|Drawings of proposed 5-story building on Block 11, Lot 9|
The 2004 Master Plan envisioned Block 11 as "planned/possible new parks and recreation," of a future 6-acre Southwest Park.
Between then and now, the struggle to "save Block 11" for open space, has apparently failed.
In fact, "Save Block 11" was the the Southwest Park Coalition's 2008 campaign to alert the public that the owner of Block 11 was seeking variances to build a 10-story high rise condo and future home of the Hoboken Historical Museum.
Then on, June 18, 2008 the City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the acquisition of Block 11 for open space. From the Jersey Journal:
"The Hoboken City Council voted 9-0 to support the acquisition of Block 11 for open space and parkland -- and the crowd went wild. Ok, maybe not wild, but they did applaud with great enthusiasm.
The resolution authorizes the Planning and Economic Subcommittee to contact the owners of property on Block 11 and try to buy the land from them. The council hopes to buy it, but if someone won't sell they'll consider using eminent domain, or the kinder, gentler "transfer of development rights" which would give the owners land and development rights somewhere else in Hoboken.
A year later, when the Hoboken Historical Museum pulled out of the deal, the owner of Block 11 filed a lawsuit against Hoboken, demanding the city buy his property and pay him damages. From the Jersey Journal:
Last June, the Hoboken City Council voted unanimously to create a new open space zoning category, which would be applied to Block 11, the Henkel Site at 12th and Adams, and a few other areas. But at last night's Council meeting, the Council voted to "permanently table" the open space zoning ordinance.GA supposes that was the beginning of the end for City's acquisition of Block 11 for open space. Or was it?
This comes after the Hoboken Planning Board deemed the ordinance wouldn't work; it's not consistent with Hoboken's Master Plan and may be subject to a legal challenge. Subsequently Nat Salvemini, developer of the ill-fated Museum Place plan, is now suing the city over Block 11.
What was wrong with the open space ordinance?
"You can't zone for parkland," Elizabeth Vandor, Hoboken's official planner, told Hoboken Now this past summer. "There are other ways of doing it but not through zoning."
Changing the zoning to parks will immediately decrease its property value, meaning the owner (Salvemini) would get less then if the city acquired the land through other means, Vandor said.
For anyone in the know, your comments are welcome.
|Proposed building at Block 11, Lot 9 designated open space in Hoboken's 2004 Master plan|
|Block 11 proximity to new Southwest Park ( Phase1) and proposed future open space|
To the present; the triangular property on the corner of Harrison and Patterson Avenue, Block 11, Lot 9...
On December 15, 2015 the applicant for 5 story residential building with ground-level retail space was received preliminary site plan approval at the Hoboken Zoning Board of Adjustment.
|Hoboken ZBA Agenda for December 15, 2015|
GA read the transcript (link here), and appreciate that the ZBA trimmed the building from 99% lot coverage to 75%, added open space (albeit for private use), and had the Paterson Avenue side of the building set back 3 feet to encourage the County to approve (4) proposed trees.
Thanks to the volunteer members of the ZBA for improving this project.
My two cents: I would not have supported the 10-foot height variance; it was the difference between 12 feet floor-to-floor and 10 feet-floor-to-floor. Given all consideration for applicants, variances should be the exception not the rule.
Well, that's GA's Block 11 update. So goes imagined open space, albeit a small triangle on a busy street.