13 Mtg Tonight, Story Update, Art, Taxes and More


Happy Great Thaw Day!  

Finally.  I don’t think that it is officially a thing, but I am calling it. I know I can speak for EVERYONE when I say we are more than ready for warmer weather…
In this newsletter:
  • Tonight - Rebuild By Design Community Meeting
  • RBD / Weehawken Cove Updates
  • Story Dispensary Update
  • Congressional Race – Who’s On First
  • Your Input Wanted on Proposed Public Art
  • 14th & Hudson Update
  • Manhattan Avenue Wall Project
  • 2024 Taxes – Brief Update
  • Free Eye Clinic
  • CAPS Recap
  • And one more thing…
Tonight, the NJ DEP are hosting its next community meeting to provide an update on the Rebuild By Design project that is underway uptown. 
  • Time:        6:30 pm
  • Location: Via zoom.  Sign up HERE for the meeting and you will be sent a zoom link.  
  • Agenda:  Project overview, work previously completed, and upcoming construction activities, impacts to the community during this phase, and Q&A.  
There is a ton going on in this corner of Hoboken. 
  • Wildlife Preserve – just kidding.  That won’t be happening but what did happen over the weekend is the RBD site was visited by four deer.  They appeared trapped inside the site, and I want to thank Hoboken’s Business Administrator who took my call early Saturday and sent Hoboken PD and the Department of Public Works to see if they could help the deer get out.  The Field Engineer for EE Cruz (contractor) came in as well to provide access to the site.  After consulting with wildlife experts, it was decided to leave the deer alone (although EE Cruz did leave some water for them) and have since left the site.
  • Grassy area and Harborside Park – Currently, the grassy area (former dog park) is closed for seeding and should re-open on May 1st.  Please note, once open, this area will no longer be available for dogs, and will be exclusively for children/humans during the remainder of the construction. EE Cruz will be paving the entrances to the grassy area and creating an accessible ramp into the playground.  The plan is to keep both areas as-is for the next couple of years.  They will build the east side of the park, and once finished, will then close off this area to build the west side of the park. 
  • Piles / Structure – A huge shout out to all my neighbors who are being directly impacted by the piling driving on the RBD site.  Been there and know it is not fun. They have more to do but should be done in the next couple of weeks.  You will see days without any pile driving as EE Cruz are accommodating the upcoming testing schedule of Elysian Charter.
  • Early Morning Noise – I have reminded EE Cruz they cannot use reverse alarms before 8 am as per our ordinance.
  • Walkway / Fence – I have heard from a couple of people that the walkway has no shoulder area for dogs to relieve themselves.  Right now the contractor is removing tree stumps, but I will ask them if, when finished, if they can provide some space, at least temporarily, along the sidewalk.
  • Living Shoreline – the city has hired an engineer to design a living shoreline where the big rocky area (see picture).  More to come on this! 
  • Pebble Beach – Over time, it has eroded and become more of a cliff than a beach.  I have asked the city to regrade this beach that is enjoyed by so many people and they will do this as part of the living shoreline project.
  • Hoboken Point Project – Love that Weehawken names its buildings after Hoboken!  Although most feedback I have received is people not impressed with the new building, a positive about the building is the plans call for a waterfront café at its base.  I have not heard anything specific yet about who and when, but just wanted to point this out and show you where it is expected to be.
The last I spoke to you about Story was when they were back before the planning board in December getting the settlement with the condominium association approved which included, among other things, moving the front door from 14th street to Hudson St.  This approval was a significant milestone as it wrapped up their local approvals.  However, they still do not have their state approval from the Cannabis Review Commission.
Over the past year, I along with some neighbors, have been in regular contact with the CRC.  We have provided them with detailed information about the dubious ownership structure put together by elected officials and their friends to enrich themselves.  There really is no other way to describe it.
The last brief filed by the Condo Association lawyers in July is what seemed to trigger the settlement.  It was a cornucopia of information about the falsehoods that the Fulop / Nussbaum / Story group made throughout the process to cover up the deceptive structure and their intent to profit.  Other documents in the public docket at that time revealed that next steps might also include looking into where the money to pay the down payment on the purchase of the Hudson Tavern came from.  We shared all of this with the CRC as well.
So… where does this leave us?  We’ve learned that the so-called applicant's ownership may be faltering, though the exact implications remain unclear. Nonetheless, we persist in our call for the CRC to deny their application. It is critical to remember that throughout this process, Mayor Bhalla, his council majority and AsM John Allen all sided with the interests of Jersey City's mayor, aligning with this questionable structure, at the expense of Hoboken’s residents. The continued advocacy by our community is what could potentially reverse this course and it’s crucial that we keep speaking out. #MoreVoicesAreAlwaysBetter.
More to come…
There are three people in the pictures below but only two are on the ballot in the upcoming democratic primary election.
On the left is Mayor Bhalla with Congressman Rob Menendez.  Our mayor has previously supported Rob, often thanking Rob for all he has done for Hoboken.  They are both on the ballot, now running against eachother.
On the right is Mayor Bhalla with Senator Bob Menendez who is embroiled in legal issues right now. This Menendez is NOT on the ballot, although Mayor Bhalla wants you to believe that is who he is running against because of the allegations against him.  Our mayor has always been a big supporter of Senator Menendez until more recently (same with me).
At the City Council meeting this week, the meeting will start with three public hearings reviewing public art being considered to be installed across Hoboken.  See below for links to the proposed artwork.  Two of the articles will be permanent installations in Pier C and Stevens Park, and one will be installed in City Hall. 
You can provide feedback in person on the proposals or directly to Director Jennifer Gonzalez via email at [email protected]
Not a lot to update you on, but I get this question regularly.  The County is awaiting PSEG to electrify the new traffic lights.  Hopefully we will see this in the next couple of weeks. Once this is completed, the old lights will be removed and the entire sidewalk and landscaping will finally be finished.
Not sure if you remember this, but I attended the first public meeting for this project back in 2019.  The Manhattan Ave Wall Project relates to the stone wall that you see when you look up to the top of the viaduct that needs to be restored in its entirety.  We had an update for key stakeholders and public officials this week.  Initially the plan was to take down the wall and replace it with a flat concrete structure.  I was happy to learn that after significant feedback (#MoreVoices), they will be retaining the stone wall appearance:
  • the area south of the viaduct, they will take down the wall stone by stone, erect a concrete wall, and then put the original stones back up.
  • the area north of the viaduct, they will build a new stone wall in front of the existing one.
What is VERY exciting is they will be redoing the entire roadway, including providing a multi use lane for pedestrians and bikes on the portion south of the viaduct that will provide direct connection with Palisades Avenue in the heights.
What is MOST exciting is they are working on how to include a bike lane on the viaduct.  This is not as simple as dropping in new striping.  It will be factored into the redevelopment of Willow Ave from 11th to 16th, a project design that will start later this year.  It would be unsafe for bike lanes to be added with nowhere to go at the end in the most dangerous intersection in Hoboken (Willow and 14th), so the design needs to be fully integrated.
More to come.  You can learn more about the project here:  What’s New – Manhattan Avenue Wall
We have completed the budget hearings for the 2024 Municipal budget.  The City Council will be working over the next couple of weeks to find ways to reduce Mayor Bhalla’s proposed 5.9% tax increase.  I am confident that we can do this and still provide services to Hoboken residents.  Where we are currently, between the Board of Education’s approved, enrollment driven 15% tax increase, and the estimated 5% increase for Hoboken’s share of the County taxes, Hoboken taxpayers would see a blended increase as high as 8%.  For me, this is over $1,000 per year.  So my interests are aligned with yours to get the portion of the taxes that we control in Hoboken lowered as much as possible.  More to come.
We had a great 2nd Ward CAPS meeting a couple of weeks ago at The Shepherd & the Knucklehead.  It occurred days after NJ’s earthquake, so the questions kicked off about Hoboken’s response and preparedness.  This is some of what we learned:
  • Office of Emergency Management – They walked us through the steps taken immediately following the earthquake, consulting with agencies and institutions citywide.
  • Hoboken Fire – we learned about how residents in large high rises should stay in their units when they hear a fire alarm – reason being the buildings are fire resistant.  Staying in your unit allows firefighters to target addressing the fire and not having to worry about people walking around the building and possible towards fire.  We also learned that Hoboken’s Rescue squad, the ones that man the jaws of life etc., are called monthly to help a child whose head got stuck in a fence at school.
  • EMS / Ambulance – we learned some history and about where our Ambulance takes you when called – depending on the type of emergency.  They will also ask what hospital you want to go to and will try to accommodate.
  • Health Department – we learned about the myriad of areas our health department gets involved, doing health and safety inspections and issuing violations for things like not handling rat infestations per our ordinance. The audience also learned that this department was responsible for the city’s COVID response (and applauded).
  • Hoboken Police – Our Police Chief responded to questions about e-bikes on sidewalks and recent carjacking and car vandalism.  He also informed us that you can find updates on police activity on the police blotter found on the Hoboken PD website. A big conversation ensued between the audience and our public safety officials about bail reform and whether or not it went to far in terms of its impact on keeping criminals off the streets. Many examples were given of people arrested for package theft or burglary, who acted again within hours of being released. 
Thank you to our Public Safety director Ferrante for putting these very informative sessions together.  To our public safety leaders for attending and speaking with the public, and to The Shep for being such a great host!

New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) is hosting an eye clinic on Wednesday, May 1, at the Multi Service Center, 124 Grand St.  Project B.E.S.T (Better Eye-health Services and Treatment) will offer free eye screenings to residents beginning at 10 a.m. Registration is required, and appointments can be made by calling (201) 420-2000 Ext. 1314 or Ext. 1312.
Did you know that we built affordable housing in Hoboken for families with children with autism?  I did not know either until I heard Mayor Bhalla, at a recent congressional campaign forum, tell this to the audience.  Although I knew this wasn’t true, the story he told was so convincing, even connecting it with being Autism Acceptance Month, that I had to check with CP Giattino, CM Ramos & CM Russo to make sure I had not missed something (which I didn’t). 
And to someone else who was watching to confirm I heard it correctly (which I did).
I informed the hosts – the NJ College Dems – that what he said was not true.  Why would he make up this story and tell it during a campaign event?   
We hosted an incredible Town Hall event this week in Hoboken with our Congressman Rob Menendez where he answered questions from almost 80 neighbors for two hours.  The feedback from those who came was only positive.  I will provide more details on this later this week as well as a link for people to watch it. 

Cute video to start your day.  It is baby season in Hoboken with baby ducks and geese everywhere.  Reminder:  don't feed them, or touch them, at any time.  I witnessed an adorable sight that I was able to catch on video - five baby geese jumping into the water for the first time from a high wall.  Click the pick to watch it... sound on and wait till the end (30s).. 
As always, please share this with everyone you know who may be interested and reach out any time on any issue important to you: 201-208-1764 or [email protected].  Click to subscribe to my newsletter.  
Tiffanie Fisher
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”
If you like this newsletter, and happy to see me re-elected, please donate to help offset the costs of my re-election campaign via website or paypal
Learn more: www.Hoboken2ndWard.com
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