City Council Meeting: 10/20/2010
Video archives after the jump!
Last regular meeting before Election Day
Another jam-packed agenda for the Hoboken City Council tonight.
With less than two weeks before the 4th ward once again gets the chance to choose it’s own representation, the Zimmer Administration is pulling out the stops to place items on the agenda while it can still guarantee a five-vote majority.
SW Park & Redevelopment back to Square One, again
Take a look at this old campaign literature from 2007 to recall how Dawn Zimmer used to promise she would tackle Southwest Redevelopment as the first order of business after she was elected.
She dropped that ball hard when the Michael Lenzes of the world started whispering in her ear that she should run for Mayor. In October 2009 (before the big special election) Councilwoman Beth Mason brought the issue back to the table with a resolution “Reaffirming the City Council’s Commitment to creating a Southwest Park,” which was replaced two weeks later with a formal resolution from then-Acting Mayor Zimmer to re-start the Southwest Redevelopment Study.
Now, a year later Zimmer is being forced to admit her election-time resolution was flawed.
Uptown interests move downtown concerns to back burner
After Zimmer won 40% of the vote last November she started packing the Planning Board with allies of 5th ward Councilman Peter Cunningham, so it’s no surprise new Chair Ann Graham and Vice Chair Keith Furman put the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan on a higher priority list than the Southwest.
In fact, the Zimmer Planning Board didn’t even hire a planner for the Southwest until last summer.
Now that planner says the city has to go back to square one and re-do the map for the study.
This means it’s in the same place it was when Mayor Dave Roberts left office: a year and a half with no progress.
Occhipinti speaks out on the Southwest Plan Mess
“It’s taken a full year for the administration to finally admit that the zone boundaries they drew were inappropriate,” said 4th ward city council candidate Tim Occhipinti. “This is almost too much to believe. Where has the 4th ward councilman been?”
The council authorized the latest study in October of 2009, but a planner to complete the study wasn’t hired until late last summer. Now, the planner has come back with a determination that no work can begin until the proposed redevelopment map changes because the administration included long-completed buildings like the Skyline and Hoboken Grande in its proposed Area in Need of Redevelopment.
“This mistake has set back the effort to build a real Southwest Park for yet another year,” said Occhipinti. “Meanwhile, more and more condos are being built down here. Had someone, perhaps the 4th ward councilman, identified this error sooner, and had a planner been hired earlier, Southwest Hoboken would be one year closer to a park instead of back to the drawing board.”
Occhipinti said the timing of the resolution was another example of the administration manipulating the city’s agenda for political purposes: “They will try to say that this ineptitude is actually an example of progress. The reality is that residents of the 4th ward are being shortchanged, again. While appointed 4th ward councilman Michael Lenz concentrates on western edge redevelopment, outside the ward, residents of the southwest are again asked to take a back seat. This is just wrong. Michael Lenz has dropped the ball – again.”– Occhipinti Campaign Press Release
Much more about tonight’s council agenda, after the jump!
Raising Fees, Noise Ordinance, Driveway Permits
There are three Ordinances up for a public hearing and final vote, but you won’t find a lot about them on the City Website. Ordinances haven’t been making it up in the resolution packets these days. The Noise Ordinance changes make the city conform to state regulations, while Business License Fees are headed higher (read: more hidden taxes), and changes are being made to the law that allows people with driveways to park in front of them.
25 Resolutions in all on the agenda
Resolution 17 awards a contract to purchase 5 long overdue Chevrolet Impala police cars. This marks a return to the bowtie brand for the HPD, which has been driving Ford Crown Vics for several years. Three ordinances are up for first reading, including two easements and changes to the “Schedule of Classifications and Allocations of Titles for Positions in the City of Hoboken” which designates standardized titles. This is seen by some as a maneuver to remove more non-Zimmer employees from City Hall to make way for new hires.