Proposed Density Causes 'Chaos' at the Newark City Council Hearing

A suite of zoning changes that would increase building heights and density along the Passaic River in Newark, New Jersey, provoked a chaotic council hearing that devolved into shouting and the removal of residents from the council chambers.

1 minute read

September 21, 2017, 2:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

New Jersey

Sean Pavon / Shutterstock

Karen Yi reports from Newark, New Jersey, where "[c]haos erupted at the Newark City Council meeting Wednesday night as residents' fury over housing opportunities escalated into heated exchanges between the public and city employees."

"Throughout the night, residents vented their frustrations with the lack of low-income housing in the city and decried plans to allow buildings near the city's riverfront to tower as high as 40 stories and others in the Ironbound section to reach 12 stories," according to Yi.

At the core of the controversy are two proposed land use regulation changes. One would create a high density residential and commercial zone, thus increasing height limits, in the Ironbound District. The second would "amend the redevelopment plan for the riverfront and allow buildings to increase their maximum heights from 10 to 25 stories in one area and from 30 to 40 stories in another," according to Yi.

Yi reports that the city has deferred the Ironbound District zoning changes, and will consider the amendments to the "Newark's River: Public Access and Redevelopment Plan" for final adoption at its October 4 hearing.

As for the chaos that erupted during the meeting, Yi posted a video of several residents being escorted from the meeting while trading heated exchanges with city employees.

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