Ni­etubicz looks to bring his gov­ern­ment ex­pe­ri­ence to coun­cil

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

Ricky Ni­etubicz spent four years work­ing for the city of Newark and now, af­ter mov­ing on to the pri­vate sec­tor, he is look­ing to serve Newark in a dif­fer­ent way – as a coun­cil­man.

If he is able to un­seat Dis­trict 3 in­cum­bent Jen Wallace in Tues­day’s elec­tion, it would mark a rare move from city em­ployee to elected of­fi­cial in Newark. How­ever, it’s one for which Ni­etubicz be­lieves he is well-suited.

“I have a re­ally unique skill set and knowl­edge base to bring to the ta­ble,” the 31-year-old Newark Pre­serve res­i­dent said.

A na­tive of El­li­cott City, Md., Ni­etubicz moved to Newark to at­tend the Univer­sity of Delaware, where he earned his un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree and a mas­ter’s in pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion. While still a stu­dent, he in­terned with the city’s plan­ning de­part­ment.

Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, he spent three years as a full-time em­ployee for the Delaware State Fair be­fore re­turn­ing to the city to work as a plan­ner in 2012. He was re­spon­si­ble for ad­min­is­ter­ing the Down­town Newark Part­ner­ship and later be­came the city’s spokesman and com­mu­nity af­fairs of­fi­cer.

He left city gov­ern­ment in 2016 and now does com­mu­ni­ca­tion and mar­ket­ing for Mishi­moto Au­to­mo­tive, a New Cas­tle com­pany that makes high-per­for­mance car parts.

The for­mer city plan­ner said one of his pri­or­i­ties would be to have coun­cil re­ex­am­ine the city’s zon­ing code, which he said is in need of an up­date.

“It would be a big un­der­tak­ing, but it’s a wor­thy ex­er­cise,” he said.

One area to look at is the num­ber of be­d­rooms al­lowed in apart­ment com­plexes, he said. While the zon­ing code re­stricts the den­sity of units per acre, many de­vel­op­ers build four- or six-bed­room units, max­i­miz­ing the num­ber of stu­dents they can pack into the build­ing.

Ni­etubicz also wants to look at the STC zon­ing des­ig­na­tion that coun­cil ap­proved in March 2012 for the Univer­sity of Delaware’s STAR Cam­pus. The code gives UD wide lat­i­tude over the devel­op­ment there, and most projects do not re­quire ap­proval from city coun­cil as they might in other ar­eas of the city.

“We’ve seen some great things hap­pen there,” he said. “We’ve seen some things that would be detri­men­tal.”

Ni­etubicz, who as an in­tern did some of the early re­search the city used to de­velop the STC zon­ing, said UD’s plan for the site has changed sig­nif­i­cantly in the last decade, and the com­mu­nity should have a chance to weigh in on what it wants to see hap­pen there.

“When that zon­ing was de­vel­oped, the Chrysler build­ings were still there,” he said. “Now we have some more in­for­ma­tion, it’s time to look at it. That would be my first pri­or­ity.”

With UD plan­ning to add more than 5,000 stu­dents, the ideal sce­nario would be for the univer­sity to build more on-cam­pus hous­ing, he said, though ad­mit­ting that may not be fea­si­ble. He sug­gested UD look into build­ing hous­ing on a por­tion of the STAR Cam­pus.

(Ni­etubicz’s wife, Kim­berly, works as a se­nior pol­icy an­a­lyst for UD Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Alan Brang­man. “We both have our day jobs,” he said, adding he doesn’t be­lieve there will be any con­flicts.)

Ni­etubicz said the city needs to work with de­vel­op­ers to en­sure projects have the min­i­mum pos­si­ble im­pact on the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity. An ex­am­ple, he said, is the re­cent Park N Shop pro­posal, which ul­ti­mately was tabled by coun­cil. While he un­der­stands res­i­dents’ lin­ger­ing con­cerns, he praised the de­vel­oper for work­ing with the com­mu­nity through­out the process.

Ni­etubicz said he is dis­ap­pointed city coun­cil never voted on the five pro­pos­als to build a mixed-use park­ing struc­ture be­hind the Main Street Gal­le­ria. As part of a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship, the de­vel­op­ers would build the struc­ture and lease the garage por­tion to the city. One by Lang Devel­op­ment Group would charge no an­nual fee, just a por­tion of the rev­enue col­lected.

“There’s no risk to the tax­payer and no out­lay to the tax­payer and tax­pay­ers ben­e­fit be­cause there’s a rev­enue stream,” he said. “Why would we not do that?”

Ni­etubicz wants to help im­prove the re­la­tion­ship be­tween city coun­cil and city staff, which at times can be tense.

“Hir­ing a new city man­ager is a good chance to hit the re­set but­ton,” he said.

He also wants to im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tion to res­i­dents in his dis­trict.

“Right now, the onus is on the res­i­dent to take the first step to be in­formed. Coun­cil’s duty is to take own­er­ship of in­form­ing res­i­dents,” he said, adding that, if elected, he would reg­u­larly mail news­let­ters to ev­ery­one in his dis­trict, rather than only those who sign up for an email list.

“I have some ideas of how I could bet­ter serve the dis­trict,” he said.

Dis­trict: 3 Age: 31 Ad­dress: 16 Munro Road Oc­cu­pa­tion: Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and mar­ket­ing for Mishi­moto Au­to­mo­tive Civic ex­pe­ri­ence: Worked for the city from 2012 to 2016; serves on board of Newark Bike Project Fam­ily: Wife, Kim­berly Web­site: www.vo­t­er­icky....

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