2019 Hub City Development Docket: Watch Decisions About New Brunswick’s Future

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—It can be hard to keep track of all the plans for new developments in New Brunswick, but we are going to try.

Technical meeting agendas released to the public for the first time offer a new window into the city’s development pipeline, and an advance look at possible futures for many sites across the city.

After pressing city officials for access to the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meetings—where developers, lawyers, and the city’s experts hash out thorny issues prior to public hearings—New Brunswick released all of this year’s TAC meeting agendas, and granted the public access to another lesser-known committee.

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Rutgers President Barchi Backs Off Climate Pledge, Shifting Blame to Student Newspaper

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The Rutgers University administration’s commitment to cut net carbon emissions completely by 2030 lasted about four days, and officials still can’t get their stories straight.

While hundreds gathered to call for immediate action to combat the climate crisis, just a few blocks away, Rutgers’ outgoing President Robert “Bob” Barchi was cracking jokes at the expense of students in a Senate meeting and backtracking on a commitment his administration had made in his name earlier that week.

During a question and answer period following his speech, Barchi appeared to contradict his own administration’s prior statements, and it was clear he was dismissive of the reporting of the school’s student newspaper.

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Voters Deal Another Blow to Edison Mayor, Effectively Killing His Privatization Deal

EDISON, NJ—In a special referendum election, voters in Edison overwhelmingly approved a citizen-initiated ordinance to protect their water and sewer utilities from further privatization.

More than four out of five voters approved the new law that will effectively prevent a massive privatization scheme targeting the Township’s sewer system, and much of its drinking water service.

The ordinance came before voters on September 10, capping off a saga that has already seen massive political upheaval over the proposed deal.

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After 6-Month Lapse in Compliance, Crane Permit Was Issued 12 Days Before Collapse

INTERIM CITY ENGINEER: “I DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THAT.”

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The construction crane that came crashing down on two homes during a July 21 storm was apparently operated without a proper city permit for over six months, according to records obtained by New Brunswick Today.

The red crane was observed in action on June 6, well before the July 9 permit approval.

Vergona Crane Company, Inc.’s 2019 permit application is dated July 9, just 12 days before the crane failed, and more than six months after a previous permit had expired.

The head of the city’s Department of Public Works and Engineering (DPWE) admitted on August 22 that he signed to approve Vergona’s late permit application, even though a city ordinance regulating construction cranes only authorizes “the city engineer” to issue or deny such a permit.

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City Fails to Release Environmental Statement After Board Approves Apartments For Contaminated Land

ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSIONERS SAY THEY WERE NOT CONSULTED BEFORE ZONING BOARD RUSHED TO GRANT APPROVAL TO DEVELOPER TIED TO “DIRTY DIRT” CASE

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city’s Zoning Board unanimously voted to approve plans for a new five-story building that would take over public property for a private purpose, all on a site that requires significant environmental remediation.

In the process, the city’s Acting Planning Director claimed that the Environmental Commission had been consulted, a claim that members of the commission dispute.

City officials also struggled to provide an explanation for why a required environmental statement about the development had been withheld from this newspaper prior to the hearing, and promised to release it swiftly–a promise they went on to break.

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