Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Reprieve! Monarch-Monroe Settlement bites the dust in unanimous council vote

City Council bails on proposed Monarch-Monroe settlement in 8-0 unanimous vote

Hoboken residents many from the west side of town packed the council chambers and proceeded to demolish a proposed legal settlement up for approval putting tens of millions into the pockets of the Barry brothers and rewarding them after years of litigation after their reneging on an earlier contract.

The proposed settlement would have forestalled the illicitly proposed Monarch Project towers in the northeast corner and shoved over 70 additional units of density into 800 Monroe where 186 units may be built with a 10% affordable housing component.

While a few residents spoke in favor of the settlement from the uptown second ward, even some of those residents suggested the settlement proposal didn't add up and should be voted down. Most residents decried the burden being shifted into an overly dense development on the west side of town where hundreds of units are already under construction and hundreds more recently approved in the same vicinity.

The City Council having delayed an initial vote set almost two weeks ago saw a full house of residents reasonable dissecting the settlement agreement and tearing to shreds its financial underpinnings.

Some residents began chipping away at the numbers suggesting there was tens of millions of dollars being handed to the Barry Family. The Fund for the Better Waterfront saw both representatives speak out against the proposed settlement even as it stands like the public against the Monarch Project towers.

The Applied throw-in of $500,000 was dismissed as "scraps" to be fought over by the public while the Barry family laughs all the way to the bank scoring profits in the tens of millions of dollars.
The Barry family brothers David and Michael who reneged on the Shipyard agreement with the City of Hoboken.
Hoboken residents are adamant against their being rewarded with tens of millions of dollars for putting Hoboken taxpayers through years of litigation after they cashed in on the Shipyard and refused completing the northeast corner with tennis courts and parking. Residents want the City of Hoboken to win the doable fight in the
New Jersey Appellate Court, not throw in the towel.

The City Council expected by some observers to be marshaling a vote for the settlement's approval saw that  option go down in flames when Councilman Ravi Bhalla, a critically needed yes vote said he would be voting no. The votes needed to pass the settlement agreement promptly collapsed leading to a unanimous vote against approval.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer issued the following statement after the vote:

“I thank everyone who provided their feedback on the proposed settlement agreement. There are very legitimate concerns from residents in western Hoboken about burdening one neighborhood with added density, and I fully understand and respect the City Council’s vote. As a result, we will be back in court in December to continue to vigorously defend the city’s interests in the Monarch and 800 Monroe cases. On a parallel track, if there is a possibility in the future for a settlement that protects our waterfront without increasing residential density, a new agreement will be proposed for consideration by the City Council and community.”

Video of the meeting and the public's remarks leading to the vote are available here:
http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/92767666

From the Barry family Ironstate Development website; they say they "go big" and they have guts.
Hoboken residents want to stand up against them, contract renegers and not reward them
seeing the west side and by extension the entire City of Hoboken's Quality of Life go down with it. 

Talking Ed Note: This bad deal for Hoboken and the Mile Square City's future was scrapped for the moment but City Hall needs to rethink the legal and financial merits of how to move forward dealing with David and Michael Barry. This proposed settlement should never have reached a vote.

The financial acumen required appears missing. When the public smokes out the tens of millions in profits being forked over and says no, the numerical calculus is definitely missing. Or is it being replaced by a focus on political expediency?

Is the public who spoke last night in the know on the legal details thinking the legal case before the NJ Appellate winnable incorrect? The City of Hoboken says there's an inherent risk but the public believes that risk is less than a likely winnable effort and desires a vigorous legal push to move forward.

Forward!