Monday, March 13, 2017

Councilwoman Fisher: Planning process on the North End

From the desk of Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher:


Dear Hoboken Neighbors - 

I am THRILLED to announce that the planning process for the North End of hoboken has commenced! Please take the time to respond to this important survey to collect your thoughts on plans for the North End!  And please forward this email to your neighbors as well because more voices are better.

The ultimate goal of this process, which will involve future public hearings as well, is to create a comprehensive plan and related zoning updates for the entire North End area to reflect the highest and best use for our City.

I am a member of the Northern Redevelopment Subcommittee (along with Councilmembers Giattino, Cunningham and Bhalla) and have been working with the Administration on this important project. Real estate decisions are permanent - once a project is approved, it cannot be un-approved. As you may have heard me say, we are "one zoning board application (if approved) away" from missing this opportunity to plan something great for our North End. We have one time to get this right for our community. And the time is now. So please take the time to participate and provide your feedback!

For those unaware, currently the area is zoned I-1 (with 2, I-1(w) orphan lots). I-1 zoning generally permits industrial and office (and related) uses with a height limitation of approximately 80 feet. I do not believe anyone wants to see large industrial complexes built here - correct me if you feel differently. That being said, many people have also indicated that they would also not like to see an excessive amount of residential be built either because further increases in population bring further crowding and taxing of our municipal services.

Recently we have not seen any zoning applications for industrial complexes. So far the majority of the applications to the zoning board have included significant residential components which require use variances (which is the most difficult variance to get). And we see this because residential development in Hoboken carries the best reward / risk ratio for developers. Unfortunately, due to our land constraints, it is the opposite for the City - the costs of increased residential are high, without as many offsetting benefits.

Things I would like you to consider as you read and respond to this survey:
  • Economic development depends on a population that supports its local businesses. Think about how downtown Hoboken thrives vs. uptown Hoboken - uptown Hoboken needs more daytime population to patron our restaurants and shop at our stores. 
  • Our transportation modes in Hoboken are already at capacity, especially during commuting hours - imagine how long your bus or ferry line will be with more people commuting alongside you in the same direction if we see a significant increase in residential development. 
  • The North End is currently the only area that does not yet have a public transportation terminal of any sort; however it does have a current (light rail) and future (gateway tunnel) train line that overlap in the northern end of this area, and these train lines further connect to NYC, the Ferry and that Path station.    
  • We have already seen a 60% increase in Kindergarten and 1st graders in the past 4 years - the limits of our free pre-k 3 and pre-k 4 programs, our schools and our field space for the various recreational activities for children are all being tested with rising population. 
  • Our public high school was built in 1962. Our amazing Superintendent Dr. Johnson has said she wants Hoboken to be a model Urban School District and a strong public school district is the foundation to a strong community. At some point we need to have a model urban building for our high school, but land is very scarce and options are limited. 
  • We have the best located land in NJ with multiple, current and future public transportation access points; and we have a diverse labor pool with a range of education and skills. This area is attractive to employers as evidenced by Samsung's previous interest in moving its headquarters to Hoboken as well as Hilton Hotels interest in coming here; this supports the financial feasibility of building non-residential. 
  • Non-residential uses contribute to our tax base without using as much of our municipal services. So more dollars in than dollars out which will help keep taxes low. 
  • Non-residential uses offer more job opportunities to our diverse, local population. Imagine if your commute was just a few short blocks and required no public forms of transportation... ahh the dream...

So with this, please take the time to do your part in making positive and important changes to our community!

Tiffanie Fisher
Hoboken 2nd Ward City Councilwoman 



Engage. Inform. Advocate 
"More Voices are Better"