Planning Board – 9/5/2007 Recap
Planning Board – Recap of 9/4/2007 Meeting:
Movie Theater Delayed
The meeting began with an announcement that the hearing on Tarragon/Ursa’s proposal for a movie theater in the Northwest Redevelopment Area would be put off to another meeting. The applicant was not on hand to say why, but the Clearview Cinema at 14th between Grand and Adams will take a little longer to become a reality.
Shipyard Gym Expands
The Planning Board approved a resolution to allow Applied Development to make a “Deminimus Change” to its plan for the North Constitution at One 14th Street. This allows them to devote more square footage to a gym and health club within the building. There were no objections to this minor adjustment to the site plan.
NoHo Redevelopment Zone Approved
Councilman-at-Large Peter Cammarano abstained on the vote to recommend a portion of North Hoboken be designated an “area in need of redevelopment”. The rest of the board members present voted in favor of moving the NoHo zone forward, sending it back up to the City Council for further discussion. The Council will likely be asked to allow for residential building variances on the industrial NoHo properties that have been scooped up by Tarragon/Ursa. Cammarano abstained because the law firm he works for has NJ Transit as a client, and NJ Transit owns property in the NoHo zone.
Now if you will please excuse me…
Before the board could begin discussing the Final Site Plan for the newest phase of the Maxwell Place project, Cammarano excused himself from the meeting. While he did not explain why, it is known he recuses himself when Toll Brothers appears represented by attorneys from the firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath, which also employs his wife. Board member James Monaco, Sr. also recused himself, but unlike Cammarano stayed in the room for the rest of the discussion. Mr. Monaco is the father of James Monaco, Jr. who is a member of the Zoning Board. The younger Mr. Monaco is also a Hoboken School Teacher who was recently indicted in a statewide Internet gambling ring.
Another High-Rise for Maxwell Place
The rest of the meeting was spent discussing Maxwell Place, and the 210-unit building that will rise on the “Block C” phase of the project. Representatives for developer Toll Brothers outlined the final proposal for the block on Hudson Street between 11th and 12th streets. Toll eliminated what would have been a height variance for rooftop cabanas, but kept a plan for roof gardens and patios. The plan is for a twelve-story tower to rise at 11th and Hudson, and then step down to a six-story building running north up to 12th street.
The first floor will be ground-floor retail with a larger than usual 14-foot ceiling height filled with 23,616 square feet of retail space. The city’s planner wanted Toll to include more green space on the roof, but Toll would not budge, and members of the board backed up the developer. A two-foot strip of grass will be planted along the length of the building roof on Hudson and 11th Streets. The planner wanted three feet of rooftop grass.
Toll received a variance to allow for an elevated 18-foot bulkhead for the elevator that will take residents of the new building up to the roof. This will be private space for Maxwell Place residents only. The developer said 15 feet above 12 stories was allowed in the zoning, but the extra three feet was necessary for ingress and egress on the roof. Board Chairman Tom Mooney said the new revisions to Toll’s plan made the project more attractive, and a motion was approved to move the project forward.
The Hoboken Planning Board meets tonight at 7pm at City Hall to discuss key uptown development projects.
Resolutions: Shipyard and NoHo
The board will consider a “Deminimus Change” for the project at One 14th Street, also known as Applied Development’s North Constitution at The Shipyard.
The second resolution is a “Recommendation to City Council” to designate a portion of the North Hoboken (“NoHo”) Study Area as an area in need of redevelopment. Tarragon/Ursa has been buying up land in the NoHo area in anticipation of this designation. Currently the properties north of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and west of the Willow Avenue bridge are zoned for industrial use, but putting them in a redevelopment zone could lead to big changes in zoning that could reap big bucks for a developer.
Hearings: Maxwell Place and Movie Theater
There will be a hearing on the Amended Preliminary and Final Site Plan for the portion of the Maxwell Place property that has yet to be developed. The property involved is identified as “Block C/1101-1125 Hudson Street”. This will be an opportunity for Toll Brothers to try to make changes in the site plan for more height or greater footprint for buildings on this portion of the site. People think that what they see at Maxwell now is the extent of the buildings planned for the site, but there are more to be constructed all along Hudson Street.
The proposed Movie Theater in the Northwest Redevelopment Zone will also be discussed at a “Major Subdivision” hearing. The Tarragon/Ursa property on the north end of Block 114 on 14th Street between Grand and Adams is the location for a proposed Clearview Cinemas. The plans will be discussed at the meeting tonight.
Cammarano’s Conflicts — Again
Once again the City Council may not have a voice in some of these key Planning Board discussions because Councilman Peter Cammarano will be conflicted out of the discussions. Cammarano won’t be able to discuss the NoHo study, since his law firm represents NJ Transit, which owns property in the area. He may also have to excuse himself from discussions about Maxwell Place, since his wife works for the same law firm that represents Toll Brothers at the Planning Board.
The irony? Cammarano will be allowed to discuss the projects on the agenda tonight involving Tarragon/Ursa and Applied even though they were among the developers who shoveled hundreds of thousands of campaign contribution dollars into the HCDO campaign to get him elected in 2005.
The meeting begins at 7 tonight at City Hall. Walk up the front stairs and go to your left toward the Council Chambers/Courtroom.