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  • Terry Pranses

Hoboken’s Fast-Growing West Side: Do We Want the 930 Monroe Street Complex as Planned?

In the Mile Square City, we’re all very much interlinked. That’s why the Task Force is concerned about development on the west side of town, particularly larger developments. Excesses there are certain to impact us all by adding critical stress to public transit, traffic, sewer systems, the environment and schools.

Longer-term residents have seen much growth. How successfully are we handling all the newer arrivals, and do we have the ability to easily handle more soon?

Certainly this year, with the back-to-back flooding problems during tropical storms Henri and Ida, moving carefully should be the approach. Now our waste sewerage and storm sewers remain one and the same throughout most of Hoboken. North Hudson Sewerage Authority has a general plan to separate storm sewers from waste sewerage in the area, but the timing is unknown. Given the severe problems western Hoboken has had with flooding, shouldn’t these separate systems be in place before added units are approved?

One large development that needs public attention and added review is

930 Monroe Street. The property involved runs south to north with a two-and-a-half block frontage from the 900 through the 1100 block. It’s an overly ambitious and over-scaled plan, with 675 units, which likely means 1,000 or more new residents in this small area. That’s 69% excess units versus what was outlined for that area in the recent Western Edge Redevelopment Plan.

The Responsible Development Task Force sees a number of issues with the proposed use and sent them to City Council. We highlight:

The excess density of this project

• A disregard for the existing street and visual grid of the City

• “An enhancement” that takes part of an existing City street

To read the full, initial letter, please visit:

In further back and forth with the Department of Community Development and the developer, the Task Force has raised a number of related questions. No substantive plan alternatives have been shared. Some of the information we’ve requested, including an economic study that underlines the developer’s request for so many units, are viewed as proprietary and have not been shared.

Other crucial information for public review:

Questions about public transportation and traffic: A referenced initial study appears to be quite limited in scope, focused on a few intersections in front of the planned development. What is the impact of this development combined with close-by unfilled existing developments and other pending western Hoboken plans?

Here’s a partial recap of the major unit build-up underway there:

In addition to whatever units and residents ultimately inhabit 930 Monroe ...

• The 1300 block of Jefferson has been approved for 357 residential units

and 281 hotel rooms.

• Two of the area’s larger, newer buildings, 770 Jackson and the Vine at 900 Monroe,

will add to the totals — they have many unrented units, and are advertising.

• The North End Redevelopment Area plan calls for another 1,134 residential units

• Pending new developments in the southwest area of Hoboken

would add more to total residents and infrastructure stress.

Just about all the new developments on the west side show “the Light Rail” as a crucial resource. How much capacity exists on the Light Rail generally as well as the 9th St. Station? Both 1300 Jefferson and North End are likely to access the line through a new stop at 15th St. Community Development has requested more information from NJ Transit, but that’s not been shared.

Vans are likely to be a major part of the 930 Monroe link to Hoboken Terminal and the 14th St. ferry. What will those plus the other increases in van traffic likely to do at those hubs during rush hours?

Apparently NJ Transit buses are not a likely part of the solution — Community Development states that a third, more westerly Route 126 is not feasible, due to limited gates and capacity issues at Port Authority. So those wanting to get to Midtown will largely be funneled through Hoboken’s busy terminal area.

With each of these developments, private cars are likely added to the City, even if not heavily used for commuting. What is their likely impact? Many may be parked in the complex, but some are likely to wind up parked on our streets.

Questions we have raised about jobs in Amazon’s leased warehouse there now: How many current or prospective jobs will be lost with the warehouse closing? Related issues are service levels for Amazon’s many Hoboken customers and the traffic impact of more service traffic from elsewhere. Are these being considered? Although a long-term Amazon lease is the predicted alternate to the plan shown, the public has not seen a firm or contingent agreement with Amazon.

Environmental impact analyses are in order: Those should cover both the proposed

675 residential units and any likely increased Amazon presence. After flooding and sewerage issues from Henri and Ida, the need for separate storm and waste sewer systems around this site are clearer than ever.

Disregarding the Grid and Limiting Sidewalk Interaction:

The proposed complex does not use the street and visual corridors for 10th and 11th Streets. We are also concerned that the “three” buildings shown are all connected. They have connecting corridors which will disrupt possible views of the Palisades. Unfortunately, these connections will encourage some residents to move around with limited interaction to the bigger Hoboken streetscape.

Locating a Green Circuit section there: Would it have greater viability and likelihood of connectivity if it runs “behind” the complex, along the Light Rail tracks as outlined in the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan? Instead, the developer’s proposal promotes an “in front” Green Circuit that would co-opt part of a public street to essentially landscape the proposed development, with no assurance of that connecting elsewhere.

It’s important to remember that extensive time, resources and community involvement already went into the Western Edge Redevelopment Zone. Keeping as close as possible to the parameters set should be a priority. Hoboken needs smart redevelopment, carefully paced to allow for growth our infrastructure can handle.

Please share your concerns with Hoboken City Council:

The plan we have seen will likely involve years for demolition, site preparation and construction, with the noise, dirt and traffic jams we typically see with major construction. So let’s get it right!

We all deserve a better plan. Let’s be sure Hoboken can safely house and serve new residents before we commit to large, additional numbers. Thanks for your interest and involvement!

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