HOBOKEN – As reported in the Hoboken Reporter last week, there is a bill in the state legislature sponsored by two Hudson County legislators, Vincent Prieto (D–32nd Dist.) and Angelica Jimenez (D–33rd Dist.), designed to allow development on piers in coastal high hazard areas in certain urban municipalities in order to encourage economic growth. It is complemented by a similar bill in the state Senate, S-260, backed by State Sen. Nicholas Sacco. If written into law, it would supersede local ordinances, like those in Hoboken, that bar development on piers.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer expressed her hopes on Monday that Hoboken would be exempted from potential legislation that would allow development on urban coastal piers due to worries about flooding, in a letter addressed to the General Assembly’s Environmental and Solid Waste Committee.
“While I cannot speak for other communities, I can assure you that Hoboken does not need this legislation to expand its future growth, and the residents of Hoboken are strongly against development on waterfront piers for numerous reasons,” wrote Zimmer.
Zimmer said that her opposition to the legislation was three-fold, based on Hoboken’s past difficulties with waterfront development, the already-existent interest of developers looking to build in Hoboken (and not only on the waterfront, she noted), and the city’s propensity to flood.
“We know firsthand that federal policies do not at this time support urban areas,” she said. “For example, this legislation will potentially result in unwary buyers purchasing property only to find out that the flood insurance they were required to purchase does not cover their buildings and they cannot get other assistance.”
She also noted that past waterfront development, though not residential development, has resulted in significant costs to taxpayers. The Sinatra Drive athletic field, for instance, has already cost taxpayers around $12 million, much of it due to difficulties with developers, said Zimmer.
The legislation was being considered before the Assembly committee in Trenton on Monday, and though Zimmer was unable to attend the hearings, the letter was read out loud during the proceedings, according to city spokesman Juan Melli. – Dean DeChiaro