The purpose of this letter is to refocus attention on the only immediate waterfront development issues at hand in Weehawken. Will the brownstone section of the project be built with or without the additional 22' of land between the river and the brownstones? Will our Township benefit from an additional acre of open space on the waterfront?
There is no doubt that the brownstones are going to be built. Plan A (no additional land) is ready to go. Demolition starts next week. Building permits are being issued. Plan B (additional open space) can only be built if the leadership of the Friends of the Weehawken Waterfront (F.W.W.) drop their law suit. The Township has no legal authority to delay Plan A any longer.
F.W.W. says NJ Transit (the provider of the additional land) has more land to offer. Mr. James Dette independently confirmed that NJ Transit indeed only has a maximum of 22 additional feet to make available along the water's edge by the brownstones. Jim asks an interesting question -- Why didn't I write a letter to Mr. Dan Censullo of NJ Transit to confirm this and put the issue to rest? The answer is -- I did better than that, I introduced some of the principal players in F.W.W. to Mr. Censullo and members of his staff at NJ Transit. I set up meetings with Mr. Censullo and his staff on this very issue at F.W.W.'s request. When F.W.W. insisted that there was more land available during our private settlement discussions, I challenged them since they already met Mr. Censullo, to verify the facts for themselves.I did not believe that a letter to me from the NJ Transit would satisfy them. If they really wanted to verify the amount of land available, they would have done so themselves.
The next (and newest issue) concerns F.W.W.'s assertion that the proposed road in front of the brownstones will become private. This is nonsense. Just as the waterfront road that exists in Lincoln Harbor which is private but open to the public by developers' restriction, so would the brownstones road be open. However, in a final attempt to put an end to this issue, I propose that the road in Plan B be deeded to the Township, so that it becomes a publicly owned road (to be maintained by the developers). This will put that concern to rest.
Finally, on the issue concerning parking along the road, once again, there is ample parking on the waterfront to accommodate the public. There will be 20-40 parking spaces as part of this phase around the brownstones, approximately 200 public spaces immediately south of the United Fruit Pier warehouse and approximately 383 on-street parking spaces on roads adjacent to and immediately north of the brownstones. We will ensure ample parking for the public.
If the additional land is lost, it will be lost forever. That will be the fault of the Friends of the Weehawken Waterfront.
Richard F. Turner