CLARK, NJ – Demolition has begun on the buildings on the corner of Valley Road and Walnut Avenue to make way for a new residential apartment complex. The project is tentatively scheduled to be completed in 2019 according to Clark Business Administrator John Laezza and will include 177 apartments.
At the November 19 Town Council Meeting, Mayor Bonaccorso talked about seeing Facebook posts and hearing things around town indicating that the development of this site and others like the former site of the A&P on Westfield Avenue are a recent or surprise development.
He said this site has been on the list of areas eligible for development as part of the Affordable Housing Settlement adopted by Clark in 2017. He made it clear to residents, that the development of these sites has been reported to the public in many ways across time. “We’ve had our real news, TAPinto Clark reporting on it, Facebook posts on it and public meetings on it.” said Bonaccorso.
As a way of clearing up misconceptions and helping residents to understand the Affordable Housing complexities, the mayor and Business Administrator recorded a video explaining the Affordable Housing issues facing Clark in 2017. According to the mayor, the video was designed to educate the public about the requirements placed upon local suburban municipalities.
“This was a negotiated settlement between the township of Clark and the courts, this settlement is happening in every township and borough in the state… cities are not affected as they have more affordable housing to offer than we do in suburbia,” said Bonaccorso during the recent Town Council meeting.
Residents are not the only ones unhappy about the amount of development taking place locally, the mayor expressed his aversion to the overdevelopment too.
“I for one am not for these apartments I do not want them, but I don’t have much choice and I believe my council here 7-0 would agree with me on that. This is a settlement because our ex-governor and our legislators couldn’t get together and work out a plan because of partisan bickering which is insulting to the state and this is what happens,” said Bonaccorso.
Bonaccorso encouraged residents to call his office when they have questions or concerns, so they can be answered instead of listening to hearsay.