The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says that the public needs to be more involved with the future of Hoboken’s Union Dry Dock, calling for increased scrutiny that includes a public hearing.
“The permit applicant has stated … that ten (10) ferry vessels would work from the relocated ferry maintenance and support facility on a daily basis, and that the morning and evening rush hours would generate a total of approximately 40 ferry vessel trips in and out of the maintenance and support facility,” wrote Stephen Ryba, the chief of the U.S. Army Corps regulatory branch, in an April 26th letter.
“The applicant has additionally stated in their permit application submittal that ferry vessel diesel fueling activities would occur from a diesel fuel truck in an upland area at the existing bulkhead.”
According to Ryba’s letter, spill prevention equipment would also be a part of the potential project, which would not move forward until after the USCOE designates a public hearing.
They will also conduct a study to see if more suitable locations exist for New York Waterway to host their ferry refueling and docking station.
“This is great news for Hoboken. We have been advocating for an open and transparent process, so the voices of residents are heard and taken into account,” Mayor Ravi Bhalla said in a statement.
“I am grateful that the Army Corps of Engineers will take into consideration public input, including the well documented public detriments of the proposed use. This is a great step towards a regional solution that considers all legitimate interests.”
Last month, Hoboken officials, residents and activists alike gathered at Union Dry Dock to protest the site being taken over by NY Waterway.
City officials, including Bhalla, have repeatedly expressed that they want the waterfront property to become the final piece of a contiguous walkway.
Meanwhile, NY Waterway has said they will have to leave their Weehawken facility headquarters by June 1st and there are no other viable alternatives besides Union Dry Dock.
If they were to move to Hoboken, they would have to cover the costs to repair the existing pier structures, as well as “permanently-moor floating maintenance and repair barge vessels,” according to Ryba’s letter.
A spokesman for NY Waterway declined to comment.