Nadrowski Goes After Davis in Bayonne

Ashe Nadrowski

Sharon Ashe Nadrowski, Bayonne Council President, is running against Mayor James Davis, and has fired another salvo against the incumbent in the rocky march towards election day.  Ashe Nadrowski’s campaign has been focused on sending a message of “changing the tone” of development in Bayonne to better address affordability concerns, and she asserts that a property developer which is politically connected to the mayor has breached its agreement with the City, both for proposing plans not originally agreed-to, and for failing to close on the property—a district of the Military Ocean Terminal of Bayonne—within the allotted time required.  Instead, she wants to see new proposals from other developers, and holds Mayor Davis accountable for it.

The council president released a statement, calling on the city to pass resolutions which would “declare the redevelopment agreement with Bayonne Partners Development as null and void and relist the property for sale through a Request for Proposals process.”  A proposed ordinance would rescind Ordinance O-17-1 and revoke the “financial arrangement between the City of Bayonne and Bayonne Partners Renewal, LLC for certain properties designated as Bayonne Bay East.”

The ordinance states that the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for the redevelopment plan of the site would be ended.  The legislation asserts that the Bayonne Bay East Redevelopment Area property would be developed with between 500-850 residential units as a condition to the agreement.  However, “Bayonne Partners has submitted a site plan application to the Planning Board of the City of Bayonne seeking approval for one thousand two hundred fifty (1,250) residential units which represents a 47% increase from the proposed project”—which, according to the language of the ordinance, negates the original grounds on which the arrangement was made with the City.

The Ashe Nadrowski campaign said that developer Wasseem Boraie is “behind Bayonne Partners Development” and had made a “$25,000 donation to a PAC linked to admitted murderer Sean Caddle in support of Mayor Jimmy Davis.”  In 2015, the portion for development of the Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne property, described as “now highly desirable real estate” by Ashe Nadrowski, was assigned to be developed by Boraie.

The council president said that Bayonne Partners failed to close on the district of the former MOTBY and introduced a resolution to dissolve the agreement between the city and the firm.

“This is not complicated,” Ashe Nadrowski said.  “The developer has no right to the property. They were required to close on the property by November 3, 2021. The agreement specifically states the closing needs to occur 48 months after the effective date… The city has no legal ability or obligation to transfer this property to the developer and the developer has no rights to force a sale of the property.”

As for the development, Ashe Nadrowski said that New Jersey law which permits tax abatements requires the city to analyze the financial requirements of the project and then weigh them against the benefits to the residents.   “I am introducing an ordinance to revoke the PILOT on the site based on two facts—one, the city has no legal ability to transfer this property to the developer and the developer has no rights to the property and, two, that PILOT was based on an 850 unit project, not a 1,250 project.”

By relisting the property for sale, giving other developers a chance to put forward bids for plans, Ashe Nadrowski believes this would provide a transparent process for the city’s sale.  “As I have stated, Bayonne needs change,” Ashe Nadrowski said.  “Residents deserve a voice in this process and a fair price for the site.  Seven years ago, the site was valued at about $35 million dollars.  Today, that property is worth between $65 to $95 million.”

The council president took aim at the mayor, whom she had admonished in March for receiving campaign donations from Suez Water and related-entities in connection to a massive city water infrastructure contract.  Davis responded afterward that he was not aware of the contribution at the time and would donate the money to charity.

“We need a mayor who is willing to stand up for us and fight against developers who just want to profit off Bayonne,” Ashe Nadrowski said, railing against “sweetheart deals” for donors and developers.  “Mayor Davis’ claim that this agreement is ‘ironclad’ is just another lie.  The only thing that is ironclad is Jimmy’s willingness to take the side of political donors over residents.”

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