Newark’s Plan for Ironbound District Worries Some Residents

NJTV News | August 2, 2017 | Planning
Locals wonder who’s going to benefit from the surge of new development — developers or the community?

Some residents in Newark are worried about the consequences for their neighborhood of amendments to the city’s master plan that encourage greater density and more high-rise buildings.

Specifically, residents of the Ironbound district in the East Ward wonder what increased development will do to a neighborhood that has prospered even through Newark’s toughest times. Commenting on the amended master plan, Daniel Wiley, coordinator with the Housing Justice Ironbound Community Corporation, said, “Is it benefitting developers and their investments or is it benefitting the actual community?”

The master plan’s most controversial amendment, known as MX-3, allows buildings on the perimeter of the Ironbound to go as high as 15 stories — a major change to the neighborhood. Other amendments facilitate “transit-focused development” in a half-mile area around Penn Station.

Baye Adofo-Wilson, deputy mayor for Housing and Economic Development in Newark, said that unprecedented development is taking place across the city. He said that MX-3 “increases the density in several areas that are essentially parking lots and brownfields sites, so we could have more affordable units.”

But Wiley and others remain concerned. “I mean if you have this one zone that’s pretty much set for density and you have all these people moving into luxury housing, how does that affect the smaller ones? Taxes go up, the infrastructure has a burden on it. I think the biggest threat is that the cost of living is going to go up and the quality of life is going to change in the neighborhood,” Wiley said.

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