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Will The Housing Authority Get Their Wish Grant(ed)?

PERTH AMBOY - Douglas G. Dzema PHM, Executive Director of the Housing Authority presents a chart of the master plan for Delaney Homes. *Photo by Carolyn Maxwell

$19 Million Grant on the Line Deadline Looming

PERTH AMBOY — Executive Director of the Housing Authority Douglas Dzema went before the City Council at the April 24, 2013 Meeting. He was showing a chart of what he hopes to be able to build on part of the vacant property that was formerly the Delaney Homes Development.

Dzema went before the Council in reference to R-172 which is a resolution referring to the proposed amendment to the FOCUS 2000 City of Perth Amboy Redevelopment Plan to the Planning Board – Delaney Homes.

In 2012, there was a steering committee created which met 4 times which included the community, the Mayor’s office, PARA and the Housing Authority.

“We had 3 open door public meetings that was attended by at least 80 to 85 people from the surrounding Delaney Homes area for them to contribute their input.”

On the chart, Dzema referred to included affordable housing, 70 units (2 Stories Building), low income tax credit, a 60 unit senior citizen 4 Story Building, market rate townhomes with 1 car garage. The plan includes 5 acres along Covery Blvd. which will be commercial property and ratables for the City.

The City Engineer drew up the master plan which included Delaney Homes.

“Perth Amboy is eligible to receive $19 million in funding. Funds related to Superstorm Sandy were made available to fund the financial gap in this deal. HUD (Housing for Urban Development) subsidies are being cut. Section 8 vouchers are being cut.

With the Tax Credit Housing, private investors will be involved and it’s government backed. Federal funds are coming into the States. The State will decide who will get this money. It will be competitive. We may not get a dime. There may be a connector road and easements which the City is working on now,” Dzema stated.

The Housing Authority must complete an application with the deadline of May 31, 2013.

Councilman Fernando Irizarry told Dzema, “We need ownership housing and why do we need another Senior Building? And I see no area for recreation.”

Dzema replied, “There is a lot of recreation in place now.” Referring to ball parks, soccer fields and Willow Pond.” Dzema also reminded the Council that 252 units were taken out when some of the buildings were torn down in Delaney Homes. “Nothing can be done because these plans have to go before PARA (Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency) which has to approve all conditions of the redevelopment plans for Delaney Homes.”

Dzema also pointed out that 3 of the 5 components of the plan will be ratables for the City.

Council President Joel Pabon was very confused and wanted to know, “What exactly are we voting on?”

Business Administrator Greg Fehrenbach said, “The information presented has not been around that long. Because of the tax credit incentives and deadline approaching, that is why they are asking to push this. This is dealing with the 15 acre parcel property. PARA has not authorized if the units will be rental or ownership. What we are looking at are market rate and below market rate units. “You (the Council) will introduce an ordinance if you approve of these units.”

Fehrenbach continued, “The Planning Board will do a site plan review to see if it meets zoning standards for that area. PARA will look at how you voted on the ordinance.”

The application submitted will be based on the existing zoning in place. The redevelopment plans and site plans are not under the Council.

The Amboy Guardian spoke to the Chairperson of the Housing Authority, Dorothy Carty-Daniel who makes clarifications on the presentation that was made at the Council Meeting.

“Of the 70 units, 29 will be for public housing; 41 units (tax credit units) will be dedicated for higher income residents. The goals are set by the New Jersey Housing Mortgage and Finance Association. If the grant is approved, the $19 million would be to pay for development and construction and to jump-start the entire development of the Delaney Homes property. This includes infrastructure, roadways, utilities, landscaping, etc. We can demolish 3 more of the buildings that are standing and it will allow us to remove the underground utilities of those 3 buildings. We would look for developers to sell off the front portion for commercial and market rate homes for sale creating ratable’s. Then you can build the 60 unit Senior Building. The Housing Authority would make a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) to the City on behalf of the residents of the 70 initial units.”

The Guardian contacted the Housing Authority for clarification on the presentation at the 4/24/13 Council Meeting.

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