CLARK, NJ - Mayor Sal Bonaccorso announced he is initiating legal action for condemnation of the former A&P building on Westfield Avenue. Bonaccorso made the announcement at Monday night’s public workshop council meeting.
“It’s over,” said Bonaccorso when speaking about meeting with the Davidsons time and again about finding a business to fill the site which has been vacant since 2006. Bonaccorso indicated the Davidsons are the property owners and have brought forward only two suggestions in all the time they’ve been meeting.
“They mentioned two things…one is a Dollar General and the other a high-end thrift shop and I take resentment to both of them, those have been off the table for a long time,” said Bonaccorso.
John Laezza, Clark’s Business Administrator indicated another property adjacent to the Rice Bowl restaurant will be included in the condemnation action.
He and Bonaccorso indicated there have been repeated attempts to rectify the neglect at both properties. “We try to work with people, and not be heavy-handed and take people’s property it’s a cost, it’s a headache, it’s a negotiation. Now it is to the point where it has to end… it’s (A&P) an eyesore.”
Bonaccorso indicated there are numerous trucks parked in the lot of the of the former A&P and the owners fail to remove snow from the sidewalk or parking lot. “The place is a dump. They’ve told the Township of Clark a tale for too long, it’s time we get going,” said Bonaccorso. “We will try to get a vibrant downtown into Clark.”
During the meeting Clark’s legal counsel Joseph Triarsi explained the Planning Board will have to undertake a preliminary investigation to determine if the area qualifies as an area in need of redevelopment as an initial step in the process.
Bonaccorso indicated that the Davidson family, can come to him at any time to say they have a serious offer on the property and request the proceedings be stopped. “They can walk in here tomorrow morning and tell me they have someone on a string. I’ll say fine we are going to proceed and when you have a bonafide contract that passes the board, we’ll stop what we are doing because we are not going to take any more chances,” said Bonaccorso.
According to Bonaccorso there are developers that would like to buy the property but price is a problem. “It’s overpriced and it’s ridiculous so now it’s time we take aggressive action,” indicated Bonaccorso.
Brian Toal, Clark Councilman for the fourth ward expressed gratitude to the mayor for addressing the properties. “It’s been vacant since 2006 and it’s a disgrace, we’ve been going back and forth about this, it’s long overdue, thank you mayor for your support,” said Toal.
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