175 Second Street – Increase height, less parking, no set backs – Altered 2014 design

November 28, 2017 – This Planning Board agenda happening today. 

Please see attached images to show the before and after. This was postponed until November 28th. There was a presentation last Monday, where the interpretations of the RDP were debated. All we can do is go in front of the planning board on Tuesday, say how we see the RDP and what a transition zone should be and to ask the board to take into account the intended purpose of this RDP is – to compliment the warehouses to the south and work with the existing townhouses on the block, as well as the low-built, historic neighborhood to the west.

I first want to say – these opinions are my own – I have not had the opportunity to present anything to PADNA.

This is exactly the problem with waiting until the last minute to talk to the community about a major change and using a loophole meant for other parts of this block to abuse the spirit of the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan.

Adam Knoll from Shuster Development sent over the new and final site plan to me November 13th, yesterday – only after we had to ask for a look.
The new design continues maximizing the density of this block to the point that the two remaining original 4-story townhouses on Marin Blvd. will sandwich a 13-story+ penthouse in addition to another roof. Blank walls will be visible from both sides as you drive/walk down Marin Blvd.

The RDP states that the Transition Zone “… and to create an attractive street front along Marin Boulevard that extends the building lines that were created by the existing structures along Marin Boulevard in Block 11502.” page 43.

The following was written to specifically save Marin Blvd from over building to the point of writing instructions of maximum heights and minimum set back to achieve this aesthetic.

b. Block 11502, Lots 1, 11, 12, 13, and 14, (formerly Block 173 lots C, D, E, F,  and  G) as they  exist  at  the  time  of  adoption  of  this plan,  shall  be permitted a maximum height of sixty-five (65) feet.

4.  Maximum FAR: 7:1

Minimum Setback Requirements:
Abutting Marin Boulevard: A minimum ten foot (10′) setback is required
at the top of the fourth story.

A previous city planner created a form-based “bonus” – ignoring bulk established for this RDP, that creates extremely dense construction in what was supposed to be a transition zone as the buildings along the waterfront move west to R-4 two-story homes. Attached is the only design that the community has seen.
Inline image 1Inline image 2Inline image 3
The 2014 design was flawed with the 12+ story blank wall seen on the north side, as it hovers over the backyard of an existing 4-story townhouse. The 2017 design now eliminates the 65-foot height restriction and moves this blank wall to the property’s edge on Marin Blvd. Unfortunately, the 2014 design never addressed the setback required at 4th story.  There is still no setback.
Now there is a 13-story with a penthouse abutted to Marin with blank walls along both north and south of the property lines. It does not “…create an attractive street front along Marin Boulevard that extends the building lines that were created by the existing structures along Marin Boulevard”. 
Somehow the common height restriction, claiming that any building in the transition zone can be the same height as historically significant Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Headquarters building located at Block 11509, Lot F2 (144-158 Bay Street), which  is 114’8″ in height from grade to the base of the primary cornice.” – is lost. These buildings, including bulk head roof top are 176+ feet tall! We question how the architect was able to create that much height from one additional story. Apparently it’s very complicated, but possible to gain some height – but one story should be 9 feet like the rest of the building, not 21 foot tall penthouse story with a pool on the roof. 


Shuster Developers never approached the public or Ward E councilperson to present this new design over the last year. We come to find out about it by seeing this on week ahead’s agenda, pointed out to me by a new Community Development Committee.

I asked Adam Knoll to postpone (he said they couldn’t) their presentation and instead present to the entire downtown community that walks and drives along Marin Blvd. To sell this design to us, not sneak it in under a flawed loop hole.

PAD/Waterfront – Jersey City & New Jersey Election

Useful Links

Please watch the debates online & read the surveys; make a solid decision before you get to the voting booth.

Ward E DCNA Debate – https://vimeo.com/238681053

Survey Results from Ward E Candidates – http://safestreetsjc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Ward-E.pdf

At-Large Forum – https://vimeo.com/237240608

Council At-Large candidates – http://safestreetsjc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Ward-AT-LARGE.pdf

Mayoral DCNA Debate – https://vimeo.com/239009530

Deadline to register to vote in New Jersey was Tuesday Oct. 17th – For more information about 2017 Election:  http://www.hudsoncountyclerk.org/2017-general-election-candidates/



Jersey City School Board Elections – https://ballotpedia.org/Jersey_City_Public_Schools_elections_(2017)

State of New Jersey Governor Elections – https://ballotpedia.org/New_Jersey_gubernatorial_and_lieutenant_gubernatorial_election,_2017

New Jersey Ballot Measures – https://ballotpedia.org/New_Jersey_2017_ballot_measures



321 Warren Street Site Plan


UPDATE September 22, 2017 – Fields Construction has been retained by the owner of the site to perform some early which will include site clearing and test piles along with some other investigative work prior to the commencement of construction.  [They] filed with traffic to close the sidewalk and parking lane adjacent to the site on both Warren and Steuben.  The Warren closure will be an extension of the what Toll currently has in place the North. Obviously parking will be lost surrounding the site on Warren and Steuben (any parking across the street should remain intact).

Site Logostics_20170922

Fields is currently working on several projects in JC and built 154 Steuben, Ivy House, and Waldo Lofts several years ago and they can appreciate the traffic concern and pedestrian safety in this area.

Fields will also be the working on the lot currently prepping for pile driving at intersection of Steuben/Marin/Morgan. This will eventually be a 12-story hotel. Work on both sites will be pile driving first and based on the results construction will start.

October 21, 2016 – It appears Parkwood Development LLC has stepped aside and a new developer, LMC has taken over the 321 Warren Street construction. A new design but the same development rights that the Planning Board approved when it created another sub-divided area within the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan.

They are on schedule to submit their site plan amendment application on October 21st to be heard during the November 15th planning board meeting.
In summary the application changes only the look of the building. The number of stories are unchanged at 15 residential stories over ground floor retail, parking, and residential and Arts space lobbies. The total number of residential units is unchanged at 180. Parking count is still 18. The ground floor arts lobby is expanded and the second floor is still entirely dedicated to Arts use including the 18’ clear height black box theater.
The streetscape is improved by accentuating the Arts and residential lobbies and entrances, and separating them as two distinct elements. The double height of glass at the ground and second floors will reveal the activity behind in the arts and retail spaces, which will enliven the streetscape.
The company, LMC, is very excited about this development, they’ve begun site work for environmental remediation already, and anticipate breaking ground for vertical construction during the second quarter of 2017.


Continue reading 321 Warren Street Site Plan

Harsimus Cove Sta. RDP Amendments – September 2017

170630_HEX P1B_Redevelopment Plan Amendment PR Package_lr_v3-14

Forest City developers are now seeking to get approval of the new building’s design and site plan surrounding the new construction and the parking lot, now that they have the amendments approved. (September 2017, Planning Board).The red circle is pointing out some changes to landscape. BUT – The important thing to obsess on, is the road and sidewalks that will be created and new boundaries of the parking lot and how cars will enter and leave the parking lot from Fourth St./Washington Blvd. entrance and the Sixth Street to the north. Is it pedestrian friendly?


Harsimus Cove Station Amendment 12 Building Regulating Plan and Intensity Table 7 19 17

170630_HEX P1B_Redevelopment Plan Amendment PR Package_lr_v3

A bit of the back story earlier this summer – July/August 2017 – Forest City has asked for amendments to their first block currently under construction. They have already received approval from Planning Board in June, but immediately sought approval from City Council the next session. Forest City offered to share the design changes to the N.A.s in the area AFTER they presented to Planning Board, leaving no time to comment to Planning Board. City Council typically rubber stamps anything Planning Board approves. City Council un-tabled the ordinance during a Special City Council meeting at 10am. Not a typical situation and it was not on the agenda – so no one spoke during the Second Reading because we had no idea that it would be un-tabled that day!! Very disappointed in the city’s lack of communication with the public. 9-0 approved.

I question the timing of presenting to the downtown neighborhoods. The time to discuss should be much earlier in the process, not at the last moment. A block with two phases should be presented together, not years apart, especially if they design something that never met the current specs, hence the request for an amendments at the last minute. Latest design removes the setback and creates a sheer tower along the 4th Street (35+ stories), the main entrance to the development. Designs are presented without looking at the entire neighborhood – it would benefit to see how the other ten towers will line up with the amendment. 3D models help visualize the plans. After people asked, Forest City created some 3D renderings, but are showing the current buildings in the area only, not how it will look with the other tower and bases scheduled to be built over the next 15 years.


NOTE from Forest City: The intent of the “Yellow Blocks” (towers throughout RDP) was to allow some flexibility within that zone for the towers to move and shift around within those designated areas, but still adhering to the 60’ rule.  The massing of the towers may not encompass the entire yellow area on any given plan to allow the two towers on either block to “breath” if you will and maintain the 60’ separation.

Forest City hasn’t started designing the individual towers yet for the future blocks, once they do so if there are any changes needed they’ll make sure to meet with the community to discuss much earlier in the process.

I’ve included the other renderings presented to us a couple weeks ago. Please take a look at – if you have any comments – please speak up. We’d love to hear the good and bad comments.

Forest_City_WS_day  Forest_City_WS_night  Forest_City_MS_night  Forest_City_MS_day

1B tower dimensions are approximately 122’ x 128’.

Forest_City_compare_01  Forest_City_compare_02  Forest_City_compare_03

comparisons of altered design to setback currently in RDP.