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Hoboken Awarded $451,000 Grant for Newark Street Safety Improvement Project

The City of Hoboken has been awarded a $451,000 Transportation Alternatives Program grant for the Newark Street safety improvement project.

In addition to a new All-Way Stop sign recently installed at Grand Street, the project includes curb extensions at corners to reduce pedestrian crossing distances and vehicle turning speeds and enhance visibility at conflict points, the addition of loading zones to accommodate deliveries, additional crosswalks including a mid-block crosswalk with a pedestrian refuge island between Jefferson Street and Adams Street, a physically separated eastbound bike lane along the south side of the street, and Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB) signs to enhance the frequency of drivers stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks.

Thank you to the NJDOT and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and all of the residents and community groups who wrote letters of support for the grant application.

The full concept plan can be viewed at: http://www.hobokennj.gov/docs/transportation/Newark-Street-Concept-Plan.pdf.

Update on Neumann Leathers Redevelopment Plan

At Wednesday night’s City Council Subcommittee meeting on the Neumann Leathers Rehabilitation Area, Subcommittee members reached consensus on an architectural design solution for the project that would not require a significant amendment to the Neumann Leathers Redevelopment Plan. The Subcommittee will be making its recommendation to the full Council during new business at the July 5th City Council meeting.

City Council Subcommittee members, including Chair Dave Mello, Councilman Doyle, Councilman Defusco, and Councilman Ramos met to discuss a series of concepts for the redevelopment of the Neumann Leathers Rehabilitation Area, and the comments received by local residents and businesses that expressed their concerns and preferences with regards to the concepts.  At issue for the Subcommittee was whether the City should consider a substantial amendment to the Neumann Leathers Redevelopment Plan that would allow some residential development to be located on the easterly portion of the site, whereas the Redevelopment Plan requires that all residential be located along the westerly side of the site, separated from the industrial arts uses. The prospective redeveloper (and property owner) of the subject Neumann Leathers properties is working with local architect, John Nastasi of Nastasi Architects, who prepared the development concepts now under consideration.  The property owner, Mr. Nastasi and counsel attended the Subcommittee meeting, as well.

At the meeting, Mr. Nastasi presented an alternative that would make some architectural changes to the design of the “Revision 3” concept. The changes would keep the residential building entirely on the westerly side of the site, as required by the Redevelopment Plan, but would “re-shape” and narrow the upper stories of this building in order to minimize the visual impact to the residents at the adjacent 415 Newark Street building, and to open up the eastward view corridor.

Subcommittee members were pleased with this consensus concept and feel that it can help address the neighbors’ concerns, while keeping intact the intent of the Redevelopment Plan to maintain historic buildings, provide public plaza/courtyard space, and retain the light industrial uses. The consensus concept changes to Revision 3 proposed by Mr. Nastasi are included below and will be shared by the Subcommittee Chair David Mello during new business at the July 5th City Council meeting.

The Administration and Subcommittee would like to thank everyone who took the time to voice their concerns, which greatly assisted in reaching this consensus concept.

Background:

In a presentation given by City Planning staff at the previous City Council meeting on June 21st, a number of Nastasi’s concepts were shown to the public and the entire City Council.   The concepts were narrowed down to the three (3) scenarios that would not demolish any of the existing Neumann Leathers buildings that the Redevelopment Plan requires to be retained and rehabilitated.  Preserving these historic buildings, and allowing the successful continuation of the industrial arts uses within them, are two major goals of the Redevelopment Plan, and are top priorities for the Administration.  After the presentation, Hoboken citizens were asked to email the Subcommittee members with their comments and preferences for the three concepts.

Paving and Striping Work Scheduled for Saturday, July 1st in Southwest Hoboken

Crews are scheduled to conduct milling, paving, and striping work on Saturday, July 1st on various roads in Southwest Hoboken as part of the Southwest Traffic Circulation Plan.

Construction will require the closure of streets including New York Avenue, Observer Highway, Jackson Street, and Harrison Street. Work will also take place on Jersey Avenue and Newark Street, however Jersey Avenue and Newark Street are expected to remain open to traffic. In order to minimize traffic disruptions, work has been scheduled to take place in Hoboken on Saturday, July 1st from 8:30am until the work is complete at approximately 4:00pm.

The work will include the milling, paving, and striping of the intersections of Jackson Street and Observer Highway and Harrison Street and Observer Highway as well as Jackson Street from Observer Highway to Paterson Ave and Observer Highway from Harrison Avenue to the Jersey City boundary. In addition, striping work will take place on Jersey Avenue and Newark Street from 18th Street to Jackson Street as well as on Jackson Street from Newark Street to Paterson Avenue.

The City of Hoboken is coordinating the project with Jersey City. The portion of the work in Jersey City on Jersey Avenue will commence at 6:00 a.m. and is expected to be completed by 9:00 a.m. The striping work on Jersey Avenue is not anticipated to require closures.

To coincide with the planned repaving and striping, the City of Hoboken has begun installing the poles and signal heads for two new traffic signals at Jackson Street and Observer Highway and Harrison Street and Observer Highway. The work is expected to last a few weeks, weather permitting.

City Council Seeks Additional Input on Neumann Leathers Plan Concepts

The City Council meeting on Wednesday, June 21st included a presentation, public comment, and Council discussion on various concepts for the Neumann Leathers Redevelopment Plan. The presentation slides can be viewed at: www.hobokennj.gov/docs/communitydev/Neumann-Leathers-Council-Presentation.pdf.

The Hoboken City Council Community Development South Subcommittee will be meeting next week to discuss the Neumann Leathers Redevelopment Plan and is requesting additional public comments and preferences on concept alternatives for the project.

Members of the public are invited to review the three concepts under consideration and provide their feedback to the members of the subcommittee. The subcommittee has requested that feedback be provided via email by Sunday, June 25th:

Community Development South Sub-committee
Councilman David Mello (chair): melloforhoboken@gmail.com
Councilman Ruben Ramos: councilmanramos4@gmail.com
Councilman James Doyle: jimdoylehoboken@gmail.com
Councilman Michael DeFusco: mdefusco@hobokennj.gov

The three concepts are:


“Official Submission – Revision 3” (Latest Official Submission to the City): This is the latest proposal officially submitted to the City by the property owner, as part of the formal application process to be designated redeveloper.  This option would position the residential portion of the development consistent with the adopted Redevelopment Plan and meets the goals of separating the residential and light industrial areas and providing public open space. This submission was prepared by the applicant to respond to the City’s concerns about preserving the existing historic Neumann Leathers buildings and is consistent with the major components of the Redevelopment Plan.

(click image to view full size)


“Residential East” (Not officially submitted to the City): This concept was recently prepared by the property owner’s architect (March 2017) to try to respond to residents’ concerns as to the location of the residential uses while also preserving the existing Neumann Leathers buildings. This option would include a separate, 18-story residential building within the commercial/light industrial building area. This option would also reduce the amount of public open space and would require redevelopment plan amendments.

(click image to view full size)


“Option C – Historic Building Preserved” (Not officially submitted to the City): This concept was most recently prepared by the property owner’s architect (June 2017) to try to respond to residents’ concerns as to the location of the residential uses, while also preserving the existing Neumann Leathers buildings. One residential building would be built to extend over the existing historic Neumann Leathers building, and a separate residential building would be constructed in the eastern portion of the site, so that it is mixed in with the existing commercial/light industrial buildings. This option would also reduce the amount of public open space and would require redevelopment plan amendments.

(click image to view full size)


“I thank all of the residents who came out to last night’s Council meeting and invite our community to provide additional feedback to the Council subcommittee as they continue this discussion and work to reach consensus on a path forward,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

City Seeks Community Input on Neumann Leathers Alternative Concepts

Next week’s City Council meeting will include a brief presentation on potential development options for the Neumann Leathers project.  The following provides an overview of the options under consideration. Members of the community are invited to review the options, attend the June 21st Council meeting, and voice their views.  The City Council will be asked to take a vote to express its views on a preferred option at the July 5th City Council meeting.  Based on this guidance, the City will then move forward with possibly amending the Redevelopment Plan, if needed, and then negotiating a redevelopment agreement. All of the possible alternatives included below have the same level of residential development, but reconfigure the development in different ways.

Background: The City Council passed the Neumann Leathers Redevelopment Plan in December 2015. The goals of the plan included preserving the historic buildings of Neumann Leathers, preserving the existing light manufacturing and arts businesses that are currently operating in Neumann Leathers, and creating new public spaces. Some residential density was included in the plan to achieve these goals. The plan authorized by the Council specifically separated residential from light industrial uses to prevent potential conflicts between new residents and the existing light industrial operations.

Mayor Zimmer is seeking to find consensus in order to move forward and negotiate a redevelopment agreement that can be supported by the community, the City Council and the property owner. The redevelopment agreement is negotiated based on the framework established by the approved plan, however, amendments to the plan can be considered.

While there was an extensive community process to finalize the approved plan, residents at 415 Newark Street next to the development have concerns about the location of the residential element of the plan. Seeking to address these concerns, the property owner’s architect met with some residents and showed them several concepts that shift some of the residential density to the east, away from their building. These concepts would also demolish significant Neumann Leathers buildings and eliminate some of the public open space required by the Redevelopment Plan.

“A plan that would demolish significant Neumann Leathers buildings is not an option that I could support, however, residents in the neighborhood have expressed concerns about the adopted redevelopment plan, and we want to get input from the community and Council to reach consensus on a preferred direction,” said Mayor Zimmer. “Based on the results of a City Council vote, the Administration will then work with the Council to possibly amend the plan and then negotiate a redevelopment agreement to move forward with the project.”

The following options all contain the same 230 units of residential development, but have different layouts to address various concerns (This 230 total includes workforce and affordable housing units).

  1. “Official Submission – Revision 3” (Latest Official Submission to the City): This is the latest proposal officially submitted to the City by the property owner, as part of the formal application process to be designated redeveloper.  This option would position the residential portion of the development consistent with the adopted Redevelopment Plan and meets the goals of separating the residential and light industrial areas and providing public open space. This submission was prepared by the applicant to respond to the City’s concerns about preserving the existing historic Neumann Leathers buildings and is consistent with the major components of the Redevelopment Plan.

  1. “Neighbor Meeting – Options A, B, C &D” (Not officially submitted to the City): For reference only, the following concepts are shown. These concepts were presented to the 415 Newark Street residents by the project architect and would involve demolishing significant portions of the existing historic Neumann Leathers buildings and shifting a portion of the residential use to the easterly portion of the site, so that it is mixed in with the commercial/light industrial uses. These concepts would demolish existing buildings, reduce the amount of provided public open space* and require redevelopment plan amendments. Out of concern for protecting the historic buildings, these concepts are not supported by Mayor Zimmer and her Administration.

  1. “Residential East” (Not officially submitted to the City): This concept was recently prepared by the property owner’s architect (March 2017) to try to respond to residents’ concerns as to the location of the residential uses while also preserving the existing Neumann Leathers buildings. This option would include a separate, 18-story residential building within the commercial/light industrial building area. This option would also reduce the amount of public open space* and would require redevelopment plan amendments.

  1. “Option C – Historic Building Preserved” (Not officially submitted to the City): This concept was most recently prepared by the property owner’s architect (June 2017) to try to respond to residents’ concerns as to the location of the residential uses, while also preserving the existing Neumann Leathers buildings. One residential building would be built to extend over the existing historic Neumann Leathers building, and a separate residential building would be constructed in the eastern portion of the site, so that it is mixed in with the existing commercial/light industrial buildings.  This option would also reduce the amount of public open space* and would require redevelopment plan amendments.

* The adopted Redevelopment Plan includes a requirement for 40,000 square feet of public open space for public plazas and outdoor markets to be developed as a “series of rooms.” All of the applicant’s development concepts that show a separate residential building in the easterly portion of the site, mixed in with the existing commercial/light industrial buildings, would reduce the amount of public open space by at least 5,000 square feet in order to accommodate the residential building. This concept would require a redevelopment plan amendment.

Each concept will be presented in greater detail at the June 21st Council meeting.

“I hope residents can attend the meeting to let us know their preferred views,” added Mayor Zimmer. “My Administration looks forward to moving ahead on the Neumann Leathers project further informed by the views of the community and the City Council.”

Update on Southwest Park Expansion & Redevelopment Plan

The Hoboken City Council will hold a public hearing and final vote to authorize an appraisal and offer amount of $3,975,000 for the acquisition of approximately an acre of Block 10 to expand the Southwest Park and to adopt the Southwest Redevelopment Plan at the June 7th Council meeting. At a special meeting on May 24th, the Council unanimously voted to introduce both measures. The Hoboken Planning Board reviewed the redevelopment plan and determined that it was consistent with the Hoboken Master Plan.

“The final approval of the Block 10 appraisal will be an important step so we can continue negotiations to acquire the property to expand the Southwest Park,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “The redevelopment plan allows for the possibility for an even further expansion of the resiliency park, but since the plan is voluntary, it is critical that we make this acquisition to ensure sufficient open space for our growing Southwest neighborhood.”

Related Documents
View the plan to expand the Southwest Park through direct acquisition: www.hobokennj.gov/docs/parks/SW-Park-Expansion.pdf

View the Southwest Hoboken Redevelopment Plan:  www.hobokennj.gov/docs/communitydev/Draft-Southwest-Hoboken-Redevelopment-Plan-5-24-17.pdf

View the Southwest Hoboken Redevelopment Plan Presentation: www.hobokennj.gov/docs/council/5.24.17.Southwest.Hoboken.Redevelopment.Plan.Presentation.pdf

Update on Budget, Newark St Plan, Southwest Traffic Plan & Farmers Market

Municipal Budget Includes 1.25% Tax Cut
On Wednesday, May 17, the Hoboken City Council unanimously adopted the 2017 municipal budget which includes a 1.25% reduction in the municipal tax rate.

“I am proud that for the 7th year in a row, we have held the line on our municipal taxes while dramatically improving our credit rating and making investments in our infrastructure including open space, water mains, flood resiliency, energy, and roads,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Thank you to Business Administrator Stephen Marks, Finance Director Linda Landolfi and the entire finance team, and the City Council for working together on this budget.”

Newark Street Safety Improvement Project
The City Council also adopted the Newark Street safety improvement plan (View the plan: www.hobokennj.gov/newarkstreet/). In addition to the adopted plan, the City will be incorporating an All-Way Stop Sign at the corner of Newark Street and Grand Street, following a determination by Hudson County that a stop sign is warranted at the intersection.

Construction to Begin for New Signal for Southwest Traffic Plan
Starting on Monday, May 22nd, construction is expected to begin on the new traffic signal at Jackson Street and Observer Highway, one of the elements of the Southwest Traffic Improvement Plan (View the plan: www.hobokennj.gov/swcirculationplan/). Construction will take place Monday through Friday from approximately 9am to 3:30pm. Traffic will be maintained the majority of the time with the exception of lane closures necessary during 1 to 2 hour periods during approximately 3 days. Police will be on hand to direct traffic during closures and pedestrian detours will be provided.

New Farmers Market Location
This year the “Uptown” Thursday market and “Downtown” Tuesday market will join forces for the weekly Tuesday Hoboken Farmers Market located centrally at Church Square Park on Garden Street between 4th Street and 5th Street. The market will be open on Tuesdays from 2pm to 8pm from June 6th to November 21st. This year’s vendor will include Union Hill Farms, Melick’s Town Farm, Circle Brook Organic Farms, Pickle-icious, Dr. Pickle, Gina’s Bakery, JC Fish Stand, Naturalvert, Gourmet Fruits and Nuts, and Hoboken Farms.

The City has also been in discussions with NJ Transit and LCOR to activate Warrington Plaza with a temporary market. The City has provided LCOR with an agreement to activate the plaza, however LCOR has not yet been able to secure the necessary approvals from NJ Transit. LCOR is pursuing open the market in the summer of 2018 (View the letter from LCOR: www.hobokennj.gov/docs/communitydev/Letter-LCOR-Warrington-Plaza.pdf).

Hoboken Introduces Southwest Redevelopment Plan & Seeks to Acquire Land to Expand Southwest Park


The City of Hoboken is introducing the Southwest Hoboken Redevelopment Plan which envisions a vibrant mixed use urban neighborhood to live, work, and play centered around an expanded Southwest Park. The plan builds on existing uses such as industrial arts, art galleries, and co-working space, creates an environment with more open space and retail amenities, establishes a walkable neighborhood that is safer for all modes of transportation, and preserves and creates jobs. On a parallel track, the City will continue its efforts to acquire through direct purchase nearly an additional acre of property to expand the Southwest Park that is currently under construction.

At a special City Council meeting to be held on Wednesday, May 24 at 7:30pm following the Memorial Day parade, the Council will vote on introducing the Southwest Redevelopment Plan and on authorizing an offer to be made for acquisition of Block 10, Lots 1-7, 30-36 based on an appraisal of the property.

“Like every other neighborhood, the residents of Southwest Hoboken deserve a decent-sized park as soon as possible, which is why we are trying to directly purchase a second parcel of land that is not connected to or dependent on redevelopment,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “After the direct acquisition of the southern portion of Block 10 takes place and the voluntary implementation of the redevelopment plan is completed, Southwest Hoboken will have a 3.5-acre park similar in size to Church Square Park with retail and other amenities, creating a vibrant neighborhood. The residential density in the plan is no greater than a typical Hoboken neighborhood, especially given the concerns about traffic circulation in the southwest. I thank the Council Community Development Sub-committee Chair David Mello and all of the members of the committee for their hard work creating this plan.”

Permitted uses in the redevelopment plan include low-density mixed-use (4 stories residential over ground floor retail), specialized hotel and co-working office space, urban manufacturing/industrial, indoor recreation, microbreweries, neighborhood commercial/retail, and artist studios and galleries. The plan requires that 10% of the total residential units be affordable housing units. The redevelopment plan provides for overlay zoning and is a voluntary plan for all property owners.

“This is a plan that will enable this vital Hoboken and regional neighborhood to move forward in its evolution; encouraging appropriate land uses for the area while simultaneously allowing for much-needed open space expansions, road improvements, and other infrastructure enhancements,” said Councilman David Mello, Chair of the City Council Community Development Sub-committee.

The City is seeking to directly acquire the southern portion of Block 10 (0.8 acres) to expand the Southwest Park. The redevelopment plan would also allow for the further expansion of the Southwest Park to include the northern portion of Block 10 and the former Marshall Street right of way. This park expansion would be required if residential development were proposed by the property owner of the planned park expansion area.

“I welcome this development in the southwest part of Hoboken,” said 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos. “In order for our city to continue be the vibrant city that we are, we need to create dynamic neighborhoods for residents that are walkable, have open space and retail/commercial components that can turn the Southwest portion of Hoboken into a destination for everyone to enjoy. When you bring all stakeholders together and truly make the community a part of the process, the end result is a plan for a vibrant and sustainable development of the area.”

On May 24th, the City Council will consider an ordinance on first reading to introduce the Redevelopment Plan along with a resolution to send the plan to the Planning Board for review. If the plan is introduced, the Planning Board would then review the plan for consistency with the Master Plan and at the May 31st meeting may adopt a Resolution stating the Board’s determination. The City Council could then hold a public hearing and second reading at the June 7th Council meeting for final adoption of the plan.

View the Southwest Hoboken Redevelopment Plan: www.hobokennj.gov/docs/communitydev/Draft-Southwest-Hoboken-Redevelopment-Plan-5-16-17.pdf

View the Southwest Hoboken Redevelopment Plan Presentation (5/24/17)

Links to Other Related Documents
Southwest Traffic Improvement Plan: www.hobokennj.gov/swcirculationplan
Southwest Park plan: www.hobokennj.gov/swpark
Plan to expand the Southwest Park through direct acquisition: www.hobokennj.gov/docs/parks/SW-Park-Expansion.pdf

Mayor Zimmer Cuts Ribbon On New Elevators For Senior Building


Mayor Dawn Zimmer joined Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Marc Recko and other dignitaries to cut the ribbon on the new elevators at the Fox Hill Gardens, a building for seniors and disabled residents. The City of Hoboken allocated $386,250 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds towards modernizing the two elevators in the building.

Also in attendance at the ceremony were Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, 5th Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, Hoboken Housing Authority Commissioner Hovie Forman, City of Hoboken Principal Planner Chris Brown, and residents of Fox Hill.

“I thank our Planner Chris Brown who managed this project and Housing Authority Executive Director Marc Recko for working with us to help ensure that our seniors have a safe and reliable way to get to their apartments,” said Mayor Zimmer. “We worked hard to more than double the CDBG funds we receive to support our low and moderate income population, and I am thankful that Congress has rejected plans to slash this much-needed program.”

Previously, the original 1950’s-era elevators in Fox Hill were regularly out of order and required expensive repairs. Cuts in federal funding made it difficult for the Hoboken Housing Authority to perform the necessary maintenance.

The CDBG funds are allocated to community groups and organizations benefiting low to moderate income populations. Hoboken’s CDBG funding more than doubled in recent years to over $1 million (an increase of more than $500,000) as a result of the City’s population exceeding 50,000 in the latest census and the City choosing to self-administer CDBG funds, which were previously administered by Hudson County. As a result of the increase in funding, the City has been able to fund significant capital projects including the elevators at Fox Hill. Previously, the City allocated $330,000 in CDBG funds for improvements to the Hoboken Shelter.

City of Hoboken Introduces Newark Street Safety Improvement Plan

The City of Hoboken has developed a safety improvement plan for the Newark Street corridor between Jefferson Street and Willow Avenue that will be introduced for consideration by the City Council on Wednesday, May 3rd. The Council meeting will begin at 6:30pm with a presentation of the plan.

Challenges along the corridor include limited pedestrian crossings, vehicles parking on sidewalks, low rate of vehicles stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks, roadway geometry with poor sight lines, wide pedestrian crossings, high speed turns, lack of loading zones for deliveries, and no bicycle facilities.

“We are trying to make sure that our streets are safe for travel for all modes of transportation,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “In particular, we need to address the fact that the majority of traffic injuries in Hoboken happen to pedestrians who are hit walking in marked crosswalks. Whether you drive, take public transportation, bike, or walk, everyone deserves streets that are safe.”

The plan includes sidewalk expansions (safety zone “curb extensions”) at corners to reduce pedestrian crossing distances and vehicle turning speeds and enhance visibility at conflict points, the addition of loading zones to accommodate deliveries, additional crosswalks including a mid-block crosswalk with a pedestrian refuge island between Jefferson Street and Adams Street, a physically separated eastbound bike lane along the south side of the street, and Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB) signs to enhance the frequency of drivers stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks. The County is also studying the feasibility of an All-Way Stop sign at Grand Street and Newark Street, and the City will incorporate the Stop sign into the plan if it meets the criteria required by NJDOT.

The full plan can be viewed at: www.hobokennj.gov/docs/transportation/Newark-Street-Concept-Plan.pdf. Since the plan is for a County road, it will require the approval of the Hoboken City Council and the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders.