The Hoboken City Council reversed course and approved evaluating a redevelopment area near the police station on a second try last night after voting it down last month.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos asked for an explanation from Community Development Director Chris Brown, who noted they added the Bank of America next to the police staton, located at 106 Hudson St.
“There was a question as to why we didn’t include the bank site into the scope, the new scope includes the bank site, and that also reflects a $2,000 increase from the previous scope to do the additional work,” Brown stated.
“That’s the only change, adding that one site?” Ramos asked, to which Brown affirmed it was.
6th Ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino then asked if they could have brought it back exactly the same as last time, which was $33,000 contract to Brightview Engineering to prepare a “scattered site redevelopment designation.”
Brown said in April that included municipal lots B, G, and D, as well as the police station, and 5 Marineview Plaza.
“What made you decide to bring it back? I know I made the recommendation,” she said.
“It was a good recommendation, I liked the recommendation. The reason for the previous area was police station: public, the garages: public, we didn’t have the conversation about including private property into the area,” Brown replied.
“Thank you, I appreciate that. I’m still a no, too,” Giattino responded.
Ramos also said he was going to stick to his guns on this one, saying this location is good for the police station since it’s not in a flood zone and is close to the PATH station.
Council President Mike Russo, who also voted no last time, said he had come around.
“I know that there’s been some conversations about potentially doing exactly that. I think you made the suggestion at the last meeting about moving the site onto what is now currently the parking lot and kind of doing a demolition,” he explained.
“And there has been some internal discussion about that, again, I don’t know if that comes to fruition, but I think the study actually helps us figure that out.
1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco credited former Mayor Dawn Zimmer for slowing development projects down and ensuring the city got the most bang for their buck, advocating for getting back to that approach.
“I think that development in this city … never really served the city. Development, infrastructure keeps on exploding: look at the 4th Ward today with no fault of Councilman Ramos’ but another water main break. We need to look out for infrastructure, we need to be having conversations on holistic planning,” he asserted.
“And although this does take a step to do that, my concern is that in the 1st Ward, which I’m elected to represent, a bulk, if not all, of these properties are in the 1st Ward … I can’t support this because my neighbors would literally throw something through my bedroom window.”
He also asked for the vote to be postponed, to no avail.
The resolution was approved 5-4, with De Fusco, Fisher, Giattino, and Ramos voting no. Last month, the measure failed 6-2 with only 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen and Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour voting yes and DeFusco absent.
This time around, Russo, along with Councilmen-at-Large Joe Quintero and Jim Doyle, also voted yes.
Ramos last month decried that the “fix was in” to try and move the proposed municipal complex forward, a roughly $192.5 million endeavor, which would house the council, municipal court, police and fire departments, office of emergency management, along with several potential community amenities.
The development is planned for 1501 Adams St., the Poggi Press site owned by Charles Poggi, but cannot happen without six affirmative votes for a bonding ordinance that was removed from the agenda at their last meeting.
Editor’s note: News Correspondent Daniel Ulloa contributed to this report.