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Residents Concerned About New Development and Possible Consolidation of Fire Houses

SoAmboyRedevAgncySOUTH AMBOY – During the 12/17/14 Council Meeting, a resident was concerned that the square footage of the two bedroom apartment sizes going up at The Manhattan Beach Club will be too small to attract buyers.

Joseph Bauman, the Special Legal Counsel for the Redevelopment Agency said that, “We deferred to the developer’s judgement. The Council wanted to make sure that the larger buildings were further away from Broadway.”

Resident George Gonzalez said, “I am in favor of the Beach Club project. I just want to make sure that the proper planning is done and that the developers will not move forward until it is approved by the Planning Board.”

The project consists of over 1700 luxury residential units, affordable housing units, parking and commercial uses.

Resident Beverly Samuelson talked about Resolution 173-2014 which increased the maximum amount for evaluation, consulting and appraisal services and Amending resolution 89-2014. (Increasing the maximum to be paid under the contract to total of $33,500.) Samuelson wanted to know, “Is this for the Rocky-Top
Appraisals only?”

B.A. Camille Tooker responded to Samuelson by saying, “This only pertains to one property, which is taking longer than expected. This accounted for the increase from $35,000 to $55,000.”

Samuelson questioned, “What services that the City requires to be done by contractors have to go out to bid?”

Council President Joe Connors said, “Requests go out for vendor qualifications first.”

B.A. Tooker followed up with, “Then we meet with the qualified vendors to negotiate for a contract. Projects have to go to bid, but for professional services, it’s a different process.”

Bauman stated, “The Manhattan Beach Project is private property (Amboy Aggregates). They still have to go to the Planning Board and utility reports have to be shown. Our agency decides if they are acceptable redevelopers. As far as private property, it would be the owners of that property who deal with the developers.”

Ms. Pasternack wanted to know, “Will this project involve any bond issuances?”

Bauman said, “The developer will be paying $3.8 million, which will help the town.”
B.A. Camille Tooker responded to a question regarding the town’s low bond rating. “We’ve got a new bond rating from MOODY and we are out of a negative rating.”

Tom Kross, from the Mechanicsville Fire Department was concerned about a safety issue. “We need a better signaling and traffic lights by our location. The Business Administrator told me to meet with the Chiefs. There are safety issues that need to be addressed at he fire house to protect us and the public.”

B.A. Tooker said, “We have gotten many things done for the Fire Department and one of our Councilmen has addressed the issue. We will look further into it.”

A John Street Resident was concerned about the eight story buildings going up for the Manhattan Beach Project.”

Bauman said, “We have standards, and the  new buildings cannot go above eight stories. Parking unit sizes and other criteria are considered.”

That same resident talked about a $500,000 donation earmarked for a public safety complex. It was acknowledged that safety complex will take awhile.

That same resident from John Street had a question for Mayor Henry: “I hear there’s a rumor going around that some firehouses are slated for closing and to build another one for consolidation.”
Henry replied, “We brought it up and there have been talks  to see if it could be cost effective. I will not do anything until then.”

Before the Meeting began, it was acknowledged that this would be Council President Joe Connors’ last Meeting.

Councilwoman Zusette Dato said, “Joe is a devoted family man, smart, kind and I remember how welcoming he was when I was appointed the first female on SARA.”

Connors was also thanked for his service on many City Boards, and on his terms as a City Councilman.

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