Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Massive Rail Yard Redevelopment vote halted until February 5th

In a surprising development, the vote anticipated tonight by a Special City Council meeting on the controversial Rail Yard redevelopment will not take place after all.

According to an email released earlier today, Councilman Mike DeFusco requested changes to the plan addressing the traffic impact in downtown Hoboken.

He submitted a complaint, however, over the lack of transparency in a holiday weekend notification of the pending vote by Mayor Ravi Bhalla noting his administration had done the exact same thing last year.

Public backlash erupted when Ravi Bhalla failed to notify the public of a pending vote on the massive redevelopment before retreating and providing short notice with a public meeting for comment by Hoboken residents.



City Council President Jen Giattino reportedly stated a pending date for a vote on the revised redevelopment is scheduled for February 5th.

Our colleague at Hudson County View reported further details the story at the link.


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Mayor's Office back to setting Hoboken up on massive redevelopment downtown

Here's the very late notice that comes only a day before the Wednesday night meeting where a City Council vote will be held on the controversial Hoboken Yard Redevelopment.

The warning has been sounded last years and years ago and local activists surrounding the decades-long battle over development are stunned at how this massive redevelopment is being shoveled at Hoboken residents.

There are some changes since the public backlash against Mayor Ravi Bhalla and the non-transparent efforts he attempted in passing the amendments. He would later point at and attempt to blame the council for his efforts with the well-connected statewide big construction special interests.

While a councilman, Ravi Bhalla's client was NJ Transit. This was pointed out as problematic here during the 2017 mayoral election. While conflicted from voting and stopped only by his colleagues, Ravi Bhalla's relationship obtaining the endorsement of other big construction special interests was a further warning sign. Those statewide big construction special interests reared its head again backing Ravi Bhalla's failed council slate last November.

Enough of the Hoboken public responded at the polls and late last year to stymie these big construction efforts and see some changes, albeit limited in their scope and permanence.

Among the current changes in the redevelopment:

A "starting point" 200-foot tower at the base of Hudson Street downtown pegged at 13 stories.
An alternative 300-foot tower is connected to unstated community improvements.

It's unclear what community offerings would merit consideration for the 300-foot tower.

A second downtown tower, pegged at 330 feet is slated for commercial converting from residential. This is a major change in line with the previous administration's focus on seeing more commercial and less residential especially in business-friendly areas near the Lackawanna Terminal.

In addition, this site proposes 269 parking spaces. There's no question this will severely impact Hoboken's quality of life and wreak havoc on traffic with the limited artery of movement in and out of downtown. Although a transit and traffic study was raised in the City Council, there's been no effort to conduct an impact study on Hoboken.

The clock is running out, as planned and Hoboken is not the primary beneficiary.

See more here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/iavmhs7admti6t0/200115_Hoboken-Yard-Redevelopment-Plan-Amendment_For%20SC%20Review.pdf?dl=0



Agency Logo
Monday January 20, 2020, 5:00 PM

City of Hoboken, NJ

Community: Special City Council meeting on Wednesday regarding proposed amendment to Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan

Dear Horsey,

The Hoboken City Council will host a Special City Council meeting on Wednesday, January 22 at 7:00 pm to consider an amendment to the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan. If the amendment is adopted on first reading, it will be considered on second reading at the next regularly scheduled City Council meeting.

The Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan, which was originally adopted by the Hoboken City Council in 2014, provided a plan vision and framework for transit-oriented development in the area adjacent to the New Jersey Transit Rail Yard. The proposed amendment recognizes the proposed location of the Rebuild by Design flood protection structure, which will lie within the redevelopment area. The proposed amendment, which provides for less overall development as compared to the 2014 plan, can be found in draft format by clicking here.

City Council President Jen Giattino calls for public meeting on the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan on Wednesday night




Monday, January 20, 2020

MLK Day

              






Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: 'Uptown mugging'

Official release:

 
Dear friends and neighbors,  
 
A number of you have reached out to me about the frightening incident that happened last night.  If you were not aware, one of our neighbors was mugged while walking on the 1200 block of Bloomfield St. at approximately 9:06 pm last night.  There were two attackers who sprayed her with pepper spray and then stole her back pack.  She was taken to the hospital and released.
 
I have been in contact with Chief Ferrante today about this and he has assured me that Hoboken PD are using every possible resource available to them to find the culprits.  If you think you know anything – for example, if you have a security camera that may cover any of the sidewalks in the areas/blocks surrounding the incident (the east side of Bloomfield, mid block), please call/email any of the following (all callers may remain anonymous):
  • General police number 201-420-2100
This is the official description of the incident:  
 
“At about 9:06 PM, a female was robbed of her back pack. The incident occurred on Bloomfield Street between 12th and 13th Street. There were two male actors involved. One actor was wearing black down winter jacket, black pants with a white stripe down the side, and white sneakers. The second actor was wearing a black hooded sweat shirt, black winter jacket, black pants, and black sneakers. One of the actors sprayed the victim in the face with some type of pepper spray. After being sprayed, the same actor grabbed the victim’s back pack and forcefully pulls it away from her. The actors were last seen fleeing southbound from the area. “
 
The questions you asked me today were mainly about getting more of an uptown police presence including a walking patrol.  Please note that I have been advocating and speaking with Chief Ferrante about this for the past four years in the context of package theft, intersections and pedestrian safety, and of course e-Scooters.  We did see the Sidewalk Patrol pilot program this summer and more traffic presence across the second ward which were a direct result of these discussions.  That being said, in my discussions with the Chief he has pointed to his resource constraints - the 34% decline in police since 2009 – as the primary reason we do not see more police city wide.  And that how his resources have been allocated have driven the historic, low crime rates.  
  
Does that give you enough comfort today?  Of course not.  We are all hoping this is an isolated event, and one where the culprits will be caught ASAP.   Chief Ferrante and his team are very focused on finding the assailants and ensuring we do not have to face this again.  
 
 
Please know that I will be continuing to advocate for more police resources in the 2nd ward as I always have.  And please keep our neighbor in your thoughts as she heals from this traumatic event.  As always, please forward to anyone you think may be interested in receiving this.  Feel free to email me at hoboken2nd@gmail.com or call me at 201/208-1674 to discuss what you have read or anything else that is important to you.  
 
TiffanieFisher
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
 
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”

Saturday, January 18, 2020

One woman's real march for freedom


The story of real oppression and a Muslim American shares hers.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

SNEAKY LAME DUCK CONDO BAN HURTS SMALL HOMEOWNERS – ESPECIALLY SENIORS – AND LIMITS TAX COLLECTION

Official release:

            JERSEY CITY, NJ – A last-minute addition to the “lame duck” legislative session – introduced on Wednesday – will ban condominium conversion in Hudson County, shattering the values of 2 and 3 family homes.
            The bill (S-2957), which poses as a means of preserving affordable housing, will never achieve its objective according to Joseph Hottendorf, Executive Vice President of the Liberty Board of Realtors (see filmed interview at www.njresidentsfirst.com).   
            The Liberty Board of Realtors studied recent conversion activity in the Jersey City Heights, finding that 135-160 two- and three-family properties were converted over the last three years when values increased more than 40% and generated an additional $2 million each year when properties became owned by residents and were reassessed.
            The Jersey City Property Owners Association reviewed the data and included it in a recent ad campaign to alert legislators and residents that the law will not accomplish its intentions and have devastating impacts, especially to seniors who planning on using the value of their homes to fund their retirements.  
            “This bill is a prime example of the stench emanated by Lame Ducks,” says Ron Simoncini, Executive Director of JCPOA. “This is a mess in 5 different ways, including that it deprives every Hudson County municipality of home rule over its property rights.  It is unconscionable that we have not heard from one local mayor or council on this bill – they probably don’t even realize they just lost home rule.
            “The only saving grace is that the bill is probably unconstitutional because in the author’s zeal to quash capitalism, they neglected to recognize that this law violates equal protection statutes.”
            Other negative impacts include accelerating the decay of housing stock by freezing values, leaving no incentive to upgrade or maintain properties – especially if the properties are rent-controlled.    
            “It is embarrassing that the Legislature itself failed to look hard enough at this to realize that its impacts are contrary to its intentions.  And they don’t even see that this is not a Hudson County-centric issue:  when people who need affordable housing can’t find it in Hudson, they are going to migrate elsewhere, bringing the social impacts and obligations to services with them.  So, if Legislators thought was “we should support this out of courtesy to its Hudson County origins,” they just bought Hudson County’s problems.”

Councilman Ruben Ramos: "Important Upcoming Meetings for Fourth Ward"

Official release:

 
 
Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!  A few community meetings have been scheduled that I hope you will attend:  
  • First meeting will be held on January 30th in the basement conference room in City Hall.  Purpose of this meeting is to discuss the potential future uses of the PSE&G Marshall Street substation.  
  • Second meeting is Coffee with a Cop with Chief Ferrante and members of the Hoboken Police Department.  This will be held February 2nd at Northern Soul from 9-10:30 am and will be an open discussion to discuss Hoboken Police Department initiatives to keep our city safe.
 
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns!  Thanks! 
 
 
Councilman Ruben Ramos
Hoboken City Council, 4th Ward
Real Leadership for a Better Hoboken