I would like to set the record straight by providing some insight into the Fourth Ward's flooding issue, my past efforts to ameliorate it as Fourth Ward Councilman, and what I believe is the best approach to cure it in the interim and over the long-term.
Flooding in the southwest corner of Hoboken is not a new concern. However, it has been made much worse in recent years by large-scale development in the ward.
I opposed large scale development in the Fourth Ward as far back as 2001 - before Dawn Zimmer was even a Hoboken resident.
As Councilman, I strongly urged the new Roberts' Administration to file a lawsuit to block the nascent Sky Club. After sustained pressure on my part, the City finally filed suit, and I signed on as a co-plaintiff in my capacity as Fourth Ward Councilman. Among the claims made, the lawsuit cited the likely exacerbation of flooding in the project's immediate vicinity. Unfortunately, a Superior Court dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that the City waited too long to act.
With the legal process closed off, the administration and I sought relief from the North Hudson Sewerage Authority. We asked the Authority to deny the project, once again citing the likely worsened flooding conditions. The Authority nonetheless granted approvals with "conditions" that amounted to low hurdles that were easily cleared.
Meanwhile, NJ Transit was constructing the light rail system along Hoboken's western edge. The administration and I approached the agency for funding to help alleviate flooding in the southwest area. The agency agreed to provide funds; unfortunately, NJ Transit has yet to fulfill its end of the bargain.
To fix Hoboken's flooding crisis, we need to focus on how to address this issue responsibly.
Rather than a building moratorium, as suggested by some, a more productive, fair and realistic alternative for the short-term is to install water retention and detention fields in the southwest area of the City, as recently proposed by the Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition plan SW6: A Greener, Greater Hoboken. I have strongly endorsed this plan because it takes two of the most important features of the Southwest Redevelopment Plan that I supported: flood abatement and open space - and enhances them.
The best strategy for the long-term is to invest in a water ejection system that can cure the Fourth Ward's flooding problems once and for all. I have advocated that this $30 - $50 million project should be funded by both the North Hudson Sewage Authority and New Jersey Transit in order to ensure that already overburdened taxpayers don't get stuck paying the bill.
If reelected to the Hoboken City Council on November 6th, I will work vehemently to realize these interim and long-term flood abatement measures for the Fourth Ward.