The city may consider reviewing and updating the nearly 15-year-old redevelopment plan that set the tone for the downtown construction over the past several years.
Phillips Preiss Grygiel, LLC, the Hoboken-based planning firm that currently serves as planning consultant to the Planning Board, previously worked on the city’s redevelopment efforts. The Central Business District Redevelopment Plan was adopted in 1998 and has been amended more than 30 times since and the Lower Main Street Urban Renewal Plan also has been amended numerous times. City officials have mentioned that, in addition to market changes in recent years, the plans have been amended so many times that it may warrant reviewing and revising the plans as necessary. Amendments to redevelopment plans are typically approved when redevelopers for properties are designated, redevelopment agreements are reached or when a business may not be a permitted use in a zone.
In a letter to Redevelopment Director and City Administrator Peter Pelissier in April, Managing Principal Paul Phillips estimated that the amended and supplemented redevelopment and renewal plans could be adopted by City Council within three to four months from the start of the project, “barring any unexpected scheduling difficulties” with the Planning Board and City Council. He estimated the cost at $26,500.
Work would include reviewing all existing and proposed redevelopment projects, analysis of vacant and/or redevelopable land, and reviewing relevant parts of the city’s Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance, with planners determining potential changes to the plans and meeting with city and redevelopment officials. The revised plans eventually would need approval by the Planning Board and City Council.
The Redevelopment Agency hasn’t met since May, canceling its June and July meetings, and next will meet Aug. 15, the earliest date that a contract could be awarded.