HOBOKEN - Mayor Dawn Zimmer sent a memo to the City Council on July 20 asking for their approval for the potential use of eminent domain in the southwest portion of the city for the creation of a park.
Zimmer said in the memo to the council that the city has not found any willing sellers in the southwest, as they look to create a park in the area. The county is offering the opportunity for Hoboken to repurpose $3 million in funds from the county's Open Space Trust Fund, and the administration has prepared to do so for Sinatra Park. If the council wishes, the city will apply to repurpose the funds instead for a park in the southwest portion of the city.
"In light of this fact, the only way that the funds could be repurposed for the Southwest would be if my administration has assurances that the council would support the use of eminent domain if it became necessary to acquire land for parks in this neighborhood," Zimmer wrote to the council. "Please understand that eminent domain can and would only be used after good faith negotiations have failed. The eminent domain process is designed to assure that the property owner receives a full fair market value of their property."
Zimmer also wrote that if the council votes in support of a resolution tonight regarding the use of eminent domain, the city would apply to repurpose funds from the county to acquire property to begin creating the southwest park within one year.
The resolution, sent to the council today, would appear on the Wednesday evening agenda, and would signify that the council "expresses its support for the use of eminent domain to acquire properties for the creation of the park if that acquisition tool is necessary."
"Mayor Zimmer has my full support on the creation of a [southwest] park," said 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti, in an email. "However, I have serious reservations with the carte blanche use of eminent domain as the city has yet to provide any relevant documentation to warrant it's use at this time."
The issue was scheduled to be one of many controversial items on the agenda at Wednesday night's council meeting. Read all about it in The Hoboken Reporter this weekend. - Ray Smith