Recently approved residential mid-rise on Avenue E aims to mitigate flooding

The redeveloper will also make a contribution to help reduce flooding off-site

A rendering of what the building will look like when construction is complete.
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A rendering of what the building will look like when construction is complete.

The Bayonne Planning Board has approved another six-story residential development on Avenue E. The board voted unanimously to approve the preliminary and final major site plans by J&J Builders LLC for a six-story building at 196-200 Avenue E at its November meeting.

The plans were presented to the board by attorney Matt Posada.

“Our client has been working on this project for at least three years now with the city about the redevelopment plan specifically for this area,” Posada said.

The site is currently home to a two residential buildings on Avenue E, across from the start of East 19th Street. They are slated to be demolished, according to project architect Anthony D’Agosta.

“The site sits on the south side of Avenue E,” said D’Agosto. “It’s mid block, surrounded by a mixed bag of uses, some residential, some commercial.”

The rear of the site abuts the NJ TRANSIT Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and is within walking distance of the 22nd Street Station. Also nearby are multiple other residential developments of similar height, such as the Lofts Two22 and the Silk Lofts.

Details of the redevelopment

The new building will be home to 40 residential units and 41 parking spots. The façade of the building is designed to break up the structure from feeling “tall and imposing.”

The ground floor will mostly be a parking garage, as well as a lobby and other components necessary for a residential building. The garage will feature fully autonomous mechanical parking. Residents will only be able to enter the garage by making a right from Avenue E, and can only exit the building by making a right onto Avenue E. In addition to the garage, there will be two parking spots on the street.

The other four stories of the building will be fully residential, featuring the 40 residential units. There will be four studio units, 17 one-bedroom units, and 19 two-bedroom units. Although it will be a six-story building, D’Agosto said it was designed to only look like a five-story building.

The sixth story will be set back 20 to 40 feet from the floor below, will not have any units, and will be much smaller than the floors below. Rather, it will consist of the upper portion of a two-story unit from the floor below, an amenity space, and a small terrace. Surrounding it will be an innaccesible green roof.

There will be a three-yard setback to the property on the right side of the building, if you were facing it from the other side of Avenue E, and a five-yard setback on the left side. Two street trees will be preserved at the site, and another two will be added.

Each apartment would have its own dedicated laundry. Trash would be collected in a compactor room on the ground floor via chutes, and removed by a private hauler using the onsite staging area.

Storm water management

Some aspects of the project aim to curb flooding in the area. While it is not in a flood hazard area according to D’Agosto, the neighborhood has been subject to flooding during storms. He confirmed the mitigation measures were being taken to “make it a better project.”

The ground floor will be raised by two feet to prevent flooding, which is occurs at one of the pre-existing structures.

“The intention here is to raise the lobby and garage out of the area which sees a little bit of water,” said D’Agosto.

There will also be a storm water retention system underneath the building to help mitigate flood.

“There will be a retention system on site that we’ve collaborated with your municipal reviewing engineer to modify to satisfy the concerns there,” he said. “This retention is subsurface.”

According to D’Agosto, the system would consist of large diameter piping that would handle runoff and rainwater from roof. The water would be stored in the system and slowly released into the municipal system.

Despite the measures, the owners of a neighboring building had concerns that the new development would add to the flooding problem.

Neighbors have flood concerns

While they love the neighborhood, Anthony Dimitrey addressed the board regarding his family’s concerns about flooding in that area of Avenue E. The Dimitrey family owns Paulanto Bakery on Broadway and Paulanto Smiles dental clinic.

Aditionally, they own the four-story mixed-use residential building, home to 14 residential units, that the dental clinic is also a part of at 189-195 Avenue E. The location is across the street from the planned redevelopment at 196-200 Avenue E.

“We’ve had one recurrent problem since we’ve had the building, and that’s every year, whenever there’s heavy rain, we always have flooding in that area,” Dimitrey said. “That flooding always enters the clinic and our lobby.”

Dimitrey said they have had to repair the elevators, the fire and sprinkler systems, among others and questioned if the flooding was going to get worse with another development across the street.

Amil Dimitrey, the owner of 189-195 Avenue E, reiterated that flooding was a major issue.

“It’s a nightmare when you have this,” he said. “Flooding almost reached nine feet.”

‘Designed to mitigate flooding’

D’Agosto said he “can’t speak to whether or not [flooding] will get worse or better.” However, he said that the site has been designed to meet “beyond the requisite” when it comes to storm water management.

Posada echoed D’Agosto adding: “My understanding is that yes, there would be less water inside your building than is currently going in there. Our site is designed to meet all requirements and go above and beyond them.”

“We designed a site that is handling storm water much differently than the current conditions on the site,” D’Agosto said. “There’s a series of buildings there now that likely have roof [gutters] that jump out of the sidewalk onto the rear yard. That could probably contribute to the additional flooding in the area. Our building will capture all the water that makes its way onto the roof.”

Posada said that they also will provide a contribution toward off-site flood mitigation as a condition of approval. The exact amount of the contribution will be determined in the yet-to-be-signed redevelopment agreement. The redevelopment plan required any developers in the redevelopment area to not only mitigate storm water on their site but also provide for off-site flood mitigation, according to Consulting City Engineer Rob Russo.

Since the redeveloper was going to address the flooding through the on-site retention system, Amil Dimitrey added he had “no problem” with the plans.

Commissioners vote in favor

Commissioner Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski applauded the storm water mitigation efforts: “You’re not responsible for fixing the problems that they’re having but by the mere fact that you’re going to contain all the rain that comes on your property is basically going to prevent it from going into the city sewer system during the storm. It’s going to ease out slower. It is taking water out of our sewer system so it should help the neighboring areas.”

Chairwoman Karen Fiermonte said: “I do appreciate this project. I think it does fit into the neighborhood.”

Fiermonte applauded the storm water mitigation efforts that will be undertaken by the redeveloper: “As we’ve heard from several community members, that is a very important piece of what we need to make sure we doing as we move additional development into Bayonne. Seeing some of the recent flooding with Ida, I under the concerns and its nice to see that was planned for. Often times, some of these older buildings they’re just running [storm water] right into the street. Now this is a slower release, which is welcome especially in that area.

The board voted unanimously to approve the project.

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.