehouse, as well as the nearby Richard Rutkowski Park.
Historically, the former Bayer site was home to the Mobay Chemical Plant. Prior to its demolition, the plant used to manufacture dyes and pharmaceuticals. Currently, the site is vacant and fenced in. The land is actively undergoing remediation.
The proposed four-story 85-unit building on the former Bayer site will be accompanied by 138 parking spaces. While 130 spaces will be present in a surface lot, there will be a standalone garage with eight spaces.
In addition to the L-shaped residential building and garage, the site also proposes a dog run, lighting, landscaping, storm water management, and other improvements. A walkway will be added to connect up with the paved walkway in the adjacent Richard Rutkowski Park.
While it appeared on the agenda for the July meeting, attorneys for the applicant sent a letter to the board asking for postponement. The letter did not specify any reason, but asked not to need to provide further notice.
The board then voted unanimously to grant the request. The application was postponed for a public hearing on the preliminary and final site plan review at the August 9 board meeting at 6 p.m.
Earlier in the year, the Bayonne City Council voted to table a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement for 25 years with Woodmont Bayonne Phase 2 Urban Renewal, LLC to support the project. The financial agreement was postponed twice in October and November of 2021 as it was under review by financial advisors. However, the ordinance failed to get a second on the motion to open the public hearing at the council’s December meeting. As a result, it died before the council.
Silk Lofts next phase postponed again
The board has also tabled an application by a redeveloper to construct two more residential buildings on Avenue E.
The application by AMS Equities LLC sought to construct an 18-story building and a 6-story building with 286 total residential units as part of the next phase of the Silk Lofts redevelopment. The sites are located at 132, 140, 154, 157-163 Avenue E, and include ground-level commercial space, a public plaza, and other amenities, as well as 409 total parking spaces.
The application has been carried at the request of the redeveloper since January of this year. While not specifically stated to be the reason for the delay, it first coincided with Mayor James Davis calling for a pause on most major redevelopment outside of the Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY) amid the 2022 non-partisan municipal election.
Since then, the application was carried again in February to April. It was carried again each month after. This time was no different, and the application was postponed until August.
Attorney Michael Miceli asked the board for the application to be carried in a letter to the board. The letter did not specify the reason, but requested no further notice need to be given. The board then voted unanimously to do so.
The application may also be heard at the board’s August 9 meeting at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall at 630 Avenue C, but the matter may also be postponed again. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org.
Meanwhile, the ordinance to authorize a financial agreement to support this project died before the council in June. While Davis called for the council to vote down any ordinance to support redevelopment outside of MOTBY, the council instead voted to postpone the ordinance and other financial agreements. Team Davis council members argued the postponement supported the pause, and continued to postpone the ordinances so month after month until the matter could no longer be postponed.
However, the ordinance can be reintroduced before the new council. The Bayonne City Council will next meet on July 20 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall at 630 Avenue C. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org.
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