Jersey City Planning Board approves amended Morris Canal Manor plan, 1st phase of SciTech Scity

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The Jersey City Planning Board approved an amended 17-story Morris Canal Manor Plan about five months after being voided by a judge, as well as the first phase of the SciTech Scity project that has an overall projected cost of $300 million.

A rendering of SciTech Scity’s Frank J. Guarini Innovation Campus. Screenshot via Zoom.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The hearing last for six hours and the hearing on SciTech Scity was relatively brief and cleared by a vote of 4-1, with Commissioner Jeffrey Allen being the sole no vote after some residents complained about the lack of diversity on the Liberty Science Center board.

They also expressed dismay over the fact that the 30-acre project near Liberty State Park would not have any branding to reflect it’s location in Ward F’s Bergen Lafayette.

” … We enforce the state municipal land use law. The name on the side of the building the law doesn’t care about, and that’s a problem with the system,” Planning Board Chair Christopher Langston said before voting yes.

The first component is an eight-story office building called “Edgeworks,” a 120,000 square foot-space focused on STEM businesses that will include Research & Development labs, offices, restaurants, and a conference center.

Ward F Councilman-elect Frank “Educational” Gilmore held a community meeting on the SciTech and MCM projects on Monday, where he and community members spoke out against both developments.

While Gilmore asked MCM developer Lou Mont to push the planning board hearing until next year, he declined to do so since he’d held various community meetings and the project has already been delayed several times.

The 361-unit high rise would be located at 417 Communipaw Ave. and would include a rec center, park and retail space, parking spots, and five percent affordable housing.

Planning Board Counsel Santo Alampi declined to allow members of the Morris Canal Community Development Corporation to speak, since Bill Matsikoudis, counsel to the MCCDC who took the project to court, could speak on their behalf.

“We are not going to allow all the individuals to get up, they have you and you are going to do all the cross-examining, questioning and make whatever comments you wish to make,” Alampi told Matsikoudis, upsetting many on the call.

As he has said previously, City Supervising Planner Matthew Ward testified that the parameters of the plan are consistent with the Master Plan.

During cross examination, Matsikoudis contended that the project “is completely out of character with this neighborhood” and would therefore not be consistent with the Master Plan.

The measure passed unanimously (5-0), with Langston stating it was “crystal clear” that the MCM project is consistent with city guidelines and rules.