This page contains the team’s concerns about redevelopment. It isn’t exhaustive, but it gives you, in our own words, what we feel is good or bad about the project as it currently stands.
1. Projections of revenue for the project are based on the best of all possible world projections. If the redeveloper is correct that a market exists for a luxury rental building on the site and those projections come true, then the financial side of the project works. If it doesn’t, the town will potentially suffer as much or more than the redeveloper….
2. The town is proposing to issue $6.3 million in taxpayer-guaranteed long-term bonds to give to the redeveloper…. This issuance will raise the town’s debt outstanding nearly 12% to $63 million. The town will be paying interest on the borrowings for at least two years, and maybe more, without any revenue from the project….
3. We are giving the redeveloper a significant discount on the property taxes he would otherwise be paying on the project….
4. The town says it will ask the state for a waiver of the affordable housing obligation in this Phase 1. It won’t tell me how many units or cost…
5. The Planning Board in 2007 sidestepped the town’s ordinance requiring 2.5 spaces per unit in favor of one-third less, 1.67 spaces, citing some sort of shared parking plan and the separate zoning and planning authority of the Redevelopment Area. I can’t get anyone to explain to me exactly how that happened….
You can review video and summaries of council meetings at www.WestOrangeGrassroots.org, a website I maintain. Information on the project is on the town website at http://bit.ly/zkShlc. Please consider sending a link to this page to others who you think would be interested in this issue.
I’m in favor of redevelopment there, just not this project as proposed.