Council OKs Plan For Bloomfield Avenue Improvements

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The Verona Town Council has opened the way for Bloomfield Avenue property owners to get improvement incentives and tax abatements and help the town to upgrade the infrastructure along the thoroughfare.

At its meeting on Monday, March 11, the Council heard a presentation by Sanyogita “San'” Chavan of H2M architects + engineers on the potential benefits for local businesses and property owners of designating the entirety of Bloomfield Avenue as an area in need of rehabilitation. The designation is different from an area in need of redevelopment, which is applied to just one property or a confined group of properties. (The redevelopment designation, which has stricter criteria, was invoked before the Council approved a PILOT tax plan for the conversion of the former Annie flag factory into apartments in 2015.)

Chavan’s presentation revealed that many structures along the avenue are deteriorated or substandard, and that 85% of the housing stock is at least 50 years old. Chavan noted that the oldest existing property was built in 1884 while the newest was built in 1969. Chavan found that 279 of the 329 housing units on Bloomfield Avenue were built before 1974, something that could factor into the next round of affordable housing development in Verona. These issues, along with property vacancies, underutilization, and the aging water and sewer infrastructure, make the area a suitable candidate for rehabilitation.

A rehabilitation designation can encourage the renovation or reconstruction existing structures, eliminate substandard structural or housing conditions and potentially offer tax abatements on improvements. A 2002 study conducted by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs showed that governing bodies in many municipalities in both the northern and southern parts of the state have designated their towns as areas in need of rehabilitation. That includes Newark, Belleville and Bloomfield in Essex County.

The Council voted unanimously to designate Bloomfield Avenue as an area in need of rehabilitation under resolution R24-057. Mayor Christopher Tamburro expressed optimism about the designation’s impact, stating, “I’m hoping that this puts the conditions in place to where people are willing to put money into existing buildings.” The resolution and Chavan’s report are here.

The Council’s approved resolution now goes to the Verona Planning Board for review. You can watch Chavan’s presentation and the Council discussion in full below:

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