Bayonne to study its population growth since 2014

The study will analyze units constructed in the city during the recent redevelopment boom

Bayonne officials, impressed by the city’s population growth in recent years, are considering conducting a study of all redevelopment that has occurred in the city since 2014, one that may influence future decisions on residential development.

At a recent council caucus, Law Directory Jay Coffey described what the study would encompass, beyond what local officials can see with their own eyes.

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‘There’s the visceral [data] where you can tell there’s more people here, but you want to have the empirical data to back it up,” Coffey said.

According to Coffey, the population change to the city is visible, but the administration wants hard data to understand how redevelopment is going.

“We would determine how many projects got their [certificates of occupancy] and how many people moved in,” Coffey said. “That’s what you’re really limited to, right? The ones that have already been built… So we’ll take all of those, and NW Financial, our Tax Assessor’s Office, and the administration already started working on this to identify how many properties have been approved, how many have their [certificates of occupancy], and find out through our tax records… They do their filings with the city so we know how many units are being occupied.” 

Coffey expects the study to take 60 days after the resolution is passed at the regular meeting next week. 

While not present on the Bayonne City Council’s agenda, First Ward City Councilman Neil Carroll made the announcement at the July 13 caucus meeting. Carroll had been asking for the study in months prior.

“I’d just like to add for next week that we have a resolution officializing the absorption rate study that will be done by NW Financial, our Tax Assesor’s Office, and the Redevelopment Counsel, to determine the number of units created, number occupied, the number available, and the number of units in the pipeline, etcetera, and so forth,” Carroll said.

Carroll said he thinks it will span from 2014 to the present. City Council President Gary La Pelusa said that was when the first redevelopment in the city was constructed under the current administration.

Study to focus on units, not other metrics

In response to a question by Second Ward Councilwoman Jacqueline Weimmer, Coffey added this study would not include the study of the impact of redevelopment in schools or traffic patterns and other things of that nature. Instead it lays the ground work to look at those issues. 

“In theory, this will give us the information on the influx and then we can judge that,” Carroll said. 

“We’re going to solve for X like it’s a math equation. How many units were built, how many units are occupied, that sort of thing,” Coffey said.

“They may not give you the opinion in that study, but we’ll be able to probably make a determination from the data that we get,” La Pelusa added.

Weimmer then asked if the study would include the demographics and the people occupying the units in each part of the city, to which Coffey confirmed it would not.

“This is going to be a matter of units occupied,” Coffey said. “The actual breakdown, I think that would be something a little bit more detailed that we’d have to get a third party for that. Because if you’re looking for the demographics, like how many school aged children, how many seniors we have, that’s a different type of study. This is just new units in town.”

Future of redevelopment at stake

According to Coffey, the results of the study will gauge the future of redevelopment in the city.

“If you built 100 units and 100 are occupied, then okay there’s obviously a need for these units and there’s still a willingness for people to rent,” Coffey said. “If you find out you built 100 and only 5 are occupied, then why do you need to build another one? It’s as simple as that.”

This will help us moving forward to see how aggressive we want to be,” La Pelusa said. He also thanked Carroll, who has called for an absorption rate study for in the past: “I know you’ve been asking for that for a long time and I commend you on that.”

The council will hear the resolution at its regular meeting 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.

The move can be seen as the Davis Administration seeking to follow through with a campaign promise to pause most major residential redevelopment outside of the former Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY) pending a study on the existing and planned redevelopment. Now only time will tell what the study determines and if Bayonne’s redevelopment boom will continue unabated or pause as the city catches up with its growing population.

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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