A redevelopment plan has been approved by the Bayonne Planning Board for 1099-1105 Avenue C and 66-68 West 54th Street. The board has also approved an application to renovate a small apartment building on Avenue E.
Prior to the public hearings, the board held its leadership election. Chairwoman Karen Fiermonte and Vice Chair Maria Valado were reelected to their respective posts. Valado is also president of the Bayonne Board of Education. Commissioner Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, who is also City Council President, was reelected as Board Secretary.
Following the elections, a redevelopment plan was presented for the properties on Avenue C and West 54th Street by City Planner Suzanne Mack.
DaNoi Redevelopment Plan
In July, the city council designated the properties at 1099-1105 Avenue C and 66-68 West 54th Street as non-condemnation areas in need of redevelopment. The properties include Irv’s Wines and Liquors at 1099 Avenue C, a one-story residential building at 1101 Avenue C, DaNoi restaurant at 1105 Avenue C, and two residential homes at 66 and 68 West 54th Street.
The plan allows for the construction of six-story buildings at the corner of Avenue C and West 54th Street. It also calls for a penthouse, which must encompass less than 40 percent of the floor space. The other 60 percent must be a green roof.
A total of 48 units can be constructed in the area. No more than 10 percent of the units can be studios, and no more than 70 percent can have the same number of bedrooms.
All units must have one exterior window as a source of natural light. A minimum of 60 percent of the units will have private balconies that do not count as open space.
Losing on-street parking?
The permitted use of the area as residential-only raised concern from some commissioners. Vice Chair Valado questioned if there would still be parking spots with meters on the street in front of the properties on Avenue C.
City Planner Mika Apte said there would not be. Mack confirmed that two parking spots would be lost on Avenue C at the minimum but that the board can add a permitted use for commercial on the first floor. If a developer were to propose a building with commercial space on the first floor, the parking spots would stay.
Ashe-Nadrowski was in favor of adding the permitted use.
“I know the master plan calls for new housing, but we also must maintain commercial storefronts,” she said.
A developer does not have to include commercial space on the first floor. But it may encourage the inclusion of commercial space and prevents the need for a developer to return to the board for additional approvals if the board didn’t include commercial space in the permitted uses.
Mack told the board that it can revisit the issue when a developer brings an application for a final site plan before the board.
The redevelopment plan was approved with the amendment to include first-floor commercial space and now heads to the city council for further approval.
Making a local investment
Jingjun Zhou is an architect working in New York City who wanted in on the development boom in Bayonne. Having looked around Hudson County first, including North Bergen and Union City, Zhou settled on Bayonne after being told about the area by a contractor who lives in the city.
Zhou is seeking to renovate the multifamily apartment building at 231 Avenue E from a three-family dwelling to a five-family. In the three-story building, there will be two units on the top floor, two units on the second floor, and one three-bedroom unit on the first floor.
According to Zhou, renovations will mostly take place inside the building, though minor repairs will be done on the outside of the building. The front of the building will be landscaped.
Some commissioners had concerns over whether the dining room in each unit could be converted into an additional bedroom. Zhou said she will take down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room to prevent that.
In response to resident concerns regarding parking, Zhou said they could not add parking spaces since they are not renovating anything beyond the interior of the building.
The board approved the application on the condition that the floor layout and number of bedrooms are subject to review by the city planner and that garbage must be kept in the rear yard. The application is an example of the development boom continuing unabated despite the pandemic, with news of opportunities spreading by word of mouth.
Also at the Dec. 8 meeting, Special Development Counsel Joe DeMarco presented plans for changes to zoning regulations that would reduce the amount of total lot space new buildings can take up, in hopes of improving storm water management.
The next Planning Board meeting is on Jan. 12 via TetherView. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org and click on the link on the calendar page.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.