History of the Emerson Redevelopment: Part VII (July through December 2016)

This is the seventh in a series of historical background facts on the history of Redevelopment in Emerson.

The second half of 2016 saw the start of the Borough’s long awaited Kinderkamack Road Improvement Project. On July 27, 2016, the Bergen County Board of Freeholders unanimously selected New Prince Construction for the project, which was a shared service between the County of Bergen and the Borough. New Prince was the low bidder at $3,500,000.00. The bids ranged upwards to $4,600,000.00. (See link to Record Article dated 7 28 2016) Work on the roadway began in September 2016.

Ordinance 1529-16 and Resolution 218-16, which authorized the Borough to enter into a financial agreement with the Borough’s redeveloper, JMF Properties, was adopted by a unanimous 4-0 vote on August 16, 2016. (See link to Ordinance 1529-16 and Application for Approval of Financial Agreement) That Ordinance approved what is referred to as a PILOT, which stands for Payment in Lieu of Taxes. That term is a bit misleading, as a redeveloper is obligated to pay 100% of the taxes on the land, but instead of paying the taxes that would be assessed on the improvements, it pays a percentage of the gross rental receipts each year. (See link to Financial Agreement with JMF)

An analysis of the projected impact of this PILOT Agreement was prepared by Borough Redevelopment Council. (See link to So What Exactly is a Pilot and How Does a Pilot Agreement Benefit the Borough) To summarize, under the PILOT scenario, upon completion of the project, the properties will pay an additional $211,699.00 from what is being paid today. Below is the estimated annual increase for each of the Borough, School and County:
Borough $ 142,848
School $ 54,075
County $ 14,776

Upon completion of the 30 year term, it is estimated that the project will pay a total of $16,081,682. This represents an estimated increase of $10,130,710 from what the property would pay based upon its current use. Of the $16,081,682 total amount, the Borough would receive $9,069,075, the School $5,761,962 and the County $1,250,646. Please click on the link for the full analysis.

The Council had directed the Land Use Board to consider whether certain amendments to the Redevelopment Plan should be adopted. By Resolution dated December 20, 2016, the Board unanimously recommended that these changes be adopted by the Mayor and Council, to include the incorporation of a third story of residential units over retail provided that the third story be set back by at lease five (5) feet. The Board determined “that the additional amendments are necessary to achieve the Borough’s Council on Affordable Housing Obligations”. (See link to December 20, 2016 Resolution of the Land Use Board)

The Land Use Board was also asked to consider whether Block 419, the properties on the west side of Kinderkamack Road between Lincoln Boulevard and Linwood Avenue, remained as “An Area in Need of Redevelopment”. The Borough Planner had been asked to re-study the area. (See link to Borough Planner’s Report dated December 8, 2016) A public hearing was held on December 8, 2016, where all who wanted to speak, including some of the property owners (and in the case of the property where Ranchero Cantina was located, their attorney), were heard. (See link to Transcript of December 8, 2016 Land Use Board Hearing) After hearing all relevant testimony, the Board voted unanimously accepted the Planner’s recommendation that Block 419 be re-designated as “An Area in Need of Redevelopment”. (See Land Use Board’s January 5, 2017 Resolution)

By Ordinance adopted December 20, 2016, the Mayor and Council followed the recommendations of its Land Use Board and adopted the suggested amendments to the Redevelopment Plan. (See Ordinance 1535-16 adopted December 20, 216 and Pascack Press Article of December 26, 2016)

The 2016 Council was initially comprised of four (4) Republicans, two (2) Democrats and a Democratic mayor. In June 2016, Chris Knoller (currently the Council President) changed his registration to Democratic, thus making the council evenly split with three (3) Republicans and three (3) Democrats, with a Democratic mayor. Thus, bi-partisan efforts continued to improve a deteriorated downtown business district.

As usual, please feel free to reach out with any questions to mayor@emersonnj.org.

I will pick up with the developments occurring in the first half of 2017 in my next offering.

Record Article dated 7- 28-16 Freeholders OK bid for roadwork in Emerson

Ordinance 1529-16  Authorizing the Execution & Delivery of a Financial Agreement by and between the Borough of Emerson and Emerson Urban Redevelopers Urban Renewal LLC

Financial Agreement with JMF Properties

So What Exactly is a Pilot and How Does a Pilot Agreement Benefit the Borough?

Land Use Board Resolution dated December 20, 2016 reporting and recommending to the Mayor and Council adoption of additional amendments to the Redevelopment Plan

Borough Planner’s December 8, 2016 Report

Land Use Board’s January 5, 2017 Resolution

Transcript of December 8, 2016 Land Use Board Hearing

Land Use Board’s January 5, 2017 Resolution

Ordinance 1535-16 Amending the Central Business District Redevelopment Plan

Pascack Press Article of December 26, 2016