Wednesday, May 25, 2011

City Council Meeting Tonight and HCA asks for your support

We are a Downtown Jersey City neighborhood association that was formed in 1999 to provide a forum and voice for residents within our boundaries. We love living in Harsimus Cove, and we're working together to make our great neighborhood even better.
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The Harsimus Cove Association
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

At tomorrow's City Council meeting, the ordinance that designates the property at 8 Erie Street (more commonly known as the Jersey City Police Department headquarters and its adjacent parking lot) as an Area in Need of Redevelopment will have its second reading and be voted upon by the City Council. We, the residents of Harsimus Cove, stand against this proposal to place the property under a Redevelopment Plan and urge everyone to come to the meeting and let your feelings be heard by the City Council.

The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall (280 Grove Street), Wednesday May 25 starting at 6pm.

If you can't attend, please call or email the City Council, especially Council President Brennan and Councilpersons-at-Large Kalimah Ahmad and Ray Velazquez, Jr. with your objections to the proposal. You can find their telephone and email details here.

Talking Points

Looking for the right words to convey your thoughts?  Here are the issues as we see them:
  1. The City must not rush to place this property under a Redevelopment Plan, lest we end up with a situation similar to the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan, which was approved, yet later gutted by the City Council to pave the way for Toll Brothers' as-yet unbuilt towers of 30, 35 and 40 stories on the site of the historic Manischewitz building.
  2. The City's asking price of about $3-4 million for the 8 Erie Street property—prime real estate in historic Downtown Jersey City—is alarmingly low, as anybody who has recently looked at the price of a single-family row house in Harsimus Cove can tell you.
  3. Placing the property under a Redevelopment Plan opens up the possibility of granting the designated developer tax abatements, which for Downtown and the Waterfront areas are outdated, fiscally irresponsible and dangerous. We continue to accept PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) to the detriment of our school system and the long-term fiscal health of the City. No abatements should be given to any developer of 8 Erie. Abatements should be reserved for neighborhoods that have a hard time attracting developers, or to build affordable housing. 
  4. The sale of 8 Erie Street should be conducted via a transparent and open process, with input from local residents and business owners, the community who will be most affected by the property's redevelopment.
  5. The ordinance is bad for the neighborhood, bad for underserved areas of the city and bad for Jersey City's financial future. The City Council should do the right thing and vote down the ordinance.
Thank you for your attention and we hope to see you tomorrow evening at the City Council meeting. Please bear in mind that second readings happen first on the agenda, so it's important that speakers get there as close to 6pm as possible. You do not have to call to get on the speaker's list; the City Clerk will ask if any members of the public have something to say on the ordinance that is about to be voted on.

Mike Francisco
Harsimus Cove Association