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What EXACTLY is the your agenda???

You neither live here nor are raising children here.

So you pay alot of taxes, anyone who is lucky enough to own something is this state payes too much tax.

You stated that Mr.Adler has more than enough money already, so what is (it now sounds like WAS ) his beef? Most likely he recieved what he wanted in the first place, so that is why he has backed off.

I would think it a wonderful service to Harrison if it weren't for a strong feeling that you sir, are also just trying to get what YOU want at the cost of the people of Harrison.

You want Jerseygirls opinion? You really have no clue whom you should be talking too. sorry

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PETITION TO THE NEW JERSEY LOCAL FINANCE BOARD

DEMANDING DISSOLUTION OF

THE HARRISON REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY

Introduction

Harrison residents, business people and property owners have formed the Harrison Community Coalition to stop the Harrison Redevelopment Agency from carrying out the misguided Waterfront Redevelopment Plan.

An attempt to carry out this Plan would hopelessly overcrowd the streets and schools of Harrison, create unbearable financial burdens on a Town that is already in difficult financial condition, and would adversely affect the economic interests and community life of the immigrant groups that form the backbone of the community.

The formation of the Harrison Redevelopment Agency (HRA) was approved on February 10, 1999 by the New Jersey Local Finance Board.  On that date, Gregory J. Castano, Esq., now the attorney for the HRA, and at that time appealing to the Local Finance Board for its consent to the HRA’s creation, made the following commitments:

“we propose [that you] make a provision that we have to come back at a stated      interval...maybe every five years...and give you a status report of where we are.      Certainly at that point if you’re dissatisfied with what’s going on with the agency, you    can always exercise your authority and direct a dissolution of the agency.” (Transcript,      page 5, lines 5-13).

“we propose to you: Have us come back in five years, have us give you a status report.        And if you’re not satisfied with where we are, you can always dissolve the agency.”            (Transcript, page 21, lines 6-9).

“In fact, in truth, the agency will just go away if this project [i.e., the Waterfront                                Development Plan] doesn’t work..” (Transcript, page38, lines 23-24).

More than five years have elapsed, and the HRA has failed to honor its commitment to come back to the Local Finance Board, and it has failed to honor the other commitments it made in 1999.  In view of these failures, we, the members of the Harrison Community Coalition, are now presenting our own status report on behalf of the aggrieved citizens and taxpayers of the Town of Harrison.  We will show that the project hasn’t worked, but the agency has not gone away.  This Petition will demonstrate that it is fortunate that the HRA, in its ineptitude,  has not yet started to acquire the property of private owners, because its plans are so defective as to be incapable of working.  We will also indicate how the HRA has so flagrantly violated basic principles of engineering, fiscal stewardship and land use planning, and consequently has created such peril to the community life and future financial health of the Town, as to justify the Local Finance Board ordering the dissolution of the HRA, as it is authorized to do under New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 40A:5A-21).

Issues Raised by Members of the Local Finance Board at the 1999 Hearings

Three members of the Local Finance Board raised important, substantive concerns during the 1999 hearings that led to the formation of the Harrison Redevelopment Agency.  This Petition  sets forth the responses to these concerns made by the HRA’s representatives at the hearings, and then analyzes the extent to which the HRA has followed through on those responses during the five years since the Agency’s formation.

A.  Local Finance Board Member Thomas G. Kenyon:  concerns about financing and the scope of the project.

At the January 13, 1999, hearing, Thomas G. Kenyon, one of the two Members of the Local Finance Board to have personally inspected the Harrison project area prior to the hearing, raised several important concerns.  Mr. Kenyon is the former Mayor of Tewksbury and is presently the President of the New Jersey Planning Officials organization.  Mr. Kenyon’s concerns remain relevant today, and they have not been addressed by the HRA. 

Mr. Kenyon stated:

“This is a Herculean task, because this particular piece of ground is a third of the town.        That’s number one.  The second thing that makes it even more Herculean is the fact that    you don’t own the ground....you really don’t have direct control.  Bayonne had direct          control, the Army gave them the land.  Sayreville had direct control, they owned the          land.”  (Transcript, page 10, lines 6-20).       

  [Note: the same point was made at the February 10, 1999 hearing by Local Finance              Board Member M. Claire French, who stated  “...unlike other redevelopment agencies        we have approved, this one owns almost no land, very little of the site.”  (Transcript,          page 15, lines 18-20).]

“your capital is only $8.7 million.  That’s not going to go very far if the Town is going        to guarantee your financing....that concerns me.  Because in a project of this size,                that’s almost like a drop in the bucket.”  (Transcript, page 11, lines 20-22, and page 12,      lines 2-4).

Mr. Kenyon was perceptively pointing out the enormous financial risks to which Harrison  subjects itself in undertaking a 275-acre project, and that other communities like Bayonne and Sayreville had undertaken a much lower level of risk.  Bayonne and Sayreville had much smaller project areas, and they already owned the land that was the subject of the redevelopment program, and thus did not have to be concerned about cost overruns in acquiring the land (for a discussion of this point, see Section L. below).  In Harrison, the amount of land involved is gargantuan, the land costs are immense, and, in contrast, the Town’s financing capability is tiny.  The risk is very great that, in the many years it will take to carry out the project,  there will be a default or defaults by one or more of the undercapitalized redevelopers who have been designated by the HRA.  If defaults occur, the cost of paying for them is not sustainable by this small and financially vulnerable community.  Harrison has fewer than 15,000 residents, and has for the past several years has been the ward of the Department of Community Affairs, which has been paying millions of dollars a year under the Aid to Depressed Cities program to keep the Town afloat.

B. Local Finance Board Member Thomas B. Kenyon:  concerns about flooding

Mr. Kenyon stated, on January 13, 1999:

“one of my concerns is the 100-year floodplain and a ten-year floodplain...Because      almost the western and the southwestern [portion of the Project] going around to the    eastern side is all floodplain.”  (Transcript, page 37, lines 11-16).

Mr. Castano responded: “What our plan incorporates is what was proposed to us by the Army Corps of Engineers.”  (Transcript, page 37, lines 20-22).  Mr. Castano was correct in stating that page 16 of the Waterfront Redevelopment Plan, adopted by Harrison in 1998 (the “1998 Plan”), referred to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) proposal to control flooding by construction of a 7,450-foot-long system of levees and floodwalls along the Passaic River.  The 1998 Plan contained a full-page map at page 8, showing that large portions of the Waterfront Project lie within the Passaic River floodplain.  The 1998 Plan (page 16) stated that “recent floods in 1968, 1971 through 1973, two in 1975, 1984 and 1992 were sufficiently devastating to warrant Federal Disaster declarations.  The flood of 1984 resulted in the loss of three lives and caused $493 million in damages.”  The 1998 Plan then stated (at page 16) that:

“The tidal projects are funded primarily through the federal government, with the State      and locality contributing lesser amounts.  Harrison plans to obtain State sponsorship of      the project in time for the 2001 Congressional budget allocations, with an anticipated      construction date of 2001.  USACE estimates that the project could be completed in      approximately two to three years.”

The 2003 revision of the Plan eliminates the disquieting word “devastating” and deletes the unnerving references to Federal Disaster declarations, the three deaths and the $493 million in damages.  More substantively, the 2003 Plan removes any discussion of the timing of construction of the flood-control project (the 2001 Congressional budget having come and gone), and blandly states (at page 20) that:

“The project will be funded primarily through the federal government.  The New Jersey  Department of Environmental Protection supports the project and is willing to act as the  cost-sharing partner for construction.”

What the 2003 Plan wanly attempts to conceal is the fact that there is no funding in sight for the flood control project, and thus there is no possibility of scheduling the work. 

To say that the HRA’a approach to the flood control issue in the Waterfront Redevelopment Project is disingenuous hardly suffices to describe the enormity of the deception and the total breakdown of rational planning that it involves.  Almost the entire project area between the Passaic River on the west and Rodgers Boulevard on the east is shown on the official maps of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as on the HRA’s map, as lying in a floodplain, and no project involving construction of expensive new buildings can proceed until the flood barriers have been erected.  Without the construction of the levees and floodwalls, owners of new buildings will be unable to obtain flood insurance from FEMA, and, even if they were somehow willing to take that risk, they would be unable to obtain mortgage financing from an institutional lender.  Further, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which has jurisdiction over land within 500 feet of the Passaic River, a tidal waterway, must issue a Waterfront Development Permit before any construction can start, and will not issue any such permit until the flooding issue has been resolved to its satisfaction.

Under these circumstances, for the HRA to attempt to condemn the land of local property owners against their will, ostensibly for the public purpose of redevelopment, when the intended re-users of the property will be unable to build on the property for an indefinite period, if ever, is a violation of due process and a breakdown of the governmental agency’s obligation to deal fairly and equitably with all persons within its jurisdiction.

C.  Local Finance Board Member John H. Ewing:  concerns about environmental issues

John H. Ewing, the sole member of the 1999 Local Finance Board to still be serving today, raised the subject of environmental pollution at the January 13, 1999 hearing.  Mr. Ewing, the State Senator from Bedminster and former Chairman of Abercrombie & Fitch, asked:

“what preliminary testing have they done on the soil to see what contamination there is? ...how serious is it?”  (Transcript, page 30, lines 9-12). 

Mr. Castano responded:

“Each individual parcel may vary, and it is industrial, so we do know that there will be a    problem,” (Transcript, page 30, lines 13-15).

Mr. Ewing’s concerns were also of concern to Thomas Kenyon, who stated:

“there’s still heavy industry operating inside of the area that you have designated.  You    have a chemical plant, okay, that’s there already.  You have two printing plants that are    in one of the old buildings down there, and of course that’s obviously printing, printing    means ink, and ink means remediation.  And of course the other kicker was the major open site that  you have is the Old Crucible Steel Place, and of course I am sure that is going to have to be remediated as well.  I am sure the DEP is calling it brown field”  (Transcript, page 11, lines 2-11).

Mr. Castano’s acknowledgment to Mr. Ewing of the contamination problem was not an off-the-cuff response. The Harrison Town Council had adopted the Waterfront Redevelopment Plan on November 16, 1998, prior to the 1999 hearings. With respect to environmental issues in the Waterfront project area, the 1998 Plan, at page 6, acknowledges that “One negative aspect of the Town’s history of industry is the environmental contaminants that have been left behind on several parcels in the Area.”  The 1998 Plan (at  page11) contains a table showing twelve “Facilities with Confirmed Discharges/Violations,” and another table (at page 10) showing twenty sites in a category designated “Environmental Conditions - Areas of Concern”.  All 32 of these sites are located within the project’s boundaries. 

Astonishingly, after identifying these extensive lists of environmentally-questionable sites, the Waterfront Redevelopment Plan provides no analysis of the costs of remediating these properties, nor even any procedure for determining the remediation costs, in order to ascertain, prior to commencing acquisition activities, if the cleanup costs will be so high as to make acquisition and redevelopment of the parcels economically unfeasible.  Rather than setting forth a program for dealing with the pollution issues, the Plan merely states (at page 10) that “This information [contained in the two tables] was collected so that site developers are cognizant of the potential on-site conditions of parcels in the Area.”  Obviously, any redevelopment for residential or office use is under a legal mandate to eliminate pollution hazards in accordance with New Jersey statutory requirements and the regulations of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and a new building cannot obtain a certificate of occupancy, or be occupied, until DEP has been satisfied with the condition of the site.

Despite the serious environmental issues raised by John Ewing and Thomas Kenyon, the HRA has done nothing in the five years since 1999 to confront and resolve the obstacles that contaminated sites in the project area present to the proposed redevelopment.  In fact, the HRA, in revising the Plan in 2003, completely ignored Mr. Ewing’s and Mr. Kenyon’s observations and did nothing to deal with the environmental issues, merely copying the two tables and the above-cited quotes from pages 6, 10 and 11 of the 1998 Plan, word-for word, into the 2003 Plan (they appear at pages 9 and 10 of the 2003 Plan).

It should also be noted that, initially at least, the HRA was not unaware of the necessity of resolving outstanding environmental issues in the project.  Although, as discussed above, the 1998 Plan did not provide an approach for dealing with these issues, the HRA in its early years, approached the matter by incorporating a workable method for investigation and remediation of contamination in its redeveloper agreements (these are the contracts between the HRA and the individual redevelopers). 

On July 10, 2000, the HRA entered into a Redeveloper Agreement with Harrison Commons, Inc. (“HCI”) for the redevelopment of Blocks 99 and 100 in the Town.  On August 28, 2000, the HRA entered into a similar agreement with HCI with respect to a 12-acre parcel of land encompassing the former Hartz Mountain property. On December 11, 2000, the HRA entered into another similar agreement with respect to Blocks 114A, 115 and 116.  These three agreements cover major properties at the heart of the project area. Each of these three agreements entered into by the HRA contains a Paragraph 2.05, which requires the redeveloper to conduct an environmental assessment of the property, to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the “NJDEP for the purpose of completing the required investigation and remediation and obtaining a No Further Action letter from the NJDEP upon completion of the remediation.”

Despite the passage of more than three years since the time these three redevelopment agreements have been entered into, no environmental assessments of the sites have been carried out and no agreements have been entered into with the DEP.  Thus, the HRA appears to be unwilling to enforce, or is incapable of enforcing, the contractual obligations of its redeveloper, even though the agreements cover sites that the HRA itself has identified (in the two tables contained in the Plan) as having confirmed discharges and as being areas of environmental concern.

As a matter of public policy and the fundamental rights of property owners in the free-enterprise system known as the United States, the HRA cannot be permitted to use its extraordinary, coercive power of condemnation to acquire a property owned by one private party for conveyance to another private party for redevelopment, without first (a) obtaining minimal assurance (based on actual study and analysis) that pollution problems on the property can be cleared up and that the costs of remediation will not be so high as to make financing of the redevelopment impossible, and (:lol: in the case of a New Jersey property, with its active State environmental agency, obtaining a Memorandum of Agreement with the NJDEP.  Without first completing steps (a) and (B), there can be no assurance that the condemned property can ever be redeveloped, and it is the actual carrying out of the redevelopment which gives the condemnation its public purpose and thus is the sole justification under our system for declaring the condemnation legal and constitutional.

The HRA’s failure to require prior underlying study and analysis of environmental remediation and its related costs, and its failure to enforce its own requirement that the redevelopers obtain prior written consent from the DEP for an agreed-upon  program of investigation and remediation, constitutes a breakdown of fundamental planning procedure and basic common sense so egregious that, when taken together with the failures described in the other parts of this Petition, warrants the granting of the Harrison Community Coalition’s petition to disband the HRA.

D.  Local Finance Board Member M. Claire French:  concerns about expertise on the Agency

At the February 10, 1999 hearing, M. Claire French, another Member of the Local Finance Board, expressed concern about the HRA being able to mobilize the necessary expertise to carry out its mission.  Ms. French is the County Clerk of Monmouth County and is former Mayor of Wall Township and served for ten years as Chair of the Monmouth County Improvement Authority.

Ms. French asked Mr. Castano:

“On the makeup of the Authority, who would it be, and how would the Town decide who    it would be?  You are trying to reach out for expertise.”  (Transcript, page 18, line 21).

Mr. Castano responded that the HRA members

“would be either people who are leaders in the community or in surrounding    communities who would be able to attract developers...They would not be involved in    any of the other aspects of local government.... And so you would have seven people    energized for this particular purpose.”  (Transcript, page 19, lines 8-17).

At the January 13, 1999 hearing, Mr. Castano had stated that the creation of a redevelopment agency for Harrison was necessary because “we need the benefit, also, of all the people that will be appointed to the agency that will be additional expertise that we now don’t have and will have as a result of it.”  (Transcript, page 6, lines 16-19). 

At the same hearing, Peter Higgins (a former Harrison Councilman, and today Chairman of the HRA) stated: “More to Mr. Kenyon’s comments about the magnitude of this project, we felt that the agency, as opposed to the mayor and council...would allow us to...take on a redevelopment of this magnitude, which is clearly beyond–over and above the expertise that’s available to the governing body right now.”  (Transcript, page 23, lines 4-13). 

In his February 10, 1999 presentation to the Local Finance Board, Mr. Castano stated that the HRA would be “not so much a financial instrument as it is a management tool.  It will give us the ability to have advisors and people...with the sophistication that we need, which doesn’t exist on the governing body itself.  People who are focused on this particular area.” (Transcript, page 12, line 21-25 and page 13, line 1). 

Despite Mr. Castano’s and Mr. Higgins’s commitments, the Mayor and Town Council of Harrison have not reached out to community leaders with relevant expertise, either in Harrison, or in surrounding communities, in appointing members of the Harrison Redevelopment Agency.  And they have failed to honor Mr. Castano’s promise that there would be an independent board which would  “not be involved in any other aspects of local government.”  The seven members of the Redevelopment Agency are:

1.  Raymond J. McDonough, Mayor of Harrison, also an employee of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Authority.

2.  Thomas Powell, who works in Harrison Town Hall as coordinator of the Town’s Neighborhood Preservation Program, and also is a Commissioner of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Authority.

3.  Peter B.Higgins, III, a former member of the Harrison Town Council, and Secretary to the Town’s Board of Education.

4.  James Fife, formerly a teacher in the Harrison school system and former Principal of Harrison High School.  At present Mr. Fife is employed by Harrison Realty, which is owned by Harrison Council Member James Doran. 

5.  Anthony Comprelli, Assistant Superintendent of Harrison Public Schools, and Harrison Town Historian.

6.  Rodrigo Marques, former President of the Portuguese-American Club Harrison (Centro Romeu Cascases).  Mr. Marques is self-employed as a tailor in Morristown.

7.  Robert Garrison, representative of a construction union in Trenton, and formerly a  candidate for the Harrison Town Council in the Third Ward.

It should be noted that the following two persons should be disqualified from serving on the board of the HRA, for the following reasons:

a.  Mr. Fife’s presence on the Agency constitutes a conflict of interest, since Harrison Realty, a real estate brokerage firm where he is employed, and which is owned by Harrison Councilman James Doran, has announced that it is handling resales of parcels in the Waterfront Redevelopment Area.

b.  Mr. Marques, a respected leader in the Harrison Portuguese-American community, nevertheless has a very limited command of English, and cannot meaningfully comprehend substantive discussions or documentation dealing with the redevelopment process.

Three HRA members (McDonough, Powell and Comprelli) are officials or employees of the Town, and two HRA members (Higgins and Comprelli) are “involved in other aspects of local government” (i.e., the Board of Education) and therefore imputed to be Town employees.  Thus, four of the seven members are presently members of  the local government, despite Mr. Castano’s 1999 pledge to the Local Finance Board that none would be.  Further, the HRA presently is not, and in the past has not been, legally constituted, because the 1999 municipal ordinance creating the HRA stipulated that no more than two members could be officers or employees of the Town.  Thus, all resolutions and actions of the HRA to date are null and void.

Of the remaining three members, one (Fife) should be disqualified by reason of conflict of interest, and another (Marques) does not have the capacity to participate significantly in the Agency’s activities, because of lack of relevant background and a severe language barrier.

It should also be noted that Mr. Garrison’s and Mr. Marques’s seats on the HRA were previously occupied by John Pinho and Maureen Vaskis, both of whom are former Harrison Town Attorneys.  The fact that Pinho, Vaskis and Fife are former Town employees and that Garrison is a former Town Council candidate means that their presence on the HRA does not comply with the spirit of Mr. Castano’s 1999 pledge to make appointments of independent persons with relevant expertise who come from outside the limited circle of the local political establishment. 

Mr. Castano’s eloquent presentation, in 1999, succeeded in convincing the Local Finance Board to authorize the formation of an independent, separate Harrison Redevelopment Agency, even though (as is the case in many other New Jersey municipalities) redevelopment activities could legally be carried out by the existing Town government.  As quoted above, Mr. Castano employed the following operative words and phrases to describe the qualities that would make the Agency and its board members different from, and superior to, the regular Town government in carrying out a large redevelopment program:

          -the independent Agency would serve as a “management tool”

                        -the Agency members would be “advisors”

            -they would bring “sophistication” to the process

-”all the people that will be appointed to the agency that will [have] addi-                                              tional expertise that we now don’t have and will have as a result of it”

                  -the agency members would be “focused ”

                  -they would be “leaders in the community or in surrounding communities”                              and not “involved in any other aspects of local government”

            -they would be “seven people energized”

It is abundantly clear that in the five years since the creation of the Harrison Redevelopment Agency, the Harrison governing body has failed to abide by the commitment to appoint HRA members who meet Mr. Castano’s voluntarily-adopted standards of independence, expertise, focus and leadership.  Further, because more than the permitted number of Town officers and employees have been on the HRA board since its inception in 1999, all of the resolutions it has adopted are void and invalid.

It might be hoped that the leadership deficiencies described above could have been corrected by the appointment of a knowledgeable, experienced executive director with the necessary expertise to head the Agency and lead the Town’s efforts in the complex and risky redevelopment process for the massive, 275-acre Waterfront project.

Indeed, the critical need for expertise in the position of executive director had been agreed to at the February 10, 1999 hearing.  Claire French said to Mr. Castano:  “You are trying to reach out for expertise.”  (Transcript, page 18, line 21).  Mr. Castano responded: “As far as expertise, depending on the area of expertise, I am sure that the agency will have to rely on consultants from time to time. (Transcript, page 19, lines 20-22).  This statement was immediately amplified by Dennis Enright of the Hudson County Improvement Authority, who was  speaking on behalf of Harrison’s application, and who stated:  “And also they are hiring an executive director, which will provide the leadership that they need to deal with developers....” (Transcript, page 19, lines 23-25).

Unfortunately, despite this indication that the Agency would be relying on an executive director with the necessary expertise, the Town’s failure to appoint HRA board members on the basis of independence, expertise, focus and leadership  has been compounded by the selection of Mayor McDonough’s brother-in-law, Gregory F. Kowalski, as the Executive Director of the Agency.  Mr. Kowalski, who works as an appeals attorney in the Hudson County Welfare Department Office in Harrison, has brought no relevant experience in development or related areas to his position.  The sole element in his background that appears to have underlain his selection  to this crucial position is that his sister Constance is married to the Mayor.

The result of these doleful exercises in nepotism, patronage and in-breeding in the selection of  the Agency’s membership and executive director is not simply to make Harrison appear like a tawdry throwback to the corrupt Hudson County political machines of sixty or eighty years ago.  The result is much more serious and consequential.  It means that in the five years since its formation, the Agency has failed even to begin to seriously examine, plan for and prepare a workable and integrated program for the 275-acre Waterfront project that deals with the basic underlying issues of economic and market feasibility;  financing;  provision of an expanded street network with the capacity to handle the increased volume of vehicular traffic;  water supply and sewage treatment;  flood control;  environmental remediation;  relocation of existing utility lines and provision of new utility services;  availability of insurance;  provision of schools and other necessary public facilities;  and required approvals by regulatory agencies,  all of which must be addressed and resolved before any redevelopment, public or private, can proceed.  The Agency, in its naivete, seems to believe that simply designating redevelopers for various blocks of land, without doing any additional planning for a program which, according to the 2003 Plan,  is to build almost 7,000 new units of housing (in a municipality that currently has only about 4,700 units), in addition to almost 3,500,000 square feet of new office space, 1,200,000 square feet of new retail space, and a 25,000-seat soccer stadium, will miraculously result in the creation of an enormous but smoothly-functioning new metropolitan center.

The real problem with having no background at all in the complex and stress-ridden field of development and redevelopment is that you don’t even know what questions to start asking.  The Town officials latch onto the 2003 revision of the 1998 Redevelopment Plan, an attractive booklet which creates a fantasy of Beverly Hills East and has most of its pages taken up with designer graphics, engaging photographs of places other than Harrison, catchy but inane category headings (Progression, Future, Trend setting, Character, Expressions, Urban Forest, Balance), imaginative drawings, tautological descriptions of signage standards (“Signage that enhances the presence of the various uses along these streets will be encouraged and will incorporate innovative and dynamic signage.”  2003 Plan, page 49), endorsements of specific suppliers (“The recommended manufacturer is Architectural Area Lighting” - page 52), prescriptions for sidewalk pavement colors and tree species, public statuary, etc,. not at all realizing that all this is just the froth, and that the expensive, hard, unglamorous work of road capacity analysis, street design, underground and overhead utility planning and design, site and soil evaluation, engineering studies and drawings, budgeting and market studies, and regulatory agency approvals must be undertaken and completed, and financing must be arranged, before a project of this magnitude can  commence.  If all the requisite analyses and arrangements are not completed beforehand, and parts of the project were somehow permitted to commence willy-nilly, the result will inevitably be disorganization, unconnected pieces, growing traffic strangulation, unintended financial and other consequences, and a predictable level of chaos in a small and vulnerable community that cannot afford to be whipsawed in this way.

The Harrison Mayor and Town Council, when confronted with their hopelessly inept performance in designating the Agency’s membership and executive director, will no doubt argue that patronage and the selection of politically- connected persons to appointive positions is a common and long-standing practice in Hudson County, and that the appointments they made to the HRA should be viewed in the light of everyday practice.  The answer to that is that the Local Finance Board’s granting of permission to create the HRA was not an everyday act, and its approval was not pre-ordained and automatic;  it was the result of a considered judgment made by the Local Finance Board’s members after thoughtfully evaluating the Town’s extensive submission of written evidence and its oral presentations.  This granting of permission was a discrete act of special approval, by an agency specially created by the Legislature. 

[in a democracy, where every town must have its own governing body, its mayor and council, it can be contended that these officials should be given some leeway in indulging in patronage-driven appointments to regular town jobs, because the officials are elected by, and subject to the will of the voters, but not every town must have its redevelopment agency, and the members of the agency are not chosen by the voters] 

The members of this specially-created agency, the Local Finance Board, were within their prerogative when they asked probing questions about the makeup and staffing of the redevelopment agency, and the Town’s representatives, Mr. Castano and Mr. Higgins, then and now the principal decision-makers and spokesmen for the HRA,  in an open public hearing, voluntarily made specific commitments about the Agency’s makeup and staffing.  Shortly after obtaining the Local Finance Board’s approval,  the Harrison Mayor and Council, in adopting the local ordinance creating the HRA, specifically endorsed those commitments by providing, in that ordinance, that no more than two members of the HRA could be Town officials or employees.  The Mayor and Council have since then flagrantly violated the spirit of the commitments to the Local Finance Board, and they have illegally violated the specific provisions of their own ordinance.  The fact that this illegality has rendered null and void all of the actions taken by the HRA in the past five years is bad enough.  The selection of Agency members who lack the promised independence and expertise is worse, for the reasons stated above.  This Town, which for years has been unable to put its own house in order and in consequence is already under the close financial supervision of the Department of Community Affairs, cannot be permitted to compound its problems and continue to waste the taxpayers’ money in a hopeless attempt to carry out a massive urban renewal project that will be a financial and land use disaster if it proceeds.

The Local Finance Board must order the dissolution of the Harrison Redevelopment Agency..

E.  Local Finance Board Member Claire French:  concern about community dialogue and local support

At the end of the February 10, 1999 hearing, Claire French made a motion, with conditions, that the Harrison application be approved.  The motion was adopted, and thus the authority to form the HRA  was granted.

Ms. French’s motion was as follows:

“I would like to move this application.  When I came in here today, I was not convinced of it. But Mr. Castano, you–I have confidence in you and your judgment.  And I would like to move the approval subject to each year you giving us a progress report so that we can see what steps you’ve taken, how much of a dialogue you’ve had with the community so that we feel comfortable that the community is truly behind you.  As many public hearings as you can have.  And certainly it’s a public process, and I believe Sunshine Rule applies to them also.” [Mr. Castano answered the last question with “Yes.” ] (Transcript, page 22, lines 15-25, and page 23, lines 1-2).

Despite the fact that these conditions were contained in the motion that authorized the formation of the HRA, the requirements concerning annual progress reports have not been complied with.  There have been no public hearings, there has been no dialogue at all with the community, and the Agency does not solicit the opinions or participation of community residents.  In fact, at meetings of the HRA, members of the public are not even permitted to raise their hands and address the Agency, a form of censorship almost unheard of in public institutions in the United States of America.  Further, long-time local property owners who want to upgrade and develop their own properties, with their own private funds, are cursorily dismissed.

Ms. French had first expressed her desire to receive assurances about genuine public support for the redevelopment project and its costs at the initial hearing held by the Local Finance Board on December 9, 1998.  At the next hearing, on January 13, 1999, Mr. Castano said he was providing an answer to the

“question as to whether there was support from the local taxpayers...where the town pledged its financial support for the debt coming well into the future.  And there was a public hearing on that, and there was absolutely no opposition to it.  (Transcript, page 7, lines 2-3, and page 8, lines 11-14).

Mr. Castano’s assertion that there had been “absolutely no opposition” is misleading, because the substantial financial risks associated with taking on the debt had not been disclosed to the Town citizens at the 1998 public hearing.  These risks, inherent in a redevelopment program that relies on public-agency condemnation of huge quantities of environmentally-questionable land, are discussed in detail in Section K. below.

The failure of Town officials and their consultants to present the relevant issues of public financial risk at the 1998 public hearing showed that, even before creation of the HRA, the Town was not employing the public hearing process to clarify issues for the public and present citizens with the real alternatives that would enable them to make informed decisions, a process which could in fact engender the knowledgeable, genuine, meaningful public support for the redevelopment program that was Ms. French’s desire.  In not holding any public hearings since the time of its formation, and in silencing the public at Agency meetings, the HRA has failed to comply with the conditions that Ms. French inserted in the resolution that authorized the Agency’s very formation.  This conduct warrants a conclusion that the leaders of the Agency are at best seriously neglectful, and at worst in bad faith. 

By dishonoring the enabling resolution that authorized its founding, the Agency has acted in a way that would make it reasonable to assert that these defaults alone technically  invalidate the legal existence of the HRA.  When these defaults are viewed in conjunction with the substantive and organizational failures and deficiencies discussed in this Petition, and the serious harm that would ensue for the Town if the project fails, the conclusion that must inevitably be drawn is that, in order to vindicate the public good,  the Harrison Redevelopment Agency should be dissolved.

Additional Defects in the Waterfront Redevelopment Plan

In addition to the issues raised in 1999 by the Local Finance Board, which were discussed above in Sections A. through E., other defects in Harrison’s Waterfront Development Plan are examined in Sections F. through __ below.

F.  Failure to Provide for Vehicular Traffic to be Generated by the Project

The 2003 Plan is critically defective in that it does not contain any analysis of the vehicular traffic to be generated by the planned construction of almost 7,000 units of housing, almost 3,500,00 square feet of office space, almost 1,200,000 square feet of retail space, and a 25,000-seat stadium.  Even without a formal analysis, however, it is obvious even to a lay person that this great increase in traffic volumes will place an enormous strain on the Town’s century-old street system. 

The Harrison Community Coalition’s traffic consultant has studied the Plan, and has calculated that an additional eight feeder lanes will be needed to handle the increased traffic volumes.  The Plan does not provide for any additional feeder lanes, and, because of the constricted nature of the project area, surrounded as it is by a river and by built-up urban areas, it would be very difficult, and extremely costly, to provide additional vehicle-carrying capacity.

Consequently, the carrying out of the Plan will create intolerable traffic jams within the project area, and these will spill over into other parts of the Town and across the bridges into Newark.  Our traffic consultant’s analysis is that the traffic volumes will be so immense that they will even create serious congestion on the nearby portions of Interstate 280. 

The temerity of the HRA and its Plan in proposing massive amounts of new development, while not dealing at all with the inevitable traffic overload it will generate, is no doubt the most serious, the most fundamental, but also the most easily understandable defect of a program and a Plan that are riddled with defects.

While the 2003 Plan makes no mention of increases in traffic volumes and how to deal with them, it does contain an acknowledgment of the need to “facilitate circulation and increase roadway efficiency in the Area” (page 21) and provides on the same page a map entitled “Key Circulation Proposals.”  The map proposes a revised street system for the area, and also shows:

(i) a new bridge across the Passaic River to Newark, at a location east of the Jackson Street bridge.  The Plan shows this bridge merely as an oblong on the map, but then enticingly states (page 25) that the bridge “has the potential to become a focal point and a signature design element that would be associated with Harrison.” 

(ii) a new interchange with Interstate 280, east of Fifth Street.  The Plan envisions a huge facility, stating (at page 25) that this will be a “structure, which would extend approximately 350 feet...south across I-280, the NJ Transit Morris & Essex line, and the five track Amtrak/NJ Transit/ PATH right-of-way.”

(iii) another new interchange with Interstate 280 from a proposed  extension of First Street north of Harrison Avenue.  The Plan contains no discussion of this proposed interchange; it is simply shown as a circular area on the map and designated “Extension of First Street & Construction of 280 Interchange.”

Preparing this map, however, with its conceptual renderings of geometric shapes to symbolize major improvements, is as far as the HRA has gone.  The Plan (at page 21) does state that: 

“It is recognized that, due to unknown environmental, topographical or physical constraints, it may be difficult to construct portions of the roadway structure.” 

Obviously, the role of a redevelopment agency, before it begins incurring the financial risks and public commitments associated with acquiring property under a redevelopment plan,  is to perform a thorough engineering study of the project area and identify the locations where these “unknown environmental, topographical or physical constraints” exist, and then to develop a workable program for dealing with them.  The failure of the Plan or the Agency to perform these necessary tasks, or even to mention carrying them out, constitutes another critical defect in the Plan. However, this failure is overshadowed by the Plan’s lack of any discussion of obtaining  approvals and money for the multi-million dollar costs of the new Newark bridge and the two new Interstate interchanges.

The only possible sources for these major improvements are federal highway funds and State highway funds, and even a cursory inquiry with the relevant agencies will reveal that neither will have money available for years, even decades, given the severe budgetary restraints facing federal domestic spending programs and given New Jersey’s budgetary problems.  There are numerous fully-approved highway and bridge projects throughout the United States that have been in the pipeline for years, and which cannot be built for lack of funds.  There are also extensive and complex federal and State regulations and standards which must be complied with, as well as major environmental studies, reviews and approvals, all of which must first be completed, before any of the three Harrison projects could even get into the pipeline.  The HRA has chosen to deal with these daunting hurdles by ignoring them entirely.

G.  Problems with the Waterfront Redevelopment Project’s proposed new street system

The 2003 Plan proposes a massive extension, redesign and rebuilding of the street system of the 275-acre Waterfront Redevelopment district. 

A major element of this proposal is the introduction of  “The Parkway, a north-south connector east of Fifth Street between Interstate 280 and Cape May Street, [which] is intended to alleviate existing traffic problems within the Area....” (2003 Plan, page 21).  It would connect with the new I-280 interchange described in Section F. (ii) above and with the new bridge to Newark described in Section F.(i) above.  Most of this Parkway connector is located outside the Project boundaries, and runs through the middle of existing buildings, but the Plan contains no proposal for funding the acquisition of right-of-way or the construction of the roadway.  It thus constitutes, like the new I-280 interchange and the new bridge to Newark that it is supposed to link, a wish-list item, not a real-world subject for actual planning and implementation.

Another element of the new street system design is a proposed Fifth Street Extension, which is likewise located outside the Project boundaries. “Two lanes in each direction between Sussex Street and the extension of Railroad Avenue will be provided.” (2003 Plan, page 23).  The Plan contains no indication of how funding will be obtained for construction of the roadway or (if it is required) acquisition of land to widen the street for the four-lane right-of-way.

The 2003 Plan also contains plans for improvements within the 275-acre Project area, including (i) a new road, designated the Waterfront Boulevard,  running south from Harrison Avenue along the First Street right-of-way, then curving eastward following the curve of the Passaic River, crossing Rodgers Boulevard and continuing to the east along the Cape May Street right-of-way; (ii) two Concourses, each with a 90-foot right-of-way; and (iii) a revised street grid. “Streets will contain one travel lane and one parking lane in each direction, as well as wide sidewalks.” (2003 Plan, page 21).  The Waterfront Boulevard will require the dedication of new right-of-way through properties presently used for private, non-road purposes.  The two Concourses and much of the revised street network will require street widening, using land to be contributed by the adjacent redeveloper.  The private redevelopers will also have to pay for all street construction and reconstruction.

A road network of this size and complexity being built piecemeal and without any government funding, using only private funds, is unprecedented, and is almost certainly bound to fail, because it depends on the private redeveloper of each block completing his portion of the street widening and improvements.  If the developer of even one block runs out of money, or isn’t ready to proceed because of weak market conditions, the benefit of the widened street, even if all the other developers along that street have completed their work, will not be obtained.  This is probably one of the points that Thomas Kenyon had in mind when he said “This is a Herculean task...you really don’t have direct control.”  (see Section A. above).

H.  Failure of the HRA to honor its commitment to work with private property owners.   

The 1998 Plan gave the HRA the power to condemn property, but then immediately went on to state that “the Town plans to continue working with affected property owners and businesses to promote private redevelopment, where appropriate, of the parcels within the Redevelopment Area.”  (page 36).    Agency and Town officials have, however, failed to work with local property owners, ignored recent and ongoing expenditures by private owners that have already succeeded in improving their properties, dismissed proposals by existing private owners to redevelop their properties, and insisted on foisting their favored, outside, redevelopers on the project area.  The failure by the Town to follow the Plan’s mandate to promote local private redevelopment and to permit local property owners to participate in a dialogue and in planning that could result in successful, private-sector urban renewal without the need for heavy-handed, costly and risky governmental intervention, violates the constitutional rights of the public and of the property owners. 

The one exception to this failure to work with local property owners is the HRA’s designation of Isaac Heller, a long-time local property owner in Harrison, as redeveloper of the triangular-shaped former Hartz Mountain property on the east side of Rodgers Boulevard south of  I-280.  This parcel, which contains a number of older industrial and warehouse buildings (some of which have environmental issues), had been acquired from Hartz Mountain Industries in the late 1990's by Moishe’s Movers, a major moving company in New York City, for use as a storage and warehouse facility.  However, the HRA and its then-designated redeveloper, Harrison Commons, Inc., harassed Moishe’s and prohibited them from renovating and using the property.  Moishe’s owners complained bitterly about being told by Richard Miller, the principal of Harrison Commons, Inc., what they could and couldn’t do with their own property, when Mr. Miller was not a government official and had not invested a penny in the property. After several frustrating years, Moishe’s gave up and sold the property to Mr. Heller.  Fortunately, the market had risen and Moishe’s made a profit from the sale; otherwise, the Town probably would have been sued by them for the harassment.

The Harrison Community Coalition certainly has no objection to Mr. Heller developing his own property.  This is a commendable instance of a wealthy property owner improving his own property with his own funds, and without any need for condemnation or the threat of condemnation by a governmental agency.  This property also does not need any public street improvements or other public funding.  As a result, there is also no need for the involvement of a redevelopment agency.  Mr. Heller, having voluntarily invested millions of dollars in the acquisition of this property, would have more than sufficient motivation to care for, fix up and use his property, even if the Harrison Redevelopment Agency didn’t exist. The Town’s regular zoning and land use regulations and its Planning Board, as well as the DEP,  have the jurisdiction and the expertise to appropriately guide Mr. Heller’s improvements and to protect, where necessary, the public interest.  The recent history of this property testifies to the fact that, as in almost every other sector of the dynamic economy of the United States, the free-enterprise private sector is quite capable of caring for, using and developing private property.  The Harrison Waterfront area is already being improved and renovated by its existing private owners, without unwanted and unnecessary governmental involvement, and without the benefit of the expert assistance of the HRA.

I.  Flawed Market Study

The HRA’s proposals for redevelopment in the 1998 Plan were supported by a market study prepared by a consultant known as Real Estate Strategies, Inc. (“RES”).  No update of this market study, nor any new study, was prepared in conjunction with the 2003 revision of the Plan.  Accordingly, the RES study remains the only backup for contenting that the HRA’s redevelopment proposals will have economic viability.  However, the Harrison Community Coalition’s economic consultant will demonstrate that the assumptions and methods used in the RES study deviate from standard practice and are invalid. 

The RES study does not support the residential component of the Plan.  The RES study acknowledges that rents for the proposed high-end apartments in the Waterfront project area of Harrison will have to be cheaper than the rents along the Hudson River waterfront in the Jersey City - Hoboken corridor, but the study is critically defective in that it fails to provide any estimate of the rents that could be attained in Harrison.  Without such estimates, the RES study was unable to test the economic feasibility of the proposed residential developments, making the market study worthless for the purpose of evaluating the marketability of the new residential rental buildings.

The RES study estimated a very low rate of absorption for the new residential units in the Redevelopment area, meaning that, on the RES study’s own numbers, the residential component of the Plan could not be completed for 60 years.  This is not a realistic timeframe for planning, and invalidates the residential component of the Plan as an acceptable basis for public policy and public action.  In fact, this timeframe is so long that the obvious conclusion to be drawn is that the market for the proposed housing is insufficient, and that any attempt to carry out the residential component of the Plan will be an economic failure.

The RES study asserts that, based on existing patterns of home ownership versus rentals, 40% of the proposed residential units in the redevelopment area would be ownership units (i.e., condominiums).  However, the RES study presents no analysis of the residential sales market.  The absence of such an analysis means that the study is critically defective with respect to sales housing in that it is missing a necessary component that any professionally-adequate market study must contain under prevailing industry standards.

With respect to the office component of the RES study, RES’s own estimate is that there would be demand for only about 35,000 square feet of office space per year.  Based on the total build-out projected under the Plan for the redevelopment area, the office component would not be completed in less than 100 years.  Even more than in the case of the 60-year build-out time for the residential component, discussed above, this does not constitute a realistic timeframe for planning, and in fact leads to the conclusion that the market for the proposed office buildings is insufficient, and that any attempt to carry out the office component of the Plan is doomed to be an economic failure.  Further, the RES study contains no estimate of office rents.  The absence of such estimates means that no feasibility analysis of the proposed office developments (in which consideration is given to whether the projected rental stream is sufficient to cover development costs) could be prepared.  The absence of a feasibility analysis means that the RES study fails to comply with minimum industry standards for market studies, and makes the RES study critically defective with respect to the office component of the Plan.

In conclusion, the RES study did not employ appropriate methodology in arriving at estimates of market demand, and the study’s own data lead to the conclusion that both the residential and the office components of the Plan are unworkable in economic terms.  Accordingly, Harrison officials, in considering and then adopting the Plan, had no basis at all for assuring themselves or the public  that the Plan will have even theoretical economic viability, and the adoption of the Plan under such circumstances was arbitrary and capricious and violative of the rights of  affected landowners and the citizens of Harrison.

J.  The Waterfront Redevelopment Plan violate the civil rights of minority people

The Plan violates the civil rights of the sizeable number of Spanish-speaking and Portuguese- speaking residents and workers in the area.  Although the Plan claims that the Waterfront Redevelopment Area is blighted (the new statutory euphemism is “in need of redevelopment”), in fact it is not blighted.  It may not be beautiful, but it is an economically vibrant area that is used primarily for manufacturing, distribution and warehousing, and provides affordable space for small and medium-size local businesses and jobs for the Town’s largely blue-collar work force.

In 1997, nearly 2,000 of the Town’s 2,700 jobs were in the manufacturing and distribution sectors, and the vast majority of these blue-collar jobs, and the small businesses that employ them, are in the Waterfront Redevelopment Area.

The Plan’s proposal to replace the existing uses with new uses will eliminate many small local businesses, as well as hundreds of blue-collar jobs.

Much of the Town’s population and resident work force are recent immigrants who are of Hispanic and Portuguese background.  Many of these people work in the Redevelopment area. These people, and other Hispanic and Portugueses-speaking individuals and families, are the backbone of the community.  They work hard, discipline their children, keep their streets and homes neat and clean, emphasize family life and community closeness, support their elderly parents, focus on improved education for their children, don’t commit crimes, stay off welfare, and invest in their homes.  They have already done a great deal to reverse the decades of decline in the residential neighborhoods of Harrison. They are the epitome of the American dream.  Despite their high productivity as workers, if they are displaced from their present jobs by the redevelopment program, their limited language skills in English will preclude them from filling the new jobs at the law firms, accounting firms, consultants, etc. who will occupy the new office buildings.

The 1998 Plan stated, at page 2, that one of its purposes is that “the Plan will accommodate desired social change.”  This policy statement was repeated at page 5 of the 2003 Plan.  However, by eliminating large numbers of jobs held by recent immigrants of Hispanic and Portuguese background, and then by not providing for replacement jobs, the Plan will create harmful rather than desired social change, and will, in a discriminatory manner, cause injury to those who are the most vulnerable. 

The 1998 Plan, at page 2 (page 5 of the 2003 Plan) also states that redevelopment will provide “increased employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.”  However, these opportunities will flow primarily to outsiders, most of whom will be middle-class and upper-middle-class persons from New York City and from suburban areas.  The opportunities will not benefit the existing Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking work force.  The effectuation of the Plan will also have an adverse economic impact on local business owners, by disrupting the existing pool of blue-collar workers.

In reviewing and then adopting the Plan, Town officials did not engage in any dialogue with representatives of the Town’s Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking communities, and they gave no consideration to the economically and socially discriminatory effects of the displacement of numerous small businesses and hundreds of minority workers of ethnic background and of other resident blue-collar workers, with no provision for their being re-employed locally.

The failure by Town officials to consider the negative effects of the displacement, by government action, of numerous small local businesses and of recent immigrants of Hispanic and Portuguese background is unfair and undemocratic.  It is discriminatory against them and violates their constitutional rights.

K.  The HRA has failed to enforce its own regulations concerning submissions by prospective redeveloper, and has failed to examine the qualifications of prospective redevelopers

Page 41 of the 1998 Plan states that:

“Applicants for designation as a redeveloper must submit the following materials to the Mayor and Council and/or the Redevelopment Agency for review and approval.

      -Documentation evidencing financial responsibility and capability with respect to the          proposed development;   

        ...

      -Estimated total development cost;

      -Fiscal impact analysis addressing the effect of the proposed project on municipal                services and tax base;

      -Conceptual plans and elevations sufficient in scope to demonstrate the design,                    architectural concepts, parking, traffic circulation, landscaping, active and/or                      passive recreation space,and sign proposals for all uses.

Although it began designating redevelopers for the Waterfront Redevelopment project in 2000, the HRA has not enforced its own regulations and has not required submission of the above documentation, and none has been submitted by the redevelopers.  In creating a requirement for submission by each prospective redeveloper of proof of financial responsibility and capability, and for approval by the HRA of that submission, the 1998 Plan highlighted the critical importance of obtaining a satisfactory showing that the funds are available to carry out and complete a project, before the Agency puts itself and the Town at risk by condemning private property and then turning the property over to a redeveloper.

Similarly, the Plan’s requirement for submission of a fiscal impact analysis on demands for municipal services and on the tax base for each project acknowledged the importance of understanding all of the costs and potential benefits to the Town of a development, before authorizing the start of that development. 

KOTW Note: The above post was edited to correct the post from being a Quote. I prefer links rather than cutting and pasting. If you have the link to the post please post it so I can delete this post.

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WELL I HOPE YOU ALL KNOW THAT GOD IS WATCHING YA'LL AND HEARS EVERYTHING THAT YA'LL SAY AND WHETHER ITS NOW OR LATER, YA'LL WILLBE PUNISHED!! AND I CANT WAIT TILL YOU ARE!! YOU SEE HOW BAD THESE CHILDREN ARE IN THIS TOWN.. THATS BECAUSE THEY ALL HAVE YOU ADULT TO LOOK UP TO, AND YA'LL DONT EVEN ACT LIKE ADULTS, SEROUSLY TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT YOURSELVES IN THE MIRROR AND SEE WHO YOU REALLY ARE!! ALL YA'LL DO IS WORRY ABOUT YOURSELVES. THERE IS NOTHING IN THIS TOWN FOR THESE KIDS TO DO BUT DO DRUGS AND HAVE SEX. START GETTING TOGETHER AND THINK OF SOMETHING THAT WE CAN DO TO HELP THESE CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS, NOT HURT THEM.. ITS REDICULOUS HOW YOU ALL ACT AND I AM EMBARRASED FOR YOU.. IM ASHAMED TO EVEN HAVE GROWN UP IN THESE TOWN.. ITS ALSO A SHAME THAT I AM ONLY 20 YEARS OLD AND I AM ACTING AND THINKING MORE MATURE THAN YOU ARE!! SERIOUSLY GUYS GROW THE HELL UP STOR WORRYING ABOUT WHAT COLOR SHYT THE PERSON NEXT TO YOU TOOK TODAY AND WORRY ABOUT WHAT WE CAN DO TO MAKE THIS DAMN TOWN A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE IN!!!! CUZ RIGHT NOW ITS HORRIBLE!!!!!!!
Those were the words from jERSEY gIRL
You want Jerseygirls opinion? You really have no clue whom you should be talking too. sorry
Yes, I want to hear from Jersey Girl. If she really is 20 years old, I don't want her to think that there is nothing better to do in this town then drugs and sex. She can make a difference. In America, at the age of 20 you can vote. If, in some cases you don't think you government is clean and suffers from the evil of Corruption, you can voice your opinion to some of the people who are listed on this site. Hopefully the LORD will allow someone to read our pleads for help and help.

If she is 20, then let me tell you less then 10% of 18-25 year olds vote.

What EXACTLY is the your agenda???
My Agenda is to make a difference. I don't know how, but I'll find a way. I truely believe HARRISON is a beautiful town. The Politians in this town S**K. They forgot, that they are there to serve the people, not themselves!!!
You neither live here nor are raising children here.
Now your making assumptions/\
So you pay alot of taxes, anyone who is lucky enough to own something is this state payes too much tax.
I had no complaints about what I'm paying, just fear what I WILL be paying.
You stated that Mr.Adler has more than enough money already, so what is (it now sounds like WAS ) his beef? Most likely he recieved what he wanted in the first place, so that is why he has backed off.
Maybe, he made a deal with the devil, doesn't mean I will.
I would think it a wonderful service to Harrison if it weren't for a strong feeling that you sir, are also just trying to get what YOU want at the cost of the people of Harrison.
WHO'S TO SAY I'M A SIR?

AND I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU: WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT!

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I'm wondering what the following people feel about my post an why I haven't heard from them???

Michael Hinchcliffe

2Smart4u

Mr.Harrison

My2Cents

Oldfart56

jERSEYgIRL

Why in God's name would you want to ally yourself with these people. Especially, Oldfart56 and jERSEYgIRL. Both of them together won't make one retard. Oldfart56 is a dumba** from Kearny that now lives in FL, and jERSEYgIRL is just a slob who is blaming everyone else for her problems.

Believe me your better off with the jackasses you currently have running Harrison, you'll never be taken seriously if you are trying to gain the support of crew you listed above.

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Let me tell you, I didn't attend the town meeting yesterday, but I heard there were only about 15 people anyway. How disappointing. Here you people come to KOTW and complain, but don't do anything about it.

Are you that intimidated?

I hear that the Mayor and Town Council have introduced a resolution to spend $300,000 of the towns’ budget to build the walkway and a bike route for the re-development.

Sounds good.

One reason why we need to get rid of this Mayor and the whole town council is because THEY ALL BELIEVE THIS $300,000 is Tax payer’s money well spent.

What a JOKE!

This $300,000 should be paid by the State through a Grant. The town of Harrison pays a group called the Bruno Group which would be able to find a grant to pay for this. The problem is that no one on this council knows how to go about to get the grant. I Talked to someone in that company (Bruno Group) and they said it is definitely possible, but he wasn't working with Harrison and he wasn't sure if the mayor fired his company or not.

Either way he said his company wouldn't be able to do any thing unless a councilman or mayor approached his company.

PEOPLE, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! AREN'T YOU GETTING TIRED OF YOUR TAXES INCREASING?

P.S. Nice to see that some saved a copy of the Petition. I'll get it back on the web A.S.A.P.

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Let me tell you, I didn't attend the town meeting yesterday, but I heard there were only about 15 people anyway.  How disappointing.  Here you people come to KOTW and complain, but don't do anything about it. 

Are you that intimidated?

I hear that the Mayor and Town Council have introduced a resolution to spend $300,000 of the towns’ budget to build the walkway and a bike route for the re-development.

Sounds good.

One reason why we need to get rid of this Mayor and the whole town council is because THEY ALL BELIEVE THIS $300,000 is Tax payer’s money well spent.

What a JOKE!

This $300,000 should be paid by the State through a Grant.  The town of Harrison pays a group called the Bruno Group which would be able to find a grant to pay for this.  The problem is that no one on this council knows how to go about to get the grant.  I Talked to someone in that company (Bruno Group) and they said it is definitely possible, but he wasn't working with Harrison and he wasn't sure if the mayor fired his company or not.

Either way he said his company wouldn't be able to do any thing unless a councilman or mayor approached his company.

PEOPLE, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! AREN'T YOU GETTING TIRED OF YOUR TAXES INCREASING?

P.S.  Nice to see that some saved a copy of the Petition.  I'll get it back on the web A.S.A.P.

How can people sign this petition? It should be circulated around town for all to see and sign. I'm sure if alot more people knew it was out there, they would sign it too... I'll sign it, bring it on.

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Guest 2smart4u
Let me tell you, I didn't attend the town meeting yesterday, but I heard there were only about 15 people anyway.  How disappointing.  Here you people come to KOTW and complain, but don't do anything about it. 

Are you that intimidated?

I hear that the Mayor and Town Council have introduced a resolution to spend $300,000 of the towns’ budget to build the walkway and a bike route for the re-development.

Sounds good.

One reason why we need to get rid of this Mayor and the whole town council is because THEY ALL BELIEVE THIS $300,000 is Tax payer’s money well spent.

What a JOKE!

This $300,000 should be paid by the State through a Grant.  The town of Harrison pays a group called the Bruno Group which would be able to find a grant to pay for this.  The problem is that no one on this council knows how to go about to get the grant.  I Talked to someone in that company (Bruno Group) and they said it is definitely possible, but he wasn't working with Harrison and he wasn't sure if the mayor fired his company or not.

Either way he said his company wouldn't be able to do any thing unless a councilman or mayor approached his company.

PEOPLE, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! AREN'T YOU GETTING TIRED OF YOUR TAXES INCREASING?

P.S.  Nice to see that some saved a copy of the Petition.  I'll get it back on the web A.S.A.P.

If that's true about Harrison spending $300,000 to build a walkway and bike path in the redevelopment area, then all I can say is the taxpayers in this town are being raped. A walkway and bike path should be provided by the developer, not the taxpayers. The developers saw an easy mark when they met our mayor and council, we're being taken to the cleaners.

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I hear that the Mayor and Town Council have introduced a resolution to spend $300,000 of the towns’ budget to build the walkway and a bike route for the re-development.
You heard wrong, it's a total of $600,000! and thats out of the town budget, so if you pay taxes, you'll be paying for it!!
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Guest 2smart4u
You heard wrong, it's a total of $600,000!  and thats out of the town budget, so if you pay taxes, you'll be paying for it!!

I think the problem here is our mayor and council have no experience dealing with developers. This bike trail and walking path is something that absolutely should be provided by the developers. I think the mayor and council are in over their heads with this project. I'm sure these developers think this mayor and council just fell off a turnip truck.

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Guest Guest_Harrison Community Coaliti

"I don't know why I can't sign in"

How can people sign this petition? It should be circulated around town for all to see and sign. I'm sure if alot more people knew it was out there, they would sign it too... I'll sign it, bring it on.
bring it on.
bring it on.
bring it on.
bring it on.

Get people to attend the town meeting.

Complain, Complain, Complain.

Get 5 or 6 to the Town meeting.

First Tuesday of every month, 6:30, second Floor Town hall

bring it on.
The more people we get to go, the less they can intimidate us. the less garbage they'll be able to pass. Write an e-mail tothe above and complain.
bring it on.
I'm trying to get that petition on-line to sign. Give me a few.
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The town will raise approximately $40 million, through the sale of general obligation bonds, to fund land acquisition, environmental remediation, capitalized interest, related redevelopment expenses and transactional costs.

Or

The deal also calls for the county, through the Hudson County Improvement Authority, to take out $40 million in tax-exempt bonds to pay for construction of a 1,500-space parking lot.

Or

Under the terms of the deal, Anschutz Entertainment Group, parent company of the MetroStars, will put up $15 million and take out bonds on an additional $60 million through the Hudson County Improvement Authority.

Or

The MetroStars hope to start their 2006 season at a stadium that would be built in Harrison, assuming that Hudson County officials agree to back a financing plan that would leave the small town responsible for $130 million in debt, town officials said Thursday.

And was that a

home to a 20,000 seat outdoor professional sports and entertainment venue which will serve as home to the MetroStars and a parking garage with 1,500 spaces.

Or

$40 million in tax-exempt bonds to pay for construction of a 1,500-space parking lot. The county will collect fees from commuter and on-site parking.

"They believe there is enough daily commuter traffic in Harrison that they can make money on this," Lauro said of the county's plan to collect parking revenues.

Or

That is important, because Harrison expects to pay its debt with revenue from the development and the 4,000-car garage, Higgins said.

Stadium income, including tickets and concession sales from games and concerts, would go to the MetroStars, and would allow the team to become profitable for the first time in its nine-year history, including payments to Major League Soccer, Sakiewicz said.

To whom?? Harrison, or is Harrison waiting for ”Improvement Authority Executive Director Norman Guerra, and County Executive Tom DeGise, the ranking elected official, said they await specifics from Harrison, particularly feasibility studies on how much revenue the parking garage will produce.”???

MAY I ASK, WHO'S RUNNING THIS RE-DEVELOPMENT?

IS THEIR NO ONE WHO CAN GIVE US A STRAIT STORY?

P.S. I JUST HEARD THAT THERE WAS A SPECIAL TOWN MEETING ON FRIDAY OCTOBER 7th AT 5:30pm.

WHAT IS THIS TOWN TRYING TO HIDE? SPECIAL MEETINGS....5:30.....(does the average business worker still get home by 5:30 pm?)

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If that's true about Harrison spending $300,000 to build a walkway and bike path in the redevelopment area, then all I can say is the taxpayers in this town are being raped. A walkway and bike path should be provided by the developer, not the taxpayers. The developers saw an easy mark when they met our mayor and council, we're being taken to the cleaners.
2smart4u,

ATTEND A TOWN MEETING, OR SHUT UP!

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Guest 2smart4u
2smart4u,

ATTEND A TOWN MEETING, OR SHUT UP!

Sorry, I can't make 5:30 meetings. If they were held at 7:30 LIKE EVERY OTHER TOWN IN NJ. I'd be there. Of course, that's why they're held at 5:30. The mayor and council want to make it difficult for residents to attend. OH YES, our mayor and council, taking care of the town residents !!

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no because they all work at passaic valley and they can get out for the meetings!!!!

MAY I ASK, WHO'S RUNNING THIS RE-DEVELOPMENT?

IS THEIR NO ONE WHO CAN GIVE US A STRAIT STORY?

P.S.  I JUST HEARD THAT THERE WAS A SPECIAL TOWN MEETING ON FRIDAY OCTOBER 7th AT 5:30pm.

WHAT IS THIS TOWN TRYING TO HIDE? SPECIAL MEETINGS....5:30.....(does the average business worker still get home by 5:30 pm?)

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no because they all work at passaic valley and they can get out for the meetings!!!!
The Mayor does!

And so does Artie Petigrew, Victor Villalta, Larry Bennet, Thomas Powell, Dorans Brother, Mike Rodgers......Why can't the rest of Harrison get out from PVSC

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Seems like a few people may be picking a candidate. I'm a little impressed too.

And we need a few more people to attend Town Meetings. It's the first Tuesday of every month. 6:30 pm (I think) lol.

Even if you think your appearance doesn't mean much, you should attend.

Listen to what goes on.

Listen to how our politicians Speak or not!

--YOUR APPEARANCE--

------ IS WHAT--------

----- THEY FEAR,------

IT WILL MOTIVATE THEM

OR MAKE THEM LEAVE!!

P.S.

Someone had ask me what my Goal/Motivation was.

Easy to do whats best for Harrison, and all Harrisonians.

To do it with PRIDE!

To do it So I can remain Proud, to be from Harrison, the best place In the World.

God Bless America!

God Bless Harrison!

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Seems like a few people may be picking a candidate.  I'm a little impressed too.

And we need a few more people to attend Town Meetings.  It's the first Tuesday of every month.  6:30 pm (I think) lol.

Even if you think your appearance doesn't mean much, you should attend.

Listen to what goes on.

Listen to how our politicians Speak or not!

--YOUR APPEARANCE--

------ IS WHAT--------

----- THEY FEAR,------

IT WILL MOTIVATE THEM

OR MAKE THEM LEAVE!!

P.S. 

Someone had ask me what my Goal/Motivation was. 

Easy to do whats best for Harrison, and all Harrisonians.

To do it with PRIDE!

To do it So I can remain Proud, to be from Harrison, the best place In the World.

God Bless America!

God Bless Harrison!

I now see why your coalition failed.

You're an idiot!!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...
OK, so I might have went a little over board with

the "the best place In the World." bit, but I am Proud of Harrison. 

Remember when it was a great place to live.

I JUST WANNA MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

There was no need for name calling!

If you want to make a difference, where is the petition you were supposed to make available for all to sign? I have been waiting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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If you want to make a difference, where is the petition you were supposed to make available for all to sign? I have been waiting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Instead of bitching about a petition that no one wants to back publicly, or you would have printed a copy of the same one I see online and started already. E-mail or write a letter like I have to the people listed on this site.
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