(All images via City of Hoboken)
UPDATE: City Council has indicated that it will not vote on the plan tonight, but the meeting will proceed as a public hearing on the issue. (11:45 a.m., via Hudson County View)
The Hoboken City Council is having yet another meeting on yet another version of a redevelopment plan for the area adjacent to the Hoboken Rail Yard.
Since 2014, Hoboken Rail Yard has had a redevelopment plan in place. However, a whole lot has changed since then. Questions about the viability of a recently reintroduced redevelopment plan were raised at a number of meetings in late 2019. The plan currently being explored is a result of those meetings, but a number of challenges still remain.
Perhaps the most significant change is Site Two, on the south side of Observer Highway between Washington & Bloomfield Sts, would hold a 330-ft tower—the tallest building in Hoboken.
According to Terry Pranses of the Responsible Development Task Force, “It had been proposed as a Residential structure, but many on Council wondered why we would use this space, so close to the transit hub, as Residential, when Hoboken is trying to increase the Commercial allocation in this zone. Now it is slated as Commercial, maintaining its dimensions.”
The Responsible Development Task Force has been involved with the Hoboken Rail Yard Redevelopment process long before the 2014 plan came into place, and continues to scrutinize the ever-evolving proposals as the game continues to change. On November 6, the day after the City’s municipal election, the recent plan was given a first reading in the Council meeting—much to the surprise of task force members and councilmembers alike. Wednesday night’s meeting will be a
first reading public hearing on the revisions of that plan.
The last plan had a 300-foot tower at Site One, adjacent to the terminal. It has now been scaled back to the 200-foot edifice approved in the 2014 plan, however the door remains open to, an alternative 300-foot height, dependent on negotiated community improvements.
“What level of ‘improvements’ would merit this 50% increase at that spot,” asks Pranses, who also wonders, “why is the add-on this large, or another 100 feet?”
Other concerns are a lack of a clear plan for the Records Building, and the amount of parking at Site 2.
“The prior Plan version had 269 parking spaces, all in Site 2’s building. Many of us know the existing traffic congestion on Observer Highway and near the Terminal,” says Pranses. “The public was quite upset about attracting cars to the site, as the reason for the large development is to get people to utilize public transit. They wanted a more comprehensive transit and traffic study, but none has been conducted.”
The meeting will be held at Hoboken City Hall on Wednesday, January 22 at 7:00 p.m.