Wednesday, January 9, 2019

City of Hoboken defeated in appeal against Monarch Towers

Appellate ruling is the last in series of defeats against the Barry Brothers' Monarch Towers

It's the last legal stand and the City of Hoboken with the Hudson Tea Building went down fighting as the NJ Appellate ruled in favor of Shipyard Associates, re: the Barry brothers, Ironstate Development.

The defeat appeared inevitable with what the Court referenced about the failure of the Hoboken Planning Board to properly act.

"...in Shipyard II we also affirmed the trial court's decision that the planning board's unlawful refusal to hear Shipyard's application resulted in automatic approval of the preliminary and final subdivision application for the new high-rises."

Who is responsible for that bonehead decision?

Renee Steinhagen who opposed Shipyard in the appeal offered her take on the outcome writing, "Very disappointing decision. The court's dismissive and cavalier attitude toward the City's authority to enforce anti-flood safety ordinances enacted in response to Hurricane Sandy is equally puzzling as it is disturbing. The lack of serious consideration of significant legal issues, both statutory and common law, that must be understood in the context of the public's interest calls for the Supreme Court's supervision of the appellate division in face of powerful development interests."

The last in a series of years-long legal rulings pave the way for two towers to be built in northeast Hoboken. The desirability of doing so, however, is an entirely different matter. The sunk costs to build at the junction on the water are enormous. Word on the street of discussions going on behind closed doors between the Barry brothers and Mayor Ravi Bhalla paints a different picture as they look to trade (again) on the uptown parcel of land to build bigger (and denser) elsewhere in the Mile Square City.

"We can do business with Ravi," is the rumored oft-heard refrain from the Barry's (unlike the intractable former mayor Dawn Zimmer.)

Ravi Bhalla held a series of meetings late last year looking to gauge the reaction of residents in the west side (third ward) and downtown west Hoboken about the Barry's building bigger and denser in their neighborhoods. The third ward residents already facing further traffic jams and quality of life dilemmas with the monstrous Bijou Project at 8th and Jackson were particularly irate.

Stay tuned as the horse-trading is going to heat up. And keep an eye on those ELEC reports!

The complete legal decision issued yesterday: