At special meeting, Bayonne furthers senior and supportive housing

A financial agreement was also adopted to support the project

At a special meeting, the Bayonne City Council has adopted an ordinance and two resolutions advancing plans for new public housing in the city.

The council voted unanimously to adopt the measures at the meeting on August 5. Originally slated for the August 17 regular council meeting, officials said the special meeting was necessary due to a time crunch.

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Amending the redevelopment plan

The 8th Street Station Rehabilitation Area Plan was previously adopted by the City Council in March of 2015, encompassing a one-mile area around the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Station at 8th Street. The plan included a Scattered Site Rehabilitation Plan for various lots, including those located at 7 Oak Street.

In 2018, the Housing Authority purchased the remediated property from Public Service Electric & Gas (PSEG). The site is currently vacant, surrounded by residential uses, with the odd commercial use, and Route 440 to the rear of the property.

In February of 2022, the City Council authorized the Planning Board to re-open the 8th Street Station Rehabilitation Plan to amend it and or authorize the preparation of a subarea redevelopment plan for the Oak Street site and other areas of the plan along Avenue C.

Advancing public housing project

In June of this year, the Planning Board adopted a resolution recommending the amendments to the 8th Street Rehabilitation Plan for the Housing Authority project. The board concluded the Amended Rehabilitation Subarea Plan was consistent with the city’s Master Plan.

At the council’s June meeting, it adopted a resolution “finding and determining that the Supportive Housing and Senior Affordable Housing building commonly known as the Oak Court West Property Project proposed by the Bayonne Housing Authority meets or will meet an existing housing need.”

In July, the council has introduced an ordinance that would adopt an amended 8th Street Station Rehabilitation Plan. The public hearing was slated for August 17 for the ordinance.

The building will be six stories tall with 40 units. Of the 40, 20 units will be for senior housing and 20 will be for supportive housing for developmentally disabled residents. Parking will encompass the first two floors, with the remaining floors for the units.

While there were efforts to increase the height and unit density of the project, Housing Authority officials determined the most cost-effective and realistic for the project was six stories with 40 units. Estimated at $10 million, the Housing Authority is looking to cover the cost of the project in part through a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

Special meeting held on August 5

At the August 5 meeting, the council voted unanimously to adopt the aforementioned ordinance authorizing the amendments to the 8th Street Station Rehabilitation Plan to allow for the project. Also at the special meeting, the council also adopted a resolution ensuring the aforementioned ordinance would take affect immediately.

Another resolution adopted by the council authorized a payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement with Bayonne Senior and Supportive Housing LP, consistent with state finance laws and municipal ordinances. The agreement needs the approval of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA).

The timeline for approval by the NJHMFA prompted the need for the special meeting, Law Director Jay Coffey explained in an interview with the Bayonne Community News after the meeting.

“The applicant has to get before the NJHMFA board with their application,” Coffey said. “The time constraint was that we had to have a resolution and ordinance approving the redevelopment plan.”

According to Coffey, the council needed to have adopted the measures supporting the project and have them enacted in August prior to the regular council meeting on the 17th.

Financial agreement supports project

The special meeting also allowed for the adoption of the PILOT agreement in one meeting via resolution. This was opposed to the two meetings normally needed for the introduction, public hearing, and adoption of an ordinance.

“At first, we thought we had to do an ordinance to approve the PILOT,” Coffey said. “Then we found out that the statute said it could be done by resolution.”

The PILOT dictates the percentage of annual gross revenue to paid to the city be 6.28 percent each year for the length of the agreement.

“It turns out that NJHMFA statue allows for PILOTs to be done by resolution because of the nature of this beast,” Coffey said. “The PILOT is statutorily set at 6.28 percent.”

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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