Thursday, September 16, 2010

Western Edge Re-development

The political blogs have covered the public meetings but primarily covered the political reaction.  Below is a review of the plan, it's objectives and how the plan meets those objectives....

Redevelopment Plan Goals and Objectives

The following is a summary of the key Redevelopment Plan goals and objectives, based on the recommendations in the City's Master Plan and public comments.

  1. Increase in the economic base of the Redevelopment Area and the entire City by providing for new retail and office employment opportunities within the redevelopment area.
  2. Replace an unpleasant and uninviting streetscape with a safe, vital, pedestrian-friendly streetscape.
  3. Provide for a significant amount of open space, recreation amenities, and a new community center, that are accessible to the residents of the City of Hoboken.
  4. Provide for expanded retail and office uses to serve the needs of the growing resident population in the northwestern portion of the City.
  5. Provide affordable office space (incubator space) to support existing businesses within the City and create opportunities for new and emerging industries.
  6. Provide for landscaped rooftops/decks or green roofs that can benefit the environment and serve as an open space amenity for project residents.
  7. Create a portion of a multi-use recreation/walking path or green circuit around the City adjacent to the light rail tracks.
  8. Take advantage of the light rail by encouraging mixed-use development, open space, and pedestrian-friendly uses around the transit station consistent with smart growth planning principles.
  9. Provide for a variety of housing types, including both market-rate and affordable housing which complements and expands the housing options and choices in the City.
  10. Preserve view corridors to the Palisades through strategic placement of open space areas and building breaks.
  11. Create a walkable, human-scaled community that integrates new development with surrounding residential areas and provides connections to the 9th Street Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) station, including greenways and pedestrian linkages.
  12. Establish more varied site and building design standards that foster a visually pleasing streetscape and high-quality building design within the Redevelopment Area.

Information Provided by Donna Antonucci
Weichert Realtors

Click here to get a property valuation today!

The Redevelopment Area is surrounded by a mix of uses, including multi-family residential to the south, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) right-of-way to the west (marking the municipal boundary), industrial uses to the north, and public, industrial, commercial, and multi-family residential uses to the east. Map 3 illustrates the variety of land uses surrounding the redevelopment area.

While the City of Hoboken has experienced a development boom in the last two decades, the northwestern portion of the City is one of the few areas of Hoboken that still contains parcels which are remnants of its industrial past. The area, however, has also experienced heightened construction activity in recent years, especially in response to the adoption of the Northwest Redevelopment Plan.

Most of the new construction has been either residential or commercial, providing new housing options and choices within the City. The development that has occurred in response to the Northwest Redevelopment Plan represents the largest new residential development that has been built in the area in recent years.

South and east of the Redevelopment Area are several multi-family residential buildings that have been recently constructed in connection with the Northwest Redevelopment Plan, as well as commercial development that includes a ShopRite grocery store. The Northwest Redevelopment Plan Area wraps around the study area to the east and south and consists of all or parts of 22 tax blocks, of which four directly abut study area properties on Ninth Street, Monroe Street, and Jefferson Street.

Further to the north is an active industrial and warehousing area, a large part of which is occupied by Academy Bus, which is essentially cut off from the Redevelopment Area properties south of Fourteenth Street by the viaduct infrastructure. To the west lie the Palisades cliffs, the municipal boundary with Union City and the right of way for the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail. The light rail runs along the western boundary of the study area. The Ninth Street light rail station is located at the westernmost end of Ninth Street, which is at the southwesterly edge of the Redevelopment Area.

Public Outreach

This plan addresses not only the recommendations in the City's 2004 Master Plan, but also the concerns of the residents. Public workshop sessions concerning the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan were held on February 13, 2008 and June 25, 2008. Major issues identified through this process include the following:

Land Use

  1. Require large commercial and/or office use components because this area of the City needs stronger, larger, more identifiable retail spaces.
  2. Provide a greater variety of unit sizes, including a percentage of three-bedroom units, to accommodate the growing population of families in Hoboken.
  3. Maintain the 5-6 story building heights that are consistent with other residential buildings in the area.
  4. Provide affordable housing.

  1. Protect important views of the Palisades.
  2. Reinforce the streetscape with stoops, stairs and stores, not cars.
  3. Include guidelines that provide for excellence in design; not monolithic superstructures, but rather individual, smaller buildings such as Liberty Harbor North in Jersey City.
  4. Encourage sustainable development, including green building design requirements.
Open Space and Recreation

  1. Create large parks. Columbus Park is the nearest park, and with the number of residential units being built in the west side of the City, the need for more parks and open space is critical.
  2. Construction of the green circuit is not sufficient for open space in this area. Provide larger open space areas for active recreation.
  3. Locate the green circuit in front of buildings and integrated into the streetscape, not in the back of buildings where the lack of light, accessibility and safety are issues.
  4. Construct a community pool and recreation center.
Circulation and Parking
  1. Preserve and maintain streets with existing Belgian blocks bases to provide a visual, aesthetic reference to the City's history.
  2. Require new streetscape design, including traffic calming.
  3. Re-examine parking ratios to reduce the visual predominance of parking garages and parking lots because the area is well-served by public transportation.
  4. Design the green circuit for recreation, pedestrian and bicycle commuting.

Western Edge Redevelopment Plan Revised Draft

Relationship to Intent and Purpose of the 2004 Master Plan

New Jersey’s redevelopment statute requires that “all provisions of the Redevelopment Plan shall be either substantially consistent with the municipal master plan or designed to effectuate the master plan.” The Western Edge Redevelopment Plan is written to incorporate the major goals, objectives and concepts of the Master Plan. The Plan is substantially consistent with and designed to effectuate the City’s Master Plan, the last comprehensive version of which was adopted in April 2004. Specifically, this Redevelopment Plan complies with the intent of the Master Plan with respect to the following general goals and objectives:
  • Amplify Hoboken’s sense of community, encompassing its social diversity.
  • Enhance Hoboken’s unique setting as an urban enclave facing New York Harbor.
  • Improve the appearance of Hoboken’s streets.
  • Enhance its walk ability and pedestrian amenities.
  • Contemporize its community facilities.
  • Provide additional open space and recreation facilities.
Land Use Element

The Redevelopment Area is entirely located within the IT Industrial Transition zone in the Land Use Plan of the Master Plan. By designating the area in the Industrial Transition (IT) zone on the future land use map, the Master Plan recognized that this portion of Hoboken was in the process of transformation. The Plan states that limited industrial uses will continue to be permitted in these areas. It recommends permitted uses, including public facilities and office development. The Master Plan only provides for residential use as a conditional use by stating that residential uses “be permitted only as a conditional use in accordance with specific requirements.” These requirements include being located adjacent to public parks, or by providing open space that is dedicated to the City. Building heights and densities could also be increased in return for the provision of public amenities.
Important planning considerations in the Land Use Element that apply to the redevelopment plan include the following:
  • Promote and enhance Hoboken’s historic character and design image.
  • Continue to promote a pedestrian-friendly environment.
  • Maintain an appropriate mix of uses.
  • Enhance physical and visual connections between the waterfront and the rest of the City; and between the Palisades and City.
  • Coordinate development decisions with adjacent municipalities and Hudson County.
  • Work with institutions to ensure that any future growth is appropriate in terms of location, scale and design.
  • Promote compatibility in scale, density, design, and orientation between new and existing development.
  • Require buildings to be oriented to the street.
  • Continue to promote stoops (and stoop life).
  • Continue to hide parking on the ground level of buildings.
  • Enact “green architecture” requirements for new construction.
  • Enact “quality housing” model design guidelines for new construction.
  • Provide additional street trees.
  • Prohibit new surface parking lots or other open parking areas.
  • Restrict new curb cuts.
Westside/Northwest Redevelopment Area

The Northwest Area Concept Plan in the Master Plan designates the Madison Street Subarea as “Residential with Ground Floor Commercial” uses and the Jefferson Street Subarea is designated as “Existing/Possible Public School.” The language which accompanies the Northwest Area Concept Plan states that Hoboken is in need of additional open space and community facilities and recommends that new development contribute to the creation of these elements in order to help create a more balanced neighborhood context.
  • Provide additional open space and community facilities as other development occurs. To the greatest extent possible, new development should contribute to the provision of these elements.
  • Improve the area underneath the Fourteenth Street Viaduct. The area underneath the viaduct has the potential to serve as open space and/or a unifying feature for this section of the City.
Open Space, Recreation and Conservation Element

The Open Space, Recreation and Conservation Element in the 2004 Master Plan proposes a new park adjacent to the redevelopment area on the Cognis (formerly Henkel) factory site located between Twelfth, Thirteenth, Adams, and Madison Streets. In addition, the Open Space Plan identifies the need for a new community pool and additional recreational facilities that would be available to the general public. Finally, the Open Space Concept Plan identifies two of the Redevelopment Area parcels for planned or possible new parks and recreation: 900-912 Monroe Street and 914-930 Monroe Street. Other recommendations in the Master Plan that are applicable to the Redevelopment Plan include the following:
  • Create a green circuit in the City to link recreational and other amenities (creating a multi-use path around Hoboken’s periphery).
  • Maximize park and recreation opportunities for residents.
  • Involve the private sector in creating open space.
  • Create park corridors or “green streets.”
  • Require street trees as part of development applications.
  • Provide more recreation and parks through better utilization of land.
Economic Element

The Economic Element places the southern two blocks in the “Transit-Oriented Business District” which are districts located adjacent to light rail stations. These areas are described as “appropriate locations for commercial development” and “logical places for small business districts to be created.” In addition, the Master Plan encourages additional office space in appropriate locations. The land use mix in Hoboken is currently skewed towards residential and other non-commercial uses. Even with the recent growth in office space, it appears the office market in the Hoboken area can accommodate additional space. The mix of spaces should include larger, "prime" office space around Hoboken Terminal, as well as smaller scale offices around light rail stations and in other commercial areas. The Master Plan also encourages a mix of uses in new developments to provide supporting services to workers and residents, since housing and offices alone do not make a city. Retail space and services are an integral part of a community that has not been included in many new development projects, and the City should encourage a mix of uses in new development. The Economic Element includes the following specific recommendations that are applicable to the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan:
  • Encourage a mix of uses in new developments to provide supporting services to workers and residents.
  • Promote convenient retail at the new light rail transit stops.
  • Create opportunities for more gathering places.
Community Facilities Element

Important planning concepts in the Community Facilities Element that are applicable to the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan include the following:
  • Encourage environmentally sensitive and sustainable design.
  • Promote the improvement of utility systems in the City.
  • Promote the creation of green roofs and parking lots.
  • Employ Quality Housing Zoning to promote even higher standards.
  • Address drainage problems in the City’s flood zones.
  • Develop a set of stormwater management policies and regulations for new development.
  • Reduce waste and promote recycling.
Information Provided by Donna Antonucci
Weichert Realtors

Click here to get a property valuation today!

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