Guest of the Stable: Zabrina Stoffel of Project Play on concerns about Western Edge plan

URGENT: Your presence needed at City Council meeting Wednesday 9/29 at 7pm

You may or may not be aware of the plans to redevelop the North Western edge of Hoboken. If you are not, please read Western edge redevelopment.

I attended the meeting on September 15th, 2010 and left VERY concerned about the plan presented and slated to go to the City Council on Wednesday September 29th for review and then to the Planning Board for approval and then back to the City Council for a favorable vote.

What am I asking from you? 

COME TO THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING AT 7pm on WEDNESDAY September 29th (at City Hall) and ask the City Council not to rush into sending the plan to the Planning Department. Ask them for a meeting to hear your input. 

What’s wrong with the plan?
In my humble opinion, a few major things. First and foremost, the City did not solicit any input from residents or the current owners of the property. They merely took criticisms from the last time they tried to designate this a redevelopment zone (and failed), removed some open space and represented it.

The main tenants of the plan consist of too little parking, a huge amount of office space, and less open space then in the previous plan. When speaking about the parking, the response was along the lines of, if you don’t have enough parking, people won’t have cars (because they won’t be able to park). I strongly disagree with this. People who want cars will have them and parking will be a nightmare, as it is throughout much of the rest of the City.

The plan also requires over 350,000 square feet of office space to be mixed into the commercial and residential space. This was one of the biggest points of contention at the meeting. Not a single resident spoke in support of this concept. Several people asked why anyone would want to have their office on the North West side of Hoboken? They asked how they will get there (given that there is no public transportation to that area), and of course, where they would park (given the limited parking in the plan). I’ve heard people say that they would never want to live over office space. Would you?

The developers say that a mixed use project such as this, is neither build-able nor finance-able. An attorney at the meeting said that if developers don’t develop the land, the City would have to condemn it and take it from the owners by eminent domain. This of course would not be acceptable to the owners of the property and a lengthy and extremely costly litigation would ensue. This would realistically cost the City millions and take years (all the while you will have no parks, recreation space or community center). Additionally, if by any chance the City won that lawsuit, by law the City would have to pay “market rate” as if the property were developed. Can you even imagine how much 12 acres of prime developed real estate in Hoboken would cost? Where would the City get the money from? Even if they could get the property, they would have to then find someone to actually develop it. If the current owners can’t develop it, how do you think the City will find someone who can develop it?

Think about this – there is significant vacancy in the Hoboken Business Center and in the Monroe Center, two current office locations. Also, NJ Transit plans to build office space (on Observer) and the Rockfeller Group plans to build office space (uptown by Burlington Coat Factory). Neither of these plans are approved, but they are on the table. Both of these locations are much more easily accessible by public transportation and are not in the middle of a residential area. Given the likelihood that these other two spaces will be approved (at some level) for office space, why do we need more?

The bottom line is that Hoboken is short on parks and recreation space. Removing open space is in contradiction to the Master Plan. For years residents have been asking for a community pool. If this development is held up in litigation, it will be decades before we see a pool, additional soccer fields, tennis courts or a community center.

Again, What I am asking from you is to COME TO THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING AT 7pm on WEDNESDAY September 29th (at City Hall) and ask the City Council not to rush into sending the plan to the Planning Department. Ask them for a meeting to hear your input. I have spoken to a lot of families about what they would like to see in this area. Many have said some of what I mentioned above. A pool, tennis courts, soccer fields, a water park, dog run, play ground, and passive open space. Several of you said we need a new school! There is serious over crowding in several schools and many of you plan to stay for the long term which means more kids! I’m sure there are more good ideas that the City would benefit from hearing. Ask for the opportunity to give your input.

Please forward this to anyone you think is interested in making their voice heard. I hope to see you at the meeting tomorrow evening.

Thank you,

The HFA Project Play Team
Visit for updates and information.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a Reply