BAYONNE, NJ - Despite concerns by some residents living near the former Assumption Church, the city council on voted to adopt an ordinance that allowed for redevelopment of the two-acre site on West 23rd Street to advance on September 25.

The ordinance sent the redevelopment plan back to the Bayonne Planning Board, which will review the concept proposed for the rectory and school portion of the 2.1-acre property which would be rehabbed into residential housing.

Mark Rubino, whose home abuts the school property, told the council he and other property owners in the area had concerns about the project and its impact on houses located behind the school on West 24th Street.

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“We get flooding in our backyards during heavy rain,” Rubino said. “Water flows down from the parking lot and seeps into our basements.”

Council President Sharon Nadrowski assured Rubino that the proposal would not involve demolition but would see the rectory and school rehabbed into housing.

Second Ward Councilman Sal Gullace said city officials will raise the concerns with the potential developer.

Rubino asked if plans were available that residents could examine. 

City Law Director Jay Coffey, however, said the potential developer has only submitted a concept and that plans would be eventually presented to the Planning Board.

“You should address your concerns to the Planning Board when they meet,” Coffey said.

In April, the city council adopted a redevelopment plan for the church, school, rectory and parking lot which was later reviewed by the Planning Board and approved in July as part of an effort to attract a developer.

The school closed more than a decade ago after the Archdiocese of Newark ordered a consolidation of parochial schools in Bayonne. But the church continued to operate until the archdiocese ordered its closing in 2016 when it decided to consolidate five parishes in Bayonne into two. During the last decade, the property served a number of community functions including as a local food pantry for needy families.’

Founded by Italian immigrants in 1902, the Assumption congregation had operated for 113 years when it closed.

While the rectory and school will be rehabbed, the redevelopment plans call for the demolition of the church to make way for the construction of townhouses.

In other business, the city council also introduced several ordinances, one of which would allow the city to bond for $7.3 million as part of its 2019 capital improvements budget.

After more than two decades of doctoring over details, the council also voted to seek bids for a study that would look into the rehabilitation of a pedestrian footbridge over the train tracks near East 25st Street. 

The footbridge, which connects Avenue E with Prospect Avenue, was approved for a redevelopment study by the Planning Board in August.

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