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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.

Hoboken Police Department Receives Vehicle for Emergency Services Unit


Mayor Zimmer, Chief Ferrante, Business Administrator Marks and the ESU Team and vehicles

This week the Hoboken Police Department received delivery of an Emergency Response Truck for the department’s first-ever Emergency Services Unit (ESU) which launched on January 1st, 2017. The vehicle and specialized equipment, which cost nearly $190,000, was purchased at no cost to Hoboken taxpayers using the Local Law Enforcement Trust Fund.

“The City of Hoboken is safer today thanks to the highly-trained and specially-equipped elite Emergency Services Unit which is prepared to handle every type of situation,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I thank and congratulate Chief Ferrante and all members of the Hoboken Police Department on this tremendous accomplishment and for their work every day to keep our residents and visitors safe.”

The ESU Team is comprised of 11 tactical officers with extensive specialized training including active shooter response, rescue drills, firearms training, SWAT, and emergency medical responder school, as well as two crisis negotiators. All the training has been performed to national standards.

“While this unit is trained to handle worst-case scenarios, they are on patrol every day responding to every type of emergency call including motor vehicle crashes with injuries, medical calls, burglaries, robberies, fights, emotionally disturbed persons, rescue calls, weapons calls, and dangerous animal calls, just to name a few,” said Police Chief Ken Ferrante. “If the unfortunate event ever occurs involving an active shooter, barricaded suspect, or a terrorism incident, this unit has been trained and is ready to handle all kinds of scenarios.”

The ESU vehicle is equipped with flood lights, basic medical equipment including oxygen, breaching equipment, rescue ropes, ladders, ballistic shields, saws, basic fire suppression equipment, and high capacity weapons.

“In addition to the tactical officers, we have also trained a Lieutenant and a Sergeant in crisis negotiations so that we can diffuse high-risk situations before having to possibly use force, which is always the last case option,” added Chief Ferrante.

The ESU Team consists of Commander Lt. Corrado Allegretta, Sgt. Cesar Olivarria, Sgt. David Olivera, and Officers William Bullock, Luke Zeszotarski, Tyrone Huggins, Wilfredo Gomez, James Barbro, Nate Arocho, Ramon Calderon, and David DiMartino. The crisis negotiators are Lt. Anthony Pasculli and Sgt. Steven Kranz.

“There are so many people to thank who played a role in making this team come together including Mayor Zimmer, Business Administrator Marks, the City Council, my three Captains, Charles Campbell, Dan Lobue and Tory Pasculli, Lt. John Miskulin who helped with identifying funding, Lt. Corrado Allegretta, Det. Anthony Caruso, Det. Alex Gonzalez, and Det. Charles Kucz, retired Officers Robert Truppner and Walter Wehrhahn, and Union City Police Chief Rich Molinari and their ESU Commander Capt. Brian Wolpert,” added Chief Ferrante.

Southwest Traffic Circulation Improvement Plan

Last week, the City Council voted 9-0 on first reading on an ordinance to implement the Southwest Traffic Circulation plan. The plan would improve connectivity for vehicular traffic between Hoboken, Jersey City, and Union City, improve pedestrian safety in an area that is seeing more businesses, more residents, and soon, a new park, and result in a net increase in on-street parking spaces. A second reading of the ordinance will be held at the next Council meeting. Highlights of the plan, which based on Synchro and SimTraffic models of future traffic volumes is estimated to reduce traffic delays by more than 25 percent, include:

  • Opening up Jackson Street to two lanes by removing on-street parking and the bicycle lane.
  • Creating safe pedestrian access to the Southwest Park, businesses, and residences in the area while improving traffic flow by adding new traffic signals at Jackson Street at Observer Highway, Harrison Street at Observer Highway, and Madison Street at Observer Highway.
  • Fixing the gridlock at Monroe Street and Observer Highway that affects the entire southwest area. The three-way intersection of Monroe Street, Observer Highway, and Paterson Avenue requires longer traffic signal cycle lengths, creating significant traffic backups. By converting Paterson Avenue to one-way westbound between Monroe Street and Harrison Street, the intersection is simplified and allows for adding 20% more green time for Monroe Street and Observer Highway. This recommendation from the Hoboken-Jersey City Subregional Connectivity Study commissioned by Hudson County and funded by the NJTPA in 2011 was confirmed with traffic modeling by Hoboken’s engineer.
  • Opening Madison Street to create more options for entering Hoboken. The addition of a second turning lane on Madison Street between Newark Street and Observer Highway and allowing vehicles to go left, right, or straight from Madison Street by removing the existing bollards, will create a new option for entering Hoboken and greatly reduce vehicular volumes turning onto Jackson Street.
  • Converting the Jersey Avenue/Newark Street gateway into Hoboken from two to four lanes to improve circulation into and out of Hoboken, adding a dedicated right turn lane from Harrison Street onto Newark Street, and creating a second lane on Harrison Street for traffic turning east onto Observer Highway.
  • Optimizing the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail signal at the intersection of Paterson Avenue and Marshall Street to improve coordination with other southwest traffic signals and reduce delays caused by light rail crossings.
  • Adding parking along the south side of Paterson Avenue and west side of Jackson Street will help buffer the Southwest Park from traffic.

Hoboken Opens Waiting List For New Affordable Housing Units

The City of Hoboken is creating a housing waiting list for all future affordable rental units regulated by the City. Members of the public are invited to submit a preliminary application by visiting www.AffordableHomesNewJersey.com/Hoboken (Applicants without internet access may call 609-664-2769 X5). The deadline to submit applications for the random drawing to generate the affordable housing waiting list is May 8, 2017. Anyone who may be interested in current or future affordable housing units in Hoboken should apply by May 8th.

“Dozens of new affordable housing units under construction throughout our city will help to ensure that Hoboken remains a vibrant mixed income community,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “We have created procedures to make sure that these affordable housing units are available to those who need it most through a fair and open process.”

This list will be used to lease units at: 600 Harrison Street (5 units), 1410 Grand Street (4 units), 721 Clinton Street (6 units), 7th Street and Jackson Street (42 units), and other future units. Some units will be available as early as Spring 2017, and others will be available in upcoming years depending on the construction schedule.

The City of Hoboken adopted an affordable housing ordinance that generally requires a 10 percent affordable housing set-aside for residential construction over 10 units when an increase in density is provided. The City also recently adopted the Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan and a guidebook entitled “Administration of Affordable Units: Policies & Procedures Manual” to set forth the policies and procedures for placing eligible individuals and families into the City of Hoboken’s affordable units. The Affordable Housing Program will provide opportunities for both affordable units for rent and for sale.

In addition to the units required by the affordable housing ordinance, all redevelopment plans approved during the Zimmer administration, including Hoboken Yards, Neumann Leathers, and Western Edge, require that at least 10 percent of new residential units be affordable.

The first units that will become available are at 600 Harrison Street. Monthly rents for the units, not including utilities, are as follows:

1-Bedroom Low (1 available): $600
2-Bedroom Moderate (3 available): $903
3-Bedroom Moderate (1 available): $1,035

Even those who are not interested in these units should submit the preliminary application by May 8, 2017 to be considered for upcoming and future affordable housing rentals regulated by the City of Hoboken.

Rents for future units may be higher or lower based on income levels and number of bedrooms. The waiting list is only for rental units regulated by the City of Hoboken. There may be other affordable housing opportunities that must be applied for separately.

Additional information including income limits is available on www.AffordableHomesNewJersey.com/Hoboken.

Hoboken Introduces Post Office Redevelopment Plan for New Hotel & Improved Waterfront Connectivity


The City of Hoboken is introducing a redevelopment plan for the Hoboken Post Office Rehabilitation Area that includes a new hotel and improvements to waterfront access and connectivity. The plan, which will be introduced at the City Council meeting on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, would redevelop the underutilized parking lot behind the Post Office as a hotel with unique architecture while preserving the Hoboken Post Office as an important landmark. It would also require the redesign and reconstruction of Newark Street with wide sidewalks and streetscape features to improve connectivity to the waterfront and would activate the block of Sinatra Drive between Newark Street and First Street.

“I thank Council President Giattino and Redevelopment Committee Chair Councilman Cunningham for advocating for this project and working very hard to address some of my initial concerns,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “With the W Hotel often fully booked, there is a clear need for more hotel space for our families, friends, and everyone who visits Hoboken. This world-class hotel would improve pedestrian and bicycle connectivity to our waterfront, replace an eyesore with a vibrant, active streetscape with public amenities, and also provide much-needed meeting and event space for our community.”

It is estimated that the plan would create more than 100 permanent jobs and generate over $1 million annually in real estate taxes in addition to hotel taxes on a site that is currently exempt from taxes.

“This project will bring tremendous benefits to the neighborhood, create jobs in Hoboken, and generate significant real estate and hotel taxes that will help to keep our taxes stable,” said Council President Jennifer Giattino. “I want to especially thank City planner Jessica Giorgianni who has done an amazing job on this plan.”

The Hoboken 2004 Master Plan encourages hotels in the area near Hoboken Terminal to “provide a needed service for residents, businesses, and visitors.”

“As Council Subcommittee Chair, my projects have always strongly supported diversifying our tax base from residential towards more commercial, and this project does just that,” said Councilman Peter Cunningham. “I am confident we have met these challenges which will result in a win-win for Hoboken and its local businesses and residents.”

Setback requirements for the hotel, which must use high quality design materials and architecture, are designed to narrow the building to maximize light, air, and open space and minimize shadows on Pier A Park. The implementation of the plan would terminate the existing easement with the Post Office which provides angled parking for Post Office vehicles along Newark Street where there currently is no sidewalk. All Post Office and hotel loading activities would be moved to First Street and take place inside of a building and the hotel would be required to have lease agreements with private parking garages.

The Post Office Redevelopment Plan is available online at: www.hobokennj.gov/docs/communitydev/Post-Office-Redev-Plan-2017-03-27.pdf

 

Art in the Park Registration to Open March 1st

Online registration for Art in the Park will be open on March 1, 2017 at www.hobokennj.gov/register.

Art in the Park is a 6 week creative arts program for toddlers ages 4 and under. Join us for songs, story time, sensory play, and an art project, all in the shade of your local park.

There are eight 6 week sessions which take place on different days, in different parks, at different times. Choose either early morning (9am to 10:30am) or mid-morning (11am to 12:30pm) sessions:

Elysian Park on Mondays: June 19, 26, July 10, 17, 24, 31
Elysian Park on Tuesdays: June 20, 27, July 11, 18, 25, Aug 1
Pier A on Wednesdays: June 21, 28; July 12, 19, 26, Aug 2
Elysian Park on Thursdays: June 22, 29, July 13, 20, 27, Aug 3

Cost per 6 week session is $25.
Each session will accept 60 children.
Child must be accompanied by parent or guardian.
Dress child in messy clothes as clay or paints may stain clothes.

In case of rain, rain date will be announced.

For more information contact 201-420-2207 or gfallo@hobokennj.gov.

Community Meeting to be Held for Newark Street Corridor Improvement Project

NewarkStreetCorridor
Mayor Dawn Zimmer invites all members of the community to a meeting to discuss proposed safety improvements to Newark Street between Willow Avenue and Jefferson Street. The meeting will take place on Thursday, February 16 at 7:00pm at the Multi Service Center, located at 124 Grand Street.

“Newark Street is a gateway corridor into Hoboken and one of the most heavily trafficked streets in our city,” said Mayor Zimmer. “Through this project, we have a chance to make the engineering changes necessary to make Newark Street safer for everyone.”

Challenges along the corridor include the roadway geometry with poor sight lines, wide pedestrian crossings, and high speed turns, frequent illegal parking on sidewalks by buses and trucks, limited pedestrian crossings, lack of bike facilities, and limited permeable surface.