Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hoboken City Council approves $16.7M bond to acquire 6-acre BASF property

This story comes courtesy of Jeannette Josue and the Hudson County View:

The Hoboken City Council voted 6-3 to issue a $16.7 million bond to help acquire a six-acre piece of land owned by BASF - which will eventually be the site of the Northwest Resiliency Park. The measure caused both Hoboken residents and the council to stand divided.

See the entire story at the Hudson County View:

Talking Ed Note: For clarification, the BASF action involved three ordinances. The first which passed 7-2 here was for the bonding itself. The second vote was reaffirming the use of eminent domain and the third was for a potential municipal parking facility. Both passed in a 6-3 vote.

In favor: Peter Cunningham, Jen Giattino, Dave Mello, Tim Occhipinti, Jim Doyle and Council President Ravi Bhalla.

Against: Terry Castellano, Michael Russo and Beth Mason.

Hoboken City Council approves action to acquire BASF six acres in historic action

In a major decision by the City of Hoboken's legislative body, in a 6-3 vote; the Hoboken City Council moved to acquire the six acre BASF site in the northwest deploying the tool of eminent domain.

Once again, as two weeks back, the decisive and required sixth vote was provided by Councilman Tim Occhipinti.

In a vote for eminent domain to allow the City to purchase the last six contiguous acres in Hoboken, voting in favor: Councilmembers: Jen Giattino, Peter Cunningham, Dave Mello, Jim Doyle, Tim Occhipinti and Council President Ravi Bhalla.

Voting against Council members: Terry Castellano, Michael Russo and Beth Mason.

Story to follow.

Man of the Hour: Tim Occhipinti made the decisive vote to provide the required sixth vote and acquire the six acre BASF property in last night's City Council meeting. Without his vote, the City of Hoboken would not be looking at its acquiring the six acres in northwest Hoboken, a historic and last opportunity to obtain six contiguous acres.

Talking Ed Note: It'll take time to properly frame the big decision last night for Hoboken in the historic action to acquire the six acres of the BASF site in the northwest.

In the biggest contrast last evening, developer vs. residents' interests was best highlighted in direct exchanges between council members Michael Russo and Peter Cunningham. While not every property issue offers that generic backdrop, this one fits that historical model down to the political shoe size.

Russo made strong arguments pushing for other options, as it's true there are options before votes but in the end fell flat repeatedly speaking about concern for taxpayers. It's not his strong suit but more importantly it's a unified position of the Carmelo Ticket and supportive of Eduardo Gonazalez who is running on the same ticket in the fifth ward with Theresa Castellano who also seeks re-election.

Cunningham clearly relished pointing out the inappropriateness Gonzalez urged for trading two acres for "residential towers" as part of a developer deal.

Cunningham challenged Russo on his analogy to another recent real estate transaction and all but raised a red flag on his public revelations of confidential negotiations for clearly political purposes. While the most confrontational, this was in sharp contrast to council meetings two years ago when differences were slugged out over hours. Here, the writing was on the wall and how the worm has turned.