For too long, developers have set the course for downtown’s future. That must change. Downtown’s neighborhoods must be empowered to set their vision for the future while our city must end its giveaways to real estate developers.
Oppose Most Long-Term Tax Abatements
In 2014, Jersey City awarded a 20-year tax break to the Oakman Condominiums. That building just sold a 1 bedroom, 1 bath condominium for nearly $1M dollars. Our city lost almost $1M in revenue from this deal just last year. I will oppose these sweetheart deals.
Abatements should only be granted if A) the building could otherwise not be built or B) the abatement returns significant value to the community. I will not vote for an abatement unless it is subjected to rigorous cost-benefit analysis conducted by an independent third party to determine if it meets either criteria.
Demand More Community Benefits from Developers.
In most cities with hot housing markets, developers must provide community benefits in exchange for “density bonuses” (i.e. the ability to build more units of housing than would otherwise be allowed). For example, in just one year, Vancouver received $234M in community benefits from developers – above and beyond full tax payments. In Jersey City, developers receive density bonuses for free. Jersey City should leverage its zoning code and land-use laws to ensure that increased density – and therefore more residents – leads to corresponding improvements in the community, such as park and streetscape improvements.
Reform Redevelopment Plans
Jersey City has more redevelopment plans than the entire state of New Jersey combined. Many of those plans were originally written decades ago when the city had different needs. Most of the plans do not include important community benefits that we need now, such as affordable housing. The City must work with developers to reform outdated redevelopments plans to ensure they lead to the long-term community benefits Jersey City needs now and in the future instead of simply adjusting them to the benefit of developers.