NY Waterway files suit against Hoboken

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New York Waterway filed a suit on Friday, June, 7 in Hudson County Superior Court requesting the judge to order Hoboken to allow it to use and conduct marine work to prepare the Union Dry Dock site as it’s new ferry homeport for maintenance and refueling.

“NY Waterway must be allowed to repair and maintain our ferries at Union Dry Dock so that we can continue to provide safe, reliable, environmentally-friendly service to more than 30,000 New Jersey commuters each day, and be ready to respond quickly in an emergency,” said NY Waterway President and Founder Arthur Imperatore in a press release.  “We own this property and have been paying taxes on it for 18 months.  We have the necessary state and federal permits, and the site has the proper zoning. Yet Hoboken politicians are preventing us from doing our job.  We respectfully ask the court to rectify this injustice.”

NY Waterway’s complaint asks the court to rule that the company be permitted to remove and replace up to 102 fender piles in the Hudson River; that it be permitted to dock two barges at the site, and that it be permitted to use the land for maritime industrial purposes.

The suit argues that NY Waterway was granted all necessary permits to use the former Union Dry Dock site, which it purchased in 2017, for maritime industrial purposes in December 2018 by the U.S. Army Corps of engineers and in May 2018 by the New Jersey Department of environmental protection.

In February Hoboken issued a stop work order on NY Waterway’s operations at the site, saying the ferry company did not have the proper permits from the city to continue preparing the site.

The city wants to turn the site into a public open space and has been fighting to obtain the property from NY Waterway since its purchase, negotiating with Gov. Phil Murphey’s office and the private ferry company.

The suit argues that since the federal and state government authorized and issued permits for “water based activities”  that “Therefore, the City of Hoboken’s efforts to subject these waterborne activities to local permits and approvals is preempted by federal and state law.”

Hoboken spokesman Vijay Chaudhuri told NJ.com “Mayor Bhalla and the city will use any and all legally appropriate means to ensure compliance with our regulations, to protect the health and safety of residents, and to defend the city against meritless litigation.”