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.
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 plan 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Fund for a Better Waterfront
Meeting canceled; moved to February 25th
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.
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.”
- The Stevens zoning variance will widen Frank Sinatra Drive increasing vehicular speed and capacity.
- Hoboken should be planning to make Sinatra Drive more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
- 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.
- Stevens is requesting 19 variances in all.
- 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.
- We want the City Council to take back its rightful powers as the body responsible for zoning.
- Let’s finish a public waterfront park stretching from one end of Hoboken to the other. We’re 80% done now.
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.
In 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.
If you want to find out more about this plan for Sinatra Drive – then head down to City Hall tonight at 7pm.
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 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.”
The Next Zoning Board Hearing is Tuesday, September 22 @7pm at Hoboken City Hall.