Christmas, Hannukah holiday parking and trash schedule announced
R egular trash pick up will take place on Hannukah, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Garbage should be placed curbside after 9 p.m.
City Hall will be closed on Christmas, Dec. 25. Alternate side parking, resident parking and metered parking regulations will be suspended that day as well as Friday, Dec. 22 for Hannukah.
Letters traded on South Waterfront height issue
D evelopment and housing activist Annette Illing sent letters to City Hall, the Port Authority, and the Applied Companies last week charging that a residential building presently under construction by the Applied Companies of Hoboken on the South Waterfront will exceed the allowable building height.
Robert Drasheff, the city’s health and human services director, who is in charge of development in the city, answered in a letter disagreeing (see letters page for both letters, p. 58).
The controversy stems from a structure on the building’s roof. Under the present zoning for the property, the building can go up to 125 feet. A parapet on the roof – which is a protective fence around the roof – is supposed to be included in the count, according to the law.
Illing said that Applied’s plans show that the building itself will go up to 125 feet, and that there will be a parapet on top. But Michael Barry, a principal at Applied, said that the structure on the roof is not a parapet. Director Drasheff agreed with Barry. He responded to Illing on Tuesday in a letter stating, “It is measured at 125 feet to the roof slab. In correspondence dated March 5, 1999, the Applied Companies informed my office, ‘The building will not have a parapet since none is required by code but will have a decorative cornice element … The device will be used to create better vertical scale and to approximate the larger cornice dimensions which are common to Hoboken townhouses.'”
Drasheff wrote that at the time, City Hall responded to Applied by saying that this was fine and adding, “We encourage the use of decorative cornice elements to enhance the character of the building and adapt it to the Hoboken look.”
Barry said that the structure on top is away from the edge of the building, and that it is decorative.
“It’s an architectural element and serves no other purpose,” Barry said Thursday. “[City and Port Authority officials] said it meets the intent of the zoning and it’s a decorative element. The building could be built without it. It’s clearly there for architectural reasons, to give a cap to the building, so to speak.” He said that no one is allowed on the roof.
Drasheff said that Illing’s assertion in her letter that the rooftop accouterments would cover more than the 15 percent of the roof area permitted is also untrue according to the final drawings, which have not yet been presented for review.
Illing said that the matter is an important one.
“There was a public process that took place with the citizens taking part in it,” she said. “And after that was done, the project was changed. This strikes at the fundamental heart of government and citizen participation.”
Stevens closed for a day
T he campus on the hill will be off limits to city residents on Dec. 27 to ensure that the school grounds will continue to be considered private property.
“We are going to be closed to all pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” said Cass Bruton-Ward, a Stevens Institute of Technology spokesperson, last week. “Normally we like to be open to the public, but this is something that we have to do to retain our private property status.”
School officials said that the move was necessary in light of a disturbance that took place at Princeton University. The disturbance led to legal action that pitted the university against a group of demonstrators it had sought to remove from the campus. Ultimately the courts ruled that the university could only bar certain groups or people from being on its premises if it proved that the university was, in fact, being operated on private property. To prove that it was private property, the university had to be closed at some time during the year.
S & P assigns Housing Authority an average ranking
S tandard and Poor’s, a company known for its financial acumen, has given the Hoboken Housing Authority an “average” ranking after sending a team of investigators to review its performance.
The review was conducted after the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs hired Standard and Poor’s to review several of the state’s housing authorities. The HHA was the 10th housing authority to receive a ranking from the company’s nascent public housing evaluation arm.
“In the last 18 months Hoboken has begun to improve,” said Valerie White, a spokesperson with Standard and Poor’s.
The company also assigned the agency a “negative outlook.” According to a synopsis of the report that Standard and Poor’s faxed to reporters, that means that the agency will only be able to maintain the average ranking if “the board composition and leadership is stabilized.”
Hoboken suit may mean JC planner gets the boot
T he mayor’s office in Jersey City is looking to replace a Jersey City Planning Board member who does not live in the city, an official said last week.
Carmelo J. Sita, a commissioner on the board since 1994, lives in the Union County town of Mountainside, and is a registered voter there. In the past, he had listed his home address as the address of a union office in Jersey City where he had once worked. It is unclear whether he ever lived there. The fact he does not live in Jersey City means he may be violating a 1998 law that explicitly requires members of the board to be residents of the municipality.
Tom Gallagher, Mayor Bret Schundler’s chief of staff, said last week that the city will try to have a new member in place by the next regular Planning Board meeting in January. They also plan to reappoint several members who are serving expired terms. Gallagher would neither confirm nor deny whether any other members beside Sita will be replaced.
Sita’s residency status came to light during an attorneys’ meeting before a Hudson County Superior Court judge. Hoboken and some activist groups have filed suit to stop a developer interested in raising a high-rise building near the Hoboken border.
Sita sat on the Planning Board that approved the rezoning of that area and paved the way for the Millennium Towers proposal.
Gallagher said the city confirms residency status at the outset.
“When we do make appointments originally, we do check residency,” he said. “But if someone within the term of their office moves, it’s difficult to confirm.”
Sita, however, listed his address at 3218 Kennedy Blvd., which houses union offices, and, the Zoning Department noted, is not zoned residential.
Gallagher contended, “It was communicated to the mayor’s office that Sita had a residence at that address.” Sita last week signed a court certification statement regarding his residency.
That certification will be reviewed by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Jose Fuentes. The statement may play a role in the outcome of the case against Millennium Towers, a 43-story high rise project that both Hoboken and others seek to quash. – Jonathan Miller
Elysian going global
E lysian Charter School is presenting a global marketplace on Sunday Dec. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 301 Garden St. The Seventh Principle African Dance Company will be performing throughout the day in the gym. Homemade holiday baked items, crafts and seasonal gifts will be available for sale.
A front page story about the city’s plans to redevelop the southern waterfront mentioned efforts to build on “Pier B.” The city’s public information director, Michael Korman, called Monday to point out that Pier B had actually burned down in the 1980’s. The city has no plans to rebuild it, Korman said. Parcel B, or block B – the area that sits in front of the long-gone pier – on the other hand, will serve as the location for a hotel and office building.