Council Directs MLUB To Determine Area In Need Of Redevelopment For Sullivan Property

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Published: May 28, 2017 @ 12:00 PM EDT

Resolution 156-17 at the May 23rd Mayor & Council meeting formally directed the Municipal Land Use Board (MLUB) to have a report prepared to determine whether 10 West Westfield Avenue – known at the Sullivan Property – qualifies as an Area In Need Of Redevelopment.

This is the next step in allowing development at the property. At the last meeting of 2016, council approved a $57,000 study to see if the property qualified as an Area In Need Of Redevelopment. Now, the MLUB will have a redevelopment plan prepared and voted on if it is determined that the Sullivan property qualifies as an Area In Need Of Redevelopment set forth in NJSA 40A:12A-5.

Although publicly stated at the meeting that eminent domain is not being considered, Mayor Carl Hokanson has previously stated publicly would use it if he deemed it necessary.

At a meet & greet last year, Mayor Hokanson stated, “Once [the redevelopment plan]’s approved by the Municipal Land Use Board, then it comes back to us, then we do it, and then we go into eminent domain unless he decides to sell.”

The 4½ acre property – centrally located on Chestnut Street and Westfield Avenue – closed as the Sullivan Chevrolet car dealership in 2009. Two years later, the property was purchased by MAS Development Group. The structure was demolished in 2013. In 2015, MAS Development’s owner Sal Garcia presented a preliminary application to the MLUB to have an AutoZone and three other unnamed types of businesses with no residential use. It was denied. Earlier this year, sources close to the issue confirmed that the property was in talks to be sold for $6.3 million. As of yet, no sale has been made public for what many consider the most valuable piece of real estate in Roselle Park.

The next scheduled MLUB meeting is set for June 12th at 7 p.m.

The text for Resolution 156-17 is included below:

RESOLUTION NO. 156-17

WHEREAS, there exists an area of the Borough of Roselle Park upon which sits industrial retail and other properties that have experienced discontinuance of use, that were formerly fully utilized and which have become increasingly dilapidated, underutilized or are disused, and obsolete or faulty in their layout and design for feasible uses in today’s market; and,

WHEREAS, the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-1, et seq. (the “Redevelopment Law”) provides a mechanism to empower and assist local governments in efforts to promote programs of redevelopment; and,

WHEREAS, the Governing Body wishes to investigate and explore whether the above described area, more specifically described by lot and block below, might benefit from the tools available under the Redevelopment Law, to provide a means to facilitate a comprehensive redevelopment plan and to address the underutilization, vacancies and deteriorating conditions of the area and other surrounding properties or impacted properties; and,

WHEREAS, the Redevelopment Law sets forth a specific procedure for establishing an area in need of redevelopment; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-6, prior to the Governing Body making a determination as to whether an area qualifies as an area in need of redevelopment, the Governing Body must authorize the Planning board, by resolution, to undertake a preliminary investigation to determine whether the area meets the criteria of an area in need of redevelopment set forth in 40A:12A-5; and,

WHEREAS, the Governing Body wishes to direct the Land Use Board to conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether the following area, inclusive of the following properties, qualifies as an area in need of redevelopment;

STREET ADDRESS
BLOCK
LOT
10 West Westfield Avenue
610
1
10 West Westfield Avenue
610
3

WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-6(a), the Governing Body must state in its referral resolution whether it wishes to maintain all of the powers available under the Redevelopment Law, including the power of eminent domain and thus establish a “condemnation redevelopment area,: under the Redevelopment Law; and,

WHEREAS, the Governing Body wishes to direct the Land Use Board to undertake a preliminary investigation to determine whether the following area, qualifies as an area in need of redevelopment, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-5 and further state that, if the Study Area was so designated, it shall authorize the Borough to exercise all of the redevelopment powers within such redevelopment area, including eminent domain, so the designated Study Area would be a condemnation redevelopment area with respect to the referenced properties.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Governing Body of the Borough of Roselle Park hereby directs the Land Use Board to conduct the necessary investigations and to hold a public hearing to determine whether the Study Area, inclusive of the properties listed above herein, does or does not qualify as an area in need of redevelopment under the criteria set forth in N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-1, et seq.; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that prior to the public hearing on the matter, the Land Use Board shall prepare a map showing the boundaries of the Study Area and the location of the parcel(s) of property included therein, and appended to the map shall be a statement setting for the basis for the investigation; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Land Use Board shall specify a date for and give notice of the hearing for the purpose of hearing persons who are interested in or would be affected by a determination that the Study Area is a condemnation redevelopment area, as set forth herein; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the hearing notice shall set forth the general boundaries of the Study Area and state that a map has been prepared and can be inspected at the office of the Borough Clerk and shall further state that a redevelopment area determination shall authorize the municipality to exercise the power of eminent domain to acquire properties in the delineated area, as set forth herein; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of the notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Borough of Roselle Park once each week for two consecutive weeks, and the last publication shall be not less than ten (10) days prior to the date set for the hearing, and that a copy of the notice shall be mailed at least ten (10) days prior to the date set for the hearing to the last owner, if any, of each parcel of property within Study Area according to the assessment records of the Borough of Roselle Park, as well as all persons at their last known address, if any, whose names are noted on the assessment records as claimants of an interest in any such parcel; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Land Use Board shall hear all persons who are interested in or would be affected by a determination that the Study Area qualifies under the redevelopment criteria. All objections to such a determination and evidence in support of those objections, given orally or in writing, shall be received and considered and made part of the public record; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the land Use Board shall submit its findings and recommendations to the Governing Body in the form of a Resolution with supportive documentation.

Photograph courtesy and property of Dennis Cabarle.