Dear friends and neighbors…
Happy hump day… and City Council Meeting Day (which is always crazy…).
First – In case you were not aware, as of Monday, April 19th, all individuals aged 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination. Until then it is 55+. Please see my email from Monday about ways you can register for the vaccine.
Tonight is a City Council meeting. There is A LOT on the agenda that I think is worth tuning in to. Click here to watch / participate via City’s Website, Facebook, YouTube or via Zoom (to participate).
Please plan to dial in to give your views on disastrous north end project being proposed by the mayor that I outlined in Monday’s newsletter. Your voice absolutely matters.
A few items, major to minor, on the agenda that may be of interest to you:
- Up first at 7pm - the introduction of Mayor Bhalla’s budget. If you have not seen already he is proposing no tax increase – Yay! But he is using $6.4 million of American Rescue Plan revenues in the budget to do this which begs A LOT of questions about his proposed increased spending of those rescue funds.
- 2nd Reading of Bike Share Location Ordinance. Click to see locations across the city.
- Resolution to acquire Block 10 in SW Hoboken for $11,000,000 to expand the SW Park.
- Resolution requesting the NJ Attorney General and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the flyer distributed in the 2017 mayoral election that involved both racial bias against Mayor Bhalla and misappropriation of Councilman DeFusco’s identity.
- Resolution requesting PSEG to allow pole-to-pole bistro lighting year round on Washington St.
- 1st Reading of ordinance to restrict TV’s in parklets to certain commercial areas for the duration of the state of emergency only (specifically not in residential areas);
Back to the North End proposal that I emailed about on Monday… After some back and forth, and lack of votes, the mayor is still putting the agreement up for a City Council vote. He has removed the reference to the specific proposal from the agreement although, he sent a letter to the entire City just now instead, expressing his full support for what was proposed. So really no change.
As expected, he threw a little fear mongering as well saying the entire Monarch settlement is at risk just to pull at your heart strings.
Let me ask you a question – if the City Council does not support this agreement tonight do you honestly think that Mayor Bhalla would let the Monarch Settlement agreement fall apart? An agreement that makes voters in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd wards happy? Really? I know you are all smarter than that.
And I’ll ask a second question – if the City Council does not support this agreement tonight do you honestly think that Mayor Bhalla, or the City Council for that matter, would let the DPW be built next to the NW Park and neighbor residences? Making 5th ward voters his enemy leading up to his re-election? Really? I know you are all smarter than that as well.
If you are as smart as I think you are than you will know that between what is in the NW plan now – 300,000+ SF of residential and commercial development with a park – and what the mayor is proposing – 600,000+ SF of residential development, no park and the City paying for the Garage. Somewhere in between these two options is a better deal for Hoboken. One that potentially preserves the linear park. Preserves commercial uses. Keeps residential more manageable. And pays for the DPW garage.
The mayor either doesn’t seem to know this, or doesn’t seem to care.
And, as I have said before, there are many other alternatives with greater certainty of delivery of having a site for the garage by 9/22. Building a 700,000SF building is not one of them.
Mayor Bhalla gave these comments in an HMAG article in 2019 – just replace Academy with Bijou, Southwest with Northwest and 2021 …
“Unfortunately, [Academy] has demanded a development deal inconsistent with the city's Master Plan and the [Southwest] Redevelopment Plan unanimously passed by the City Council in ," Bhalla,said in 2019. "The overdevelopment demanded by Academy would massively increase residential density and badly exacerbate the already unacceptable traffic problems in the area."
This building will create the biggest traffic nightmare in the area, on its own, and the impact it will have for all other development in the area.
Real estate is permanent. Once built you can’t undo it. And this mayor is giving no thought to this. Hoboken deserves so much better. I can’t tell you how incredibly upsetting this is to me. And that there are any council members, and moreover potentially five, who think this is ok. It is that bad of a deal for Hoboken.
As always, please feel free to email me at [email protected] or call me at 201-208-1674 to discuss what you have read or anything else that is important to you.