Council Stalls Plan to Sell City Lots Considered Key to Future Development of Great Falls

Pou told the council that failure to approve the sale would put another hole in the city’s budget. Credits: Fair Lawn Amateur Radio Club

PATERSON, NJ- A proposal to sell 11 city-owned lots in the heart of the Great Falls area hit a roadblock on Tuesday when several members of the city council questioned the assessed value and subsequent proposed sales price. 

Originally appraised at $460,000 the lots, located on Mill Street, Ellison Street, and McBride Avenue, have the potential, according to Councilman Shahin Khalique, to be “jewels for Paterson.” A second appraisal, which Finance Director Marge Cherone said was done using an income-based approach, increased the sales value of the land to $670,000.

According to an analysis prepared by Ard Appraisal Co., the parcels, which include a parking lot, generate rent of $33,890.40 annually.

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It was the income potential of the parking lots that caused Councilman Ken Morris, often the first member of the body to question any financial arrangement into which the city is entering, to question the deal.

Pointing out that the rent values would reflect a daily parking fee of just $1.10 per day Morris suggested that the proposed sales value “does not appear to be market rate.”

Speaking from the other side of the dais Councilman Michael Jackson lamented that the “undersale” is a reflection of “poor business management.”

Responding to the members concerns Business Administrator Nellie Pou urged the body to consider the sale as one that reflects both “current demands and a future plan.” Selling the lots to the Parking Authority, instead of a private developer, Pou pointed out, “gives them the ability to leverage the properties.”

“Private developers,” Pou said, “don’t have to conform to a larger plan.”

Just weeks away from assuming the city’s top spot Mayor-Elect Andre Sayegh told his colleagues that “if we’re serious about having this city succeed we have to think big.” The plan, he said, is part of “big picture Paterson.”

With the vote to advance the plan ending in a 4-4 draw Pou agreed that she would arrange to have representatives from the Paterson Parking Authority appear at the next council meeting on June 7 to present their plans for the land, a proposal Councilman Luis Velez, acting as Council President for the night, told TAPinto Paterson after the meeting, would allow his colleagues to make a “more informed decision.”


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