Garfield property owners fear new redevelopment project will force them out

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
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AJ Ross has more on the new redevelopment project that is worrying New Jersey residents.

GARFIELD, New Jersey (WABC) -- Plans are moving full steam ahead in Garfield to transform an area around the Passaic Street train station into a modernized transit village with new homes and shops.

However the cost of these visionary blueprints is just too high in the eyes of many longtime residents and business owners, whose properties could be taken by eminent domain to make way for the new redevelopment project.

"The idea of making this place better is definitely good but what they're doing is not what I'm agreeing to," noted Zeeshan Naim who owns ShipRite, a pack and ship business.

"They can do a lot of other alternatives fixing the pavement, fixing the road, cleaning up so they can make the place look good...but just knocking everything out without a good alternative for all the business owners, that's not a good idea," Naim added.

In fact several people, including Lewis Neuman, recently filed lawsuits against the city arguing their properties were unfairly designated as blighted. Neuman also helped form the group onegarfield to unify people and business owners in the community who oppose the redevelopment plans.

"The first thing they did was to go to eminent domain, they never tried any other way to redevelop this area," explained Neuman.

Both the mayor and city leaders say they are more than willing to work with property owners to negotiate fair market value for their land and would prefer to use eminent domain as a last resort. However some still feel they are being forced out.

"People in the neighborhood would like to cooperate and would like to speak about upgrading the neighborhood," Neuman added. "There are things that can be done but we don't think that it's fair to take away our property through some legal trick that they're trying to pull."


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