To the members of the Hoboken Planing Board and City Council

At the January 13, 2004 Master Plan public outreach meeting, a non-resident member of the business community requested that the current draft proposal include changing all the residential zoning on Washington Street to a business district in order to accommodate his desire to build a bed and breakfast at his establishment. This proposal was met with adamant opposition by a resident homeowner whose Bloomfield Street property is in close proximity to the establishment because of her concerns about encroachment. Her concerns have been vehemently supported by a petition with 49 signatures and letters from resident homeowners on Bloomfield and Washington Streets, outlining the reasons for their objections to the construction of a bed and breakfast in their residential neighborhood; loss of privacy, light and openness, increased density, traffic and noise, and depreciation of their property values. We are not at all opposed to having a bed and breakfast in Hoboken but we strongly support the Master Plan guidelines for building them in the appropriately designated business districts, rather than residential zones.

The old master plan wisely zoned Washington Street so that checks and balances are in place to control development on Washington Street because of its negative effect upon homes on Bloomfield, Hudson and Washington Streets, as well as upon the overall ambience for residents and visitors walking in the area. The new draft proposal for the Master Plan follows the same wisdom in maintaining the zoning of Washington Street and, absolutely, should not be changed.

But this zoning issue is larger than the struggle of resident homeowners against business owners because, if the zoning is unwisely changed to include the entire length of Washington Street, as the business owner proposed, then it could lead to businesses being given the “green light” to construct edifices outward and upward into their Washington Street backyards and sidewalks; for some business owners this “green light” could free them to adopt a “strip-mall mentality,” wherein Hoboken would lose its “small town look.” Possibly these expansions could become “mini-developments;” if so, these “mini-developments” would give new meaning to the word “over-development.” Is this what we really want for Hoboken?

Therefore, we implore you, the Planning Board and City Council members, to maintain the current zoning for Washington Street.

Roseann Rana, Gail Torres, Mary Kelly
Plus 66 resident signatures


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