PILOT Program Could Be Stifled By Ordinance Repeal

Bloomingdale Council majority may vote to repeal redevelopment zone ordinance that permits Payment in Lieu of Taxes program for AvalonBay.

In what Bloomingdale Mayor Jonathan Dunleavy has labeled as the council majority's "last shot against Bloomingdale," the Republican majority may vote Tuesday to repeal the ordinance that classifies the AvalonBay site as a redevelopment zone and allows a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program to be offered for the luxury apartment developer.

If the ordinance is repealed, a redevelopment zone would once again need to be approved before disucssion on entering into a PILOT agreement could be put back on the table for the under-construction development that is bringing 174 apartment rental units to the borough.

"In their lame duck session, [the council majority] just can't bow out gracefully, as they must take one last shot against Bloomingdale," Dunleavy, a Democrat, said in an email. "How do these people sleep at night?"

The negotiated PILOT program would grant the borough a minimum payment of $550,000 per year, expected to grow by at least 2 percent each year, for 30 years. AvalonBay would make quarterly payments at the same time that residents and business owners pay taxes, but would not pay normal taxation, which is split between the municipality, county and school district. Through the PILOT program, the school district would not receive money from the payments, but the municipality would recoup the bulk of the benefit, bringing in 95 percent of the money while the county receives 5 percent.

Republican Councilwoman Linda Shortman said she did not recommend the ordinance repeal item be placed on Tuesday's council meeting agenda, but she does agree that perhaps the redevelopment zone ordinance, approved by the council in September, should be repealed.

"In hindsight, after the ordinance passed and I supported it and after I read about the PILOT and I knew what the conditions were about the PILOT is when I decided that this was not appropriate for this piece of property," Shortman said.

Shortman said she now feels she should not have supported the redevelopment zone ordinance at the time and that the ordinance to repeal it may solidify her position at this point. She said Councilwoman Jo-Ann Pituch may have recommended the ordinance for the agenda.

Pituch said Wednesday she did not wish to comment on the ordinance until after Tuesday's meeting.

Dunleavy said that if the ordinance were repealed and the borough were to start the process again, taxpayers would have to foot the bill of the planning and design work needed to move ahead. He also said he felt Bloomingdale voters proved they were in favor of the PILOT program by two newcomer Democrats, to the council earlier this month. Republican Pituch was unseated.

"I'm angry, it's terrible. It's absolutely going against what the voters wanted," Dunleavy said.

Dunleavy said he will encourage the public to speak on the repealing ordinance and also inquire about who authored the ordinance that may be introduced Tuesday. If the ordinance is passed on final adoption by the end of this year, he said the ordinance approving the redevelopment zone again could be reintroduced next year.

But Shortman, who will remain one of two Republicans on the council in the new year, alongside Mark Conklin, does not favor the redevelopment zone for AvalonBay.

"I just don't support this particular site for this particular ordinance," she said.

paul bastante November 22, 2012 at 05:40 AM
Linda you are stubborn and THICK! One would think that after two straight elections that produced landslide results would give you even an inkling of how the citizens of this borough feel about the PILOT. Your comments are a slap in the face to every voter. Pituch, YOU are one-term FAIL of the highest order. What gives you the idea that we want a repeal of this ordinance? Nothing, thats what, you just want to try and land a black eye to the town on your way out the door. I somehow doubt that you will walk out of Tuesday's council meeting THIS time. Why dont you save your family some embarrassment and gracefully let your time expire? Such a little girl to stomp your feet like this.
Ann November 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM
This is pretty sick. Typically in Bloomingdale a person can win a Council seat or even the Mayor's position by 15 votes. But Pituch lost by over a thousand votes (two to one) and caused her husband to also lose for the BOE. She will not have a friend left in this town by the time she gets finished. How does a lame duck justify overturning the very clear wishes of the election. The Town will, in the end, go through the whole process again and ultimately win, but Pituch will have cost us a great deal of extra money to get there. After this vindictive behavior she should and probably will be ostracized. Perhaps she is planning to move! Shortman will, of course, go along with her but she will undoubtedly be removed next election.
Carolyn November 22, 2012 at 01:19 PM
This action seems like some sour grapes on the part of the Majority. I can imagine that they are disappointed and perhaps even bitter, but taking an action like this smacks of something darker because it hurts their neighbors and their own town. It is pretty startling and may do lasting damage to their reputations.
Krikor Etmekjian November 22, 2012 at 02:04 PM
The voters have overwhelmingly spoken and the majority has to know what the people want by now. I strongly urge Council members Shortman and Conklin to vote with the will of the people and vote against repealing the zoning ordinance. The end result of repealing the ordinance is a slap in the face of the voters that have spoken clearly and ends any chance of them getting reelected.
John Darcey November 22, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I urge everyone reading the article and these comments to attend Tuesdays meeting and be heard. Please stand up at public comment and ask them to vote against this repeal or better yet, to not even bring it up. We will win with numbers! If there was ever a meeting to attend, this is the one!
Doug Van Dyk November 22, 2012 at 03:38 PM
This is a joke.i vote to table this..isnt that what they do...I will be going to this meeting for sure and i recommend every person in this town who is tired of these childish games to go to this meeting.if this goes through is will cost the tax payers more money.How can you vote for something and then change your mind .SHOW UP AT TUESDAY'S MEETING PLEASE.
Alfonso Pardo November 23, 2012 at 01:50 PM
I am a Republican, but I am really disappointed by the actions of the those on the council. We are neighbors. The actions that they have taken in the past has been really vindictive and political. I emplore those members who are looking to repeal the redevelopment zone to reconsider. We all want what's best for our town and the pilot program is best for our town. The Pilot program is going to go through. The town has spoken. Honor that. Do not dishonor yourself in an act of vindictiveness. Al Pardo 16 lakeside ave.
jersey girl November 23, 2012 at 02:59 PM
While I am not for a "pilot" being given to residential sites, I do NOT approve of the actions of the Republicans to repeal this ordinance. Your auditor was the one who brought up "PILOT" to begin with, now months down the road you are against it? You were the people who ran on cost cutting the budget/spending, but have no qualms about putting additional debt on the taxpayers to start this all over? I would like to know who wrote this new resolution for you before the meeting. Do you have the guts to tell the public right now? The council majority have become the apitomy of sleezy politics for our town. Not once has this majority put the towns needs ahead of politics in making any decisions for our future.
paul bastante November 23, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Sleezy politics, MORE sleezy people, period. #localgovernmentFAIL
paul bastante November 23, 2012 at 05:53 PM
May do? There reputations are in tatters anyway. This period will be looked upon as one of the darkest in our town's history. These people, especially Pituch and Shortman, are a complete embarrassment to us, themselves and their family most of all. Im sure that they are all mortified to be even related to these bitter and vindictive women.
Gary November 23, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Maybe because the ordinance should never have been passed in the first place. The property was not blighted, which is requred to have a piece of property in the redevelopment zone.
Kevin November 24, 2012 at 12:15 AM
what difference does it make who wrote the ordinance. The ordinance is being rescinded that is the issue.
Rich Dellaripa November 25, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Based on what I see in the state statutes, 40A:12A-5 doesn't use the term "blighted" at all in the 8 conditions listed to determine an area is in need of redevelopment. And if you look at 1:1-2b, which states 'The term "blighted area" as defined and used in the statutes of this State may also be designated as a "renewal area" and the terms "blighted area" and "renewal area" may be used interchangeably in all ordinances, resolutions, determinations and official actions', having the Planning Board find that a property is in need of renewal automatically makes it "blighted". Unless I'm misunderstanding your objection, that argument should have been made to the Planning Board, who hired an engineer and held hearings to determine that.
concerned resident November 26, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Since there is apparent harmony and consensus between the Board of Education, the Democrats on the Municipal Council, and the majority of Bloomingdale voters in the last election that moneys should be shifted from the Board of Ed to the Municipality why not have a joint resolution of the two bodies or a referendum of the voters authorizing that the B of E underwrite a $500,000 annual payment exclusively against the Municipality’s debt directly out of the B of E’s budget, and be done with the matter? Why is all this mickey mouse necessary of a procedure clearly counterproductive to our debt problems, designating some 3 rd party developer for a big real estate tax reduction, which seriously undermines the tax base of our struggling town?
Rich Dellaripa November 26, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Knowing Trenton, there's probably rules against it. But even if it was legal, there's a lot more to the PILOT that what you stated; the $550K per year with the 2% yearly increase is the minimum payment, the expectations are are it'll be more than that later in the PILOT. It also ignores the waiver of the Kelly Law services that are included in the agreement; that's money exclusively between the developer and the municipality and a factor that never seems to get the attention it deserves, as it represents millions of dollars in savings over the life of the PILOT.
Ann November 26, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Concerned Citizen's humor aside, lest any residents be confused, money is being shifted from the COUNTY to the Municipality--not from the BOE. Perhaps the only person who would care about that might be a person who worked for the county. Otherwise, I don't think most of us care too much about that.
Gary November 26, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Rich, If you read the entire 40A:12A-5 you will see under c) An area determined to be in need of redevelopment pursuant to this section shall be deemed to be a" blighted area" for the purposes of Article VIII, Section III, paragraph 1 of the Constitution.
Rich Dellaripa November 26, 2012 at 11:44 PM
If you mean comparing traditional tax breakdowns vs. the PILOT, the percentage that would normally go to the county gets broken up into what goes to the county, what goes to the developer and a little of what goes to the municipality. The rest goes to the municipality, which can then pass on to the BoE whatever covers the costs of the students that enroll from the development.
Rich Dellaripa November 26, 2012 at 11:47 PM
I'm looking at what's on lis.njleg.state.nju.us, and 40A:12-5 c says "and that is owned by the municipality, the county, a local housing authority, redevelopment agency or redevelopment entity, or unimproved vacant land that has remained so for a period of ten years prior to adoption of the resolution..." etc. I don't see "blighted" in that. Where are you seeing a version that has it?
Rich Dellaripa November 27, 2012 at 12:18 PM
But the issue with the ordinance on the agenda isn't about whether the PILOT is a good thing or a bad thing; it's basically telling the Planning Board "No, you did your job wrong".
Sally Fane November 27, 2012 at 01:34 PM
I am confident that Ms. Shortman will consider that passing this ordinance will result in more expenses and higher taxes for the people of Bloomingdale, which goes against everything she's been saying for the last year about cutting costs and saving money. No one can deny that, come January, Mayor Dunleavy and the majority on the town council will continue to pursue the PILOT. The people of Bloomingdale have spoken, we want the PILOT, their refusal to accept it and their attempt to block it is childish. They are trying to position the Dems as the bad guys because they will have to vote to start the process over and therefore respend the money. I hope Ms. Shortman thinks long and hard about this decision, or I, for one, will lose all respect for her.
Kristen November 27, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Or No we do not agree with your conclusion.
Carolyn November 27, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Well said, Sally. The Shortman I once knew was better than to engage in something that smacks of vindictiveness or bitterness. She campaigned on cutting costs and has said so at every meeting. The landslide election shows what the town wants and WILL do. It would be willful, wasteful and without purpose to set the town back to square one and cost us so much money. In third world countries we have rulers who impose their personal will on the majority. The Council members were not elected to fulfill their own personal wishes or even Kristen's wishes. It is the majority's wishes that must be heard in any Democracy.. Here, in a Republican town, that went for the Republican Presidential candidate, the majority resoundingly rejected the ideas of Pituch. I can't believe any Council member with a brain, or who cares about the town would have any justification for ignoring that fact.


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