930 Monroe -- Some Pluses/Many Concerns
Updated: Oct 4, 2021
This nearly 3 block plan covers an area just west of the ShopRite supermarket. It has a good deal of promise, but would add new strain on all types of infrastructure and many more new residents than even foreseen in the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan. This is on top of likely large additions to residential and commercial building in a complex at 13th and Jefferson Streets and proposed conversions near Jackson and Newark Streets. 10 members of the Task Force shared our concerns with City Council in a letter, stating:
"Members of the Responsible Development Task Force have reviewed the plans presented to the public for 930 Monroe St. These plans incorporate areas west of Monroe starting mid-block between 9th and 10th Streets and extending to 12th St.
Although there are many aspects of the plan that are attractive, many others are troubling and we believe need review and addressing prior to moving ahead.
Here are our leading concerns:
1. The density of this project is wildly out of line with what was approved in the redevelopment plan. The plan has 675 units in a space that is intended, as a maximum, to host 393 units. This is not a small round-up increase; it is a totally different magnitude, and increase of 69% over what is allowed. This kind of overage, should it be approved, diminishes the overall value of our ongoing redevelopment planning efforts.
2. The existing grid of the City is disregarded. It seems the developer wants to put street-width breaks where it suits that developer rather than where they would be as extensions of the current grid. Our grid serves provides visual and light corridors across Hoboken.
An argument is made that 10th St. has an interruption east, at Jefferson St., but that is by a small two-story field house, not a building of typical heights (4-6 stories) in this section of Hoboken. We might guess, although it was not stated, that the developer does not want their buildings confused with the Vine, to the south, but building is an existing condition on the 9th-10th St. block. The 11th St. corridor is mentioned as having, on the west side, an ending at the parking garage for the Doric building, but in fact that structure is open and the Palisades and some greenery are visible.
3. One large part of the enhancement is enabled by the developer taking over the west part of the City’s street. We might guess that many developers would like to have a façade unimpaired by residents’ on-street parking. However that is not a part of their properties. Any streetscape enhancements should come from within the developer’s property.
4. The open space appears to be smaller than the requirements.*
In the questioning on July 15th, it appears that some of the calculated green space is not accessible by the public or includes now-public right of way.
The architects need to check the math and have a plan that delivers at least the 35% required there.
Some attributes that are positives:
As mentioned upfront, we find merit in several aspects of this plan. They should be retained as the developer moves forward:
1. The varied façade with extensive use of brick generally builds on the look of Hoboken. It is less monolithic in appearance than some other newer buildings here. The nice use of landscaping builds on the structural positives, if it can be implemented within the property itself.
2. In the two southern buildings, there is a good sized step-back from the initial 60 feet of height and a taller structure behind. Unfortunately that quality is lost in the northern building, along the 11thto 12th St. block, so a revisit is merited.
3. All structures top out at 116 feet, aligning with requirements in the Western Edge Plan. We believe it is important to allow the Palisades’ crest to be a visible element in western Hoboken. The Palisades are one of the defining geological elements of Hoboken. It is also a good stance for Hoboken to be a good neighbor and be cognizant of concerns from the other cities.
We realize the developer is offering amenities and improvements beyond the scope of their properties. However it is first important to have a plan that generally fits the parameters of the redevelopment zone, then consider small accommodations for any added benefits to Hoboken.
Many thanks for your attention and consideration of these important facets for the development of this property.
Liz Cohen Ndoye
We hope the developer, City Department of Community Development and City Council work together to revise the current plan to be more in line with the Western Edge plan and scaled to work within infrastructure capabilities.
*Although much of the open space is for tenant-only use, the proposed total apparently makes the required minimum.