FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Friday, 10 April 2020
Lambertville Council Candidates Steve Stegman and Benedetta Lambert Cite Vocal Opposition to The Pending Redevelopment Plan, Call for Delay to Ensure Greater Public Engagement
Council Candidates Steve Stegman and Benedetta Lambert doubled down on their vocal opposition to Mayor Fahl’s redevelopment plan. The approval of the redevelopment plan will start a process to relocate the Police Department outside of the city limits and jump start a plan to centralize all government functions to a mega-sized construction project. The redevelopment plan is slated to be voted on during the April 23rd regularly scheduled City Council meeting. It is feared that this will be the first step in a consolidation plan to build a new municipal mega-complex to house the police department, city hall, and the library on another city owned property that has flooded 3 times in the past decade and cost an astounding estimated price tag of over $14 million dollars.
The concept plans for this mega-sized residential project to replace the police department, show it to be located in the same environmentally fragile property. The plot of land is also in a flood zone. Stegman and Lambert support the city fulfilling its obligation to provide fair share housing, but the current scheme to add just 5 fair share housing units and 24 market rate units on this property is not an acceptable trade-off for our residents and must be reconsidered. Questioning the timing of the vote in a virtually held meeting, both candidates urged the Governing body to vote only on matters concerning the day-to-day operations of the city, pay bills and regular house cleaning items. Any other items must be held until the pandemic subsides in order to increase public participation.
”Benedetta and I are opposed to the very concept of the entire controversial consolidation project when improvements to the current city hall, library and police department building will save our residents’ hard-earned tax dollars, help protect the environment, and minimize our carbon footprint. “This is one of the main reasons we decided to run for office,” said former Council President Steve Stegman. “It is also unconscionable that the City of Lambertville would entertain holding a public hearing now and on a ZOOM platform. The justification presented by the city attorney for moving the project forward during this time via ZOOM was outright wrong and insensitive. I hope that the Mayor & Council would take a step back until this pandemic passes. We all have close friends and family members who have been affected by this terrible disease, some have unfortunately lost their lives. Now is the time to tell friends and neighbors how much we care and love them, rather than continue the conversation on a project that alienates and divides them.”
“Given the current challenges, the City Council should only be focusing on what is necessary to keep local government running. Moving forward with a redevelopment plan that will jumpstart a $14 million plus municipal complex when families are unsure about their next paycheck falls well short of necessary,” said Council Candidate Benedetta Lambert. “The ZOOM meetings should be restricted to approve the minimum needed to keep the city functional. The public must be present when important decisions need to be made. There is no need to rush forward, since many deadlines for actions are being pushed to July at the earliest. Steve and I also request that all City Council meetings held on ZOOM, or any other online meeting platform, be recorded and posted for the public in the interest of transparency and good government”.
Steven Stegman and Bendetta Lambert are Democratic Candidates for Lambertville City Council in the Upcoming Democratic Primary. For more information please contact them at StegmanLambertforLambertvilel@gmail.com.