City Council did the right thing by voting against eminent domain for Grand Street

City Council did the right thing by voting against eminent domain for Grand St.

Dear Editor:

In a letter published in the August 20th issue of The Hoboken Reporter, Luis Torres charges that City Council members who defeated the ordinance authorizing the city to use eminent domain to seize the two businesses at 1012-22 and 1032-40 of having "caved into special interests to thwart redevelopment." What Mr. Torres neglects to mention is that the "special interests" in the case are the people who live on the block and don't want to see its unique character spoiled by tasteless, oversized condo buildings, its trees and cobblestones ripped up by construction vehicles, its limited access blocked with endless traffic jams, and the end ` of any parking on the street by family and friends from out of town.

Mr. Torres also neglects to mention that this block has no need of redevelopment. To call this charming block a "blighted area" is non-sense, and it was nonsense in 1997 when the redevelopment plan was passed. Equally unconvincing is Mr. Torres argument that seizing the property of private businesses and turning them over to another business operator is the price that must be paid "to reap the benefit of developer contributions - open space and parks, a recreation center and a swimming pool and even a movie theater." After nine years of waiting, we have seen none of these benefits. Block after monotonous block of condos have been erected, but the. only "contributions the developer has made have been outsized donations to the political campaigns of city officials.

The members of City Council who voted against the abuse of eminent domain on Grand Street should be complimented for having the courage to do the right thing. I hope they will continue to support measured development that respects the rights of citizens and quality of life in every Hoboken neighborhood – now and after the Council elections in May. This would be a wonderful time for them to take permanent steps to make that happen.

Richard Kamber

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