HACKENSACK, NJ -- At this week's City Council meeting, several measures were approved that will affect the ongoing Downtown redevelopment initiatives. Here is a brief overview:

Ordinance authorizes Tax Exemption on 22 Sussex Street

Council voted to pass an ordinance authorizing a 15-year tax exemption for a market rate rental apartment to be constructed by 22 Sussex Street Urban Renewal LLC, an urban renewal entity, pursuant to the longterm Tax Exemption Law.

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The area is set to have an 88-unit apartment rental building with 109 parking spots built on it. While current real estate taxes generate revenue of $108,194, the Annual Service Charge is anticipated to generate revenue of approximately twice that amount in year one.

The property (Block 208, Lot 22) was deemed to be An Area In Need of Redevelopment by the Planning Board in November of last year and the 22 Sussex Street Redevelopment Plan was adopted in February of this year. 

The project, costing approximately $25.3 million, will provide 120 construction jobs and five permanent jobs. 

The ordinance stipulates a Financial Agreement, whereby the property pays 10 percent of its Annual Gross Revenue for years 1-11 to the City and greater amounts in the subsequent four years. 

Tax exemption granted to Mansion House Urban Renewal

Council approved on second reading an ordinance approving assignment of financial agreement pursuant to the long term tax exemption law from Mansion House Urban Renewal, LLC to DPC Associates Urban Renewal. 

DPB agrees to pay the City an administrative fee of two percent of the Annual Service Charge for the processing of this request for transfer of the Financial Agreement.

The ordinance took effect immediately. 

Resolution awards Parking Utility 5 new vehicles

A resolution was passed awarding a co-op contract in the amount of $85,475 to be used for the purchase of five 2019 Chevrolet Spark vehicles for the Hackensack Parking Utility. 

The vehicles will be purchased from Mall Chevrolet of Cherry Hill. A Certification of Funds has been prepared and authorized by the Chief Financial Officer for the contract assuring that there is sufficient appropriation in budget accounts to fund the purchases in this resolution, as this is an express and mandatory condition of the award of this contract. 

Time payout for retired police officer approved

Council also authorized $51,124,25 in accrued payment to the police department’s Diane Lomia. Lomia is owed this amount for an accumulation of sick days. 

Abandoned and Nuisance Properties 

By unanimous vote, Council approved renaming and amending Chapter 44 of the City Code from “Abandoned Properties” to “Abandoned and Nuisance Properties” and gives the governing body the authority to declare buildings unfit for habitation, due to a number of factors like dilapidation or defects.

Among the reasons said buildings may be declared unfit are serving as a refuge for derelicts or vagrants, diminishing property values or discouraging neighborhood stability and revitalization. 

A Construction Official is is granted permission by the ordinance to investigate Hackensack building conditions, interview witnesses and receive evidence, enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations, appoint and fix duties of officers, agent and employees and he or she sees necessary and delegate any of his or her functions and powers to officers and agents as they may designate. 

 

At the Council of the Whole meeting on the same night, the Council voted on a few other matters:

Valet parking

At the request of several local restaurants, Council has begun exploring the option allowing valet parking under certain circumstances.

Two of the restaurants making the request are located on Main Street, while one is on Sussex Street. 

“They do perceive the need to have cars be able to drive up to the curb; some people are older and parking seems to be a bit of an issue,” Director of Redevelopment Albert Dib explained. “The request that came to us was for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The downside is you would, in theory, be taking away metered parking spaces away from other restaurants or businesses in the area."

Restaurants would need to go through an approval process and follow all city regulations if the requests were to be granted.

“I think it is a necessity, especially on Main Street with some of the restaurants that we’re anticipating coming in,” Mayor Labrosse said. “It would definitely help with the flow of traffic."

An ordinance has been drafted but not introduced yet, pending further discussion. 

Food Truck Festival 

Council has held discussions with representatives from the Recreation Department on possibly bringing a Food Truck Festival, similar to the highly-successful annual events in Morristown and other area towns, to Hackensack. 

“It gives us an opportunity for people to show their wares and an opportunity to change things up a bit,” said Ehrenburg. “That has never been, to my knowledge, done here in the city. Maybe we can maybe make a plan to try a food truck festival here and see if we can generate some community spirit and have some residents come out for it.”

Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino said the idea has been considered in the past.

“We talked about this a long time ago and thought about starting small and doing it around the Atlantic Street Park,” Canestrino said, adding that that area might be effective due to its proximity to parking garages. “A lot of people come to these things. We’d have to limit the number of trucks but maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start small.”

Morristown’s recent Food Truck Festival was an all-day event and raised funds for Homeless Solutions. 

Park hours change

As of Labor Day, all city parks now close at 9 p.m. They had been open until 10 p.m. during the summer. 

“Our police department is aware of that,” said City Manager Ted Ehrenburg. “Obviously, the officers will check these parks to make sure that they’re secure.” 

Ehrenburg said the city will reassess whether to keep parks open until 10 again next summer.