Stevens garage – 5 years later

Stevens Garage “stuck in the mud” 5 years later

This is one of those situations – where you’re not sure what’s good and what’s bad anymore. On one hand, the Fund for a Better Waterfront certainly deserves credit for some of the amenities along the Hoboken “coastline.” But sometimes, do you think they just meddle too much? This proposed garage over at Stevens didn’t look like such a bad idea.

stevens-variance-proposal-sinatra-drive-hoboken-nj

But the constant opposition and appeals and involvement some groups do – end up hurting more than helping.

I know some people have “grand visions” for what they think areas like Sinatra Drive should look like – but at what point is private property actually private? Can’t we just move on already?

Look at the garage today – 5 years later. Nothing has changed. “Stuck in the mud.”

Stevens Garage remains unfinished in Hoboken NJ

Stevens plan update

4/13/2010 Update:

After many cancellations, the hearing to review the 19 variances granted to Stevens Institute of Technology will finally take place. Read what Fund for a Better Waterfront President Jim Vance has to say about tomorrow’s meeting.

Special Hearing Before the City Council

City Hall, Wednesday, April 14 at 7 P.M.

The Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW) has appealed the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s approval granted to Stevens Institute of Technology for its garage. Why?

  1. The decision by the Zoning Board granted 19 exceptions to the zoning ordinance for open space ratio, building length, front yard setbacks, distance between buildings, number of buildings per lot, lot coverage, etc.
  2. By granting these variances the Zoning Board has engaged in de facto rezoning, thus undermining the Council’s authority to create and amend local zoning ordinances. By reversing the Zoning Board’s decision, the City Council will take back its rightful powers.
  3. The Stevens’ scheme also proposes to widen Frank Sinatra Drive — more cars and trucks traveling ever-faster, making the waterfront a more dangerous place for children and older adults crossing Sinatra Drive on their way to the park, soccer field and World War II memorial.
  4. The project as approved by the Zoning Board also reroutes a mapped public street, Fifth Street, to connect with an entrance to the Stevens’ parking garage. Fifth Street should remain a typical east-west numbered street that connects directly to Sinatra Drive and the public waterfront park.
  5. Unfair hearing. Stevens failed to provide reports and other submissions to FBW’s attorney, thus denying an opportunity to prepare for cross examination of witnesses. The Zoning Board also denied FBW an opportunity to present its own witnesses.

More information: http://www.betterwaterfront.com/news/00972010.shtml

Please join us Wednesday, April 14 at 7 P.M. at City Hall. Show your support for responsible development and safe streets.

Jim Vance
President
Fund for a Better Waterfront

Meeting canceled; moved to February 25th

2/9/2010 Update:

Because our upcoming crippling snow storm will cause healthy adults to be unable to walk – the appeal meeting for tomorrow night has been canceled. New date is February 25th at 7pm.

2/8/2010 Update:

Provided no big snow storm postpones this meeting on Wednesday night, Fund for A Better Waterfront’s President Jim Vance delves more into why they’re appealing the variances…

stevens-variance-proposal-sinatra-drive-hoboken-nj

Appeal of 19 variances grated to Stevens…

“For the following reasons Fund For a Better Waterfront (FBW) opposes the variances given to Stevens Institute of Technology for its garage and adjacent sites. FBW is appealing the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s decision to the Hoboken City Council on Wednesday evening, February 10th at 7pm at City Hall. Please join us.”

  1. The Stevens zoning variance will widen Frank Sinatra Drive increasing vehicular speed and capacity.
  2. Hoboken should be planning to make Sinatra Drive more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
  3. For too long developers have made a mockery of the Hoboken Zoning Code by using the Zoning Board of Adjustment to give out variances like candy regardless of whether there is benefit to the city or not.
  4. Stevens is requesting 19 variances in all.
  5. The hearing was a mockery before the Zoning Board. Fund For a Better Waterfront was not allowed to review submissions made before the hearing, nor was it allowed to present its own witnesses.
  6. We want the City Council to take back its rightful powers as the body responsible for zoning.
  7. Let’s finish a public waterfront park stretching from one end of Hoboken to the other. We’re 80% done now.

9/23/2009 Update:

stevens-variance-proposal-sinatra-drive-hoboken-nj-approved-zoning-board

Zoning Board Approves 15 Variances

Shortly after one o’clock this morning the Hoboken Zoning Board of Adjustment voted 6 to 1 in favor of Stevens’ plan for two new buildings connected to the Babbio Center. The meeting started at 7pm with a full house. The crowd conveniently dwindled before the board approached the time for “Public Comments” around midnight. An attorney hired by the Fund for a Better Waterfront asked the board to adjourn before closing the hearing at the late hour so that it could be picked up with more expert testimony at a later date, but the request fell on deaf ears.

stevens-variances-approvedIn exchange for all the variances -which FBW’s Ron Hine characterized as “Tossing out the zoning code” – the board included the stipulations ranging from allowing public access to the roof of the parking garage to offering (very) limited free parking for soccer and baseball parents in Stevens lots. The top of the building will be built to accommodate a seasonal ice skating rink, but the city will have to foot the bill for it. Stevens will not contribute toward construction of the public rink. The Fifth Street stone wall will also be repaired as part of the re-routing of the street for Stevens’ convenience.

Members of the Zoning Board were seen huddling over the wording of the conditions with Stevens’ attorneys, which led to some grumbling (inset).

There are real questions about when and if any of this will be built because Stevens’ financial situation and the State Attorney General’s lawsuit seeking to remove the school’s President and Board Chairman.

9/22/2009 Reminder:

If you want to find out more about this plan for Sinatra Drive – then head down to City Hall tonight at 7pm.

9/18/2009:

When it rains, it pours in Hoboken. This “news weather front” is named Stevens Institute…

Stevens wants to re-shape Sinatra Drive

Ron Hine, from the Fund for a Better Waterfront – is concerned about variances that Stevens Institute of Technology is seeking for that “stuck in the mud” parking garage area that has been lingering along Sinatra Drive…

stevens-variance-proposal-sinatra-drive-hoboken-nj

“Stevens Institute’s latest waterfront garage proposal is fraught with problems. They are proposing to reroute a public street through their property so that it leads to the entrance of their parking garage. They are adding turning lanes and preserving an overly wide Sinatra Drive thus ensuring that it remains a high-speed thoroughfare rather than a pedestrian/bicycle-friendly street at our precious waterfront. The 15 variances requested by Stevens will set a dangerous precedent on the waterfront, opening the door for a new proposal at Union Dry Dock for four 12-story towers to be approved without regard to the city’s zoning laws.”

See full story here.

The Next Zoning Board Hearing is Tuesday, September 22 @7pm at Hoboken City Hall.

Leave a Reply

84 Comments on "Stevens garage – 5 years later"

homeworld
Member

What plans does FBW have to get our crumbling joke of a waterfront repaired, or the 9 years in the making Pier C opened so we can finally walk along the water instead of the street. Those seem to be actual concerns that are being ignored.

PressureTreatdLumber
Member
PressureTreatdLumber

PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION:

HOW WILL A STRAIGHT ROAD TO SINATRA DRIVE SLOW TRAFFIC AS COMPARED TO A ROAD THAT MAKES TWO 90 DEGREE TURNS?

If 5th were routed directly it would be also meet sinatra on a downhill angle making it even more dangerous to pedestrians in slippery conditions.

Your plan would call for destroying that old stone wall which already has a stair case built into that leads directly to sinatra for foot traffic. Maybe this is something that can be improved (i.e. ramp access or a wider/refurbished staircase).

IF YOU WANT PROGRESS, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE AN SINKING EYESORE, IF YOU WANT WHAT IS PRACTICAL AND REALISTIC FOR HOBOKEN, SUPPORT STEVENS AT THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING TONIGHT.

If fbw wins this appeal it will only add more years of delay.

Irish
Member
Irish

I can’t stand people that speak in the 3rd person——FBW

krewedetat
Member
krewedetat

It is appropriate when you speak for an organization — FBW

In response to Irish who said:
I can’t stand people that speak in the 3rd person——FBW

YipYap
Member

re: This is about full “public access to the continuous public park”

The stone wall a the end of 5th st and Sinatra looks to be about 120 years old. I doubt the current tax map was written before that wall was built. The is already a flow for pedestrians on 5th street that ends with stairs to the walkway. It’s not optimal but adding a straight two way street on 5th will only add more vehicle traffic on Sinatra not less.

homeworld
Member

5th Street does not come down directly to the waterfront. You keep repeating that over and over again. It has a bend and then a hairpin turn that intersects Sinatra Street at an acute angle.

maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sourc...0.001398,0.00327&t=h&z=19

FBW
Member

Look at the Hoboken tax map. 5th Street is a mapped public street that runs directly east to the waterfront, intersecting at a right-angle to Sinatra Drive. It is a mapped public street owned by the City of Hoboken & should follow that route, same as most of the other east-west streets in Hoboken that lead directly to the waterfront.

In response to homeworld who said:
5th Street does not come down directly to the waterfront. You keep repeating that over and over again. It has a bend and then a hairpin turn that intersects Sinatra Street at an acute angle.

maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sourc...0.001398,0.00327&t=h&z=19

homeworld
Member

I’m talking about reality, not a paper street that does not really exist. The 5th street that exists in real life intersects Sinatra street at a very dangerous acute angle. It was only a few years ago that the street was even made one-way at that intersection. It used to be even more dangerous.

In response to FBW who said:
Look at the Hoboken tax map. 5th Street is a mapped public street that runs directly east to the waterfront, intersecting at a right-angle to Sinatra Drive. It is a mapped public street owned by the City of Hoboken & should follow that route, same as most of the other east-west streets in Hoboken that lead directly to the waterfront.

FBW
Member

The planning process begins with mapping public streets, the public rights-of-way. This is how we get are able to drive, walk, cycle, etc. to where we want to go in a city. This has been one of the central elements in the FBW plan for the Hoboken waterfront, to extend the public street grid to the waterfront, thus providing full public access to the continuous public park at the water’s edge (also proposed via our waterfront plan some 20 years ago. Agreed — the current alignment of 5th makes no sense. It needs to be straightened out — running due east to Sinatra Dr.

In response to homeworld who said:
I’m talking about reality, not a paper street that does not really exist. The 5th street that exists in real life intersects Sinatra street at a very dangerous acute angle. It was only a few years ago that the street was even made one-way at that intersection. It used to be even more dangerous.

Journey
Member
Journey

take a look at Google the satellite maps will show you it is not that straight forward.

In response to FBW who said:
Look at the Hoboken tax map. 5th Street is a mapped public street that runs directly east to the waterfront, intersecting at a right-angle to Sinatra Drive. It is a mapped public street owned by the City of Hoboken & should follow that route, same as most of the other east-west streets in Hoboken that lead directly to the waterfront.

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