RAHWAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The City Council in one Union County city voted to revise a planned redevelopment study after residents worried that eminent domain could threaten their community.
The City Council on Monday evening discussed whether or not to do a study into what areas need “condemnation re-development,” here things like grocery stores and shopping malls could be built where the city deems are areas of need.
But following comments at a public meeting before the vote Monday night, Rahway Mayor Samson Steinman said he wanted to remove references to condemnation and eminent domain from the resolution.
“It was an obvious response to the people of Rahway,” Steinman said. “We’re going to go forward, hopefully, ahead with a proposal to request a study for redevelopment.”
The City Council voted to move forward with the mayor’s change to the resolution. It now goes to the planning board.
Residents had worried their community was under threat.
“It would be insane to have to move,” says Rahway resident Kristin Mazza.
Councilwoman Jennifer Maier told CBS2’s Jessica Borg before the vote that she was against the study.
“You can do re-development without condemnation,” she said.
George Triantafyllou owns a bar in town. He was furious that his street stood to be assessed as a possible problem area in the proposed study.
“I’ve worked my whole life and I’ve sunk everything I have into this establishment,” he said.
Mayor Steinman earlier told CBS2 there are six main areas in the city that would be looked at under the proposed study. Those areas, he said, have many properties that are either boarded up or unoccupied and unsafe.
He added, however, that the community at large did not need to worry.
“If you are part of a study, that does not mean you will be condemned or evicted,” he said.
But the thought of his store being forced to close by the city caused one business owner his peace of mind.
“This is totally unacceptable,” he said.
He tells CBS2 that he’s still paying off the mortgage on his store and can’t imagine the potential loss of income.