Weehawken approves Hartz Mountain development in Lincoln Harbor

After 16 meetings, the ordeal over the residential complex has reached a conclusion

The Weehawken Planning Board approved the application on May 28.
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The Weehawken Planning Board approved the application on May 28.

The months-long saga between Weehawken and Hartz Mountain Industries has reached a conclusion. The Weehawken Planning Board voted to approve the application after 16 meetings.

This is Hartz Mountain’s second application to build at the Atir Site in Lincoln Harbor. The first application was shot down in 2019 due to height issues.

Now, shrunken by four stories, the 259-unit complex made up of two 14-story towers has been given the go-ahead. The site will also have 200 onsite parking spots, with an extra 80 spots for visitors.

The planning board met on May 28 via GoToMeeting to vote on the matter after a previous meeting on May 19. The board had last met in March as the COVID-19 pandemic reached Hudson County.

During the virtual meetings, attorneys representing opposition to the application made their case. Included were neighboring property 1715 Grand Street, nearby developer Rock Eagle Industries, and the Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club.

They objected to issues regarding ownership of a small portion of land on the property, parking, and views, among others.

Hartz Mountain brought civil engineer Brad Bohler and planner Keenan Hughes. Their testimony and a list of conditions were enough for the board to approve the project.

Objectors’ cases

Nearby 1715 Grand Street, represented by attorney Nicholas Sekas, objected to a document that claimed a right-of-way on the property was still owned by the City of Hoboken.

The title was from the early 1900s, and the board declined to rule on the issue, claiming it is a legal matter. Board attorney Elise DiNardo said that the applicant confirmed ownership of the property in its application.

Ira Weiner, attorney for neighboring developer Rock Eagle Industries, said that a “careful” board would ask the applicant to provide further proof of ownership.

Gerald Muller, attorney for Fund for a Better WaterFront, agreed it was a legal issue, and the issue was dropped.

Views in question

Sekas argued that Hartz Mountain failed to meet open space requirements, and that the view will be “obliterated.”

Weiner agreed, stating that when Eagle Rock built nearby, it was told no buildings were going to be constructed in front of them.

Hartz Mountain used a a map of historic views of New York City from Old Glory Park to show that views would not be blocked.

Jerry Muller, attorney for Fund for a Better Waterfront, largely echoed the other attorneys on open space and views, also arguing that notice for property owners within 200 feet of all Lincoln Harbor residents had not been properly given.

Technical issues

Both digital meetings started late, running for about six hours with technical glitches as board members lost connection and struggled to unmute their microphones and turn on their cameras. There was feedback noise as well.

Only one member of the public spoke during the meeting. Weehawken resident Maryanne Wuillame argued that little by little land was  being chopped away at the waterfront.

Mandated parking

Jake Israel, attorney representing the Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club, said that the club had obtained a court order mandating that parking be provided for the club. Other parking is being mandated for township residents.

Conditions laid out by the board included a parking study, an internal walkway open to the public, 300 spaces of public parking, and shuttles connecting the development to the townshitp.

Plans must be updated to show proper subdivision lines and the seven levels of parking.

Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner said the development is not separate from the flood wall and is being constructed in conjunction with Hartz Mountain.

A silent majority

Board member Til Globig opposed encroachment of one building on the waterfront walkway.

Board member Carmela Silvestri Ehret, a Weehawken resident for 50 years, said she bought her house on a block that had a clear view of the Empire State Building, but the New York City Planning Board voted to build another skyscraper which blocks her view.

Ehret, saying that she didn’t buy the view, she bought the house, voted to approve the development.

Board member Nick Strasser also voted yes. The board voted 7-1 in favor of the application, with only board member Til Globig voting no.

The board also voted  7-1 to amend the Lincoln Harbor Redevelopment Plan. Globig was the only member to vote no.

The meeting ended at 12:22 a.m., with the words, “It is done.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.