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Re: Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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Seriously, does he think that the board really reads a 10 page letter from the public. Dan L should get a degree in urban planning so he can work for JC or Hoboken as a planner...maybe then he can put all his knowledge and work to use. Although it seems he would be better suited for suburban planning.

Posted on: 2006/3/30 16:54
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Re: Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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Unused deeded parking spots can be rented out. The condo association's bylaws will govern who the spot can be rented to. For example, other condo owners may have highest priority.

Deeded parking arrangements almost always provide one spot per dwelling unit, with some owners able to purchase an additional spot.

Deeded parking or rental of assigned spaces is less efficient than municipal deck parking, first come, first serve with no assigned spots. Unfortunately, this is not an option.


Quote:

Bobblehead wrote:
Deeded parking question--if the spots truly are deeded with the property (each apartment), won't that run the risk of a spot going unused? If a non-car-owner gets an apartment with a spot?

Would it be better to have a limit on the parking spaces each unit could use? Each unit getting the right to apply occupy one spot, with available spots going to the next on the list?

Posted on: 2006/3/28 19:51
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Re: Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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Getting a redevelopment plan approved is a long and excruciating process. There were two snags along the way that have delayed passage.

First, the developer went before the Historic Preservation Commission prematurely, since the blight study should have been approved first. As a result the developer had to go back to the HPC an additional time.

Second, at the last Planning Board meeting on 3.14.2006, the decision was continued to the next meeting, which is tonight. The blame for this has been attributed to activists from one of the downtown condominiums, but there is evidence that the Planning Board needed more time to reach a decision due to the complexity of the Plan.

We expect that the Redevelopment Plan will pass tonight, with conditions. Then the Plan will have to go before the city council two more times.

Quote:

tamale wrote:
...to paraphrase Adonis -- let's get on with it

Posted on: 2006/3/28 19:39
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Re: Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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Deeded parking question--if the spots truly are deeded with the property (each apartment), won't that run the risk of a spot going unused? If a non-car-owner gets an apartment with a spot?

Would it be better to have a limit on the parking spaces each unit could use? Each unit getting the right to apply occupy one spot, with available spots going to the next on the list?

Posted on: 2006/3/28 19:27
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Re: Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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With all due respect to Dan L's work on this issue, it seems to me that he is way off on the two core issues in his letter. In the first instance, the notion that building parking spaces will meaningfully incentivize car ownership, or that a bike rack would cause someone to give up their car is unrealistic. If anything, we should appalud the fact that the plan includes onsite parking for the new residents.

Second, discouraging competition among area retailers does not serve the interests of the neighborhood. In its current form, the plan calls for relatively small retailers to inhabit the bottom of the St. Francis development. Given the market that they will be catering to, we should expect to see high end retail and cafe life style emerge. If anything, having amenities on the park and within walking distance of almost any house in the neighborhood will increase foot and not car traffic. Without additional retail and restaurants in the neighborhood there would be a significant increase in car traffic down Jersey Avenue and around the park to Van Vorst, Paulus Hook, and Newark Avenue.

To paraphrase Adonis -- let's get on with it

Posted on: 2006/3/28 19:15
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Re: Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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Quote:

25mcwilliams wrote:

I believe that we should defer to the opinion of the JCLC regarding retail on McWilliams Place. If everyone did whatever they wanted in the Historic District, it would no longer be historic.

I will not comment on each of the 17 recommendations, but they do point out some of the weaknesses of the plan, and the suggestions are reasonable and on point.

The author of the recommendations should be commended.

Quote:

AlanSommerman wrote:
I really don't understand Dan's opposition to retail. It is much easier to target retail tenants than to select who you rent or sell apartments to - the former is called appropriate usage, the latter is called discrimination. In any case, I believe we are underserved as far as day to day amenities go.


I agree that we should defer to the recommendations of the JCLC regarding retail on McWilliams St., but like you, 25mcwilliams, believe that DanL should be commended for his well thought out commentary, and many of his 17 points should be part of discussion and resolution as this decision will impact Hamilton Park forever.

Deeded parking should be a mandate particularly with the impact of over 10K condo units online for downtown with an estimated 6,700+ new parking required at a minimum.

Posted on: 2006/3/28 17:43
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Re: Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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The Conservancy's position is that retail should be left off the park side. We did not object to commercial use on the other three sides. Personally, and I speak for myself only on this point, I do not think increasing commercial and retail off the park is the "intrusion" that Dan L. thinks it is.

The HPC compromised by limiting parkside retail to corner stores.

We reiterate that we think the park should be residential on all four sides, although we do appreciate the HPC's recommendation as an improvement.

Joshua Parkhurst
President
Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy

Posted on: 2006/3/28 16:49
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Re: Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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The St. Francis block is in the heart of the Historic District. Allowing retail on the corners of the block seems to be OK, and I guess that most people in the community would find this acceptable, but from a historic perspective it may not be the right thing to do.

I believe that we should defer to the opinion of the JCLC regarding retail on McWilliams Place. If everyone did whatever they wanted in the Historic District, it would no longer be historic.

I will not comment on each of the 17 recommendations, but they do point out some of the weaknesses of the plan, and the suggestions are reasonable and on point.

The author of the recommendations should be commended.


Quote:

AlanSommerman wrote:
I really don't understand Dan's opposition to retail. It is much easier to target retail tenants than to select who you rent or sell apartments to - the former is called appropriate usage, the latter is called discrimination. In any case, I believe we are underserved as far as day to day amenities go.

Posted on: 2006/3/28 16:34
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Re: Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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I really don't understand Dan's opposition to retail. It is much easier to target retail tenants than to select who you rent or sell apartments to - the former is called appropriate usage, the latter is called discrimination. In any case, I believe we are underserved as far as day to day amenities go. We need more small shops - foods, books, gyms, doctors, clothes, gifts, etc. to make the neighborhood more desirable. I hate to read posts where people say they had to drive to Edgewater or someplace else to get food that meets their needs. One way to cut back on car usage and maybe even the need for a car (or second car) is to increase the amenities available within walking distance of someone's house. As far as stores being located on corners - Morales (RIP), Michael's Pizza and the closed store two doors down, the bodega on Jersey between 5th and 6th, etc. I wish there were city programs to encourage merchants to bring these spaces back to life.
***********************************************

And here's a thought about Newark Avenue - tear down the block between Newark, Columbus, Grove and Barrow - rezone for medium rise apartments with mandatory retail at ground level.

Posted on: 2006/3/28 11:50
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Re: Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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I can't wait for this project to start. I'm sick of looking at this abandoned hospital and the planned development will never please everybody. Let alone somebody from 3rd st. with 17 points that he feels need to rectified in order for progress to be made.
Let's get this construction started already.

Posted on: 2006/3/28 3:56
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Re: Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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Quote:

DanL wrote:



Please consider the following comments on the March 6 version, and recommendations for its improvement.



2. The Plan currently appropriately cites "Smart Growth" principles, including "minimiz[ing] automobile use by maximizing the appeal of mass transit, encourag[ing] reduced parking and shared use parking solutions." This and similar "boilerplate" statements in the Plan pay only lip service, however, to these principles. The Plan actually calls for vastly increased parking facilities, which will encourage car ownership and use in the Downtown and decrease incentives for mass transit use.

Recommendation: The Planning Division should seriously explore options for encouraging mass transit and alternative transportation and discouraging car ownership. Examples: requiring the developer to provide bike racks, providing more attractive pedestrian access to the Newport Mall, and allotting parking spaces to car sharing organizations like the one now operating in Hoboken.



This "smart growth" is what will drive myself and my neighbors out of the neighborhood. Not everyone who lives here has access to mass transportation to get them to work. Many reverse commuters live here so that they have easy access to the city, but can still get into there car to get to work. There is no mass transit for me to get to my job. However, my boyfriend doesn't have a car and needs the PATH access to the city.

You will have the same amount of cars no matter how many parking spots they build. The less of them on the street, the better.

Anyone who parks in zone 6 should be worried about their quality of life. This scenerio happened to me in Hoboken. At first I had no problems getting a parking spot. But then I would be circling and circling for 30 minutes at 2am when i came home from work. Not fun. I don't want to see this happening here. With the Park Hamilton losing some of their spots as well as people who rent spots from the Erie garage, that will already be causing overload in the zone.

Posted on: 2006/3/27 14:50
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Re: Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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DanL,
Check with the Planning Dept. for the Ver. March 23, 2006 of the Redevelopment Plan.

Posted on: 2006/3/27 13:51
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Final Recomendations to the St. Francis Hospital Redevelopment Plan
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Jersey City Planning Board

c/o Division of City Planning

30 Montgomery St

Jersey City, NJ 07302



Re: St. Francis Hospital Adaptive Re-Use Redevelopment Plan, Ver. March 06, 2006



Dear Chairman Cardwell and Board Members:



This owners of the St. Francis property, who are expected to be the designated developer for this property, have an admirable record of adaptive reuse of historic buildings in the Downtown area and are to be commended for their outreach to the community.



This Redevelopment Plan must nevertheless be considerably strengthened to protect the character of the Hamilton Park National Historic District through changing economic conditions, business priorities, and, possibly, changing developers. The Plan will set a precedent for future development in Hamilton Park and other Historic Districts.



The Plan should be revised and issued in ample time for public re-review. The current version was revised on March 6 and is being reviewed by the Planning Board eight days later. As of this date, the Division of City Planning has yet to participate and present this plan in a public meeting. They did not participate in the meeting held by Exeter properties on Monday, March 20th. There is no evidence that City Planning staff has provided significant professional staff input into this redevelopment plan to date.



Please consider the following comments on the March 6 version, and recommendations for its improvement.



1. Good planning beings with an assessment of assets in the area - what should be protected and preserved. A primary objective of the Redevelopment Plan should be, at a minimum, to protect the National Historic District.

Recommendation: The Plan should open with a section that sets the tone for redevelopment. It should describe the Historic District, the original design of this 19th-century residential park, the characteristic stooped entries of its residences, the history of changes to the park--particularly its eastern side, the possibility that the Historic District could be extended, and the need to protect the park, Historic District, and nearby century-old buildings not yet in the Historic District from undesirable impacts.

2. The Plan currently appropriately cites "Smart Growth" principles, including "minimiz[ing] automobile use by maximizing the appeal of mass transit, encourag[ing] reduced parking and shared use parking solutions." This and similar "boilerplate" statements in the Plan pay only lip service, however, to these principles. The Plan actually calls for vastly increased parking facilities, which will encourage car ownership and use in the Downtown and decrease incentives for mass transit use.

Recommendation: The Planning Division should seriously explore options for encouraging mass transit and alternative transportation and discouraging car ownership. Examples: requiring the developer to provide bike racks, providing more attractive pedestrian access to the Newport Mall, and allotting parking spaces to car sharing organizations like the one now operating in Hoboken.

3. The Plan calls for "creating a livable community with convenient access to commercial facilities." This language ignores the fact that a livable community with access to commercial facilities already exists adjacent to the Redevelopment Area.

Within four blocks of the Redevelopment Area are at least the following commercial facilities:

? two small groceries/ convenience store

? two combination convenience/liquor stores

? one combination convenience store and pizza shop

? five cafes and restaurants (three of them with bars)

? a delicatessen

? an organic food store

? a drug store

? a pet supply store

? a gym

? a bank

? several medical facilities

? various offices

There is also a realty office and additional commercial spaces, currently vacant. In addition, new commercial spaces at Manila and 10th are not yet occupied.

A few blocks east of the Redevelopment Area is the Newport Mall, with several department stores and more than 100 clothing stores, restaurants, cinema, book store, pet store, shoe stores, a drug store, and other shops.

Nine blocks south is Newark Avenue, the historic commercial street for the Downtown that the City has long sought to improve.

The current version of the plan allows too much commercial use, compromising the character of the Historic District and wider neighborhood and threatening existing businesses.

Recommendation: The Plan should describe the commercial establishments that currently exist in the wider District and neighborhood, note their usual location on street corners, their small scale, and that they principally attract foot and not automotive traffic. The Plan should state that this precedent should guide any new commercial development in this Area.

The Plan should also make note of vacant commercial space in the District and in the wider area. It should analyze whether additional businesses can be supported by the population and whether they will drain business from existing locations.


The Plan should specify that the Redevelopment Area should not compete with existing local businesses, the Newport Mall, or Newark Avenue, the main historic shopping street for the Van Vorst Park, Village, Harsimus Cove, and Hamilton Park neighborhoods.

4. This Redevelopment Plan currently introduces a completely new type of intrusion into the National Historic District: a commercial strip completely surrounding the two hospital blocks on ground and mezzanine and/or second floors. It allows a great variety of commercial uses: retail sales of goods and services, restaurants, health club, offices, financial institutions, art galleries, child care centers, off-street parking, private recreation facilities and areas (indoor &/or outdoor) including pools, landscaped yards and decks, active recreation uses, gymnasiums, exercise rooms, etc., community rooms, home occupations.

Within the parameters of the first two floors of the hospital block, the Plan specifies no limit to the numbers of such businesses. It does not forbid the duplication of types of businesses. It does not attempt to distinguish businesses attracting large numbers of customers at any one time. It does not limit hours of operation. In other words, it permits the potential transformation of a quiet residential neighborhood to a busy destination.

Recommendation: The commercial aspects of the Plan must be thoroughly reviewed, scaled back, and sufficient controls provided to protect the District and neighborhood.

5. The current Plan limits retail and restaurants to the corners of the hospital blocks. While this provision is an improvement on the original draft, it is insufficiently protective of the park and the District (see Items 6 and 7 for reasons) and did not even consider the impact of the commercial strip on the wider area.

Recommendation: The Plan should limit the placement of business entrances to Pavonia, Erie, and Ninth Street. McWilliams Place should have no retail or restaurants, identifiable as such, facing the park. The Plan should reexamine the impact such a quantity of businesses could have on this residential area.

6. The Plan uses the following terms to indicate where commercial space is allowed on the hospital block: ground floor, mezzanine level, second floors. This terminology changed from previous drafts and implies three floors of commercial space, whereas the common understanding seems to be that no more than two floors is what is currently intended for commercial space.

Recommendation: Clarify these terms.

7. The Plan specifies a 2000 sq. ft. maximum for retail only, not for restaurants or other businesses. This is a serious flaw in the Plan.

Recommendation: The Plan should extend the 2000 sq. ft. maximum to other types of commercial establishments, particularly restaurants.

8. Even if the 2000' limitation is extended to all businesses, a size limit in itself is insufficient to protect the District and neighborhood. Other controls must be in place.


Recommendation: Square footage limits should be considered for all types of businesses, not just retail. The size limit could be larger for businesses that do not generate automotive traffic. It should not be larger for restaurants. In addition to limits on size, the Plan should limit the number and types of businesses to those that do not generate much automotive traffic. It should require potential occupants to provide traffic studies before approval for occupancy is given. It should provide architectural guidelines that prevent a commercial presence facing the park.



9. The Plan makes no mention of the need to control additional traffic in the area of the proposed day care or the Cordero School, where 700 students cross busy streets, and which has a twice-daily double-parking problem. It does not consider that Erie is a major street for local traffic to get to the Holland Tunnel and Hoboken.

Recommendation: The Plan must reconcile the increased traffic that commercial development will bring with the need to provide safe streets and sidewalks for school children and to keep a major Downtown exit artery clear.

10. The Plan allows but does not mandate any additional public or private open space on the hospital block. The partial restoration of the historic Pavonia Avenue and the sidewalk area of Hamilton Park, as well as space on top of garages, cannot be considered compensation for the future increased use of Hamilton Park by new residents of this re-development area.

Recommendation: The Plan should mandate the rooftop gardens that the owners have said will be included in their hospital block development. It should require a contribution to public open space acquisition as well as maintenance of Hamilton Park.

11. The Plan as currently written will govern redevelopment for 20 years. The property owners have proposed a phased approach to redevelopment, but with all construction to be completed in three years.

Recommendation: The Plan should be closed in ten years, ample time for the designated developer to complete construction.



12. The Plan permits "decorative concrete paving materials" and "additional decorative elements?at building entrances at street corners and along the curb line to accent and channel pedestrian flow."

Recommendation: All decorative elements in the Historic District should be subject to the approval of the Historic Preservation Commission.



13. The Plan says, "All landscaping shall be guaranteed for a period of two (2) years." It makes no mention of tree size, type of tree, or responsibility for continued maintenance.

Recommendation: This period should be extended to insure the quality of plantings and their critical early maintenance. Experts in urban forestry, for example, from the New Jersey Tree Foundation, should be consulted for their recommendations on tree caliper, type of tree, correct planting time and techniques, and proper maintenance during the first few years. Trees planted in the Historic District should be species appropriate to a 19th-Century streetscape, if possible. Maintenance responsibility should be assigned. Provision should be made for assessment of the condition of the plantings before the guarantee period ends.



14. The Plan will add to scarcity of parking for Hamilton Park residents and adjacent neighborhoods.

Recommendation: Parking should be deeded with condominium units, to discourage new residents from parking on streets.



15. The Plan allows past transgressions of building height, density, and design to govern future development. While no one proposes a return to four-story residences lining McWilliams Place, this Plan could do more to control the increased density and building height that will detract from the character of the Historic District and the special quality of its quiet park.

Recommendation: On the hospital block, decrease density, and decrease the height of the south tower to the height of St. Michael's Church, the tallest historic building on the park.



16. The Plan allows sidewalk cafes. The Plan also says, "In general, sidewalks serving commercial areas should be wider than those serving residential areas." The drawings the property owners have shown to the public, however, show complete build out to the existing sidewalk. There is no available sidewalk space on McWilliams, 8th, Erie, or 9th for sidewalk caf?s. Indeed, the massive buildings will dwarf the sidewalks that currently exist.

Recommendation: Remove the provisions for sidewalk cafes and wider sidewalks from the plan, or else specify how sidewalk cafes and wider sidewalks can be accommodated by providing building setbacks.



17. Currently, Section XII of the Plan, "OTHER PROVISIONS TO MEET STATE AND LOCAL REQUIREMENTS," states that the plan has "delineated a definite relationship to local objectives as to appropriate land uses, density of population, and improved traffic and public transportation?recreation and community facilities and other public improvements." This statement is not completely warranted.

Recommendation: The Plan should meaningfully address state and local requirements and goals, particularly in respect to the Historic District, before the Planning Board gives its approval.



Sincerely,


Daniel Levin

Third St.

Jersey City





Copy: Bob Cotter, Director, Division of City Planning
Claire Davis, Secretary to the Planning Board
Dan Wrieden, Historic Preservation Officer
Stephen Gucciardo, Chairman, Historic Preservation Committee
Steven Fulop, Councilman, Ward E
Sam Stoia, President, Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association
Janet Allen, Friends of Hamilton Park
Valerio Luccio, President, Harsimus Cove Association
Steve Gold, 25mc Watchdog Group
Eric Silverman, Exeter Property Company
Marvin Stryner, Principal, Rafael Cordero School, PS 37
Joshua Parkhurst, President, Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy

Posted on: 2006/3/26 22:23
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