Stevens is building an enormous garage on your waterfront without Planning Board approval. Stevens is counting on the Roberts Administration to support the zoning changes that Stevens needs to avoid applying for at least ten variances that they probably cannot get from the Planning Board. If this happens, the administration will be acting in the interests of Stevens over the best interests of the public. The garage will rise above Sinatra Drive and 5th Street. This transient 725-car garage will greatly increase the traffic surrounding the Little League and soccer fields, making the streets around the playing fields more dangerous. In addition, the garage will create excessive noise with the echo of starting engines and in the evenings, cars will shine headlights onto the playing fields to blind the players. Stevens may tell you that all these problems can go away with proper landscaping. Don't believe it.
This garage and Stevens' other proposed waterfront developments are part of a plan to create a big box university. Just as a Target's (big box retail) would not be a good fit for Washington Street, a big Stevens is not a good fit for Hoboken. The vision and will of Hoboken residents to complete the waterfront park without buildings that obstruct views of the river and New York City will be forever lost. Increasing the traffic, noise, and headlights, and walling in the playing fields and the waterfront park with decks of parked cars is an act of arrogance against the people of Hoboken. Why is the Roberts Administration allowing this construction to continue when Stevens has not even made an application to the Planning Board yet?
Even though the garage is about one quarter built, Stevens told the Planning Board that until they make their formal application to them, the ramp and the elevator tower that are already built is part of the 40 foot deep foundation that the Zoning Office gave them permission to build. Even this zoning approval appears to be questionable. At the Planning Board meeting last month, the board's attorney read the Zoning Officer's letter regarding the 'foundation walls' and concluded that the letter did not make much sense and did not conform to New Jersey's Municipal Land Use Law.
A year ago, the Historic Hudson Street Coalition successfully fought Stevens and its proposal to build an athletic field and much small garage on Eighth Street near Hudson. The Historic Hudson Street Coalition got the City Council to change the zoning to prevent this Steven's proposal. The recent re-zoning of Stevens will need to be substantially changed again if Stevens is to obtain the approvals needed. Tell Mayor Roberts that the Stevens zoning should not be changed again to accommodate this garage.
Providing a world-class waterfront view to parked cars is just plain stupid. Even Mayor Roberts thought so last spring when he first learned that the huge hole being dug (releasing asbestos dust into the air) was for this garage. It seems that Stevens chose not to tell the Mayor or Planning Board about the construction of this 250,000 square foot garage; while at the same time they were making numerous announcements about partnering with the City in various ways.
If you like the remarkable Little League and soccer fields on the waterfront, let Mayor Roberts and your Councilpersons know that a massive garage with traffic, noise, and headlights in your face should not surround these fields. If Stevens wanted more parking for its commuting and working students then it should be taking the lead with Hoboken on peripheral garages, rather than taking the lead to harm Hoboken's remarkable playing fields and waterfront park.