The plan may be changed first, because in its present form, it suggests that the city will buy a privately owned lot and put a walkway on it, connecting Newark Avenue to Christopher Columbus Drive.
However, the present owners of the lot say they want to build on it themselves, rather than having to sell it to the city.
Councilman Steven Fulop, a major proponent of the plan, feels that the property - located at 141 Newark Ave. - will cause an added expense to the city anyway, so he said he'd be willing to forgo the passageway.
The Newark Avenue Redevelopment Plan also provides for revitalized storefronts looking out on Christopher Columbus Drive, as well as new building guidelines and more pedestrian-friendly sidewalks.
The plan covers an area bounded by Grove Street to the east, Christopher Columbus Drive to the south, Newark Avenue to the north, and Jersey Avenue to the west.
Fulop has discussed upgrading the streetscape on Newark Avenue for about two years with business owners and residents in the area, aiming to bring in new businesses and make the area more pedestrian friendly.
Fulop said he believes that the plan will come up for a vote this coming Wednesday at 6 p.m. at School 4 on Bright Street.
Once a city approves a redevelopment plan, they can alter the zoning, seek developers, and force property owners to sell them land under "eminent domain."This land is my land
The owners of the empty lot at 141 Newark Ave. sent representatives to the Sept. 10 council meeting to speak on their behalf. The property is owned by Five Star Investment Group, a subsidiary of the Joseph A. Del Forno Inc. real estate firm on Jersey Avenue in downtown Jersey City.
The city would have to acquire the property from Five Star to build on it. The city would get the money to buy it from the designated developer or developers selected to redevelop the zone. Those builders would likely be permitted to build structures higher than the presently-allowed four floors in the area.
Lawrence Perlaki, one of the principals in Five Star, and his attorney Charles Harrington, argued at the meeting the city's planning division knew Five Star had submitted plans for a new building on the empty lot before there was a fire there last November.
City planner Maryanne Bucci-Carter said Five Star had communicated to the Planning Division that they were looking to build, but she said they stopped communicating after the fire.
The "paseo," or passageway, would not just be a walkway for the public from Newark Avenue to Columbus Drive, but also a public plaza with an outdoor dining and seating area and greenery. Other elements of the plan
Fulop said he is optimistic that the plan will be approved, but with an amendment removing the paseo feature. He said he has no problem with the paseo being removed from the plan, pointing out the hefty cost to the city if it had to acquire the property.
If this plan is approved, it means a number of changes for that area.
One of the major elements of the plan is the development of 121 -125 Newark Ave., currently owned by the city and the home of the Jersey City Employment and Training Program. The city is planning to put the building up for sale before the end of this year, if not sooner.
Whoever bought the land could build up to eight stories, according to the plan.
The plan also calls for a setback of eight feet from the street for storefronts on Columbus Drive, to allow for the creation of pedestrian-friendly sidewalks.
Also, parking would continue to be prohibited on Newark Avenue, and all parking for buildings in the plan would be located inside those buildings.
Fulop also said a $2 million grant from the NJ Department of Transportation is in place for a new streetscape to be implemented on part of Newark Avenue, which includes the new lighting, street furniture, and sidewalks. Comments on this story can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.