In a lengthy and at times lively meeting Tuesday night, the Hoboken City Council heard public comment and debated the Hoboken Terminal and Yards Redevelopment, before voting 8-1 to approve the plan. Councilmembers Bhalla, Castellano, Cunningham, Doyle, Giattino, Mello, Occhipinti, and Russo voted in favor, while councilmember Mason offered the lone dissenting vote.
Ann Brady, executive director of Plan Smart NJ, spoke in support of the plan. She said that to be competitive, New Jersey needs to invest in infrastructure, provide a variety of housing types, and protect the environment, and she noted that the plan achieved these goals by taking a very underutilized site and making it into a multiuse, multimodal neighborhood that is good for city and state. Brady noted that it was unusual for Plan Smart NJ to speak about a local project, since the organization focuses on regional issues, but the organization makes exceptions for local projects that have important regional significance, like the Hoboken Terminal and Yards Redevelopment.
Council President Jen Giattino said, “The square footage in this plan is very similar to the square footage on the southern waterfront, which I think a lot of people don’t realize. The commercial/residential split is similar as well.”
Council member Michael Russo noted that some public comments calling the plan rushed were a misrepresentation, because development around Hoboken Terminal has been under consideration for over a decade. Councilmember Jim Doyle echoed Russo, saying, “I think it’s disingenuous to say this plan has been rammed down our throats.”
Russo also disagreed with some public comments suggesting that NJ Transit or LCOR have had involvement in the current plan, saying, “This plan has nothing to do with NJ Transit or LCOR. They have had zero input. This is the city’s plan. I am absolutely in support of this plan because it is in the best interest of the city, and the city will be a better place when it gets built.” Continues…