Hartz Mountain’s plan calls for twin 18-story towers in Weehawken

Turner promises ongoing public hearings

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The development would be at the southern end of Lincoln Harbor.
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The property would be at the very edge of the waterfront.
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The development would be at the southern end of Lincoln Harbor.
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The property would be at the very edge of the waterfront.

Developer Hartz Mountain Industries is seeking to construct two 18-story residential towers on Harbor Blvd. with 335 rental units. The project was revealed at the first planning board hearing in May. Several more public meetings are likely to come.

The property, which abuts the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, will be 201 feet tall on a property that is about 550,000 square feet. It would be just south of Hartz Mountain’s other development, 800 Harbor Boulevard, which is 15 stories. Hartz Mountain topped off 800 Harbor Boulevard a little over a month ago.

The development would be about 40 feet higher than adjacent residential and office developments in Lincoln Harbor.

Currently, the site of the proposed project is a parking lot reserved exclusively for construction workers. The portion of the waterfront walkway that’s on the property was constructed by Hartz years ago. They will continue to maintain it should the new project be approved.

“It’s an interesting site because it’s bounded on two sides, the south and the east, by water,” Hartz attorney James P. Rhatican said. “And I think it really has the ability to be sort of the crown jewel of Lincoln Harbor.”

Public discussion pending

Like many other planning board meetings involving large properties on the Hudson River waterfront, tenants and property owners whose views of the water and the New York City skyline would be impacted objected to Hartz Mountain’s proposal.

In May, attorneys representing two nearby property owners fought to have the hearings adjourned before they began, claiming that adequate notice of the hearing wasn’t provided to the parties they represent. The planning board maintained that they provided legal notice before beginning the hearings.

Several tenants from Troy Towers, an adjacent residential development, complained publicly that the proposed development would obstruct the highly-coveted Hudson River view. “We haven’t even felt the impact that 800 Harbor Boulevard will have on traffic yet,” one resident told The Hudson Reporter.

Mayor Richard Turner, who serves on the planning board, explained that the hearings and opportunity for public comment would be very lengthy, and the board would see to it that everyone in attendance would be heard.

“This is not the last night we’ll be reviewing the final site plan, not by far,” Mayor Turner said at the most recent meeting. “The next meeting won’t be the last night, either.”

Part of the redevelopment plan

According to Jill Hartmann, a township board planner, the site is in an area included in Weehawken’s redevelopment plan, which doesn’t have much, if any, predetermined size restrictions imposed on sites the township designates as in need of redevelopment.

The plan allows the board to determine height, area, and density for developments on a project-by-project basis.

Hartmann said that the redevelopment plan “specifically says ’the planning board shall have the authority to determine the maximum number and density of residential units permitted.’ The planning board has the authority to determine the number of buildings over 50 feet in the redevelopment area. The planning board shall have the authority to determine the maximum number of square feet for residential buildings to be developed within the redevelopment plan area.”

Nonetheless, the developers will have to receive approval from the DEP for a waterfront permit, in addition to other permits required by the DEP related to flooding.

The planning board will hold its next special meeting on the development on July 9 at 7:30 p.m., at Weehawken Town Hall.

For updates on this and more stories check hudsonreporter.com or follow us @hudson_reporter. Mike Montemarano can be reached at mikem@hudsonreporter.com.