CLARK’S DOWNTOWN IS SPRINGING UP
CLARK, NJ – Throughout his tenure, Mayor Salvatore Bonaccorso has heard constituents call for the development of a downtown area on Westfield Avenue. After many years of collaboration, the seeds for a business district have finally been planted.
“With the all-new CVS opening in late May and the approval of a development plan for the site of the old A&P, Clark is on its way to having a downtown area,” said Bonaccorso.
At the May 6 Planning Board meeting a design was accepted for a 75-unit building with retail space at the street level to be constructed by Garden Communities at 52 Westfield Avenue.
During the last two years, the township has worked to make this possible through a series of actions.
In August of 2018, the Clark Planning Board created a resolution recommending to the Town Council that the old A&P property on Westfield Avenue be condemned and declared an “Area in Need of Redevelopment.”
The Town Council passed ordinances in agreement with the Planning Board’s recommendations. All of these actions were verified and filed with the state.
“The redevelopment agreement is in the final stages,” said Business Administrator John Laezza. “The township is working with owners on a financial agreement to determine the payments to the township for the next 30 years in lieu of taxes.”
Mayor Bonaccorso is a strong proponent of this financial arrangement. “Payments in lieu of taxes are more beneficial to the town than any standard tax bill,” said Bonaccorso. “In the long run this will be much better for the community.”
The new development will be a way to revitalize the area with residents and businesses all within the same area creating a vibrant community.
“There are members of the township that will ask why we have to keep building apartments, it’s simple, we have to fulfill a court mandate for affordable housing in Clark because of the failures of the state legislators that failed to act in Trenton,” said Bonaccorso. “Instead, this became the burden of every mayor in New Jersey. There isn’t a town exempt from this anywhere in the state.”
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