The Bayonne Planning Board may soon approve a redevelopment plan for the former Caschem site, which would include residential units in multi-story buildings and townhouses. The board declared it a non-condemnation area-in-need-of-redevelopment in November of 2020.
The redevelopment plan was on the agenda for the board’s July meeting but was removed due to scheduling conflicts. It was on the agenda for the board’s August 10 meeting, but that meeting was postponed because not enough board members were present.
At least five members need to be present to hold a meeting, according to Board Attorney Rich Campisano. Only three board members were present: Chairwoman Karen Fiermonte, Vice Chairwoman Maria Valado, and Commissioner George Becker.
The plan will likely be heard at the board’s meeting on September 14, according to Campisano.
Bayonne Planning Board meetings are in person only, at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall at 630 Ave. C. For more information, click on the event on the calendar webpage at bayonnenj.org.
The proposed plan, if approved, will allow for residential units, townhouses, and plazas for the site adjacent to the former Texaco site, which will be redeveloped as a film studio.
From industrial to residential
The redevelopment area consists of an abandoned industrial facility formerly operated by Caschem, Inc. The decommissioned hydrogenation facility was primarily used for manufacturing and processing castor oil used in ink production and the personal care industry. It has been closed for several years. The buildings and grounds are in poor condition.
The redevelopment area is in the Bergen Point section, which is being transformed new development. The former Texaco site, to the south of the site, had its redevelopment plan amended last year to include a major motion-picture studio.
Togus Urban Renewal is the redeveloper for the site at the southern end of the Avenue A Corridor. It’s envisioned as an entertainment district with the film studio, offering increased open space, pedestrian plazas and recreation opportunities along Bayonne’s western shore.
The Caschem area, which extends on both sides of Avenue A, has remained stagnant and underused under current industrial zoning. The new plan divides the into two sub-districts.
Sub-district A, of Caschem East, is east of Avenue A and west of the Bayonne Bridge, covering two city blocks between West 3rd and West 2nd Street.
The permitted uses include multifamily residential dwellings; retail sales; restaurants, eateries, cafes, bars, taverns and microbrew pubs; public recreational facilities; offices or shared workspace; shared living space; live-work space; and mixed use of any combination of any permitted uses.
Prohibited uses include dollar stores, thrift stores, secondhand stores, pawn and consignment shops; shops which sell firearms and or ammunition on site; check cashing stores; “We Buy Gold” stores; pharmacies and or medical offices; massage parlors that are not part of beauty parlors or fitness centers; adult-oriented cabarets; industrial uses; gas stations; auto sales, rentals, or repairs; and all types of drive-thru facilities.
The maximum building height for the area between West 3rd Street and Gertrude Street is four stories. For the area between Gertrude Street and West 2nd Street, it’s three stories. The maximum number of residential units is 156.
All bedrooms must have one exterior window as a natural source of light. Dens shall be considered bedrooms and not permitted unless they lack a closet and an entry door, have an opening that cannot be fitted for a standard interior door, and have dimensions that cannot fit a fullsize bed.
Sub-district B, or Caschem West- Pier District, includes the portion on the west side of Avenue A, which is long and relatively narrow and extends to Newark Bay.
Permitted uses include townhouses; stacked townhouses containing two or more connected units stacked one dwelling unit above the other with private entrances to each unit; single story plaza, club house; restaurants, eateries, cafes, bars, taverns and microbrew pubs along Avenue A frontage; retail sales and services along Avenue A frontage; open space available to general public; and mixed use of any combination of any permitted uses.
Prohibited uses are the same as those listed above for Sub-district A.
The maximum building height in Sub-district B is three stories. The maximum number of residential units is 104. No balconies are permitted along the south the side of the redevelopment area above the second story.
A minimum of 20 percent of the redevelopment area of Sub-district A must consist of open space and recreation facilities, including common courtyards, indoor amenity space, unmanned green roof and other common spaces. Individual balconies will not be included. Indoor amenity space can not exceed 1,100 square feet. No rooftop terraces will be permitted.
In Sub-district B, 30 percent of the redevelopment area must consist of open space, including the same uses listed above in addition to a “Waterfront Plaza.” The plaza may be developed with outdoor passive recreational areas such as gazebos, piazzas, pedestrian plaza street furniture, outdoor art installations, retail kiosks, ferry support buildings, and other such amenities.
The developer is required to construct the plaza and waterfront walkway along Newark Bay. The plaza must be designed and constructed in accordance with NJDEP Hudson River Waterfront Walkway requirements and design standards.
Development of a pier on the site of the current pier is encouraged, but the development of buildings on the pier will need an amendment to the redevelopment plan.
A public access walkway must be provided from Avenue A to the waterfront walkway. It must be unobstructed, provide direct access to the waterfront walkway, and have bike racks.
The redeveloper will be responsible for construction, operation and maintenance of the walkway.
For more information, go to bayonnenj.org and read the redevelopment plan on the “PB exhibits” webpage.
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