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Jersey City Council okay’s changes for potential Paulus Hook project

Millions for the Exchange Place Plaza renovations and vehicular bans were also adopted

The Jersey City Council at their Sept. 8 meeting. Screenshot via the City of Jersey City on Microsoft Teams.

In a packed meeting on Sept. 8, the Jersey City Council adopted a number of items amidst more calls for embattled Councilwoman Amy DeGise to resign after her hit-and-run.

Amongst the items adopted included changes to a redevelopment plan for a potential Paulus Hook project, adopting the Exchange Place Alliance’s budget that includes millions for their plaza renovation, and banning certain types of vehicles from the roads and pedestrian plazas.

Tidewater Basin Redevelopment Plan amendments adopted

The council voted to adopt amendments to the Tidewater Basin Redevelopment Plan that will accommodate a potential new development near the Paulus Hook neighborhood.

The amendments, which were approved by the Planning Board back in June, would pave the way for a new 401-unit development by Sussex Street Associates on 177 Grand St..

The development would include a 26-story building on Grand St. and Marin Blvd., and a 16-story building on Sussex and Van Vorst St.. The two buildings would be connected by a four-story base building shaped like a Z.

A rendering of the proposed development near the Paulus Hook neighborhood. Image via Fogarty Finger in Jersey City Planning Board application.

The amendments would specifically permit the maximum height for any building on Grand Street and Sussex Street to be 300 and 190 feet tall respectively, which would be enough to accommodate the heights of the proposed buildings in said locations at 275 and 178 feet tall respectively.

It would also add an Inclusionary Housing Overlay District to allow the construction of mixed income housing. Representatives from Sussex said at the time that the owner is willing to set aside 15 percent for affordable housing, which would be about 60 units, to comply with the new inclusionary zoning ordinance.

The project however has faced opposition by a number of residents due to concerns over affecting the Paulus Hook neighborhood and the height of it as well.

The council voted 6-1-1 to adopt the amendments, with Councilman Frank Gilmore voting no, Councilman Rich Boggiano abstaining and Councilwoman Denise Ridley absent from the meeting that night.

Millions for Exchange Place Plaza renovations approved

Millions of dollars will be going towards the renovations for the Exchange Place Plaza after the council voted to adopt the Exchange Place Alliance’s budget for fiscal year 2022-2023.

The $9,752,000 budget comes with $5.5 million for “capital improvements” for the Exchange Place Plaza. Construction for the plaza is currently underway, with fencing having been raised in the area.

However, the renovation plans for the plaza have been met with pushback by a number of residents, including those from the Polish American community, for potentially obstructing the Katyn Memorial statue that is located in the plaza.

$5.5 million will go to the Exchange Place Plaza renovations that are currently underway. Photo by Mark Koosau.

The statue commemorates the 1940 massacre of more than 22,000 Polish soldiers and prisoners of war by the Soviet Union. It had been planned for relocation four years ago to make way for renovations at the plaza, but ultimately did not go through after months of backlash.

The redesigns were initially rejected by the Planning Board back in April, but were then approved by the board after the Alliance appealed. The Alliance is also facing a lawsuit by a local resident and a Polish American group over their approval of the project.

The council voted 6-1-1 to adopt the budget, with Boggiano voting no and Council President Joyce Watterman abstaining, as she is the City Council representative on the Alliance.

Other legislation

The council unanimously adopted two ordinances banning certain types of vehicles on public roads and pedestrians.

One ordinance bans all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and dirt bikes from the city’s public roads, highways, or right-of-way. Any such vehicles that are driven on city streets will be considered contraband, and violators will be fined a minimum of $50.

In addition, any unregistered or uninsured vehicles of such that are abandoned, stored, parked on a public street, sidewalk or alley will be subject to impounding.

Another ordinance will ban bicycles, skateboards, scooters and roller skates on a pedestrian plaza or mall within the city.

The council also unanimously voted to support two cannabis applicants in the city that were previously withheld at the last meeting: the Cannabis Place 420 Corp. at 1542 JFK Blvd, and Oceanfront Holdings at 141 Newark Ave..

For updates on this and other stories, check hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mark Koosau can be reached at mkoosau@hudsonreporter.com or his Twitter @snivyTsutarja.

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