Look out a window into most backyards in Hoboken and you’re looking at something some call the “donut hole.” Big trees, secret gardens and lawns divided by fences that create private neighborhoods around our blocks that are invisible from the street. It’s light and air and backyard barbecues and the sounds of families, the chatter of squirrels and birds, and yes, the hum of an occasional power tool. It’s part of what makes Hoboken a wonderful place to live. Think what it would be like without it.
Pave over paradise and put up a…staircase? They say we lose what we lose a bit at a time. A recent revision to the Hoboken Zoning Code that chips away at this open space is a gift to developers, but has the potential to backfire. With this ordinance, B-40, developers can offer more living space by stealing from the light and air of our back yards by allowing them to build exterior staircases. The trade-off is a bad deal – exterior staircases that meet the fire code are big and ugly – and they usually get uglier over time. This ordinance is just bad planning. Please reverse this new regulation, our Master Plan is doing a great job without it.