Hot on the heels of the report we released two days ago on the Belleville Council’s Fair Share Housing Plan, community advocate and now (thank God) Second Ward Council candidate Jeff Mattingly has submitted some commentary to the Watch on the shocking revelation that a substantial amount of high density residential development is coming to Belleville in the very near future.
Meanwhile outrageously, neither the residents of Belleville nor the school district were informed of any of these plans, having been kept a complete secret by the Council for many months until we finally caught onto it, and released the court documents in our article.
Here’s is Jeff’s post:
The continued desire to over-develop Belleville is alive and well in Town Hall.
This most recent maneuver is certainly politically motivated and will benefit politicians both local and county. But it could open the way to finally turn us into a city, and finish Belleville for good.
The “Affordable Fair Share Housing Plan” that the council has drafted and now passed on 1st reading Tuesday will likely be approved at the next council meeting in the usual bum’s rush when they’re pulling something shady, that if learned by the public will inspire outrage. UNLESS WE TAKE THEM TO ACCOUNT.
This required state submission of projected building intentions is being co-opted by design by some on the council to pave the way for 2500 new misplaced housing units down in the valley and along the entire length of Washington Ave., if they slip it through without our objections or fears of being voted out. And by creating a foothold it opens the way for much, much more.
We had to OPRA council prior required submissions to the state to learn of their concealed plan. They are intending to change the zoning on the entire length of Washington Ave, and larger portions of the valley to include high density housing by their design. There is NO requirement to do this, in fact the viewed by the state as fully developed to capacity! This is their way of legally exposing Belleville to this disastrous objective of theirs.
This plan -assured to be approved by the state once submitted- will allow those desirous of this pillage of our tax dollars to then be able to convert our tax saving commercial and industrial land to allow for residential use, and high density at that! A shadowy local developer has been attending the fundraisers of ward councilpersons for the past 6 months.
Mauro Tucci has been brought in on the back of a political coup as “Interim” Manager to push this and other development through by his own introductory words of seeking developers for Belleville. He also has stated on record that sometimes political connections can help towns. It certainly has helped him! Between his county 100K job, Belleville’s 140K job and 53K in various pension payments per year + Nutley Commissioner payment, he is pulling in nearly 300K a year if not more-O. He certainly knows how to maximize a work week!
Belleville most definitely needs responsible development, but this need is being used to sell us a diabolical bill of goods. This will certainly continue to raise our taxes for the foreseeable future -as it has in neighboring towns- to unaffordable. We are already 8% vacant and that does not include walk-aways that are pending sale. Yet more people will abandon our town as we continue to decline where we can no longer move now during rush hours and on weekends.
Who are the councilmembers representing? Certainly not Belleville’s best interests. Don’t believe any assurances that this does not mean exactly what I’m predicting. They have kept this from the public’s view for over a year and ran a sham required special meeting one week ago on just this subject, immediately shut the public portion and went into private session encouraging us to leave by saying nothing would be decided tonight! We did not leave, for the most part. Then some time later they reopened the meeting for public comment just one half hour before the chambers had to be used for town municipal court. Speak to what? There was no presentation from the council or any professionals either.
Then the very next week the first item on Ordinances for first reading on the agenda is for a fair share housing submission to the state for judicial approval. If we don’t object to this so very loudly to our council members to vote this off of the table and to rewrite the submission to remove THEIR FUTURE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT PROJECTIONS of their own making, then we will be vulnerable to any developers who can and will (standing on deck) take us to court and win, seeming by design and to their delight.
If this is presented as written without alteration then get ready to hire more police, firemen, town workers and equipment for them to man but also, a new grammar school, middle and high school expansions as has been stated to them by responsible leaders of the school district, who some on the council have been waging political war with to our detriment this past year or more. WE CAN’T EXPAND ANY MORE!!! The report admits that Belleville is already fully developed.
They want more of our money, rather than retire some people at the top that they have overloaded in their time that could return money to the bottom where it is desperately needed and to fix and maintain the town’s decline. What’s the condition of your street, curbs, and sidewalks? Has there been a recent water main break near your home? Does the fire hydrant near your home even work to be able to put out a fire?
Whomever votes for this travesty should be ashamed of themselves, and voted out of office at the earliest available time.