6/17/2008 Meeting Tonight!
Is this building legal?
The construction of another quick-build cinder block construction building on the site of the old Marie’s Bakery has become the latest battle in the fight against Hoboken insider development deals. Neighbors have been fighting a politically connected developer in court, with a showdown tonight in front of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The story has echoes of the moves Hoboken Tax Collector Louis Picardo made to add a fourth story on his Castle Point Terrace home without the proper ZBA approvals. This time the city official involved is part-time city attorney Vincent LaPaglia, who handles tax appeals when he is not doing development deals with Construction Code Official Al Arezzo. LaPaglia and Arezzo are two of the partners in the Triple Minga partnership that owns the Newark Street building the city was leasing for it’s horse patrol stables. That contract was part of a state investigation that began over a year ago, with no new developments in some time.
PHOTO GALLERY (HOLD MOUSE OVER IMAGE TO NAVIGATE – 6 PHOTOS IN THIS SET)
Neighbors go to court to fight
Concerned neighbor Mike Evers describes what happened:
“First, LaPaglia & Co. tried to skip the board review process entirely and use an arguably fraudulent zoning application. When the City, to its credit, wouldn’t let him do that, he went before the Zoning Board to ask for two variances. In January a Stop Work order was issued for several weeks. A lawsuit was filed in early March against them by a neighbor (me).
One trial later, LaPaglia & Co. now have to appear before the Zoning Board of Adjustment to ask for those 2 variances again – and the other 4 variances they “forgot” to ask for last time, including 3 hard-to-get Type D variances. LaPaglia & Co. kept building the whole time this went on – by their own admission, in court documents, they began construction without a building permit, so the building – all four stories – is already up.”
And what a building it is!
It’s oversized compared to it’s neighbors and openly hostile to the historic nature of the block that it is on. What was once a one-story bakery next to a two story building on Willow is now a four-story building that impedes on smaller buildings on the block, including the unique setback buildings on the Park Avenue side between First and Second.
Nearby buildings had to brick over their windows to allow construction of these condos, and a blank, pukey green side wall juts into the rear yards of others mere fete from the windows of other homes. Much like in the Picardo case, a Judge has ordered the ZBA to review how the LaPaglia building was handled. Tonight that hearing will take place. Will the ZBA give a well-connected city employee with 100 years of family roots in town a pass on this development deal, or will the lack of approved variances lead to LaPaglia being forced to change the building?
Another packed house expected downstairs tonight at 7pm at City Hall.
See previous updates after the jump…
As we suspected, ugly condos taking shape.
Reader Ali sent these photos in and asked:
A few days ago they started demolition at the site of Marie’s Bakery. The storefront is still open, but it looks like the space they used to do the baking in has been knocked down. Anyone have any idea of what the plan is for this space? Here are a couple pictures of the work they’ve done so far.
From what I’ve heard, it’s more condo developments that will occupy this space.
Description – Italian Bakery
Address – 261 2nd St, Hoboken, NJ 07030