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North Bergen considers Bergenline Avenue redevelopment plan

The Board of Commissioners is set to hold a public hearing and vote on the matter in August

The Mariah Condominiums seen between the two other lots in the redevelopment area, via Google Maps.

North Bergen is looking to redevelop three properties in a prime area of Bergenline Avenue between 85th and 87th Streets.

The township is considering a redevelopment plan for properties including 8619, 8515, and 8505 Bergenline Avenue. The properties are directly across the street from James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park, facing eastward toward New York City.

The area contains a vacant lot that has previously been approved for a mixed-use development, as well as a condominium building that has fallen into disrepair, and an adjoining retail space. 8505 Bergenline Avenue is currently home to James Vincent Bicycles, 8515 is the Mariah Condominiums building, and 8619 is a currently vacant lot adjacent to the Mariah’s parking lot.

Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance to adopt a redevelopment plan for the properties at its July 13 meeting. This is the latest step in the process of redeveloping the site.

The first step was taken back in 2021. The Board of Commissioners passed a resolution authorizing a redevelopment study in November of that year.

The area was subsequently designated an area in need of redevelopment by both the Planning Board and then the Board of Commissioners. Following the adoption of a resolution delineating the area for redevelopment in May of 2022, the Board of Commissioners also directed the Planning Board to draw up a redevelopment plan.

The Planing Board reviewed and recommended the plan be advanced in July of this year ahead of the Board of Commissioners meeting on the 13th. Now, the Board of Commissioners is set to hold a public hearing and vote on the matter in August.

Inside the redevelopment area

The Mariah Condominiums at 8515 Bergenline Avenue currently contains a five-story, 20-unit residential building constructed in 1950. The building has had multiple, ongoing reports of non-functional basic utilities such as heat, hot water, an elevator that has been non-functional for years, and multiple fire safety violations which have remained outstanding for more than a year.

The township has been forced to address a number of these life and safety issues, such as paying to repair the chimney and boiler. These costs were then assessed as liens against the owners of the building, however they have not been paid and the total amount of the liens currently exceeds $30,000. The property also currently has a lien from the North Bergen Municipal Utilities Authority in excess of $100,000 due to nonpayment of water fees.

The building’s condition continues to deteriorate, with visual signs of structural problems, and the township regularly receives numerous complaints illustrating a pattern of sanitary, safety, and accessibility violations that have not been corrected by the property owners. These include, but are not limited to, a lack of heat and hot water, a need for chimney and boiler repairs, infestations of mice and roaches, a lack of preventive maintenance and testing of fire alarms, extinguishers, etc., combustibles near an egress, and a non-operational elevator.

The township contends ongoing negligence in maintaining basic facilities has created an unwholesome, unsafe, and unsanitary living environment for residents. Township officials are considering condemnation proceedings on this property alone in order to facilitate redevelopment of the entire parcel.

The other properties included in the Area in Need of Redevelopment include 8619 Bergenline Avenue and 8505 Bergenline Avenue. According to the township, 8619 Bergenline Avenue is an undeveloped lot that has been approved for a 10-story, mixed-use development with two ground floor commercial spaces, garage parking, and upper floor residential units. Meanwhile, 8505 Bergenline Avenue contains two attached commercial retail buildings, including a two-story and one-story building.

Public hearing in August

A public hearing and vote on the ordinance will be held at the next Board of Commissioners meeting. The board will meet next on August 17 at 11 a.m. in the municipal chambers at Town Hall at 4233 Kennedy Boulevard in North Bergen. For more information, go to northbergen.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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