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Monday, August 12, 2019

Council: busy Monday (part 2) -- tax refunds, redevelopment plans

Approximate outline of the CONDEMNATION
redevelopment plan (from property addresses).
This is only to suggest the general area
being considered.

Plainfield City Council is busy for its combined session on Monday evening (August 12). This is the second of two posts. (You can read the first post here.)

A commenter on the first post noted the increase in fiscal year 2020 taxes (3.3%). An item (256-19) throws the tax matter in bright relief -- 128 properties won appeals of their taxes to the County Tax Board -- for a total of $267,267, or approximately $2,000 apiece on average. Lesson one: it pays to appeal your taxes. Lesson 2: Plainfield's assessments are seriously out of whack; it is only inevitable the state will demand a revaluation. Eventually.

Three of the items under the Department of Economic Development are curious: they've all been addressed by the Council previously, but are up once again --

  • North Avenue redevelopment plan -- being looked at again because of flood zone issues (this is not the downtown North Avenue). Curious, becase everyone knows its in a flood zone (there was a big flap about the wrong-sized sewer pipes delivered back when Al McWilliams was mayor).

  • Two redevelopment areas (R 269-19 and R 270-19) -- the subject of numerous previous resolutions -- are back. Meaning the previous resolutions are to be rescinded and the new one put in place. I haven't had a chance to review just yet what the differences are, but it is curious that they are being redone yet again. I will be looking into these more closely in a separate post.

Also worthy of note: one of these (R 270) is a CONDEMNATION plan. We have not seen such as far as I can recall at all under Mayor Mapp, so this is an important first. As I understand it, what it means is that the City is going on record as being prepared to exercise eminent domain in the acquisition of the properties.

This is usually costly, litigious, and time-consuming. Very time consuming, so it would be interesting to know why Plainfield desires to go this route.

Under a non-condemnation plan -- such as the Wawa parcel, or the South Second Street development between Grant and Muhlenberg Place -- it is up to the developer to assemble ownership of the parcels in order to execute the project.

City Council meets for a combined agenda and business session at 7:00 PM Monday, August 12, in the Council Chambers / Courthouse at Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street. Parking available on the street and in the lot across from Police Headquarters.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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