Developer Howard Haberman said this week that he is "deeply disappointed" by Bloomfield's decision to use eminent domain to condemn his part of Bloomfield train station. And he vowed to fight the decision in court.
Haberman said he was dismayed that Bloomfield "has chosen to condemn our company’s Block 220 train station property rather than work with us to develop a first class restaurant, retail and office complex consistent with my father’s vision."
However, the township countered that Haberman has had years to rehab the property – which is covered in graffiti and has become an eyesore in the town.
“If he wanted to develop the property, and his father wanted to, why hasn’t he?” responded Glenn Domenick, Bloomfield’s Director of Community Development, who spoke to Patch on Tuesday. “You can see the current state of that structure. It’s been that way for 20-25 years.”
Domenick said he expects the issue will go to the court, especially in light of the fact that Haberman has previously sought legal action against the township multiple times.
“He’s been in and out of court for years, for graffiti, litter, deterioration of the walkways, snow removal, you name it,” he said.
Haberman said, rather than condemnation, he prefers that his company, Daval Corporation, to sit down with officials to develop a "workable strategy to renovate and revitalize Bloomfield Station." He added, "We are willing to start tomorrow on this effort. But unless this occurs, I have no viable option but to fight this condemnation in the appropriate legal channels.”
Domenick added that a potential lawsuit would not stop the forward motion of the town center redevelopment, “It won’t have an impact on the development,” he said. Still, he admitted, “It wouldn’t be good for the development project to have the station looking like that, in that state of disrepair.”
Currently the pavement of the walkway leading up the hill to the station is decaying, with graffiti marring the concrete walls. Earlier this summer, the front of the structure was blocked off with yellow plastic “Caution” tape. Signs instructing the public not to park there are displayed on parking meters near the taped-off area.
Domenick says it is currently unclear what, if anything, the town will do with the property.
“The court will determine if the town can do anything to the property,” he said. “The town was hoping Mr. Haberman would develop it himself. The town gave him an ample opportunity to develop the property, and he was negligent in doing so.”
Mayor Raymond McCarthy said he had no comment, citing the possibility of future litigation.
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