West New York to acquire property for new library or satellite municipal offices

The ordinance, which was introduced at the board's September 7 meeting, also authorizes the commencement of eminent domain proceedings

West New York is moving to acquire two properties on Bergenline Avenue, possibly through eminent domain, that could be used for a new library or satellite municipal offices in town.

At its September 28 meeting, Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez and the Board of Commissioners adopted an ordinance authorizing the acquisition of private property located at 5712 and 5714-5718 Bergenline Avenue for “public purposes.” The ordinance, which was introduced at the board’s September 7 meeting, also authorizes the commencement of eminent domain proceedings.

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Eminent domain on the table

5712 Bergenline Avenue is currently an abandoned property that used to be a Valley National Bank. Next door, at the corner of 58th Street and Bergenline Avenue, 5714-5718 Bergenline Avenue is former Modell’s Sporting Goods.

According to the ordinance, the town has engaged an appraiser and has or will make an offer to the property owner or owners for the purchase of the properties in accordance with statutory requirements. West New York has earmarked $6,510,000 for the properties, which represents the estimated compensation for the acquisition.

The money is available by virtue of separate funding or within the budget adopted by the town. In the event the offer of compensation is not acceptable, it will be necessary for West New York to initiate condemnation proceedings, according to the ordinance.

Per the New Jersey State Constitution, West New York can “proceed with acquiring certain property interests by condemnation or eminent domain as long as just compensation is paid for the same.” The ordinance states that the board authorizes the acquisition by condemnation for the purpose of relocating the municipal library and offices.

Town officials are authorized and directed by the ordinance to execute the appropriate a Verified Complaint, Declaration of Taking, and other documents that may be necessary to institute condemnation proceedings and seek a determination by the court that the town is within its authority to acquire the properties for public use.

Officials discuss the acquisition

At the public hearing for the ordinance on September 28, Business Administrator Luis Baez explained the project in response to questions from resident and recent unsuccessful Board of Education candidate Vipul Parekh.

“With this eminent domain taking place where Modell’s is and the bank right next to it… what’s going to be put in that place if we have plans that ahead or if they’re still in the primary stages of being worked out,” Parekh asked.

“The plan the town has is to acquire that property,” Baez said. “We’re considering different options. Possibly a new location for the West New York library or some satellite offices for municipal space.”

Parekh suggested a new police location there.

“If my voice falls on anything, I would suggest that would be the best place for a new police station or new police department because here we got parking in the back,” Parekh said. “And it’ll be in a prime location on Bergenline Avenue. It could also be for a small community place where the police could hold meetings and talk with community around town to see what’s going on, how to fight crime, prevent crime, talk to the community, and have the rookie police officers sit there and interact with the public.

Rodriguez’s response was short and sweet: “Thank you for your comment.” Read the full ordinance at: westnewyorknj.org/_Content/pdf/ordinances/Ord2222-Acquisition-of-Property-5712-Bergenline-Avenue.pdf.

The next Board of Commissioners meeting is on October 19 at 6:30 p.m. For more information, go to westnewyorknj.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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