Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: 'This Bhalla Redevelopment plan needs a traffic study, feasibility analysis and shadow study'

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors – 
I hope you can join me tomorrow (Tuesday) night for the community meeting regarding the proposed Amendment to the Hoboken Rail Yards Redevelopment Plan - 7pm (~ til 830) at the Multi-Service Center, 124 Grand St.  And/or give me your feedback as this may be up for a City Council vote as earlier as this Wednesday.
You can find excruciating detail in the email I sent last week.  But in summary, these are the proposed changes:
  • Overall 2.4M SF original 2014 plan:
    • Broken into separate plans totaling the same square footage: 
    • Buildable plan today with two buildings close to the PATH totaling 1.1M square feet
    • Future development with 1.3M square feet to be developed in the future with no yet defined parameters.
  • Buildable Plan / 2 Buildings:
    • Site 1 - Closest to the PATH: office/retail, increasing 50% from 200’ to 300’ high and overall size by 32% to 605sf.
    • Site 2 - Base of Washington/Bloom: no longer office, now residential.  ~Same height at 330’ with 28 stories. (60’ taller than occupied height of W and 15’ higher overall).  Second highest residential tower is Sky Club at 17 stories.  Building now spans across both Washington and Bloomfield blocking sightlines (previous plan protected sightlines).  The previous building had multiple elevated setbacks, this building will be a large block.
  • Future Development Plan: 
    • Corner of Marin and Observer Highway – although developer includes this in the buildable plan today, this is misleading when the actual plan itself says 
“Development at this location, known as Site 3 (formerly Site 7), is dependent on finding a suitable alternative location for the NJ TRANSIT Maintenance of Way Building, other related rail operations equipment, and the final location of the proposed RBD flood wall. This is not anticipated to take place in the near future.”  
But even though they say this they are asking for approval now to increase building heights by 45% to 145’ (~15 stories).  
  • Future 944K of development.  No parameters established at all.  So will come back in the future to ask City for approvals at that time.
  • Positives: 
    • Reduced required parking ratios for residential from 1:1 to .25:1 which means less cars going into our most congested area.
    • Plan now requires improving Warrington plaza and Ferry Terminal.
Please tell me your thoughts...
About the height, switching from commercial to residential, or anything else you may think about this proposed plan.  
What do I think?
About the plan?  I think there are many changes I would recommend if we had more time.  Not the least of which is a traffic study, a feasibility analysis and a shadow study.  More importantly, I think it is shameful that a plan of this magnitude and such history was put to the City Council for a final vote without a full public process.  I am glad the City Council voted 7-1-1 to delay the final vote until at least after the meeting tomorrow night.  But I think you should demand from the Mayor and the City Council that they not let a vote happen on a project of this magnitude at the last meeting before an election.  The stakes are too high and we cannot afford to get this wrong for reasons that have nothing directly to do with your quality of life.  To say it bluntly, a 'no' vote on this prior to the election potentially garners an attack ad like the one Councilman Doyle received last year from a statewide labor union when he voted 'no' for the Hilton Hotel.  The same labor union who recently endorsed several Hoboken candidates in this election.  For clarity, I 100% support union labor, especially for large projects in Hoboken.  But I don't support bullying of any kind including bullying with the intent to impact the outcome of an election.  With three weeks left until Election Day, it is important to me that you have this on your radar.  It is never far from mine unfortunately as we countdown...  
As always, please forward to anyone you think may be interested in this.  And 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.  And MY WEBSITE is up and running where you can find the DONATION link to help with my re-election campaign and a lot of information including all of the newsletters I have sent out in 2018 and 2019.  Hope to see you tomorrow night and looking forward to hearing from you! 
TiffanieFisher
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
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