Letters to the Editor

Union Hotel: What's the Cost of Developer's Tax Credits?

To the editor:

Flemington’s Main Street Development Plan has been revised to maintain the front and two sides of the Union Hotel. It wasn’t “saved” as first published, but I attended the Flemington Borough Council Meeting on May 22 and commended the new, limited consideration for preservation of Flemington’s streetscape as a welcomed reversal. I also noted that the developer and politicians have not been listening. It's not just about the Union Hotel.

As usual, only limited information has been released by Borough Council. I noted that the plan:

Sign Up for E-News

  • still obligates Borough taxpayers to fund multi-million dollar water and sewer infrastructure improvements that should be borne by the redeveloper, Jack Cust.
  • still includes a huge parking garage and 8-story buildings that will clog our narrow streets with traffic, and destroy our quality of life.

After the meeting, our Mayor was interviewed by TAPinto:

“We tell you in black and white that it’s seven stories, and everybody passes around that it’s eight,” [Mayor] Greiner said. “We tell you in black and white ... that the developer is paying for the cost for sewer and water and yet people still come in here and talk about how the taxpayers are going to pay for it. Whether we put it in black and white or not, people are saying what they want to say.”

The Developer’s Agreement, as approved by the Mayor and Council on March 13, specifies:

“The Redeveloper shall be responsible for up to Two Million Dollars ($2,000,000.00) of the cost to increase the amount of available water by the amount required for the Project ... Redeveloper shall receive a dollar for dollar credit for all Public Improvements to the water distribution system and sewer collection systems undertaken, installed and/or constructed against all water and sewer connection fees.”

It seems clear that water and sewer infrastructure improvements are capped at “Two Million Dollars” for the developer, and that the payment then gets fully credited against the developer’s payment-in-lieu of taxes (PILOT) made to Flemington. We have not been told by Council what the actual infrastructure cost is, however, one estimate by a qualified expert discussed on March 13 placed the cost at more than sixteen times higher ($33 million) than the payment to be made by the developer. Whatever the cost to Flemington would be, the Developer’s Agreement protects the developer and Flemington foots the bill.

Regarding height, Council posted images of the current project proposal on Borough’s website, less the Spring Street view. They acknowledged that they had this image, and would post it in the future. Councilwoman Kim Tilly reaffirmed her approval for the project, noting that development on Spring Street would now be all residential. Mayor Greiner then argued with a resident that the seven stories of residential building proposed for Spring Street plus one level for parking did not constitute eight stories. Does seven plus one not equal eight? Incidentally, the 2015 Master Plan Update calls for two story residential homes along Spring Street. To date, the Borough’s website still omits an image for Spring Street.

At the same Council meeting I also asked, “What are the developer’s claims of cost, expense and funding to validate height, density and tax breaks, and when will this come under critical, transparent review?

What will the undisclosed tax abatements cost county taxpayers and for how long?

These questions remain unanswered.

Michael Harris, Flemington

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Thu, June 29, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue Crabs



Fri, July 7, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Sugar Land Skeeters



Sat, July 8, 5:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Sugar Land Skeeters


Let's Come Together for Cust Project

June 26, 2017

To the editor:

Thirty years ago in November 1985, on a handshake at 43 Pennsylvania Ave., my wife and I purchased Kries Jeweler from Bill and Connie Kries.  We put our entire savings into our business located at 48 Main St.  In 2004, we had the opportunity to buy and own the building at 48 Main St. Business at that time was great!  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ...