Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher addresses public with concerns on 500-foot bar rule

City Council member Tiffanie Fisher has posted to her Facebook page and emailed a letter to her constituents addressing her concerns with the proposed change to the 500-foot rule for liquor licenses in Hoboken. The council has discussed repealing the rule, which currently prohibits businesses with liquor licenses from opening within 500 feet of one another.
According to Fisher’s letter, under the zoning laws, enforced by the Planning Board and Zoning Board, bars and restaurants can go before either of these two boards to receive a variance or approval for conditional use subject to public comment. Fisher states that if the rule is repealed, “bars could consider locations ANYWHERE in Hoboken.”
According to the letter, Hoboken has approximately 143 current liquor licenses (28 liquor stores, with the remaining consumption ones like restaurants and clubs).
Fisher believes that if the law is repealed restaurants and bars “would choose a location in one of the vacant stores in the busiest part of lower Washington /Newark /PATH area.” She said she supports “trying to find ways to facilitate restaurants in emerging areas of Hoboken, but [she] believes an all out repeal of a 50-year-old rule that was put in place not once, but twice, due to community risks relating to concentrations of liquor licenses in our tiny, densely populated town, is not the right path.”
She wrote that a “better path is a combination of a more robust public process, select zoning changes and AMENDING the 500 ft rule (vs. appealing outright) to potentially create areas with special needs.”
Fisher ends her letter urging the public to attend an upcoming meeting on the subject on Monday Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in City Hall or to email the council with questions or comments. She believes the ordinance, which is scheduled to be voted on Oct. 5, is coming up too soon, stating “it feels rushed to me.”
For more stories on the rule, see the cover story and past coverage at hudsonreporter.com.

In a previous version of this story, the Hoboken Reporter incorrectly stated that there were 28 inactive liquor licenses in Hoboken. We regret the error.

City working on settlement with Monarch developers

Ron Hine, the leader of the longtime Hoboken waterfront activist group Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW), sent out emails on Thursday saying that the city of Hoboken may be in private settlement negotiations with the developers of the Monarch building, a proposed residential development planned on the northern waterfront.
The developers want to build two 11-story towers near Sinatra Drive and Shipyard Lane, with 78 residential units. But in court in 2011, the city of Hoboken challenged the project, claiming that Shipyard Associates wrongfully abandoned its 1997 plan that included three tennis courts and a tennis pavilion on the North Pier. Several court hearings and judgments have been made over the last five years, but the project is still in litigation.
The Hudson Tea Building Condominium Association has also gotten involved, challenging the project.
Recently, the Hoboken City Council has had two closed sessions about the development before the last two council meetings. The public, the Hudson Tea Condo Association, and the Fund for a Better Waterfront have not been privy to the closed-door discussions. But the council agenda has referred to ”pending litigation between the city of Hoboken, Shipyard Associates LP and Applied Monroe Lender LLC regarding the proposed ‘Monarch at Shipyard’ development and the proposed redevelopment of 800-922 Monroe Street.”
Hine speculated last week that the developers may make concessions on the Monarch buildings in exchange for getting added density for their project at 800-822 Monroe St. on the western edge of town.
Hine says the FBW have sent a letter to the city that states, “First and foremost, FBW wants to preserve the open space commitment made by the developer at the waterfront. The 1996 agreement and Hoboken Planning Board approvals at that time included the commitment to provide open space on Development Block G, which is approximately 1.5 acres.”
After being contacted by The Reporter on Thursday, city spokesman Juan Melli provided a statement from Mayor Dawn Zimmer stating, “The city has been aggressively litigating the Monarch cases for the past five years to because of its commitment to preserving our waterfront and ensuring public safety for our residents and emergency rescue personnel if a severe storm were to occur and rescue operations on the pier were required.”
Zimmer’s statement adds, “Settlement negotiations are an important part of the litigation process, and maintaining confidentiality is essential to preserving an environment in which negotiations have the best chance to succeed. The intervening parties will have the opportunity to provide their input on any proposed agreement at the appropriate time.”

Bill introduced to increase pedestrian and bike safety for drivers

Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-33) introduced a bill this week aimed at educating new drivers on the correct ways to share the road with bicyclists and pedestrians in an effort to curb injuries and accidents.
“As more and more residents in New Jersey opt to use a bicycle through share programs or just buying one for personal use, specifically in our urban areas, it’s necessary to ensure that our driver education classes, tests, and manuals are updated to reflect the changing landscape of the roads,” Chaparro said.
The bill requires that the curriculum for approved driver education courses and informational brochures from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission include information concerning the importance of safely sharing the road with bicyclists, skaters, and pedestrians.
“This bill will lead to more educated drivers who will learn the proper ways to pass a cyclist, recognize bike lanes and their importance, and exit vehicles without endangering pedestrians and cyclists, resulting in safer roads in New Jersey for everyone,” Chaparro said.
Under the new bill, the MVC would include bicycle and pedestrian safety questions as part of the written examination required to obtain a permit and basic driver’s license.
The bill is also sponsored by Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-31), and Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31).

Mile Square Theatre presents ‘Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker’

The Mile Square Theatre announced its newest production, “Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker,” a play by Jim Helsinger, from the novel “Dracula,” by Bram Stoker.
The play will star John Keller and will be directed by Melissa Firlit and run from Oct. 13 to Oct. 30 at 1400 Clinton St.
Sent to Castle Dracula to deliver deeds to the infamous Count, Jonathan Harker has no idea what he’s getting himself into in this tour-de-force thrill ride. Once he arrives, Jonathan finds himself being held captive by the eerie and cryptic Count, discovering horrific sights behind some of the castle’s closed doors. Only after he escapes is his worst fear confirmed: Count Dracula is an undead creature of the night. With the help of Van Helsing and other friends, Jonathan sets off on a mission to find and destroy the Count before he becomes more powerful than ever, risking his own life to save the lives of those he loves.
Performances will take place Thursday through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. School attendees 12 years old and older can see the play on the 19th, 20th, 26th, or 27th and are asked to contact Erin Stehli for more details at estehli@milesquaretheatre.org
Tickets can be purchased online at www.milesquaretheatre.org for $30 or $18 for student and senior tickets.
Discount parking is available at Little Man Parking at 1300 Jefferson St.

Hoboken teacher wins award

Colleen Nguyen, a teacher at All Saints Episcopal Day School, won the New Jersey Nonpublic School Teacher of the Year Award for 2016 in a competition sponsored by the New Jersey Council for American Private Education (NJCAPE).
This annual award will be presented on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at a ceremony scheduled for noon at the Diocese of Metuchen Pastoral Center, 146 Metlars Lane, Piscataway.
Nguyen has spent eight years in education with the last six at All Saints Episcopal Day School. She has taught in a variety of setting including charter school and summer camps.
At All Saints Nguyen implemented “6 Trails Plus 1” writing program to advance writing techniques in her school and has expanded the Fourth Grade Milestone Project – The Boardwalk Project in which students spend the year studying New Jersey history and geography and choose one area of New Jersey history to become an expert. The students research their topics, create costumes, design posters, and build interactive games of recycled materials to be used at a student-created New Jersey boardwalk.
She also created an Action Research Project in which students decide on a problem they observe in their own city and spend a year researching solutions to the problem. At the end of the year, students present their findings to the Hoboken City Council.
She also prepares and writes reports for use in year-round family-teacher conferences and has created Individual Education Plans for her students. Nguyen mentors teachers through the New Jersey Provisional Licensure Program and directs the Saints 4 – Service Club where students in the school collect materials for the Hoboken Homeless Shelter, create cards and gifts for patients at Hoboken and Hackensack Hospitals, and hold food drives and collect money for the Liberty Humane Society.

Obstacle race planned for Big Brothers and Big Sisters

The city of Hoboken recently announced that it will partner with Hoboken residents Elvi Guzman, founder of City Challenge Obstacle Race and Carlos Lejnieks, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties, for the upcoming City Challenge Obstacle Race on Oct. 1.
The race will raise funds for Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
The three mile obstacle course takes place along the waterfront beginning at 8:30 a.m. at 100 Sinatra Dr. and includes jumping over police cars, monkey bars, climbing walls and more.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer will serve as the race’ Grand Marshall. In a press release she said
“I’m delighted to play a leading role in this event to help such an important cause, learning to face, and overcome obstacles is essential to life, and Big Brothers Big Sisters and their mentors are helping young people develop the tools they’ll need to meet future challenges – whatever they are – successfully.”
The mission of City Challenge Obstacle Race is to enable participants of all fitness levels to push through physical and mental limits, while having a great time with friends, family, and colleagues.
According to a media release City Challenge Race founder Elvi Guzman, who currently lives in Hoboken, believes the race is about finding unique ways to make fitness fun, but also serves to help support local charities who are making a real difference in the community.
“Muhammad Ali said that ‘champions aren’t made in the gym’,” said Guzman. “They are made from something they have deep inside of them; a desire, a dream, a vision. I was a ‘BIG’ for a 13-year old boy from Jersey City, and I know from first-hand experience what having a big brother or big sister in their lives can mean to some of these young people. The mentoring program helps kids find that ‘something’ inside themselves… that certain something that gives them the confidence to explore their potential and realize that they CAN be champions.”
For more information, to register, or donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters: www.citychallengerace.com.

Art show and book launch for local artist

The Gallery at Garden Street Lofts, 1425 Garden St., has announced its next Hoboken artist Diane Stiglich’s art show and book launch, “Have You Seen Cindy Sleigh?”
The show takes place Oct. 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This will be the first show at the gallery that will be accompanied by a book launch.
According to the release the book “Have you seen Cindy Sleigh?” and the paintings in this show are about confrontation and the moment when eyes meet and it is finally decided what one will do. The animals portrayed speak to the nonverbal part in us; they evoke the anima in us. The paintings and their animals address the unspoken forces each of us carries inside – strength and weakness and the intersection between them. This work was inspired by the intensity of physical training and the complex dynamic of life in the martial arts studio.
The stories in “Cindy Sleigh” and the associated visual art are different expressions of the same ideas. The writing can express some stories further or differently than the painting can – using memory and personal mythology in a more progressive narrative fashion.
The opening catered reception is sponsored by CORK and The Hudson Tavern and will allow residents neighbors and guests to celebrate the opening.
For more information, contact Diane at lunarosahome@yahoo.com, or (201) 222-0606, or visit www.dianemstiglichartist.com.

Hoboken resident arrested for burglary

The Hoboken Police Department arrested Sean Lackie, 39, on Sept. 19 for the burglary of a local pizza restaurant.
According to a media release, Lackie allegedly broke into the establishment on Wednesday, Sept. 14 and stole $250.
Police were dispatched to the restaurant after they received reports of someone breaking in. They arrived to find the glass of the front door damaged but no suspect.
Detectives determined Lackie to be the alleged burglar and two warrants were issued for his arrest.
He was arrested Sept. 19 and charged with burglary, burglar tools, and theft.

Batter Up! Historical Museum celebrates the poetry of baseball

Baseball is part of the very fabric of Hoboken. After all, the first game by Alexander Cartwright’s and “Doc” Adams’ modern rules was played in 1846 at Elysian Fields, just yards from where the Hoboken Historical Museum stands today. Maria Pepe, the first girl to play in a Little League game, played here in Hoboken. The national pastime is still alive and well in this city, which has its own vintage baseball club and close access to major league teams in New York and Philadelphia.
To celebrate, the museum’s Poet in Residence Danny Shot has assembled an all-star cast of poets, each with a unique perspective on the game of baseball, for “Batter Up! The Poetry of Baseball,” on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 3 p.m. All are welcome, and a $7 donation is suggested.
This two-hour public event will feature eight contemporary poets and writers reading a selection of their own work. Among the notable writers taking part this year are Quincy Troupe, Ed Charles, Elinor Nauen, Frank Messina, Mikhail Horowitz, NickAcocella, and Danny Shot.
Actors from the Mile Square Theatre will also read a short play by Ellen Margolis from the theater’s annual 7th Inning Stretch.

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