Monarch in Hoboken
The Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy reviews applications for Waterfront Permits that are submitted to NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). With regard to the Monarch development the Conservancy submitted comments early in 2011 and followed up later in the year with the letter that follows. It was e-mailed November 18, 2011 and the decision by the DEP to grant a permit was signed December 2, 2011. Point 12 of the Permit notes that a conservation restriction for the Hudson River Walkway and open space area as presented by the developer's "Public Access Plan" had been approved. The Access Plan does not reflect the corrections sought by the Waterfront Conservancy and therefore raises questions about violation of state rules and regulations.
Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy of NJ, Inc.
P.O. Box 6217
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Supervisor Northern Waterfront
Urban Growth and Development
NJ Department of Environmental Protection via e-mail
Dear Mr. King:
Re.: The Monarch at Shipyard, Hoboken
I am writing to document the issues we spoke about on Monday, November 14, 2011 regarding the Monarch at Shipyard project. The Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy has several major concerns about the application submitted for this project which I have previously discussed with both Catherine Schaffer of your staff and Assistant Commissioner Marilyn Lennon. We are aware that an extension has been granted for the decision and feel that several fatal flaws in the application have not been addressed by the applicant.
The most critical issue is that this proposal for a highrise residential structure on an existing deteriorated platform does not conform with the public open space requirements under Hudson River Waterfront area 7:7E.48(d). The rule tables require a minimum of 45’ of public open space along the width of the waterward end of the pier whereas the applicant is only proposing 16’. The compliance statement proposes “that rather than focus all of the waterward and landward public open space at the ends of the platform, the Applicant proposes to reorient as much as possible along the long, eastern side of the platform.” If this were the case it would seem that the applicant would eliminate the proposed 16’ walkway on the western side of the platform and add the area to the width of the eastern side of the platform. The justification used by the applicant for reducing the required length is that by providing additional public access along the west side of the platform they are meeting the requirement by exceeding the total square footage required. The rule does provide for such averaging under 7:7E-3.48(d)1.v(I) provided that the public open space that covers the full width of the pier shall be at least 70% of the minimum required length. In this case the minimum public open space required is 31.5’ rather than the 16’ proposed. This requirement is especially vital on this platform due to the unique situation that the City of Hoboken owns the remaining existing platform waterward of the applicant’s holdings. This area is held in trust by the city for the benefit of all of the people , allowing the public to fully enjoy this area for a variety of public uses at some future date. In light of the potential of the city owned portion becoming a public park at some point in the future, it is vital to maximize the buffer area provided as public open space between the highrise structure and the city owned parcel.
The other troubling issue regarding this application is the question of how much of the platform actually exists and what areas contain structurally sound piling. A review of the aerial photos of the platform reveals that a significant area at the northeast corner of the platform has failed and is currently open water area. The rule under special urban areas 7:7E-3.43© and housing use rules 7:7E-7.2(b)2 state that housing is acceptable on structurally sound piling and that structurally sound existing pilings may be reconfigured provided that the total area of water coverage is not increased. It appears that the proposed project does not meet the criteria required under these policies.
We appreciate the opportunity to comment on this application and trust that our concerns may be incorporated into the permit decision. Please contact me if you require any additional information regarding this project.
Bill Neyenhouse PP
Cc: Helen Manogue, President HRWC
Donald Stitzenberg, Esq. Vice President
Peggy Wong, Secretary
Edward H.Rogaski, Jr., Treasurer
Howard Singer, PhD