Wednesday’s Bayonne Council Caucus Turns Into a Procedural Mess Over a Proposed MOTBY Development

Bayonne Mayoral Candidate and Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski issued the following press release this morning following last night’s Council Caucus session.  The evening turned into a back and forth over Ashe-Nadrowski’s intent to reopen negotiations with developer “Bayonne Partners Urban Renewal” over a proposed development at the former Military Ocean Terminal.

Once again, Nadrowski Stands Up for Public Participation and Against Unfair Development Agreements and Sweetheart Tax Abatements

  “It’s really simple. The project that the PILOT was granted for no longer exists.” 

What should have been a routine Council Caucus meeting on Wednesday, turned into a debate on meeting procedures. Previously Bayonne City Council President and Mayoral Candidate Sharon Ashe Nadrowski announced her intent to introduce a legislative package reopening negotiations with “Bayonne Partners Urban Renewal” – a subsidiary of Boraie Development, and a major campaign donor to incumbent Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis – to secure a more lucrative deal for the City. Resolutions ending the contract with Boraie and seeking new proposals for the sale of the land by the City at the current market value were added to the Council agenda by Ashe Nadrowski. In addition, an Ordinance seeking to cancel the PILOT with Boraie was also listed for introduction.

The listing of the Resolutions and Ordinance were moved by Ashe Nadrowski and Seconded by Second Ward Councilman Sal Gullace. The items will be listed for public discussion on April 20th, at the regular monthly council meeting.

In a failed attempt to block the measures from getting a public hearing, Councilman Neil Carroll made a motion to rescind the Ordinance which was quickly deemed improper by the City Clerk. “Once again, Neil Carroll has shown that he doesn’t want public participation at council meetings. This is not the first time he has voted against the public’s right to be heard,” stated Ashe Nadrowski. Carroll previously voted not to allow the public to speak on the Cashchem redevelopment and voted against an ordinance that would have mandated public input on ordinances.

In addition to Carroll’s objection to the Ordinance, City Attorney Jay Coffey and John Wyciskala, the City’s redevelopment counsel, objected to the Resolutions and Ordinance. Both attorneys wanted the meeting to go into closed session in order to prevent the public from hearing anything regarding the Boraie project. “It feels like the City’s attorneys care more about the developer than they do the City. I am not sure they understand they represent the city not the developer,” stated Ashe Nadrowski. “I intend to fight to have a full and open discussion on this project; in front of the public and not in some backroom where attorneys and my fellow councilmembers can hide.”

The PILOT on the project was approved in 2017 and was based upon an application submitted by the Developer that described the project as a multi-family residential development between 500 and 850 units. As part of the application, the Developer submitted financials related to the anticipated revenue and costs of the project. The City in reliance of the project description and financials made an assessment of the need for the PILOT. “The project that the PILOT was awarded on no longer exists and should be canceled.” stated Ashe Nadrowski. “The developer has chosen, on their own, to increase the project from 850 units to 1,250 – a 47% increase. That increase was not considered by the City when granting the PILOT. No assessment on the benefits of this new project were ever presented or considered by the City.”

The cancellation of the PILOT would mean that the project would be subject to regular municipal, county and school taxes. Under the current PILOT no money would be paid to the School District. “The impact of this 1,250 unit project was never considered by the City and shortchanges the school district.” stated Jodi Casais School board member and council at large candidate. “The amount of effort that Team Davis has put to support this developer only goes to show how little they care about residents. Whether it’s big water companies or big developers, one thing you can count on is that Jimmy only cares about them.”

Regarding the termination of the Contract for the sale of the land, Ashe Nadrowski argues that the contract clearly states that the developer had to buy the property within 48 months of the signing of the contract. That time period expired in November 2021. “Why would the City sell property at a reduced rate when the contract expired?” asked Ashe Nadrowski. “As widely reported, the Developer gave a $25,000 donation to aPAC, which hired a convicted murder to work for the Davis Campaign. That alone should be reason enough for the city to rethink this deal.”

The Davis Administration continues to defend the lower, 2015 value for property, citing that doing otherwise would sabotage the development of the MOT. “For anyone that suggests asking for the fair market value of this property would sabotage the development of the Military Ocean Terminal, I would recommend that they take a ride down Goldsborough Drive,” stated Ashe Nadrowski. “The redevelopment and revitalization of MOTBY is already happening. Asking the developer to pay its fair share in taxes and for the purchase of the land value is about standing up for residents and taxpayers. They don’t deserve to be short-changed by a big developer. They deserve a city council and a mayor that will fight for them.

 

 

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