Bayonne Planning Board approves 1,250-unit MOTBY project at special hearing on Election Day


The Bayonne Planning Board finally approved the 1,250-unit plan by Bayonne Urban Partners Renewal at the former Military Ocean Terminal (MOTBY) at yesterday’s Election Day special hearing.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

A preliminary part of the “Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor” was approved at last month’s planning board meeting where a May 10th hearing was scheduled for the bulk of the project.

Attorney Glenn Kienz explained they are seeking preliminary site approval for the entire site and final approval for phase I, the first of three.

Architect Ralph Rosenberg explained the plan’s details for 1,250 units with retail space, consisting of an over 10,000 square-foot plan called Bayonne Bay East.

Rosenberg said they sought to create a viable walkable sustainable neighborhood that had access to the Hudson River walkway composed of different-sized residential buildings.

“It represents the full development of Bayonne East,” he said.

There will be five buildings ranging from five to 16 stories. Rosenberg said they sought to balance pedestrian and vehicular transportation in the design. In addition, the four- to five-story garages will have greenery surrounding them.

“It really addresses the public’s concern about five-story blank walls. It gives each parking garage each something that is not so static,” Rosenberg explained.

“I agree with the architect this is a solution, and I am pleased they used it,” City Planner Suzanne Mack said.

“The buildings fit into the envelopes the way the redevelopment plan was written,” added project engineer Josh Klein said.

He explained that Baker Street is on the west side of the project and that one new street would have to be created, while the garages would be built during the different phases.

“We’re providing ADA compliance throughout the development,” Klein added.

He explained there will be many trees as part of the plan that will be built next to a UPS facility.

“This development will not have an adverse impact on the site, including the community and the city of Bayonne,” he said.

“We think we have complied with everything Andy [Consulting Engineer Andrew Raichle] has talked about,” Kienz said, while Klein noted they provide proper infrastructure for the plans.

Raichle said the developer wanted an environmental assessment report waived because the area has been studied.

“We recommend that be granted,” he stated.

Mack noted the Historic Preservation Board has suggestions for the new street names that the council would have to approve and Kienz agreed.

“We will ensure throughout the development there will be adequate parking,” Klein said.

“You need to keep us in the loop about that,” Raichle replied

Additionally, Civil Engineer Matthew Seckler noted there is a proposed ferry and a shuttle to the light rail. Day cares and coffee shops are early suggestions to claim the retail space.

He also said it would generate economic development and expand housing opportunities as the redevelopment plans sought.

“This one is really nice. I’m really proud of this one,” Kienz said.

Planning Board Chair Karen Fiermonte noted the different stages of phases of the project.

“The applicant would need to come back for phase two and phase three. We need to see what happens with the different phases of traffic.”

The project was approved unanimously (5-0), with Mayor Jimmy Davis, Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, and Board of Education President Maria Valado, all also planning board commissioners, absent due to the election.

Davis called a clean sweep last night, while Ashe-Nadrowski said she was not ready to concede due to the possibility of a runoff.

Both she and Valado, who ran in the 3rd Ward, admitted that Davis running mate Councilman Gary La Pelusa bested them in that contest and offered him their congratulations.

Project developer Wasseem Boraie donated $25,000 to a the Government for the People, a PAC founded by former state Senator Ray Lesniak to aid Davis’ re-election.

The PAC went defunct after political consultant Sean Caddle, who was paid $2,500 from the entity, pleaded guilty to murder-for-hire.

Members of the Hudson County Building Trades Council had previously gathered at recent planning board and council meetings in favor of project since it would support union labor.

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