Mayor Dawn Zimmer met with the city’s Chamber of Commerce on Thursday morning to discuss her plans for development and storm resiliency in post-Hurricane Sandy Hoboken.
Before an audience that included several builders with lucrative construction deals currently in the works, Zimmer reiterated her stance that approval of any new projects must be contingent on two things: first, their ability to help solve Hoboken’s flooding problem and their commitment to green infrastructure, and, second, their participation in a full community process that addresses residents’ existing needs and wishes.
“This is the type of event that will make Hoboken a stronger place for business.” – Chamber of Commerce President Greg Dell’Aquila
The mayor also attempted to push back against questions which suggested she was anti-development or, at least, taking an unnecessarily slow approach to approving new construction in town.
She said that political stagnancy on the City Council, which was divided 4-4 for much of last year due to an empty ninth seat, as well as Hurricane Sandy, had forced her to shift priorities temporarily, but that development would now be a top concern.
The mayor discussed several existing projects, including NJ Transit’s proposed Observer Highway redevelopment project on land owned the transit agency just north of Hoboken Terminal. The city and NJ Transit have traded construction plans for the massive project – Zimmer wants two million square feet, while NJ Transit wants three million.
The mayor said Thursday that she hopes to present an agreed-upon plan to the City Council by June.
Brent Jenkins, a developer with LCOR, the firm handling NJ Transit’s plan, attended the breakfast and said that he believes a plan could be finalized by June if LCOR and the city “roll up their sleeves and work collaboratively.”
“We’re remaining very excited about this project,” he said. “But we’ve still got a lot of work to do before things are finished. We’re looking forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the city.”
Event a ‘success’
Greg Dell’Aquila, the chamber’s president, called the event a massive success.
“This is the type of event that will make Hoboken a stronger place for business,” he said. “This is what we need.”
Dell’Aquila has in the past called for greater communication between the Zimmer administration and the business community.
Approximately 30 people from the city’s business community attended the event, which took place at Amanda’s Restaurant on Washington Street.
Dean DeChiaro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org