Amended Sacco, Stack bill would limit new development east of the Palisades Cliffs

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The amended “Palisade Cliffs Protection Act,” introduced by state Senators Nick Sacco (D-32) and Brian Stack (D-33), would significantly limit development east of the Palisades in Hudson and Bergen Counties.

Photo via Wikipedia.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“This bill would limit the height of any development below the cliffs east of Palisade Avenue in Hudson and Bergen counties. Under the bill, no development, inclusive of any mechanical structures on top, in that area could exceed 10 feet below the surface of that road or the Palisades cliff height, whichever is lower,” the bill statement says.

“This bill would protect the unique views enjoyed by residents who live in the historic neighborhoods above those cliffs, and preserve the views and topography features of the Palisades.”

Developments that have received approvals prior to the date the bill is potentially enacted would still to able to build.

Sacco and Stack, the two main North Hudson power brokers based out of North Bergen and Union City, respectively – where they also serve as mayors – rarely sponsor legislation together, but are clearly committed to this cause.

“The Palisades Cliffs Protection Act would permanently prevent development threats against a true natural wonder right in our backyard and would ensure that generations to come will be able to enjoy the natural beauty of the cliffs,” the two senators said in a joint statement.

“We believe that protecting this precious natural resource is of paramount importance and that this bill should be supported by environmentalists, those interested in historic preservation and anyone who shares our commitment to protecting this unique natural feature of Hudson and Bergen counties.”

They introduced an earlier version of this bill back on June 11th, which would have limited construction that could exceed 20 feet below the surface of that road. That bill was withdrawn on December 10th, the same day the updated version was presented.

The new version of the legislations is now also co-sponsored by state Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36), the deputy majority leader of the state Senate. He could not be reached at his office on Wednesday.

If signed into law, the proposal would significantly impact developments in Hoboken, Pegasus Partners LLC Managing Partner Hany Ahmed told HCV.

“I think it’s very unfortunate it’s short sighted to take the most valuable property between Fort Lee and Jersey City really just hurts the whole state’s economy,” he said.

” … To thwart that development to protect the views of a very select few doesn’t make sense: imagine trying to do this in New York City. It would be devastating, it would kill a lot of new businesses before they start, as well as stunting environmentally friendly housing stock and affordable housing.”

PegasusĀ is currently working on the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan, which initially drew a negative reaction from Stack and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop in April (more so Fulop than Stack), but neither publicly expressed concerns once the revamped project was approved in July.

Furthermore, Hoboken is the only municipality that has all of its properties below the cliffs, so projects such as the Hilton Hotel and the LCOR-developed rail yard redevelopment plan would also not be possible, Ahmed added.

Despite those concerns, he said that he remains confident that the elected officials involved will work through this situation.

According to a copy of the state legislature’s agenda, it does not have an upcoming committee vote scheduled.

In a statement, Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher came out against the legislation, exclaiming that Stack and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla need to do better for Hoboken and the 33rd Legislative District.

“Our state senator, who also happens to be Union City mayor, introduced a state law that screws Hoboken just to protect Union City views? And Hoboken Mayor Bhalla has no comment?,” she questioned.

“This law, if passed, would devastate Hoboken and our ability to lower taxes and to have a world class transit hub, more affordable housing, a community center, more open space and other needed city services. Senator/Mayor Stack needs to withdraw this bill and Mayor Bhalla needs to demand that he do so.”

The Hoboken mayor’s office declined to comment on the bill.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Stop development, and it will stop more affordable housing….This will just put pressure on landlords to find ways ( legal ways ) to kick out rent Controlled tenants and convert those buildings into new safe housing

      • Yes they do. People should care about affordable housing. The average income in Hoboken is $136k and slowly all the residents that made Hoboken what it is today are getting kicked out. Affordable housing should absolutely be a central argument in this discussion, and it can’t be contingent on TALLER BUILDINGS. Be creative.

  2. For once I’ll say – Kudos to Stack and Sacco on sponsoring this legislation and SHAME to all of those that claim this will somehow hurt residents on the North Hudson cliffs and in Hoboken. How dare they. These developments do not create nearly enough affordable housing to even bring that up, they likely have PILOT programs so they won’t even drive the revenue, so it’s only good for a few people: DEVELOPERS and the political sellouts they buy. Stop urbanizing this place more than it already is and start building transportation infrastructure to deal with the people who are already here!

    • You know what’s worse than “not nearly enough affordable housing?” Zero affordable housing. It’s easy for a fauxgressive who is housing secure to stand behind abstract principles, but the people who will live in those affordable apartments would not rather be out on the street or moving to the Poconos.

      As far as urbanizing this place: This is one of the few places in the United States where people can live without needing cars to get around. Having more people living near mass transit is the best way to reduce carbon emissions. Unless you’re going to ban people from having kids, the population is going to grow. Either make room for them in urban places, or have more people pushed out to carbon-intensive places like Orlando and Phoenix and the Poconos.

      • What are you even arguing in your incoherent tirade? You know for a fact we’re getting affordable housing in this development? What’s affordable to you? Because last I looked, it costs at least $33/hr minimum to have a decent standard of living in NJ and I’m sure it’s even higher in Hoboken, where many many people of color have been displaced with luxury development. I agree with your points on urbanization, but defending a project like this is not the way to do it. Build a better public transit infrastructure first, mitigate your environmental issues like combined sewage issues, then come back and propose something. Why are you defending these tall developments?

        Oh and don’t hide behind “real progressive”. I gave you my name, show me yours.

    • Given that Hudson County homeowners have seen prices skyrocket 1000% in the past 20 years while renters have gotten screwed by increasing rents, I think homeowners have been protected enough.

      This is government working for the interests of the 1% of luxury homeowners with enough money to buy a property on the cliffs.

      But it’s telling that a supposed “progressive” like Roger Quesada is allied with the wealthiest homeowners in Husdon County.

      • What? Are you sure you read the right comment, “Real Progressive”? How am I allying myself with “the wealthiest homeowners” by protecting the integrity of the character of the cliff communities? The only thing that should shock anyone that knows me is that I’m siding with Senator Nick Sacco on this issue. (WNY, Union City, North Bergen, etc)

        I 100% agree that renters need to be protected and up until 4 years ago, I was a renter all my life and even spent time homeless so don’t tell me about the struggle of renting. If you’re on the side of working class people who need affordable housing, I’m on your side!

  3. To all those fakes saying how great this is, dont come crying when there’s no money for The YMCA, The BOE and The Charter Schools
    No Hilton=No Money

    That’s okay the YMCA is a mess anyway.

    • Exactly. Clear as day that most of these “comments” come from people who have NO CLUE how affordable housing, give-backs and property taxes work yet have the most to say on the issue at hand. SMH

  4. This is really about hissy fitz fulop crying after spending 850,000 in upgrades on his house complete with a super ugly roofdeck, massive overhang patio and out of character height poor Steve must have gone crying to El Chapo Stack the Dictator.

  5. Hoboken has been carrying the county BURDEN of BLIGHTED dumps of Union City and North Bergen for years
    Without our money they would be even worse than they are now…

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