Monday, December 15, 2014

Councilman Ravi Bhalla: NJ Transit redevelopment, reval legislation, pump no. 2

Councilman Ravi Bhalla announces:



Dear friends and neighbors,

I hope this you are enjoying the holiday season with family, friends and loved ones. I write to provide you with an update on several important items the City Council will be considering at our next and final meeting of 2014, this Tuesday, December 16th.

New Jersey Transit Railyards Redevelopment Plan

The City Council will be voting to adopt a Redevelopment Plan for the New Jersey Transit Railyards site, which extends west from the Hoboken Train Terminal along the southern border of Hoboken. The City Council's subcommittee on community development-south, working together with the Administration, residents and all stakeholders, has presented a mixed use plan incorporating commercial, retail and residential development. This project has the potential to transform the southern border of Hoboken in a positive way for generations, so I urge everyone to attend the Council meeting and make your voice and opinions known about the plan.

In my role as a Commissioner on the Planning Board, we thoroughly vetted the plan and offered 13 recommendations for the City Council to consider. The City Council held a special meeting of the whole on December 10th and heard from many members of the public regarding various issues, opinions and concerns about the plan. We have also heard from various stakeholders and many members of the public who have written or called us to offer their thoughts and opinions about the plan. So far, the most prominent concerns about the plans have been the height of certain buildings near the train terminal, traffic circulation and flow, and making sure the development does not erode the unique charm and character of Hoboken.

I share all of those concerns and more. The adoption of this plan is part of a larger process where residents will continue to play a role in what is ultimately developed at this site through a redevelopment agreement. The input from residents thus far has and will continue to be helpful in helping us fine tune the details of this development in the future, so I urge you to make your voice heard as we continue with the process in the days, months and weeks to come. Finally, I want you to know that I am considering this plan in the larger context of the prospective Neumann Leathers rehabilitation plan, the plan for a Southwest Park, and the Rebuild By Design Plan for protecting Hoboken from flooding and severe weather events.

The Hoboken Railyards Redevelopment Plan and additional documents can be downloaded at the following links.


Wet Weather Flood Pump in northern Hoboken

Another critical item on Tuesday's City Council agenda is the consideration of a bond ordinance for the construction of a wet weather flood pump on the eastern edge of 11th Street in Hoboken. The Administration has been working closely with the North Hudson Sewerage Authority for the installation of this flood pump. This bond ordinance, if adopted, will allow for the construction of a flood pump which will have a substantial impact on reducing flooding in the western area of Hoboken. A PSE&G electricity substation also resides in this area of Hoboken and provides energy to other areas of Hoboken, so it is critical to ensure flood mitigation measures are put in place in this area for the benefit of other areas of Hoboken as well. To this end, it is encouraging to see that the residents of the Maxwell Place residential community have been engaged in this process and will continue to in the future. I am very hopeful we have the support from the community and City Council to adopt this ordinance.

Six Year Property Tax Revaluation Ordinance

Finally, we will be considering an ordinance that mandates the City of Hoboken to conduct a revaluation of property taxes every six years. Previously, the City Council and Administration had unanimously agreed to a yearly rolling reassessment of 25% of the property in Hoboken. As a result of concerns from residents about the impact and possible instability of this program, we are now considering mandating a revaluation every 6 years at a minimum. In the larger context, it is important for property taxpayers to know that there is equity in the process - that they are not being over assessed or under assessed relative to the market value of their properties. For this reason, mandating a revaluation at a minimum of every six years is a preventative measure from the shock many taxpayers felt from the first revaluation we conducted in 25 years in 2013. I hope this measure is supported by the public and adopted by the Council.

Thank you for your time in reading this update! If you have any questions, concerns or need assistance with anything, feel free to call me at 201-647-6090 or email me at councilmanbhalla@gmail.com 

Best wishes to you and your family for a happy holiday season and a happy new year!

Sincerely,
Ravinder S. Bhalla
Councilman-at-Large