Frantantoni: Unite To Defeat Irresponsible Redevelopment


I’m very pleased to be publishing a letter from Vincent Frantantoni, one of if not *the* longest-running and most engaged community advocates in Belleville. His sheer tenacity alone is without equal.

Mr. Frantantoni has been a tremendous knowledge resource for many citizens (including myself) for a long time. I have great admiration for him personally.

Mr. Frantantoni’s letter concerns the same matter as one we just published earlier this evening from Jeff Mattingly. Both letters address the inappropriate application in Belleville of the designation of “areas in need of redevelopment”, to the detriment of the taxpayer, not to mention the impacted property owners.

Here is his letter to the community:


To All Concerned:

The Belleville Township Council has chosen to use a state statute called “Area in Need of Redevelopment” as a tool to transfer our valuable property to millionaire developers. This process is destroying our property values and uprooting our citizens.

The process goes as follows.

A developer approaches the Council either at a public meeting or behind closed doors, indicating his/her interest in certain property. The Council then sends a request to the Planning Board to investigate and determine if a certain area is an “Area in Need of Redevelopment”.  The Planning Board, usually with very little or no investigation then determines that the property or properties are “An Area in Need of Redevelopment”.  The Planning Board resolution/recommendation is then sent to the Township Council for their approval or rejection.

If approved, the Council then appoints a Redevelopment Authority, usually they appoint themselves as this “Authority”. The Redevelopment Authority has strong and unique powers that allow them to bypass Zoning Board & Planning Board oversight. They also have the power of “Eminent Domain”, which means they can take your property if they determine they want it for another purpose. Once an area is determined to be an “Area in Need of Redevelopment”, property values drop, because who wants to purchase a property that may be condemned and acquired by the Authority at some undetermined time?

In the case of the “Cortlandt & Joralemon St” redevelopment, it is certainly NOT an “Area in Need of Redevelopment”. It is a thriving area that has single and two family homes co-existing with commercial and industrial uses very well. Residential and commercial property owners must unite and fight this blatant plan to confiscate our properties.

In this case, the developer stated at a public meeting that he wanted to build a 152 unit residential project on the site of the older industrial building behind the homes on the west side of Cortlandt St. This is a very improbable proposal because the lot which is the proposed site is a narrow lot with frontage on Terry St. and the corner of Cortlandt and Joralemon. It appears the real attempt is to acquire all the home adjacent to this lot and build a huge residential development on the entire block.

Residential development is not as beneficial as commercial development as it relates to taxes. Residential development increases taxes because there is created a higher demand for government services, such as police and fire protection, more tax and water bills, increased use of our aged sewer and water lines, increased enrollment in our school system, lack of sufficient parking, and congestion of our roadways. Commercial and industrial development requires fewer services and also produces jobs for our residents.



Vincent Frantantoni



Update: Ron Leir of The Observer has written an excellent article on this issue, taken from the residents of the Cortlandt and Joralemon properties.

Owners: ‘Don’t Kick Us Out’




About Griff 321 Articles
Lee "Griff" Dorry - Founder, watchdog, and public advocate. ♫ They've got strings, but you can see, there are no strings on me. ♫

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