From the Patch:
he plan to redevelop Lackawanna Plaza marches ahead, but what the final vision will end up looking like is still up for debate.
During a public workshop held on Monday, representatives from the municipal planning board discussed the Township Council’s recent designation of nine properties around Lackawanna Plaza as an “area in need of redevelopment,” and what that could mean for residents and business owners in the neighborhood.
Designating a property as an area in need of redevelopment allows a municipal government to take certain legal actions that they wouldn’t normally be allowed, including seizing properties through the use of eminent domain, as per New Jersey law.
According to Hoboken-based planning consultant Paul Grygiel, the designated properties – which are currently owned by Hampshire Real Estate Companies and Pinnacle Companies – are currently zoned as C-1 commercial, which allows for building heights of up to eight stories if incentives are provided.
One of the most vocal critics of the proposed redevelopment has been The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P), which has over 30 years remaining on its lease.
An attorney for A&P attended the Township Council’s March 10 meeting in protestation of the designation.
“We are particularly stressed over the use of crime statistics as the basis for the designation,” the attorney told council members. “We are further distressed when we read the public notice that reserves the right to use eminent domain. We think that we can work with you, but with the specter of eminent domain hanging over us as a tenant, it becomes very difficult.”