Councilwoman Fisher Updates Hoboken Residents on 15th Street Upgrades

According to Hoboken’s 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, planned upgrades to ease traffic concerns and improve pedestrian safety on 15th Street, which were originally slated for 2019, appear to now be moving forward, as city engineers are close to a final design.  According to the Councilwoman, she will be discussing the plans in more detail with the engineers next week.

“I will be discussing with them in more detail early next week to ensure that the pain points most felt by our neighbors are being addressed – specifically 15th and Garden – which they are open to,” stated Fisher.  “Overall, the project currently primarily includes resurfacing, striping and expanded curbs at Washington and Bloomfield.  They are not expanding curbs at 15th and Garden because this intersection is part of Rebuild By Design and will entirely be elevated (but probably not for 3 years).  So we are going to try to get other traffic calming measures at what is one of the most dangerous intersections in the city.”

The funding for the project requires that it be out for bid by March.   The Councilwoman adds, “The project encompasses the three blocks that extend from Washington to Park, but not the intersection of Park.”

Meanwhile, an amended version of Hoboken’s North End Redevelopment Plan was scheduled to be reintroduced on first first reading at last night’s Council meeting.  The second reading and public hearing is set for March 3.   Councilwoman Fisher stated, “The Planning Board reviewed the plan and, although deemed consistent with the Master Plan, provided the following recommendations:  Limit building heights as much as possible, Encourage and possibly expand to 15% requirement for Affordable Housing, add a corner set back (chamfer) at 15th and the new Harborside Park, add firehouses and gas stations as a potential uses, widen 15th between Park and Willow and make it 2 way, and ensure the plan is consistent with Hoboken’s open space goals.”

The amendments the City made to the previous version include most of these and more and can be found in the memo below:

 

MEMORANDUM

February 17, 2021

To: City Council Members

From: Christopher A. Brown, AICP, PP, Community Development Director                 Jessica L. Giorgianni, AICP, PP, Supervising Planner

Subject: Draft North End Redevelopment Plan.                                                     Changes incorporated into Revised Draft dated February 17, 2021

Dear City Council Members:

The Draft North End Redevelopment Plan dated January 27, 2021 was adopted on First Reading at a meeting of the Hoboken City Council on the same date. At that meeting, the WRT Consulting Team gave a presentation of the Draft Plan and members of the public provided an array of comments and suggestions. City Council directed our Department and WRT to revise the Draft Plan to address comments received.

Pursuant to the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-7, the Hoboken Planning Board reviewed Ordinance B-333 and the Draft Plan dated January 27, 2021 for consistency with the City’s Master Plan at their meeting on February 2, 2021. Our Department also provided the Planning Board with a memo dated February 1, 2021, which summarized a list of anticipated changes to be made to the Draft Plan to address comments received at the January 27, 2021 City Council meeting. In their Resolution of Approval. The Hoboken Planning Board determined that the Draft Plan dated January 27, 2021 and the summary of proposed changes were consistent with the City’s Master Plan; the Planning Board resolution also provided comments related to the Draft Plan.

A Revised Draft North End Redevelopment Plan dated February 17, 2021 is now before City Council for Second Reading incorporating Changes. The revisions incorporated into the Revised Draft include those received from the public, City Councilmembers, the Planning Board (indicated as “PB comment”) and local organizations, such as the Fund for a Better Waterfront, and are summarized as follows:

Housekeeping Changes:

  • Relocate pages describing the public workshops to an Appendix.
  • Clarifications and grammatical changes.
  • Correct the error on page 38 that the existing Via Lofts building contains a 1,200-seat square foot theater space.

Substantive changes to Chapter 5 (Redevelopment Plan Requirements):

  • Permitted Uses. Updated the list of Permitted Uses on page 105 to include: Places of Worship located within buildings, subject to the Conditional Requirements specified in City Ordinance § 196- 19G(35); Public facilities, including those for fire, police, public works, etc. (PB comment); and gas stations subject to the Standards at § 196-38C. (PB comment) (Page 99)
  • Affordable Housing. To encourage housing with greater affordability, updated the list of potential “Community Benefits for Incentive Development” to include Workforce Housing, such as for those built for Artists and Industrial Arts Professionals (Page 102); allow affordable housing beyond the minimum 10% on-site requirement to be built off-site, if negotiated as part of a Redevelopment Agreement, to encourage more affordable housing than the minimum 10%. (Page 137);
  • 15th Street Design. Revised renderings now illustrate the two-way bike lane (“Green Circuit route”) along the northerly side of 15th Street (Page 36, 70, 93); a rendered cross-section shows a potential configuration for a 15th Street re-design (Page 130); clarified that 15th Street should be widened between Park and Willow Avenues (PB comment) (Page 123) (note that a 25’ setback from 15th Street for Site 8B had been specified in the Draft Plan dated January 17, 2021 for this purpose.); state that a consistent row of shade trees be provided. (Page 123)
  • Architectural Design. Clarified that the Redevelopment Plan does not provide detailed architectural design guidelines, but that materials, massing and articulation will be determined during Redevelopment negotiations and by the Planning Board. Specify that building height step-backs and building materials should promote a human-scale experience on the ground floor, and that architectural design should reflect the industrial past of the North End and consider the surrounding historic character of Hoboken. (Page 105);
  • Corner Treatments/Chamfered Corners. Require corner treatments to include unique architectural features such as chamfered corners and which open up the corner space for plaza space, incorporation of landscaping elements, pedestrian activity and better sight lines. Corner treatments are required at all intersections along 15th Street, and the following three (3) Gateway Intersections: 14th & Willow; 14th & Park; and 16th & Willow. (PB comment) (Page 109, 116);
  • Linear Park. Emphasized that the intention of the Linear Park is to ensure it is maintained as a public park by specifying it shall be open 24-hours per day without gates or barriers erected to prohibit public access. Added that legal mechanisms for public access (e.g., land dedication, access agreement, etc.) would be determined at the time of Redevelopment Agreement. (Page 119)
  • Safety at Park and Willow Avenues. Emphasized the high rate of crashes at intersections with Park Avenues and Willow Avenues and describe the unsafe conditions for pedestrian crossing these streets between the North End and destinations such as 1600 Park, Cove Park, the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, the 14th Street Ferry Terminal, and others. Require that developers within the Linear Park Mixed-Use Sub-District and the Infill Development District incorporate Vision Zero strategies to eliminate vehicle-pedestrian conflicts on Park and Willow Avenues, including traffic calming, reducing the cartway of Willow Street, employing curb extensions, and others. State that redevelopment efforts incorporate enhanced pedestrian connectivity between Hoboken and Weehawken (Page 127);
  • Gateway Project. Acknowledged that the possible return of the “Gateway Project,” which would extend the New York City MTA Number 7 subway line, could impact Redevelopment efforts along the northerly edge of the North End Redevelopment Plan Area and will need to be considered. (Page 132);
  • Parking. Clarified that the City may consider further reducing required Parking Ratios beyond those specified in the Plan, in cases where, for example, Developers identify existing available parking to satisfy site needs; developer’s employ TDM (Transportation Demand Management) strategies that reduce the need for single-occupancy car use; a Payment in Lieu of Parking is provided; an enhanced contribution to public transit is provided; or other consideration, as may be negotiated in a Redevelopment Agreement. Expanded the list of TDM strategy examples. (Page 133-134);
  • Sustainability. Add that new buildings should be designed to meet Passive House standards. (PB comment) (Page 135).
  • Infrastructure. Added the requirement that all utilities shall be buried underground (Page 136); added the requirement that Green Roofs must be provided be in conformance with City Ordinance § 196-28.2. (Page 135-136)
  • Flood Hazard Protection. Acknowledged that there is repetitive flooding due to a “gully” at 15th Street and Park Avenue and that redevelopment in this area should rectify the issue. (Page 136);                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Substantive Changes to Chapter 7 (Implementation)

• Add a statement indicating that since Redevelopment within a Rehabilitation Area (non- condemnation) is anticipated to happen voluntarily over time, the City may need to consider the use of infrastructure bonds to build necessary infrastructure with the requirement that bonds be paid back by collecting monies from designated Redevelopers. (Page 144)

Sincerely,

Jessica Giorgianni, PP, AICP, Supervising Planner                                                            Christopher A. Brown, PP, AICP, Community Development Director

 

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