Residents across the city have a variety of responses when it comes to large and small development. Some of it is due to not wanting to accept change, other responses are due to not accepting the responses that address the issue and last, some issues are incredibly valid.
When reviewing plans for new development, one of the community’s biggest issues is ensuring the availability of parking. When earlier waterfront development attempted to address this, I believe the ratio was close to two parking spaces per unit. In hindsight, the close proximity to public transportation was very attractive, thus leading to less families having cars creating a surplus of parking spaces in these developments. This was taken as a learning experience and now parking requirements for new development requires somewhere between one and one and a half spaces. For the most part, I agree with this ratio.
On Aug. 9, I received the upcoming Zoning Board agenda for Aug. 16. There was one agenda item. On the surface, there was nothing unusual. A variance was being sought for a building to”.convert and expand a former 3-story community center/banquet hall to a 5-story mid-rise apartment building with 24 dwelling units”.
Variances are sought by many developers. This is common to Jersey City as well as I am sure it’s common to many other municipalities. What is extremely concerning is that the last part of this variance request is to not require on site parking. Once this location is filled, I would fully expect at least 15 cars to be tied to this development. This location is on Liberty Ave. between Van Winkle Ave and St Paul’s Ave. This is just over one block away from India Square which is one of many thriving cultural communities in Jersey City. Having upwards of an additional 15 cars is completely unacceptable for this community. This will create an undue hardship on many residents of this area. This is not a matter of one believing the proposed car to unit ration is not acceptable.
Putting it simply, this is simple math. Twenty four units without any plan at all to address the additional vehicles is completely irresponsible and needs a unanimous vote of no on this variance.