Monday, April 24, 2017

UPDATE- Shake Shack calls Hoboken location a "RUMOR"

UPDATE:  
No retraction of DeFusco's fallacious Facebook post "Hoboken says NO to Shake Shake!"

Instead, the Architect goes under the bus on Twitter!  It's all his fault!


_________________

Stealing hearts and hamburgers in the  Mile Square

Busy day, folks

We start off with this quote in Jerseydigs.com's article, "So What’s Really The Deal With Hoboken And Shake Shack?" 
"A rep for Shake Shack told Jersey Digs that “We have no news to share about an opening in Hoboken” and added “as you can imagine, rumors often circulate about our potential openings.” 
It seems the "rumor" that Councilman Mike DeFusco has circulated on Facebook, is blowing up like curlies left in the deep fryer.  

Recall that DeFusco not only scolded "Hoboken" for allegedly "saying NO to Shake Shake" but threatened not to re-appoint board members who had voted against the variances.

Guess what?

The April 18, 2017 ZBA hearing transcript for 107-111 Washington Street was posted this morning.

Based on a keyword search ("Shake Shack") of the 178-page transcript, the first time that "Shake Shack"enters the hearing is on page 21, in the testimony of the Architect:


The Architect also told me directly that the "owners were in a direct contact/contractual agreement with Shake Shack."  

That may be, but why was no contract, lease, or letter of commitment provided to the board? Nor did Shake Shack appear to testify.

On Friday, April 19, 2017 Shake Shack denied even a "plan" for the site, via Twitter:


In GA's opinion, the most telling part of the transcript, with respect Shake Shack's 'role' in the Application, comes from the Applicant's attorney, Robert Matule, Esq.

Here is how Matule, introduced the application:


What happened to Shake Shack?

The complete omission of "Shake Shack" (or even "a nationally-known restaurant franchise") by the Applicant's Attorney raises some questions.   

Why leave that part out?     

Why pitch the Shake Shack tenancy at all with insufficient proofs for the Board to consider?  

Who knows.

But the Councilman's decision to write a misleading post on Facebook, and all the attendant  publicity, may have the unintended consequences of chasing Shake Shake permanently away from the Mile Square.  Now they see what a shit-show Hoboken is .

But really, the finger-pointing, scapegoating  Councilman is suggesting the ZBA zone by variance, when the power to change zoning lies with the City Council.

A reader said the same:
"May I point out that the power to zone lies with the Governing Body? 

If Councilman Defusco thinks it is appropriate to allow 6 stories and 80% commercial lot coverage with no parking and remove the encouragement of accessory garages and apartments on Court Street he should discuss this with his colleagues on the Council:"
40:55D-62  Power to zone.
 49. Power to zone. a. The governing body may adopt or amend a zoning ordinance relating to the nature and extent of the uses of land and of buildings and structures thereon.  Such ordinance shall be adopted after the planning board has adopted the land use plan element and the housing plan element of a master plan, and all of the provisions of such zoning ordinance or any amendment or revision thereto shall either be substantially consistent with the land use plan element and the housing plan element of the master plan or designed to effectuate such plan elements; provided that the governing body may adopt a zoning ordinance or amendment or revision thereto which in whole or part is inconsistent with or not designed to effectuate the land use plan element and the housing plan element, but only by affirmative vote of a majority of the full authorized membership of the governing body, with the reasons of the governing body for so acting set forth in a resolution and recorded in its minutes when adopting such a zoning ordinance; and provided further that, notwithstanding anything aforesaid, the governing body may adopt an interim zoning ordinance pursuant to subsection b. of section 77 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-90).

 The zoning ordinance shall be drawn with reasonable consideration to the character of each district and its peculiar suitability for particular uses and to encourage the most appropriate use of land.  The regulations in the zoning ordinance shall be uniform throughout each district for each class or kind of buildings or other structure or uses of land, including planned unit development, planned unit residential development and cluster development, but the regulations in one district may differ from those in other districts.
Click here for the full ZBA hearing transcript.

31 comments:

  1. It looks like Nastasi did, indeed say under oath that the applicant was in contract with ShakeShack. So either that's true (unlikely given ShakeShack's tweet to the contrary) or Mr. Nastasi was misinformed by his client, or Mr. Nastasi lied under oath. Given that he testifies frequently before the ZBA, I'd think it would be prudent of him to either supplement the record with the contract or to correct the record with more accurate information. Otherwise his testimony going forward will be justifiably suspect. And since Councilmam Defusco has made a bit of a fool of himself as a result of Mr. Nastasi's error, you'd think he'd be publicly demanding such a clarification immediately rather than claiming there must be a contract because Nastasi said so.

    I have to disagree with the idea that the ZBA was being asked to rewrite zoning laws. If making decisions on this type of application isn't the ZBA's job than respectfully, what the heck is? They are not tasked with interpreting the law like a court, they are tasked with deciding when its appropriate to make exceptions to the law based on the balance of merits/demerits of a particular project. And the exceptions asked for here are certainly not wildly inconsistent with the policies underlying the existing zoning scheme or the City's master plan.

    You can agree or disagree with how the ZBA came down on that balance in this or any other application but had they granted the application they certainly would not have been usurping the legislative authority of the City Council.

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    1. There is interpretation on the benefits and demerits of allowing exceptions to the law. If you read the transcript, you will see some critical elements of this application were not thought through. For example, garbage pick up and deliveries.

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  2. Defusco on Twitter blaming his reaction on Nastasi sworn testimony... Is Nastasi taking a dive for these people? Is there a "contract?" In writing and signed by both sides? But it doesn't matter. SS was not the applicant and there was no evidence that would have allowed the board to review and assess operations and trash, deliveries and pick ups and how they would work with 14 residential units and Walgreens in the confines of Court Street. His blame game is not relevant. The board did not deny SS, and Defusco can't weasel out of that fact. Against all of his buster and gotchas, the corporation said it had no plans. I guess his position is that they lied. So, Defusco enjoys the best of all worlds -- someone is lying but not him. Gets him past the board denied SS.

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    1. So now Mikey is saying this whole Shake Shack mess was just a Nastasi rumor. Too funny.

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  3. self-inflicted wound! Facebooking was supposed to be a two-fer: bash the mayor and zoning board in one punch. After 2 terms on the zoning board he doesn't know the applicants burden of proof?

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  4. Curious why DeFusco hasn't corrected his post on facebook. Will he?

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    1. MDF only uses his FB Council Page to drop bombs in the attempt to have an issue to campaign on... then... crickets.

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    2. Makes you wonder what kind of mayor he'd be. Let's not find out.

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    3. If he were smart, he'd delete the thread and post an apology. He isn't smart.

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    4. Da Ojo Rojo, maybe but it's also immaturity. A big person can admit when he's wrong.

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    5. MY favorite part is now he is admitting he doesn't care about Shake Shack - which IMO means all he cares about is maximizing developer profit.

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  5. What bright business mind thinks this city needs.... Another gym.. IN a basement... one block from the other gym in a basement?

    Market is already oversaturated.

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  6. What I find interesting that I have not yet seen raised is that THE main reason given for the decline is the anticipated negative impact on court street from the 14 residences and 2 commercial spaces. The same court street that Little Lyin' Mike has been fighting so hard to restore and protect the historic character. He clearly jumped in feet first into this when he saw his ZBA buddy Phil Cohen come out on FB in favor of SS and against the ZBA. And didn't bother to learn more about what really happened. Is he pro-historic court street? Or against it? He can't have it both ways...

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    1. his elec's show an absence of neighborhood support. like every og candidate, he will rely on developers and trades for his money and wind up owing them bigly.

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    2. The main reason was lot coverage.

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    3. 9:02- lot coverage was the variance, not the reason.

      The reasons were anticipated negative impacts of 80% lot coverage, 14 unit density, and 2 commercial spaces on Court St. Trash bins, (cellar floor all commercial), garbage trucks, deliveries, apt building mailboxes and entry on Court street... crazy. ZBA majority was right.

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  7. The transcript which is posted on the city website shows that both negative impacts on Court Street and lot coverage were reasons for denial. The commercial business zone allows a principal building to be at 80% lot coverage but the property is in the Court Street zone which only allows the principal building to be at 60% lot coverage. The zoning for Court Street also allows an additional 20% lot coverage for a carriage house with the remaining 20% coverage as open space. The developer wanted to attach another 20% of the coverage to the main building covering the area for open space, and then use the remaining 20% of the lot coverage in the rear on Court Street for two cars and trash facilities for the residential and commercial/retail uses in the main building, trash from Walgreens and the sole entrance for 14 units. 100% of the lot was used in this plan with a heavy use and impact on Court Street. The number of residential units also exceeded what the zoning allows. The density formula only allowed 8 residential units. Fourteen residential units also required 9 parking spots but only two were provided. Density and parking variances were issues too. Others may disagree but I think the zoning board clearly came to the right conclusion.


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    1. I think the more important point here isn't whether the ZBA's conclusion was right or wrong - it's a judgment call and it is their job to make those judgments. The issue is simply whether the decision was unreasonable as DeFusco portrayed it. And whatever the truth is about the mysterious purported SS contract, the ZBA made a completely appropriate judgment call. It didn't just "say no to SS." And DeFusco damn well knows that.

      His comments were very different than ZBA board member Phil Cohen who just wrote a post on his own FB page basically saying he respectfully disagreed with the majority of his colleagues, a position already clearly reflected by his yes vote.

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    2. And my position is that sitting commissioners should not opine on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere publicly about board business including agreement or disagreement with the majority opinion. Been there, not done that.

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    3. That is nice of Phil to explain his dissenting vote. Still doesn't excuse Mike from making a stink out of this whole thing and spreading a shit ton of misinformation purely so he can score political points.

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    4. It's not as nice if it's based on a misrepresentation to the board. That in fact was unhelpful because it seemed to validate the "stink." All that is avoided by not discussing board business. It's a board with quasi-judicial power. If the applicant wants to go to court to fight the decsion, it's possible that statements dissenting with the majority can be used against the city.

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  8. I dont think contract is relevent either way. Hoboken did not prohibit shake shack from renting and operating in Hoboken as was interpreted by many of those reading " Hoboken says NO to Shake Shack."

    I do believe the zoning process itself needs to be improved. It seems timely and expensive, but that discussion seems to have gotten lost in the shake up.

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    1. You're correct. Shake Shack's own people even stated that they understood their tenancy or lack thereof should have no bearing on zoning approval and yes, our zoning ordinances, how they're interpreted, administered and enforced is in total chaos.

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    2. I think most people in Hoboken think the ZBA process is working out well for them and their vision of the future Hoboken. The developers and real estate people who make money off of variances are really the only complaining. Can things be improved sure.

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    3. Anon @ 1:44
      Many property owners would tell a different tale. The zoning code is a hot mess.

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    4. Anon 2:59
      Certainly there are a few individuals who didn't get what they wanted when the wanted it, but I would say the vast majority of Hoboken residents are happy with the way things have been done.

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    5. Anon @ 4:13
      You could say that...but it wouldn't be true. The "vast majority" of residents aren't trying to do projects. Those that are, have to deal with a very broken system, managed by incompetent, personally vindictive people. Many sell and move rather than fight the insanity.

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    6. The vast majority are happy with the results of living in a city that they believe is getting better and better in part because of the ZBA decisions being made. They see the system as working for them. Your personal attacks on good people who volunteer their time makes me think you may be the one who is broken, incompetent, personally vindictive.

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    7. Anon @ 9:32
      Keep spinning. While many things in Hoboken are better, this isn't one of them. Not addressing this problem will only hurt the mayor.

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    8. Again I think the vast majority of people in Hoboken don't think it is a problem and are happy with the direction the City is going.

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  9. i agree that most people in hoboken are very happy with the way things are done. could things and processes be improved? sure, of course. but all in all, things are good.

    btw, it's important keep things in perspective and acknowledge that people don't tend to comment publicly when they are happy with things, or if they don't have a problem. pretty much the only people who do comment publicly are those who have had a problem (as is their right), so the frequency of complaints is disproportionately higher and more negative than the actual opinions of the general population.

    we all do it. i don't commend my the postal service when my mail is delivered on time and in good condition, but i do complain when it's delivered late or in poor condition. same here. i'm sure there are some developers and property owners who have legit beefs with the zoning board, but they are a small and vocal (and sometimes politically motivated) minority.

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