An open letter to the Master Plan Committee:
Thank you for your hard work on the complicated process of revising the Hoboken Master Plan. I spoke last Tuesday evening’s public hearing on two points:
1. The need for Hoboken to certify its historic districts.
2. The need to make all of Washington Street or at least the west side of the street part of the business district. Think of the growth potential for our main street when nationally, Main Streets are dying out.
It was ironic to hear the greatest complaint at the meeting was “zoning by variance”. Small property owners currently have no choice but to seek variances on Washington Street to use their buildings as commercial space.
Although I sought a variance for a Bed and Breakfast for my business at 908-910 Washington Street, I chose to withdraw the application due to some neighborhood opposition. (This despite widespread support from people all over Hoboken. Hoboken residents still do not have a place for friends and family to stay while visiting Hoboken).
The presentation you made in reference to economic development for Washington Street makes the need for the Business district to extend from 1st to 14th Streets a logical move.
Second and third floor commercial space will make the “avenue” more vibrant. B&B’s, professional offices and work/live spaces are needed and will provide more services to the people of Hoboken.
Limit the square footage and protect the character of the buildings through ordinances but by preventing the use altogether only forces the very thing people want to prevent “zoning by variance.”
I am a huge proponent of building preservation. Maintaining the historical flavor of our main street will make Hoboken a more attractive place to live, work and raise families.
The fabric that weaves us together should include development of environmentally friendly services which will add much needed amenities for the community. Established small businesses that are in tune with helping create that shared vision should not be thwarted, but supported. Small businesses are what make Washington Street what it is.
As someone at the meeting very astutely said, “We want it all, but don’t want to pay for it.” We, the public, need to understand that a balance must come out of this planning process. Civic harmony through planning can help secure a better quality of life for our citizens and attract and sustain a variety of small businesses as well. Our moderator said it best, “We have to have the right attitude.” The changes wrought by the Revised Master Plan will affect us all for good or bad at least the next fifteen years as well as into the future.