Hudson Street Alliance opposes Stevens’ proposed Gateway Complex

The following letter was submitted on behalf of the Hudson Street Alliance (HSA). MSV offers Stevens equal time to respond publicly here sending its reply for publication to
Dear Horsey & MSV readers,
In response to the article “Stevens
Gateway Hearing Postponed – For Now,” I would like to articulate the position
of the Hudson Street Alliance (HSA) on the Stevens’ proposed Gateway Complex.
Stevens is proposing to construct
two academic buildings on the northeast and southeast corners of Hudson and 6th
Streets.  They advertise the structures
as being “five stories.”  Since building
stories can vary and zoning requirements are stated in feet, it’s more accurate
to say that their proposed buildings will be 97 feet tall.  That exceeds the 40-foot zoning restriction
by 57 feet.  A skyway connecting the two oversized
structures will further block existing views for Hoboken residents, as well as
air and light.   

 One of the proposed structures
replaces a 36-car parking lot, yet no alternative for those spots is in the
plan. Nor is there any proposal to create the 120+ additional spots of parking that
are required under Hoboken zoning for the new buildings. Stevens has yet to
fulfill its commitment to provide parking for the Babbio Center or to complete
construction of the parking facility on Sinatra Drive, an eyesore in our
community for almost a decade.
Hudson Street is designated a
historical preservation district under the Hoboken Master Plan and we should ensure
that its historical integrity is preserved.  Stevens was quoted saying that it wants to
preserve the “sylvan” character of its campus. 
By pushing ill-fitting development onto the perimeter, Stevens shows a
disregard for the intrinsic character of the surrounding neighborhood. 
When Stevens brought this proposal
to the Hoboken Historic Preservation Commission on September 8, several residents
voiced concerns about the number of height, lot coverage, density and parking variances
Stevens needed to gain approval.  Over 200
Hoboken residents have now signed the HSA petition opposing the Gateway Plan as
it stands.
We are right to be cautious and
wary of Stevens’ plan for expansion.  Fourteen
years ago, Stevens proposed relocating their physical plant from Sinatra Drive
to Hudson and 8th Street.  The
local residents rallied to protest this action, personally covering legal fees
of a grueling 18-month-long battle. The zoning laws from which Stevens is now
seeking variances are the very ones that were subsequently adopted to protect
the residential and historic character of this area and prevent future
inappropriate development by Stevens.  
What’s the bigger picture? Stevens
is planning to double its enrollment of undergraduate students (to ~6,000) in
the next five years.  Already they struggle
to find sufficient housing and academic facilities.  What will be the impact of their ambitious
growth plan on the greater Hoboken community? Stevens has not revealed their master
plan to address their long-term facility needs. 
HSA is not opposed to all
development by Stevens.  We only expect
them to reasonably abide by zoning requirements, respect their neighbors’
quality of life and preserve the historic character of our community.  What does the future hold if we do not insist
on Stevens’ compliance with zoning requirements, the same ones that all the
rest of us are bound by?   

Adrienne Choma
Hudson Street Alliance

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