So happy you are back and ready for more! It is crazy how much is going on... and details matter.
So let's get on with it - in today's newsletter B:
- Hoboken Rats & 4 Question Rat Survey
- Proposed Dispensary Updates: Story, Blue Violets & Village
- Uptown Municipal Parking Garage Potentially At Risk
- Affordable Senior & Disabled Housing Coming to 11th & Willow
- Fighting For Transparency and Against OPRA Restrictions
- City of Water Day - July 15th
- Small Steps Big Impact
HOBOKEN RATS & 4 QUESTION RAT SURVEY
We have been working hard to address what has been a recent rat surge on 15th street. Initially dozens were seen near an exposed trash area behind 1500 Garden, and now they have also migrated to other areas along 15th, mainly near accessible food sources. We are lucky that all but one of the high rises on 15th are managed by the same management company so we have been able to coordinate efforts across the buildings and with the city’s departments of environmental services and health and human services to make necessary changes to extermination efforts and trash storage. I sent out last week this update to the residents of 15th Street walking through how we got here, and what we are doing to combat what has been a growing problem: Fisher Rat Update
We are employing every method possible to reduce the rats, including with the referral by a friend and neighbor, bringing in an experienced group who have dogs (mainly small terriers) trained to kill rats. They refer to themselves as R.A.T.S and have done this for almost 3 decades, most notably and recently in NYC.
They have now come to Hoboken three times, focused primarily on 15th Street. But last week I directed them to the 300 Block of park, another hotspot, where they killed a few more. If you click this facebook link you will see a picture taken on that block. Yes… it sounds barbaric at first and you know that I am a huge animal lover. A chase, grab, shake to break their neck, and drop approach. But on the “exterminating rats” scale which includes poison and sticky glue strips, it doesn’t seem so bad on a relative basis. My neighbors who have met some of the members of the R.A.T.S group, so far have applauded their efforts and are eager to see them return.
Which they are. And I am working on identifying some more of Hoboken’s problem areas for them to visit while they are here and help augment the efforts already underway to combat the growing rat problem.
We clearly have a growing problem in Hoboken with regards to rats. I know that the city's directors and their teams are working hard to fight this battle. But it is bigger than their efforts. One of our neighbors sent us a great email with recommendations on what the administration should be doing to better address this issue:
- Launch an aggressive, positive “we are all in this together and we want to help you” public information campaign
- Amend the ordinance to prohibit the placement of plastic bags at curbside
- Provide covered receptacles similar to the recycling receptacle program
- Introduce a “waiver” policy (link below) allowing the City to provide extermination services on private property.
- Enforce the “Responsible Contact” law and add increased fines for those landlords who make it difficult to reach
- Increase receptacles and expand garbage pick up in high volume / high residential density areas
- Mobilize the CERT team to door knock around the active nest areas
And referred us to what a town in Massachusetts is doing:
Let me know your thoughts on all this by responding to my 4 question Rat Survey below (click on the clipboard):
Regarding the 15th street family of rats, we are by no means out of the woods yet. But, we have a lot of eyes on it, a lot of resources allocated, and we are just starting to hear a few whispers that it is not as bad as it once was. Fingers crossed and more to come…
DISPENSARY UPDATES: STORY, BLUE VIOLETS AND VILLAGE
If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to sign up for the Hoboken for Responsible Cannabis monthly newsletters which give monthly updates on all things cannabis in Hoboken. News — Hoboken For Responsible Cannabis.
Proposed Story / Former Hudson Tavern. The condo board’s litigation continues. Although I was subpoenaed, a date for my deposition has not yet been determined. According to the public docket:
- The counter claim made against the individual Condo Owners personally was dismissed (thankfully).
- The Condo Board has filed a motion for partial summary judgment on the two fraud related counts – Common Law Fraud and Corporate Veil Piercing/Alter Ego.
Regarding the latter, because the Fulop / Nussbaum defendants had been granted a protective order for sensitive information, the motion for partial summary judgment is almost fully redacted. My guess is emails with unsuspecting third parties fall under this and is the main driver behind the redaction in this case. Although the guts have been redacted, the small portion of the supporting documents that are readable suggest the following:
- Shortly after the contract of sale for Hudson Tavern was signed in August 2021, Nussbaum and Assm Mukherji began looking for cannabis dispensary operators.
- At the same time, Fulop / Nussbaum were also telling two banks involved in the funding that it was going to be medical office and not cannabis.
- Documents were drafted for the proposed dispensary as early as October 2021.
- On the day the sale of the property occurred in November 2021, Nussbaum informs Ayr Wellness (publicly traded) that it is a go with Story / Vedadi.
- Both the Nussbaum / Fulop entity that acquired Hudson Tavern and the Story entity are set up just as shell entities so liability could be assumed by the members who set it up.
It looks like this motion will be heard as early as early as July 21st. More to come.
Blue Violets and Village – the City Council voted 5-4 to approve the community host agreements for each Blue Violets and Village and provide a resolution of support for Village. The 4 of us who did not support these are not suggesting we do not support dispensaries, we just continue to believe, and have been consistent in our votes, that these violate our local ordinances, being within 600 feet of an elementary school.
- BV are catty corner and less than 300 feet from Hoboken Charter and All Saints.
- Village is 450 feet from Demarest Middle School.
There is a case pending before the Hudson County Superior Court concerning BV and whether or not its planning board approval is valid which will have implications on both BV and Village operating in the currently planned.
UPTOWN PARKING GARAGE POTENTIALLY AT RISK
The city put out a survey yesterday about the 916 Garden Parking Garage because of the need for significant repairs.
The fact that garage mechanics are close to the end of its useful life, is something we have been aware of, and in fact, the City Council approved a study to be done to assess the costs of different alternatives. Unfortunately, what this public survey suggests is that this administration is considering at least one alternative that would eliminate the approximate 300 off-street, uptown, municipal parking spots. That is the equivalent of about 7 full city blocks worth of on street parking that would be needed to accommodate these cars. Eliminating this garage without replacing it would put pressure on all street parking within several blocks of this location. So, if this impacts you, I would suggest that you fill out this survey.
To be clear – I will not support eliminating an uptown municipal parking garage, especially one that has as much capacity as this one. As a matter of fact, I have always advocated to add a municipal garage in NW Hoboken to support not only our residents, but our local businesses and employers. I would consider supporting moving this garage, so long as a location was specifically identified, like the lot adjacent to the NW resiliency park which was originally contemplated to be a municipal garage.
As you fill out this survey, please be sure you click on the map to show where you live so that the results can be calibrated by location.
AFFORDABLE SENIOR & DISABLED HOUSING COMING TO 11TH & WILLOW
At the last City Council meeting, we approved an amendment for the proposed Affordable Senior Housing that will be coming to the lot at 11th & Willow. This will be the first new senior housing built in Hoboken in decades. The amended project negotiated by Mayor Bhalla now includes an additional 11 units and one additional floor (was 5 and is now 6). The parking lot will remain in effect until such time that the developer receives all of its necessary financing and approvals. You can read the developers agreement for the project HERE.
FIGHTING FOR TRANSPARENCY AND AGAINST OPRA RESTRICTIONS
It shouldn’t have to be a fight. Elected representatives should want to take actions that support and further democracy, not oppose it. Yet again, at the state level, they are demonstrating the opposite.
At our last City Council meeting, I sponsored a City Council resolution, co-sponsored by CW Giattino and CM DeFusco, opposing legislation being put forth in the State Assembly that would weaken the Open Public Records Act laws and reduce access to public information and transparency for the public.
23-622 RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE PROTECTION OF OPRA AND TRANSPARENCY, AND EXPRESSING CONCERN ABOUT NJ ASSEMBLY BILLS A5613, A5614, A5615, AND A5616 - HOBOKEN, NJ (IQM2.COM)
The specific pieces of legislation are as follows:
Here are two recent articles (of many) that I found helped summarize the issue:
- Lawmakers prepare tweaks to public records law that critics call an assault on transparency - New Jersey Monitor
- An assault on transparency in Trenton - New Jersey Monitor
I shared my resolution with Jersey City Councilman James Solomon and he is sponsoring a similar resolution to be voted on tonight by Jersey City’s City Council, with four other City Council members co-sponsoring the resolution. Following Hoboken, Jersey City to vote on opposing state bill that weakens OPRA - Hudson County View
I will be reaching out to other municipalities across the state to do so as well. Additionally, I spoke with Assemblywoman Chapparo who told me that although our OPRA laws need to be updated, she agrees that we should be doing more to strengthen, not weaken our laws.
Although I thought for sure our simple, but important, resolution would get unanimous support from my City Council colleagues, it passed that night 6-0-3 with CM Cohen, Doyle and Quintero abstaining. I know… it puts my stomach in knots too just writing this.
CITY OF WATER DAY – SATURDAY JULY 15TH
This Saturday is City of Water Day in Hoboken hosted by Fund for a Better Waterfront. Stop by Maxwell Park and Castle Point Park Fishing Pier between 9 am and 5pm and join any of these amazing activities:
- Free Angling with the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association - 9 am to 2 pm – Castle Point Park Fishing Pier, 800 Sinatra Drive. Rods, reel, and bait provided
- Environmental Science with Noelle Thurlow of Resilience Adventures - 10 am to 3 pm at the beach in Maxwell Place Park
- Learn about Water Quality Issues with Montclair State’s Traveling HAB - 10 am to 3 pm – Maxwell Place Park. HAB = harmful algal blooms
- Hoboken Waterfront Tour with FBW Executive Director, Ron Hine - 10 am to 11 am – Register here. Learn about what makes Hoboken’s waterfront successful (hint: it started with a plan)
- Mural making with local artist Ann Marshall - 10 am to noon – Maxwell Place Park. Featuring birds and fish of the Hudson River
- Kayaking & Stand-Up Paddle Boarding - Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse and Resilience Paddle Sports. 11 am to 3 pm – The beach at Maxwell Place Park
- Ke Aloha Outrigger Canoeing - 11 am to 3 pm – The beach at Maxwell Place Park. Walk-ups welcome for river trips in traditional Polynesian outrigger canoes
- Build & Race Your Own Cardboard Kayak with the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse. The beach in Maxwell Place Park 2 to 3 pm – Build your kayak. 3 pm – The race begins!
Refreshments generously provided by Choc-O-Pain
This great idea came from one of our neighbors. A cause that allows you to efficiently dispose of your sneakers. Gotsneakers.com takes your used sneakers from you (they send a pre-paid shipping bag), recycles the ones that cannot be easily reused, pays you a little for the ones that can, and then shares those with people around the globe. Of those collected, according to their website, approximately 10% of footwear is considered unusable or “recyclable, 10% is considered high-quality branded athletics and restored and sold to eco and budget-friendly thift community, and 80% are considered reusable and distributed to their wholesale partners around the globe.
An additional reminder about tonight's Maritime Park Zoom meeting at 630pm. Come see for the first time a few different visual creations of potential visions for our uptown waterfront! Register for the Zoom link here: Meeting Registration - Zoom.
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