Residents voice concerns for Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan at public meeting

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Residents voiced their concerns, which included traffic issues and overdevelopment in the city, to the city council about the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan at Wednesday’s special public meeting at city hall. 

Hoboken Yard

By Katherine Guest/Hudson County View

Roughly 50 residents who attended the meeting and most who took the microphone expressed their displeasure about the City Council’s inability to reject the plan. A common theme throughout the night was the height of the proposed buildings, 277 feet being the height of one of the two office buildings, and 330 feet being the other.

“Jersey City made a conscious effort to go with tall buildings in the llower Jersey City,” said Patricia Samperi, a member of the Hoboken Rail Yard Task Force, referencing Pavonia Newport. “And that’s fine, but now it seems to be encroaching here.”

“What about the next project that comes along? …It doesn’t seem like we’re really holding it to 25 [stories] and that’s it.”

Councilman David Mello pledged leading up to the 2009 election to shoot down developments exceeding 12 stories high in the Hoboken Yards region. With LEED Gold incentives, the Hoboken Yard development will reach 24 stories high—which would make it the tallest building constructed in Hoboken.

During the Dec. 10 meeting, Mello suggested “the only way of feasibly reducing the height is by reducing the density” of the building for proportional reasons.

Traffic congestion along Observer Highway and within the NJ Path Station, and floods – Hurricane Sandy causing the most traumatic – was also on the residents’ scale of distress.

“The way it is now, the traffic situation has not yet been resolved. The Hoboken Yard plan is extraordinarily expensive,” said resident Mary Ondrejka.

“There’s no way that after a traffic study on Observer Highway, the city of Hoboken would conclude anything less than more traffic near the Path Station. Basically, the redevelopment plan is illogically written and there’s no way to correct the problem … We should care about the town aside from creating revenue.”

To alleviate traffic anxiety over the affect of nearly 950 new residents, a 1.90% resident increase from 2010, as well as 1.4 million square feet of newly built office space, several council members proposed a traffic study during traffic peak times.

There was no vote on the project at the meeting, which is expected to take place on Tuesday’s regularly scheduled Council Meeting at 7 p.m.

After the public’s comments, the City Council, as well as Joseph J. Maraziti, Jr., an attorney from Maraziti Falcon, LLP Attorneys at Law, reiterated that by not allowing NJ Transit to build 1.4 million square feet of development south of Observer Highway, the New Jersey Senate may vote to override ‘lack of action’ if litigation continues.

In a comparable occurrence, in 2009, State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-36) challenged Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s authority by supporting a bill that allows NJ Transit to do “whatever it wants” with the Hoboken Rail Yards, though Zimmer won that round.

The Hoboken Planning Board also recommended analyzing the traffic impacts on Hoboken residents and proper revisions.

“A detailed traffic impact analysis will be required as part of a Redevelopment Agreement to identify potential traffic impacts and necessary facility improvements related to any proposed new development within the Redevelopment Area,” it states on page 49 of the plan.

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