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Mayor Dawn Zimmer was quite clear that the preliminary redevelopment study for which the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey paid, after having selected the consultants to perform the study, did not turn out as the community expected and was not approved by the planning board.
There are good reasons for that and they are clearly outlined in the draft of the study delivered by the consultants themselves. The study is still in draft form because it has not been adopted by the Planning Board, on whose behalf it was compiled.
As is typical of such documents, they are compiled as pdf (portable document file) files, which are coded so as to make them difficult to copy and edit by outside entities.
I have excerpted the salient provisions so we can discuss what's going on.

I put "destroyed" in my title because that's what redevelopment is about--destroying extant assets and clearing the ground, so something new can (maybe) be built, if the incentives are right.  So, in the introduction to the plan we read under Statutory Authority and Process about municipal powers.

• Acquiring property (including by exercise of eminent domain, if necessary).
• Clearing an area, install, construct or reconstruct streets, facilities, utilities and site improvements.

• Negotiating and entering into contracts with private redevelopers or public agencies for the undertaking of any project or redevelopment work

• Making loans to redevelopers to finance any project or redevelopment work.

• Entering buildings or property to conduct investigations or make surveys; contracting with public agencies for relocation of residents, industry or commerce.

• Making plans for voluntary repair or rehabilitation of buildings.

• Enforcing laws, codes and regulations relating to use and occupancy; repairing, rehabilitating, demolishing or removing buildings.

• Exercising other powers, including the power to do all things necessary or convenient to carry out its plans.

Note however, that designation of an area in need of rehabilitation does not allow a municipality to acquire property through eminent domain (N.J.S.A.. 40A:12A-15).

It is this process, as outlined in these criteria, which accounts for countless U.S. inner cities having been hollowed out and dotted with asphalt parking lots.  It is a real estate boon doggle whose primary objective is to generate revenue for planners and consultants and engineers and surveyors and financiers and then pressure our public corporations to utilize their taxing powers and extract dollars from the remaining citizenry.

I say "remaining," because when the acquisition and clearing and public utilities relocations are done and the residents can't afford to bring houses and stores into compliance with codes, there aren't many people left to carry the freight.

In this case, since investors had already acquired three city blocks, it seems that the aegis of the plan was to either get Hoboken to buy up the three blocks or issue bonds to finance whatever building the Rockefeller Group had in mind. So, in effect, the planning grant from the PANYNJ was a form of seeding the mine--aka "create incentives" for public investment.

The transfer of public assets into private wealth is not a happenstance. It is the consequence of a systematic program in which Congressional rationing of dollars is coordinated with state and local tax caps to force the transfer of public lands and funding via bond issues to keep communities on life-support.

Read that note again.

designation of an area in need of rehabilitation does not allow a municipality to acquire property through eminent domain
It tells us that the primary object of this exercise was to enable somebody to either get more land on the cheap or force the community to pay top dollar for what they had already claimed. The object is not to build anything new with private funds. Just as the object, very often, is not to build on sensitive lands, when they are acquired by speculators. The object is to get a designation of "highest and best use," so some public or tax-exempt entity can be pressured into paying top dollar for what should be a communal asset to begin with.

It's a scam. The object is to keep the money changers satisfied.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Cons use of language is really precise (149+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nailbender, dkmich, Uwaine, pioneer111, k9disc, banjolele, Egalitare, PeteZerria, marleycat, CwV, golem, stargaze, penguins4peace, Susipsych, Matt Z, peacestpete, rapala, rk2, gypsytoo, roseeriter, emmasnacker, Proud Mom and Grandma, Heart of the Rockies, badscience, a2nite, Sylv, Tam in CA, David54, eeff, eru, spooks51, Pakalolo, Lujane, Empower Ink, MA Liberal, leeleedee, otto, Sandino, HedwigKos, concernedamerican, smoothnmellow, Teiresias70, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, bronte17, Caneel, basquebob, deha, nuclear winter solstice, edsbrooklyn, Raggedy Ann, princesspat, Demeter Rising, mollyd, myboo, diffrntdrummr, lexalou, SME in Seattle, royce, sunny skies, kartski, LarisaW, StrayCat, occupystephanie, GAS, side pocket, se portland, maggid, Alumbrados, Buckeye54, awcomeon, alasmoses, 2questions, Agathena, Skyye, Emerson, Alice Olson, jck, Tom Anderson, BadKitties, Libby Shaw, Lily O Lady, NancyWH, Leslie in KY, freshwater dan, Gowrie Gal, bakeneko, Roadbed Guy, thomask, wader, DRo, blue jersey mom, pvasileff, Ekaterin, chemborg, yoduuuh do or do not, SeaTurtle, sap, Mr Robert, zerelda, Wino, ontheleftcoast, blueoregon, anodnhajo, Sun Tzu, confitesprit, jamess, BlueMississippi, Shockwave, bookwoman, Steveningen, oceanview, sodalis, leonard145b, eagleray, ladybug53, scribeboy, JeffW, Friend of the court, slowbutsure, Ishmaelbychoice, dotdash2u, lcrp, jayden, old wobbly, rebel ga, SherwoodB, Olkate, afisher, defluxion10, unclebucky, Sapere aude, ichibon, Blue Bell Bookworm, FrY10cK, coldwynn, eztempo, Skennet Boch, dadadata, Mystic Michael, MJ via Chicago, No one gets out alive, psyched, kaliope, George3, IreGyre, ArthurPoet, divineorder, kbman, JamieG from Md

    and what they say almost never means what we think.

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 05:02:24 AM PST

    •  Rec'd And Tipped. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MJ via Chicago

      I read a while ago that Hoboken still hadn't gotten their Sandy funding at all. Hoboken and a two or three other towns, were the last to receive the first round of funding.

      Hoboken approved for $70,000,000 in aid, so far only received $300,000. Still waiting for the remainder.

      All New Totally Updated-Jersey City NJ Sues In Federal Court To Stop spectra's gas pipeline
      (FERC) The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is funded entirely by fees generated from energy companies.

      I don't even want to imagine what a tidal surge wave storm like sandy would do to spectra's proposed pipeline! It's only placed a few feet underground.

      (I had a link to a frequently asked questions page, but spectra took it off. Too damning. It might still be somewhere on the website). spectra operations

      question to spectra-Can crops be planted over a pipeline?

      spectra's answer-Seasonal crops may be planted over the company's pipelines. While planting and tending the crops, you should take care in tilling and plowing not to damage the pipeline.

      Video is loud You might want to turn your speakers down.

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 01:25:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Salting the mine (0+ / 0-)
      the planning grant from the PANYNJ was a form of seeding the mine--aka "create incentives" for public investment.

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 03:34:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That humanity has survived the tendency (27+ / 0-)

    of the rich, powerful and corrupt (which all to often go together) to exploit it to the fullest is a testament of sorts to humanity's resilience. What amazes me is not that this happens, with alarming (and disgusting) frequency, or even so brazenly (like almost literally breaking into your neighbor's house and stealing his food, beating his children, killing his dog and raping his wife), but that we've somehow managed to survive and even thrive in spite of it.

    Perhaps our would-be corrupters and exploiters just don't know when and where to stop, and hubris is our savior. Or do we ultimately rise to our own self-defense against their ravages? Is it a combination of both?

    In any case, I will take enormous delight in seeing these bottom feeders get their just deserts--even as I realize that even now their replacements are scheming to do it all over again. Because it's the NJ way.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 05:39:50 AM PST

    •  I think they are a small percentage of the (24+ / 0-)

      human genome and turn up everywhere. Eventually, the generous communities that put up with them, come to the realization that "enough is enough" and call a halt. It does require an intervention. Some are self-destructive. I think that's why the seven deadly sins are called that:

      wrath
      greed
      lust
      sloth
      pride
      envy
      gluttony

      I think what they are are obsessive manifestations of basic instincts that get "out of hand," so to speak. Envy, for example, is likely derived from admiration and prompts imitation, a good instinct, but then, perhaps when imitation is frustrated or the expectations are unrealistic, envy combines with wrath and, like Cain, the love object is killed.
      Lust, btw, should probably be de-linked from sex. The lust for power, manifest as subjugation, is much more destructive. It's the lust for power that causes much hurt.

      Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

      by hannah on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 06:06:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Calling this "Generous" is being overly generous (7+ / 0-)

        I think that for adults to be ok with such behavior is due to some combination of stupidity, laziness, cowardice, fear and self-interest. Most people just don't want to get up off their fat asses and risk bad consequences to themselves (and/or endanger their own little perks) by going after such obvious corruption and malfeasance. The corrupt know this, and exploit it fully. That a relatively small portion of humanity will always try to exploit the rest is unavoidable. That humanity allows itself to be exploited is, I believe, its own fault.

        Corruption is a mirror.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 06:27:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Right. Blame the victims of the scammers. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          occupystephanie, StrayCat, NancyWH

          That, too, is easy, but it doesn't stop the predators.

          Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

          by hannah on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 06:40:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, I do, in that very specific sense (4+ / 0-)

            At a certain point one has a responsibility to get one's head out of one's ass, understand how the world works and do something to defend yourself against it--and stop being so fucking afraid and selfish because it's not "your" problem.

            Or else why are we all here, doing what we do?

            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

            by kovie on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 06:50:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think it's a matter of defense. I think (10+ / 0-)

              it's a matter of abuse and abuse requires an intervention from outside because the victim of injury can't resist without risking additional injury and becoming an instrument of his own abuse.
              Indeed, I think what we organize government for is to intervene when abuse (whether from natural forces or man-made excesses) threatens.
              For some reason, the U.S. is fixated on death which, in the end, we can do nothing about, while the abuse, some of which actually results in people dying before their time, is something we could do something to stop.
              Why do we countenance 40,000 vehicular deaths a year? Why not provide convenient, alternative transport for people who obviously aren't suitable operators of lethal machines? Because every adult in his own cage on wheels is freedom? Because hundreds of thousands injured and maimed provides income? Because we let people who don't like their own kind very much make decisions for the rest of us? 'Cause we don't like people, either?
              Where does this antagonism come from?

              Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

              by hannah on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 07:02:23 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nonsense (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                hannah, jayden, No one gets out alive

                A majority of Americans have been voting for their GOP abusers for decades now. Not always, thankfully, but often enough to have allowed them to do massive damage to them and the US. So I'm supposed to take it easy on the millions of certifiable morons who were taken in and continue to be taken in by the likes of Reagan, Bush and Christie, because they were supposedly "tough" and "patriotic" or something (or, more often than we care to admit, because they believed that their policies would benefit THEM, even if at the expense of everyone else--yes, Repub voters tend to be stupid AND selfish).

                Sorry, no can do. People who vote for the likes of these monsters are either too stupid to take seriously, or else know who they're voting for, and thus deserve to be screwed by them. But why should everyone else suffer for their stupidity and selfishness? And that's the unsolvable problem with democracy, that most voters tend to be too stupid and/or selfish to vote right.

                "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                by kovie on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 07:57:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  "Where does this antagonism come from?" (6+ / 0-)

                Where did all the streetcars go?

                We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

                by nuclear winter solstice on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 08:09:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Well, we shan't blame the victims, shall we? (0+ / 0-)

          I mean, there is a truth in warning people that they are being cheated and then you have to step back, because some of them might actually retaliate on your telling 'em the truth...

          But the great majority have been distracted with bread and circuses and are now easy prey...

          Would you be that superman to swoop in and help humanity from the corrupters?

          I mean, we need some way to turn the tide...

          Ugh. --UB.

          "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

          by unclebucky on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 01:42:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Predatory behavior isn't binary. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hannah

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 07:07:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hannah, you rock. It's good to see the pairing of (4+ / 0-)

        good traits with their pressurized and warped excesses get talked about.  Much better than magic sins and supernatural beings.  Have you thought of the social and personal forces that create the frustration and metamorphic pressures that change, i.e. Admiration to envy?  Or a desire for security into greed?

        Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

        by StrayCat on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 08:39:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There IS a solution for this... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      No one gets out alive

      Up against the wall, oh 1% usurpers...

      Obviously there are those in that statistic who don't deserve a fate worse than... But I'll tell ya some of 'em are living on borrowed time at their economic limits...

      The worm will turn, corrupters... The WORM will turn!

      Ugh. --UB.

      "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

      by unclebucky on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 01:38:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Similar example: Olympics, World Cup (11+ / 0-)

    not quite same situation, but I've read complaints about the London Olympics being an excuse to add a lot of security stuff that stays, that there are big protests happening in Brazil as sports stadiums are gobbling up large neighborhoods.

    in these cases buildings actually have to get built, but it's often a scam in so far as the real estate & construction companies make money, and the "boon" for host city usually doesn't happen.

    The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

    by stargaze on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 06:18:03 AM PST

    •  Public bonds, whether subscribed to by public (15+ / 0-)

      corporations such as states, municipalities or sports authorities, are a staple source of income (often tax exempt) for the money changers because of legislative directives that such "obligations" have to be paid first. So, even if the enterprise goes belly up (local and state governments used to be precluded from declaring bankruptcy), the lenders get their due. The financial fraternity makes much noise about risk even as they are constantly lobbying for legislative relief so their investments are both risk and tax free. It's an entirely symbolic enterprise which means that the parameters of the real world do not apply (there are no real limits, for example, to how many dollars an entity can accumulate, or lose for that matter), but the consequences in the real world in which people are deprived of their access to the necessities of life are quite real.
      What we have, as a result of this fixation on the symbols, is two economies -- the economy of finance and the real. Actually, there are three. There's also the shadow economy which manages to capture some of the tangible symbols and use them as they were designed to be used even as they evade their use being tracked. So, in the U.S. it is now estimated that the shadow economy amounts to about $2 trillion a year, double the federal discretionary expenses, but slightly less than the medical-industrial complex spend, $2.7 trillion at last count.
      This is not necessarily good or bad, unless one happens to think that we should know what's actually going on.

      Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

      by hannah on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 06:38:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Public bonds (0+ / 0-)

        Are a large part of the holdings of public entities, pension funds, etc.

        Ownership of public bonds does not indicate membership in the Predator class.

        Bankruptcy can indeed reduce payments to bond holders.

        There are classes of public bonds. Many are not backed by the full faith & credit of the issuer, but by a specified revenue stream.

        The shadow economy, by the way, includes everything not tracked for taxing purposes, drug lords, workers who get paid in cash, etc. again, broad generalizations about all these people and what they are doing needs a citation to be plausible.

        "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.” ― John Kenneth Galbraith

        by Urban Owl on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 10:21:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If the federal entity were into revenue (0+ / 0-)

          sharing, it would not be necessary to borrow dollars from the investor class. Mandatory saving via pension funds is also a system designed to benefit the investor class, whose contribution to the building of capital assets is less and less.

          For a thorough discussion of the shadow economy look up anything Edgar Feige has published. He's about the only academic considering it seriously in the U.S. The euro zone has a few mover people covering it.

          Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

          by hannah on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 10:50:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Public bonds is more than federal (0+ / 0-)

            Since the topic (initially) was the NJ development, the bonds in question are state and local. There are good reasons for financing public infrastructure with debt at the a State & local level.)

            But your suggestion that there should be no federal debt begs the question of what assets would then be available for savers, e.g., the Social Security Trust Fund, to hold.

            (Investments and savings are two separate behaviors, linked by an accounting identity, but not the same economic actors.)

            You sound somewhat like a version of the MMT crowd, that wants to change everything about how government works, starting with the largest economy in the world.

            Thanks for the Fiege reference, will go find it.

            "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.” ― John Kenneth Galbraith

            by Urban Owl on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 11:37:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary. (5+ / 0-)

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 06:57:45 AM PST

  •  I never understand (9+ / 0-)

    How is it that people are so able to ignore that immorality of their actions while they are planning them, and carrying them out?  

    Streichholzschächtelchen

    by otto on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 07:57:23 AM PST

  •  I think what developers were actually (7+ / 0-)

    looking for here is what you alluded to in the diary - for the City to pick up the cost or repairing or upgrading existing infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, utility lines, etc.).

    This work can be expensive, but in any case, from a developers point of view, having someone else pay for it is a plus to their margins.

    Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

    by Spud1 on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 07:58:12 AM PST

    •  They also want favorable zoning (8+ / 0-)

      , higher density, less parking requirements,  and less restraints overall for their project, as well as the free infrastructure upgrades.
      Also,  discounted permit fees, utility impact fees, school fees, and property taxes
      Those are incentives often given for blighted neighborhoods, where it might make sense to socialize some of the costs.  developers try to get the boundaries for redevelopment as close to the nice parts of town as possible.  They work the politicians as much as possible,  because it has a huge effect on the profitability of the project.
      christie was stupid here.  first, his "client" lost.  second, he could have offered a Sandy relief grant for the infrastructure "repair and upgrade" for that area, and maybe some transportation funds. Instead of incentives he went with a hammer on desperately needed relief funds,  and exposed hi sold to the very prosecution he had removed the previous mayor with

      "Searches with nonspecific warrants were ‘the single immediate cause of the American Revolution.’” Justice Wm. Brennan, referring to the 4th Amendment

      by Nailbanger on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 09:15:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hate to tell you this (5+ / 0-)

    but none of this is very uncommon.  

    First of all Kelo vs New London broadly expanded the scope of Eminent Domain.  Designation of an area in need of rehabilitation does not mean that the properties designated are to be acquired by eminent domain but they can be.  If it can be determined that it would be in the public good, whatever that means.  Don't kid yourselves, this type of stuff is being done ALL THE TIME.  

    As for public investment, again don't kid yourselves.  It is often the case that the public government 'invests' in the infrastructure and upgrades it so that private developers can benefit from those upgrades.  It's also not uncommon for municipalities to give tax breaks or abatements to 'help' the developers.  The thing is there are hearings on this, at least in my part of the world.  Public notices are issued and all the documents are public record.  Most times I don't even need to do a FOIA request to get all the files on developments, big or small.  

    Often those redevelopments are done with countless hearings and meetings.  There is a looong process in these things.  Municipalities don't just bulldoze neighborhoods and turn them into parking lots unless the tax revenue that a parking lot generates is not much different that a property with a derelict building.  It's called highest and best use.  Usually there is a reason for that, safety, cleanup of a contaminated site, lack of capital to go forward with a project, not enough interest to go forward with the project at that time, etc.

    I don't see anything here that seems out of sorts in relation with any other large project.  This is fairly typical.  I'm not saying it's right or wrong.  Personally I think since Kelo things have gone too far and private developers are abusing the system by corrupting various parts of it to get their way.  But it's our responsibility to understand the system and see how it's being corrupted.  This case doesn't look to be any different than any other case in say Sunset park, Brooklyn, Stamford, CT or any other major North East city.  

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 08:39:14 AM PST

    •  This kind of thing goes back even further to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NancyWH

      The Ambler Realty case that allowed eminent domain in taking private property for resale to private developers of urban "blighted" areas.  S short step from there to taking to raise the taxable value of the waterfront real estate as in Kelo.

      Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

      by StrayCat on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 08:45:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most states don't allow this now (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hannah, jayden, StrayCat

        Lots of changes since Kelo, justifications for Eminent Domain have been narrowed.

        "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.” ― John Kenneth Galbraith

        by Urban Owl on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 10:10:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  True. It is not extraordinary. That's my (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NancyWH, jayden

      point. The boiler plate in the intro to the report tells us that.

      Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

      by hannah on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 08:59:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Same thing is happening in my community (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stargaze, NancyWH, hannah, jayden

        in Danbury CT for example, our mayor and city council is in the process of approving 375 residential units (rentals) downtown.  The site used to be owned by Amphenol and is contaminated.  Part of it is owned by the city.  Guess who will be burdened with paying for the infrastructure upgrades?  Upgrades to the schools?  I'm sure there will be some bonds issued for road improvements and sidewalks and part of that will probably be paid by the developers but considering they're getting a 7 year tax abatement after the project is complete I'd say that they're actually not paying squat.

        Some would argue that the city will be better off in 10 years after the company starts paying taxes on a fully developed site or that it's a better use than the vacant contaminated parking lot.  I may even agree with the second half of that assessment.  The problem is the city taxpayers will be picking up the tab and paying for the upgrades until we see a dime in return for a decade.  

        Similar things can be seen in Stamford CT , New Haven CT, Bridgeport, CT or Norwalk CT where Obama's Communities Recovery and Reinvestment Act money was used to improve infrastructure (roads, bridges, sidewalks, etc) so that private developers could then go in and redevelop those areas.  IN these cases it's hard to argue that the communities will be worse off.  The reality is they will be far better off but the return on investment will be a long time coming.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 09:13:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fact is that all dollars flow from the federal (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NancyWH

          Treasury. The question is how many layers of middlemen does that dollar have to satisfy before it pays for a shovel going into the ground or a brick being laid. One of the problems I saw with the CRRA dollars was that members of Congress, instead of getting to OK grants, were cut out as beneficial middlemen. The same is true with how the PPACA is organized. Even though private health insurers are middlemen, they are expected to be providing account and record keeping functions and, with their 20% cap on over-head are going to be quite constrained. So, there won't be the profits to flow into investment vehicles that there were in the past. Which means the bankers have yet another thing to complain about AND another reason to turn a deaf ear to Congress critters when they come begging for contributions at election time. Congress has pretty much privatized itself out of inluence by setting up these mandatory programs with their dedicated revenue stream.
          If Christie is withholding dollars to gain some advantage, as has been charged, then he's just doing what Congress critters have been doing all along -- using the appropriations process to secure their incumbency. What the advent of the Taxed Enough Already people tells us is that they managed to piss their own people off and the arrival of 212 freshmen in the House through the last three elections is not a harbinger off good fortune. Democrats may consider the TEA people useless, but they're why the Republican old guard can't get anything accomplished. And then the shutdown revealed for the whole world to see that the Obamacare issue had already been lost because, regardless of the electronic registry problems, the enrollment went right along, if only via the clinics that Bernie Sanders had got into the original PPACA.

          Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

          by hannah on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 09:49:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What's the problem here? (0+ / 0-)

          You say that the community will come out net positive when a residential development replaces a contaminated downtown site that the City owns?

          Perhaps the City could negotiate a better deal, but this sounds like a good one, especially if the alternative is to have the empty brownfield blighting the area.

          Unless there is a cosy deal between the developer and the Governor, this is not like the Christie case.

          "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.” ― John Kenneth Galbraith

          by Urban Owl on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 10:14:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not a bad deal overall (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hannah

            but it will put a tremendous strain on our infrastructure.  Schools in the neighborhood cannot handle the increase in student population, the roads cannot handle the added traffic.  this will all cost tax dollars to remediate.  It would be nice if tax dollars were coming from the development to help that but the developer got a seven year tax abatement AFTER the development was finished which will result in several hundreds of thousands of dollars that will not go into the city coffers.  

            It could have been a far better deal and unfortunately it's part of a larger pattern by this mayor (who BTW recently announced he's running for governor) to give away the farm to developers and then worry about the problems that pop up as a result of runaway development.    

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 10:41:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  New residents don't spend? (0+ / 0-)

              No contribution to taxes until the 7- year abatement ends? No increased value on surrounding properties?

              Possible, but seems unlikely.

              I'm willing to believe that the developer got a good deal, especially if there was no competitive selection process.

              But "runaway development" doesn't seem like the right description for brownfield replacement.

              And people have to live somewhere, so developers have to build somewhere.

              Cities have to plan where and how to do growth, and how to finance it, and then carry out the plan. Too many places try to prevent all development, which does not work out well.

              "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.” ― John Kenneth Galbraith

              by Urban Owl on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 11:27:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  New residents are tenants not owners (0+ / 0-)

                Sure they spend and pay sales taxes but it's not all that certain they'll be spending in the city anyway.  It's not even all that certain they'll be earning an income in CT since Danbury is near the NY line.  So the city will get some taxes from their cars.  Big fucking deal.  

                The developer got a sweetheart deal.  The landowner who is selling the land to the developer is connected to the mayor so it's to his benefit to sell the land.  They both made out.  There's no ifs and or butts about it.  It's prime real estate once it's cleaned up.  There was no need to give away a 7 year tax abatement on the completed project (which will be 10 years since construction will take about 24-30 months after approval) in addition to everything else.  

                Also it's obvious you're not familiar with the city or the specific situation.  This city has seen runaway development in the last 10 years as we've added over 15%-20% more housing units in a city of 80,000+ which since 2000 has grown by about 10%-12% (from 70,000+ in 2000).  Do the math and you will quickly see that the supply is seriously outpacing the demand.  Runaway development is a very apt description.

                Huge developments of once virgin lands have become the norm.  Sweetheart deals to preferred developers have become the norm.  Violation of building and zoning codes by council members and people with ties to the mayor have become the norm.  There is a smart way to grow and develop land and there is a dumb way.  Giving tax breaks to develop prime real estate is dumb.  Approving 6,000 new housing units on pristine virgin land is not a smart plan, especially when it's in a remote part of town and has no infrastructure.  

                This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                by DisNoir36 on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 03:06:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Totally agree on that last (0+ / 0-)

                  Allowing sprawl is almost always a bad deal for taxpayers. I'll take your word for it that the deal on the brownfield could have happened without the tax break.

                  But 375 units built be a good developer, creating a $70 m project that will continue to pay the base tax seems like a decent deal. (Greystar is generally good, both at building and at  managing.)

                  Since most of the units are 1-BR, it is unlikely that there will be many children living there, so impact on schools is limited.

                  Adding residents to Downtowns that are trying to revitalize with a Main Street program is generally a good strategy. It is certainly less likely to be a bad idea than building single-family homes on greenfields!

                  I deal with redevelopments, brownfields, tax deals, etc. as part of my job. I am NOT a developer, I am a government planner trying to make better urban places happen.

                  Didn't mean to get into the weeds, just could not resist, sorry!

                  "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.” ― John Kenneth Galbraith

                  by Urban Owl on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 07:18:30 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Reaction to Kelo changed things (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, jayden

      Many states passed prohibiting the use of eminent domain justified by "blight" determinations, and some prohibit eminent foaming or economic development.

      Eminent domain is based on a determination of needing the land for a public purpose. Post-Kelo, states changed what is included.

      The diarist included the note that said eminent domain is not legal in NJ for the proposed project, I.e., is not an issue.

      "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.” ― John Kenneth Galbraith

      by Urban Owl on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 10:09:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not extraordinary however (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, hannah, jayden

      The location is extraordinary in the sense that Hoboken is solely a city that is one square mile.  It is one of the most densely populated areas (by square foot) in the US. The location of Hoboken is near NYC, with direct access through public transportation.  In other words, absolutely desirable location to live for those that work in NYC.

      Jersey City has similar attributes (transportation, closeness to NYC), but Hoboken doesn't have the crime and poor neighborhoods.

      So while the method of identifying areas for redevelopment or rehabilitation in Hoboken needs to be done with careful planning.

      I wouldn't have any doubt that rent per square footage would probably bring in more than in Brooklyn at this point. Brooklyn is prime, but as a city (ie, NYC) and real estate, there are still expansion possibilities in the Bronx and Queens.  

      All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

      by kishik on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 10:16:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think what the Mayor and the Plan board (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kishik, jayden

        objected to was that the validating study left out some nine acres that the city considered as also qualified for redevelopment and only identified the three blocks that happened to belong to the Rockefeller Group.
        You'd think that group has enough money to spring for infra-structure improvements itself. Perhaps this was a notion that Samson came up with on his own.
        From where I sit, Samson is much hype and lots of connections. But, anyone whose resume goes on and on over a 13 month tenure as Attorney General out of a career of 55 years has a questionable attitude, IMHO. And, as far as I can tell, there is no Wolff to go with the Samson. He's got a very mediocre educational background and owes his current job to Christie.

        Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

        by hannah on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 10:31:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  of course realty wise... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hannah, jayden

          if only those three were eligible for redevelopment, not sure what would be left for the other 6 (of the 9 block area) - put on hold?  Of course if simply rehabilitation, they wouldn't get other financing abilities.  Thus leaving the three "redeveloped" blocks even at greater worth.

          All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

          by kishik on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 10:58:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Misunderstanding here (4+ / 0-)
    it seems that the aegis of the plan was to either get Hoboken to buy up the three blocks or issue bonds to finance whatever building the Rockefeller Group had in mind.
    Not really. The Rockefeller Group certainly does not want the city to acquire the property via eminent domain. That would be the last thing The Rockefeller Group would want! They want to put up a lucrative 40-story building here, not sell the land.

    Rather as nailbanger said above, The Rockefeller Group wants

    favorable zoning, higher density, less parking requirements,  and less restraints overall for their project, as well as the free infrastructure upgrades.
    Also,  discounted permit fees, utility impact fees, school fees, and property taxes
    In other words, they want to put up an expensive lucrative building, and have the taxpayers foot the bill.

    It would be funny if after all these machinations, the city of Hoboken said, "Why yes, we do believe your study. We think the three blocks are blighted. We'll take them via eminent domain."

    By the way, the study is so disingenuous. They look at all the buildings in the area, and discover that most of the properties are old but in fair condition buildings, or parking lots, which they say are in character for the neighborhood. But then they claim that the Rockefeller Group properties are in particularly bad condition and in need of "redevelopment" and therefore should get the designation. We don't know whether the Rockefeller Group's buildings really are in worse shape, or whether the authors of the study just looked harder for flaws in that area than elsewhere.

    If you read this document and didn't know what was going on, you'd think the redevelopment in question would be small factories and little retail businesses.

    You'd never realize that the Rockefeller Group proposes to put a 40 story building in this seedy industrial area. "Character of the neighborhood"? How does a skyscraper fit in with the character of this neighborhood? No building in the area is in the character of a neighborhood with a luxury skyscraper in it.

     

    •  Really appreciate your input. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden

      I've never been to Hoboken or Newark or Fort Lee. Oh, except once we broke down on the approach to the GWB and a tow truck arrived almost instantaneously and towed us to the other side where we were fixed up and sent on our way. Don't even remember what the problem was since a trip without problems was the exception. :)

      Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

      by hannah on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 11:01:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think the thrust of your diary is mistaken (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jayden, auron renouille, hannah, Urban Owl

        As I understand it, all the property owners in the study area want to do redevelopment. Moreover, this is an area where it makes sense to put up skyscrapers. Not only that, but the mayor agrees that this area is appropriate for redevelopment: it's a rundown neighborhood in a fantastic location. Density makes sense here.

        The issue here is the goodies: the zoning variances, the free infrastructure upgrades, the tax breaks. We should be suspicious of the study because it looked at this entire rundown neighborhood which by all accounts is ripe for redevelopment, and and discovered that The Rockefeller Group, but not the other property owners, are eligible for goodies. By the greatest coincidence, the Executive Director of the group who paid for the study stands to personally benefit if the study is accepted.

        Also, as I understand it, by accepting the study, the city would be giving the goodies to The Rockefeller Group and not the other property owners. The other owners are hopping mad about this and have hired their own lawyer. Mayor Zimmer doesn't want to jump into accepting the study and having the redevelopment project go forward without making sure the study is correct.

  •  Such a disappointment as a diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    auron renouille, Urban Owl

    As a New Yorker with many friends who currently live in Hoboken, I was hoping for some facts about these 3 blocks.

    But what we got here is conjecture about why this happened along with the unintentionally revealing use of the 1970s term "inner city" which is a dog whistle to New Yorkers and other urbanites of successful urban enclaves like Hoboken when that term for the rest of Americans is like the sound of crickets.

    Appalling that this empty polemic is on the Recommended list.

    3 ... 2 ... 1 ... 0 HRs have at it!

    "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    by Glinda on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 12:50:25 PM PST

    •  One of the best features of DKos (0+ / 0-)

      is that readers can participate in a discussion with the diarist and other Kossacks. I often learn more about a subject in the comments section than in the diary itself. This diary is an example of that kind of informative interaction. There has been disagreement with the diarist with the supporting reasoning provided and explained.

      And perhaps you hear the sound of crickets from the rest of Americans when it comes to the term "inner city" because they simply do not recognize it as a dog whistle. To suggest that the use of the term is somehow "unintentionally revealing" compels me to ask you exactly what it is supposed to reveal and who was it supposed to be directed to? Your assumption makes absolutely no sense considering the context of the diary.

  •  What's on those three blocks right now, the ones (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden

    that you describe as subject to "destruction?"

    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

    by auron renouille on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 03:39:59 PM PST

  •  I'm familiar with the area (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden

    For a look go to the Google map and place the street view icon just below the A. You're looking north on Willow Ave. which is the main road north out of Hoboken that goes to the Lincoln Tunnel. It's quite busy at rush hour.

    Now imagine a 40 story skyscraper about a block ahead of where you're looking. If you look west and southwest you'll see that many of the buildings are new or built within the past 10 years. (Also rebuilding a westward bridge.) As your tour guide I would be remiss in not pointing out looking east on 14th Street the Malibu Diner where the previous mayor, Peter Cammarano, was recorded as accepting a bribe in the New Jersey Sting.

    Anyway, the area needs some thoughtful planning with a balance of both residential and commercial. It's not clear to me that a few big buildings makes for a community.

    •  This is very in line with what Mayor Zimmer said: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      judy99, Urban Owl
      [...] the area needs some thoughtful planning with a balance of both residential and commercial. It's not clear [...] that a few big buildings makes for a community.
      She also explained that Hoboken has unique considerations because of its size, location, and density. That's why city planners are taking a comprehensive approach to the redevelopment proposals instead of just approving random projects willy nilly.
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