Mayor names Soares, Novak to Zoning Board
Vacant Zoning Board Spots Filled
The on again/off again political romance of Tony Soares and David Roberts is back on. The Mayor is set to appoint the former Councilman-at-Large known for his quick wit, volatile temper, and ability to burn bridges at the speed of sound to the Zoning Board. It’s the latest twist in their legendary love/hate relationship. Soares ran with Roberts and the HCDO on the Mayor’s first ticket in 2001. The two had a falling out, and the Mayor replaced him on his re-election slate in 2005.
Though even his best friends admit Soares can be hard to deal with, he is not seen as likely to fall in line with the variance-happy veterans on the Zoning Board. Others are wondering just what deals were made before this appointment, expecting other shoes to drop ahead of the May election. Roberts is known for using appointments to the Zoning and Planning boards to solidify political support.
In full disclosure, Tony and I have had our differences in the past. He can often be found speaking with sharp (and occasionally forked) tongue in other places on the web under his own name as well as a string of pseudonyms. I wish him the best of luck in his new position, which is likely to make Zoning Board meetings a lot more interesting. At a meeting a couple of years ago current zoning board Chairman Dominic Lisa openly heckled Soares, telling him to “Go back to Kearny” if he didn’t like how they were making decisions about Hoboken development.[EDIT: Tony Soares sent Hoboken411 his resume for you all to review.]
Novak consults for developers
Roberts’ other pick to fill an empty Zoning Board seat is an environmental consultant who works with developers and commercial real estate owners. Michael Novak is the President of Atlantic Environmental Solutions, with offices in Hoboken and Chicago. Novak’s homepage says:
“If you are looking to purchase, sell, or manage your commercial property, AESI is your Environmental Soluti ons Provider. We provide unique, full-service environmental consulting and project management to ensure your continued success.”
Also on the website Novak lists his “Clientele”, including:
- Real Estate Professionals
- Commercial and Retail
- Land Developers
- Architects and Engineers
With that in mind Novak appears to be a typical Roberts pick who is a little to cozy with the development community. Time will tell, but this resume has the makings to be another typical Roberts/political machine choice. Novak is also active in the Hoboken Rotary Club and the Jubilee Center.
What happened to the open search process?
There was an ordinance passed by the city council that established a process for an open process for those interested in appointments to city boards, but Roberts has ignored it.
Soares is clearly a political appointment, and Novak’s view of development is likely to be in line with the status quo.
The Mayor did not invite open applications for the positions, and we know of people who applied for it and were not given the opportunity to even state their case to the Mayor.
Roberts contends the Council ordinance does not apply to him.
Picardo, Neumann Leather decisions ahead
Soares and Novak will join the board as several controversial applications continue to be heard. The need to fill the vacancies followed the sudden move to disqualify two conflicted members of the board from hearing the application by Tax Collector Louis Picardo. Novak’s expertise in helping developers deal with environmental issues may also be a factor in the ongoing Neumann Leather hearings.