NUTLEY, NJ - Planners for the redevelopment of On3, the former Hoffmann-La Roche site, recently requested the input from Nutley residents.
Philip Abramson of Topology held a PowerPoint presentation during a Community Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 6 in the Nutley High School auditorium, recapping the recent development at On3 and what is left to occupy at the 116-acre site, 50 acres of the property is on the Nutley side.
Hoffmann-La Roche, which later changed its name to Roche, moved to Nutley in 1929. The company announced its closure of the Nutley/Clifton campus in June of 2012 and moved out of the area in 2013.
Since 2014, Nutley Township has received cumulatively over $24 million in transitional state aid to offset the loss of $10 million in taxes. The tax base now, after Roche demolished a few buildings, is currently $4.1 million.
The 116-acre property, originally anticipated to be completed in 15 to 20 years, is way ahead of schedule, according to Abramson. Currently Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation, Modern Meadow, and Ralph Lauren take up residence on the Nutley side. Of the 24 acres remaining in Nutley, 55 affordable housing units are planned reduced from the original required 550 units after negations made by the Board of Commissioners. A multi-million dollar clean-up of the former Roche property is still in process.
The BOC is also in process of conducting their own traffic study of the On3 area, assessing what can be done to alleviate a potential problem before it starts. When Roche owned the property traffic was heavy, requiring police to direct traffic on Kingsland and Bloomfield avenues.
After the recap, Abramson introduced the soon-to-be launch of a new webpage at coUrbanize— courb.co/roche as a way for the real estate developers and planners to connect with residents online about their thoughts for will happen next on the On3 site.
Abramson then conducted a survey through SurveyMonkey asking residents their concerns. Questions included “What you do on a Saturday night?, What are Nutley’s assets?, What are your biggest concerns in Nutley?, What are you most interested in learning more about on Roche (On3)?”
Residents were also able to write questions on an index cards and leave them with Abramson. Abramson and Rudy Camilo, also from Topology, stayed after the meeting to speak with the commissioners and residents.
Although no questions were answered at the meeting, residents have two more chances to meet with Topology this month. Topology planners will be stationed will at the Nutley Park ShopRite, 437 Franklin Ave. Tuesday Nov. 19 at 10 a.m.
Topology plans to hold another type of community meeting, most likely in a workshop format, again sometime in January 2020. Abramson said the surveys at the meeting and the discussion on the coming community page will most likely generate more questions than answers. Those questions will be addressed at the January meeting.
Four of the five commissioners were present and spoke about the community meeting in separate interviews. Public Affair Commissioner Steven L Rogers did not attend the meeting.
Mayor and Public Works Commissioner Joseph P. Scarpelli said “I hope with the feedback of the community we can get to the next steps and where we are going to go next.”
Public Safety Commissioner Alphonse Petracco said he is happy with the progress of the former Roche site. “Companies are moving in and we are way ahead of schedule,” he said.
Revenue and Finance Commissioner Thomas J. Evans said he was happy with the turnout of residents to learn about the progress. “Over the next few months we will need a lot of input,” he said.
Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci said, “It’s time for people to know what we have been doing. Sharing information is key […]. We are the representatives of the people we need to know what they are thinking,” he said.
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