By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
The Asbury Park City Council introduced an ordinance at last week’s meeting authorizing a financial agreement with AEF II Urban Renewal, LLC and Savoy Urban Renewal, LLC which included a tax exemption, in the form of Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT program.
The agreement is related to property owned by Carter Sachman on the 700 block of Mattison Avenue, the former Savoy Theater.
If approved the mixed use building will house the renovated Savoy Theater and numerous small residential units.
Rita Marano, a longtime city resident, asked why Sachman, in the agreement, is only being required to pay $3000 per residential parking space not supplied for each unit by Sachman. She said in the past residential builders were required to pay $25,000 per unsupplied parking space.
Marano also asked council why they have not made plans to build a parking garage downtown.
Councilman Joe Woerner said charging large fees for unsupplied parking spaces has not worked in the past. He asserted that the city’s downtown would not be as vibrant has it has become if large fees were required.
“Businesses wouldn’t come here,” he said.
Mayor John Moor reiterated that concept after the meeting.
“Past council’s tried that and nobody would build here,” he said.
Moor said the fee was then lowered in 2011 to $11,000 and still no contractors would agree to build.
But when it was lowered in 2013 to $3000 contractors began paying the fee, which goes into the city’s parking fund to help alleviate parking issues throughout the city.
Woerner said many visitors to downtown areas in other cities now use Uber, the online ride service app, trains or bicycles instead of driving and searching for parking.
Moor challenged Marano’s statement about building a parking garage, saying,”Rita you’d be the first one saying ‘don’t bond for a parking garage’” he said.
Moor also said that Sachman provided the city with a parking plan, which he believed Sachman discussed with beachfront developers Madison Marquette.
Public hearing on the ordinance is set for April 27.
During public comments contractor Henry Vaccaro questioned the mayor and council about master developers iStar not hiring local businesses for construction projects in the city as agreed to in the developer’s contract.
Vaccaro, an Ocean Township resident, has built several buildings in the city, including city hall, said only 2 percent of the contracts agreed to, were given to local businesses.
At the end of his comments Vaccaro threatened the city with a lawsuit.
“I’ll see everybody in court,” he said.
Moor said after the meeting he and City Manager Michael Capabianco would like to sit down and meet with Vaccaro to discuss the issue, but not if there is a lawsuit pending.
Also during the public portion of the meeting Fifth Avenue resident Linda Leahy complained that many residents don’t recycle items they should and asked if warnings are given out.
Moor said, “We know we have a problem with our recycling. Our tonnage is too high,” he said.
Tonnage is the weight of garbage delivered to the county reclamation center. Towns are penalized or rewarded annually based on how much garbage is delivered.
Recyclables are not included in tonnage, reducing the overall weight.
Deal Lake Court resident Maureen Nevin complained that dog walkers on her street frequently drop their pets’ poop into her recycling cans.
Moor said he has heard others complain of the same thing and noted that there is a dog waste receptacle right across the street on the banks of Deal Lake.