PLAINFIELD, NJ — The City Council approved a budget Tuesday to support downtown and South Avenue business districts, made a further reduction to 197 troubled properties, and took other action to uplift the city.
The Plainfield Central Business District Management Corporation proposed use of $161,323 in taxes on 410 property owners in the Special Improvement District, plus $30,000 described as “money in the bank,” to fund activities and expenses for 2020. The organization now has an office on North Avenue and is launching a “Season of Sparkle” for the upcoming holiday season.
The “197 Properties” redevelopment plan was aimed at finding uses for that many city-owned, foreclosed and bankrupt properties. It had been whittled down to 78 properties and this fifth amendment removes 28 more, “reverting them to underlying zoning.” The remaining 50 will be slated for redevelopment.
As reported by Plainfield Plaintalker in 2007, the 197 properties redevelopment plan involves scattered sites around the city. A Westfield developer had been given permission to build on about 67 lots, but only built on about half of them before dropping out.
In other action Tuesday, the governing body approved a “refunding bond ordinance” for $600,000 to cover payments to three persons. Asked why no names were mentioned as in past settlements, Corporation Counsel David Minchello said no settlements were being made, it was the “resolution of a criminal matter that was dismissed.”
First-term Councilwoman Ashley Davis had lots of questions for various department heads Tuesday. Among them, she asked Economic Development Director Valerie Jackson what would happen to residents of homes that might be condemned for redevelopment. Jackson said redevelopment law includes rules for relocation, but some properties may have already been acquired by developers.
“It’s not going to happen overnight,” Jackson said, noting a 2- to 5-year timeline.
Davis cast the only “no” vote for the resolution in question.
Davis also asked Public Works Director Oren K. Dabney why costs for two street projects were reduced. Dabney said the contractor “didn’t use so much asphalt.”
Davis praised a Health Department resolution recognizing November as American Diabetes Month and asked all to be aware that Nov. 14 is World Diabetes Day.
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