Hoboken needs public green space, not new high-rise apartments complexes. Hoboken needs solutions to its parking and traffic problems, not a new influx of traffic that will exacerbate those problems. Hoboken needs to learn from its past that new development neither reduces the tax burden we all share nor increases the tax revenues we rely upon for the city's declining infrastructure.
That is why the proposal before the Zoning Board to build a nine-story high-rise on the vacant lot between the Park and Willow Avenue viaducts must be turned down.
This project has been overwhelmingly unpopular in town ever since the developer, Sanford Weiss, put in his first application several years ago -- so unwelcome, in fact, that a community organization formed just to stop it. The Board has already rejected it once. It's not hard to figure out why.
The 1600 Park property is zoned for industrial use and too small (less than two acres) to qualify for a Planned Unit Development proposal. Mr. Weiss cannot build residential there without getting a package for use variances from the Zoning Code. He'd need other variances, too, for height and coverage of the lot. These new residences -- a complex with 140 living units, designed for up to 400 people, plus 224 parking spaces, 3600 feet of commercial space and a 32-lane bowling alley -- will be crammed in between the twin viaducts on east and west, the new Light Rail tracks on the north and the Alforno Coat Factory on 16th St. It will end up being just another way to make us all sardines to our town neighbors and their cars.
As a sop to the real needs of Hobokenites for public space for families and children, the developers have made an insulting "offer." The part of their land they are legally prohibited from developing will become leftover space for a possible "recreation area" for someone else to develop. It is, not surprisingly, the least desirable part of the property, abutting rail tracks and partly in Weehawken.
Frankly, I don't know anyone who wants this project built. It is another instance of developers and their friends getting rich off of our declining quality of life. The Zoning Board must say no one last time.