Schools before High-Rises: Necessities Before Amenities - PART II

08 Aug 2019 5:28 PM | Anonymous

We need your continued support - show up at City Hall Wednesday Aug 14 @ 10AM: 

Tell City Council No More Developer Windfalls Without Public Schools/Parks/Libraries

Schools Before High-Rises; Necessities Before Amenities

On Tuesday July 23, 2019, the City Planning Board was presented with what is one of many developments planned for the area lying north of Hamilton Park between 10th Street and Hoboken (Soho Lofts, Acme, Home Depot, entrance to Holland Tunnel etc).  This particular plan called for approximately 950 units and .5 parking and is simply one of many large plans that ultimately will allow for approximately 9000 new units in this area.  (We previously thought 8100 but have now learned it will be more than 9k)

Thank you!  Your letters, e-mails and voices were heard and as a result of our efforts, the City Planning Board unanimously voted to recommend that the proposed amendment to the redevelopment plan be denied!

But our work is not done.  Despite the unanimous vote by the City Planning Board rejecting the plan, it is anticipated that certain members of City Council will still seek to approve this Developer wind-fall on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 10AM.

This plan for Block 7103 is only one of many piecemeal plans that ultimately will allow for nearly 9000 new units to be built to the area between Hamilton Park and Hoboken and yet there are NO PLANS for a PUBLIC SCHOOL,  GREENSPACE, PUBLIC LIBRARY, PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.  

Children living in these 9000 units are within the Cordero-PS37 zone, a school that is already overcrowded. 

Jersey City must make plans NOW for the public necessities required to support development for the 20,000 plus new residents that will live in this area.  

Tell City Hall to (1) vote down the Block 7103 amendment that continues to give developers way too much and (2) direct and empower City Planning to conduct a study of this area in the next six months before further development is approved and to make this study public.  

Voice your opinion and tell Jersey City leaders to plan for public necessities before private high-rise amenities.

Join us at City Hall at 10AM on Wednesday August 14 and also send emails to our elected officials demanding that they use our tax dollars to plan for the future. We must develop necessities before amenities -- we must develop and plan for public schools, libraries, greenspace and public transportation before high rise condo buildings.

Please send an email today! A  sample e-mail is included below:

Mayor Fulop 

Councilman James Solomon

Councilwoman at Large Joyce Waterman 

Council President, Rolando Lavarro

Councilman at Large, Daniel Rivera

Councilwoman Denise Ridley,

Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey,

Councilman Rich Boggiano,

Councilman Michael Yun,

Councilman Jermaine Robinson,

Dear Mayor Fulop and Councilpersons, 

I am a resident living of Jersey City.  I write to urge the Mayor and City Council on Wednesday Aug. 14, to (1) vote against a proposed amendment to the Redevelopment Plan for Block 7103, which was unanimously voted down by the City Planning Board and (2) direct City Planning to conduct a study of the area between Hamilton Park and Hoboken in order to plan for a school, greenspace, library, and public transportation within the next six months.   

All development between Hamilton Park and Hoboken should be halted until City Planning has had a chance to study this area and to determine how and where the City will build the public necessities and infrastructure needed to support the planned development.  The City should be empowering and funding City Planning to undertake the necessary studies needed to develop the area between Hamilton Park neighborhood and Hoboken.  Our city, our parks, our schools are already suffering from overcrowding.  Without adequate planning now, this problem will only be compounded in the future.  

City Planning needs the resources in both staff and funding to study this critical area where 9000 plus units are already approved.  In April 2019, City Planning specifically advised City leadership that it needed more resources in order to carry out planning directives for this area of the City.  Give City Planning what it needs to get this job done.  

Future residents of this area north of 12th Street must have access to a school that does not require them to haul their children across sixteen lanes of Holland Tunnel traffic, these residents deserve adequate greenspace and access to a library, and these residents, like the rest of Jersey City residents, deserve access to sensible mass transportation.  

I ask that you, the leaders of our City, utilize our tax dollars to ensure that adequate planning is done in the next 6 months.  I also object to any further approval of developments in this area until City Planning has had an opportunity to study and plan for the f basic public necessities that are needed to support the huge number of residents that will ultimately live here.  




There are many development plans slated for the area lying north of Hamilton Park between 12th Street and Hoboken and in total, more than 9000 units can ultimately be built within this area as of right.  The area is divided into multiple Redevelopment Plans.  These Redevelopment Plans have not been studied and the area as a whole has not been examined holistically.  Some of these Redevelopment Plans will expire, which will lead to opportunities potentially for the city to rewrite those plans.  Many of the Plans are outdated and need to be amended based on the anticipated level of residents that will be moving there. 

Developers are seizing the moment and trying to ramrod development through now before the redevelopment plans can be rewritten with the public needs in mind.  Specifically, in one version of the particular plan that was just presented to City Planning (which was denied), the developer was asking to build an enormous high rise with potentially 950 units and .5 parking. Where will those families send their children to school, where will those children play and learn, and where on earth will they park their cars?  The developer was seeking to double the number of units in exchange for providing affordable housing.  While we applaud any effort to provide affordable housing, affordable housing is hardly a public give back anymore, and is something that should be demanded in any building of this size.  Moreover, the developer has not provided any analysis of the financial impact of the affordable housing to demonstrate that the developer's request to double the units is monetarily equivalent to providing affordable housing.  It is shocking that City Council would even consider this proposal without questioning what they are really bargaining for and without considering the very basic needs that those residents will need.  We would argue that like affordable housing, access to public schools, libraries, parks, and public transportation are just as important and just as necessary.  We cannot myopically focus on one issue and not address the other public necessities.  

Shockingly, despite City Planning Board's unanimous rejection of this request on July 23, 2019, several City Council members continue to support the developer's plan. 

Right now, we have the rare opportunity to actually plan ahead and prepare for the future, but we are dangerously close to the point of no return.  The City must act now to ensure that there are adequate schools, libraries, greenspace and public transportation to support the unprecedented development happening just north of Hamilton Park.  If the City squanders this opportunity, then PS37/Cordero and our other public schools will be further overrun, children and their families will continue the dangerous commute crossing over 16 lanes of traffic to reach Hamilton Park and Cordero and we, as tax paying citizens, will all be left holding the bag while developers make huge profits on short term rental properties.  This is not acceptable.

Over the past few years, Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association along with other stakeholders in Jersey City have consistently been trying to focus City leadership on the absolute need for an additional public school, library branch, adequate greenspace and reliable transportation for this area.   Members of the Neighborhood Association were provided with a memorandum from City Planning from April 2019, in which City Planning told City leaders that they needed more funding and staff in order to conduct studies to responsibly develop the area north of 12th Street for the 20k plus residents that will be moving there. 

Unfortunately, City leadership has not empowered, directed, or adequately funded City Planning to do this.  As a result, proposals by developers simply keep coming and there still has been no concrete effort by the City to provide and plan for the basic necessities.  We cannot continue to build blindly on the only remaining land available in downtown Jersey City.  The short term decisions we make now are going to literally shape the topography of Jersey City for the next 100 years and more.  Lets stand up and demand that the right decisions be made.  




Address: 344 Grove St. PMB #166, Jersey City, NJ 07302

Phone: +1 (201) 589-0750


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