Belleville resident Robert Schmitt has submitted a letter to The Watch.
Like other families on Cortlandt Street, Robert and his wife Rhonda are in danger of being forced out of their home where they have lived for 33 years, after the Belleville Council voted 4-3 to designate the industrial property adjacent to them “an area in need of redevelopment”. This designation paves the way for the Council to give a tax abatement to a developer who intends to build a 65-foot apartment building literally 10 feet away from their backyards in what appears to be a very questionable case of “spot-zoning”.
Here is Mr. Schmitt’s letter:
Last month our town council voted YES to adopt a plan for redevelopment extending the length of Cortlandt Street between Terry and Joralemon. What does this mean for the residents who want to trust in the wisdom of their duly elected representatives?
- The developer’s plans call for 156 rental units to be built BEHIND THE HOUSES on the west side of the street.
- The project would be 4 STORIES HIGH — 65 feet tall – and squeezed into the area that is now a warehouse and place of business at the end of Terry St. and extending to Joralemon.
- 156 units means AT LEAST 156 more cars in our neighborhood causing traffic congestion and a parking nightmare. The developer says the units have self-contained parking, but multi-car households, family and visitors will all be competing for our limited street parking. Speeding and the quite frequent running through the stop signs at Terry/Cortlandt would surely increase, thus posing even more danger to area residents.
- Property values will go down and taxes will go up because the town would allow a tax abatement to the developer for 10 years. The area would require more police, fire and public services and our schools would be burdened with more students without having the additional tax dollars to pay for their enrollment.
- The construction of such a project would cause pollution of every sort for months. To list a few: diesel fumes from trucks, particle dust from the old concrete, high decibel noise from the machinery, and likely water contamination. Given the obvious negative effect this errant “plan” would have on the community, it remains clear that the main driving force is the desire for financial gain by the developer, residents be damned — the Schmitt family and Pesantez families in particular, who would lose their homes after a veritable lifetime of living there.
Related story from NorthJersey.com:
Belleville residents contest Cortlandt redevelopment