North Bergen considers redevelopment plan for 10 parcels on Tonnelle Avenue

No formal site plans have been submitted to the town yet

North Bergen is considering allowing redevelopment in a large area along Tonnelle Avenue. Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance that would do just that at its September 21 meeting.

The ordinance would authorize North Bergen to establish a redevelopment plan and designate the township the redevelopment entity for a number of properties on Tonnelle Avenue. The ordinance would also amend the zoning ordinance of the township to establish specific development regulations in this area.

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Implementing the redevelopment plan

The total redevelopment area is approximately 7.164 acres in the central portion of the township on the western side of Tonnelle Avenue also known as Routes 1 and 9. The area forms a row along the western side of the street between 51st Street to the south and Hudson Bread to the north at 5601-5711 Tonnelle Avenue.

The area is bordered within 200 feet on the south by the Tonnelle Avenue Station of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and associated parking lot, and bordered by an active rail yard to the west. To the east, on the other side of the street, there is a gas station, residential dwellings ranging from one and two-family homes to a garden apartment development, heavy commercial and industrial uses, a house of worship, and the historic Hoboken Cemetery. Hudson Bread borders the redevelopment area to the north.

The properties consist of ten parcels of land including: 5401 Tonnelle Avenue; 5409 Tonnelle Avenue; 5419 Tonnelle Avenue; the rear lot of 5419 Tonnelle Avenue; 5013 Tonnelle Avenue; 5117 Tonnelle Avenue; 5211 Tonnelle Avenue; 5319 Tonnelle Avenue; 5501 Tonnelle Avenue; and the rear lot of 5013 Tonnelle Avenue.

The Board of Commissioners previously accepted the recommendation of the Planning Board to designate the area as a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment in March of this year. Memorialized by resolution, the board also instructed a redevelopment plan be drawn up for the redevelopment area.

On September 6, the Planning Board reviewed the redevelopment plan, recommending it to the board. Now the board is set to hold a public hearing and vote on the matter in October.

The Board of Commissioners will meet next on October 12 at 8 p.m. in the municipal chambers in Town Hall at 4223 Kennedy Boulevard. For more information, go to northbergen.org.

“This is in the Tonnelle area?” Sacco asked Township Administrator Janet Castro.

“This is ten parcels,” Castro said, confirming their location on Tonnelle Avenue. “This ordinance is just designating us as the redevelopment agency and accepting the Planning Board’s recommendations and those land uses. We have not received any formal plans yet.”

Describing the redevelopment area

Some of the buildings in the redevelopment area located in the I Industrial Zone are in better condition than others.

5117 Tonnelle Avenue is currently home to a one-story bagel restaurant with seven parking spaces known as 51 Bagel. Constructed in 1967, the building was recently renovated.

5013 Tonnelle Avenue is presently outdoor storage for masonry building materials which are stacked high on pallets. Various forklifts, mid-sized and large trucks, vans, and other miscellaneous vehicles traverse the property, which is devoid of any permanent structures.

5211 Tonnelle Avenue is currently home to a one-story commercial building for the sales and display of masonry, building materials, and related merchandise known as Reuther Material Co. There are several angled parking spaces in front of the building and several rows of parking to the northeast of the building on the site.

5319 Tonnelle Avenue is presently utilized by a building materials company for the indoor and outdoor storage of masonry materials and it was formerly used for the manufacture of concrete block and other products. The property consists of a large materials storage building centrally located, and a collection of attached storage buildings and overhangs at the north of the property. A new small office building is under construction, east of the central storage building.

5419 Tonnelle Avenue is currently a vehicle towing establishment with a one-story building in the front of the property, known as Tumino’s Towing. An auto repair garage is attached to the rear of the office building. A front fence restricts access to the parking area, with several parking spaces in a single row in front of the building.

Some properties better off than others

5401 Tonnelle Avenue presently consists of five small adjoining one-story buildings in the southern property line and a large auto repair building on the western end. A driveway and parked vehicles are located on the northeastern end of the property.

The easternmost building has the design of an old retail building but is utilized for storage of tires, known as Good Deal Tires. The adjacent building is a garage also used for tire storage. The remaining three buildings are also garages with space for one to two vehicles at a time, all leased to individual tenants.

According to the ordinance, police reports have been filed for a series of general and property-related incidents over the past three years, including motor vehicle crashes, parking complaints for vehicles blocking the driveway, noise complaints due to loud music, and isolated incidences for a health hazard due to downed wires, medical emergency from a fall from a ladder, and other disturbances.

The North Bergen Department of Health filed a complaint against Good Deal Tires for stagnant water in tires at the rear of the building, and a notice from the Municipal Court was recorded for tires providing harborage for animals.

5501 Tonnelle Avenue is currently a centrally located one-story building, an attached metal garage to the west, detached metal garage to the northwest and parking areas to the north and south.

In the north parking lot, the township observed several mid and large sized trucks parking along the north side of the building, and a heap of rubble, garbage, and building materials at the northwest corner of the property. In the south parking lot, school buses, jitney vans, recreational vehicles, mid-sized trucks, truck cabs, and personal vehicles ranging in condition from aesthetically acceptable to damaged were observed.

According to the ordinance, police reports have been filed for a series of general and property-related incidents over the past three years, including motor vehicle crashes, disabled motor vehicles, and isolated incidences of burglary, motor vehicle theft, and damage to property threats.

5013 Tonnelle Avenue is presently a narrow dirt lot used for the parking of trucks, personal vehicles, and shipping containers. There are no permanent structures on the property, with the property having been vacant since June of 2021.

Details of the redevelopment plan

According to the ordinance, the redevelopment plan would allow for permitted uses including: multifamily residential; shopping centers; hotels; wholesale business, storage and distribution warehousing; the storage of trucks, buses, passenger and commercial vans, taxis, cabs, and limousines; light manufacturing, employing a process free from objectionable odors, fumes, dust, vibrations, or noise; motor vehicles repair uses; and any uses in existence at the time of the adoption of the redevelopment plan. The redevelopment plan, however, would forbid automobile body repair shops.

According to the ordinance, the redevelopment plan aims to maximize appropriate land usage, provide adequate off-street parking; creating an attractive visual environment; and provide other public improvements to support the aforementioned goals.

The project aims “to foster the proper utilization of existing resources, develop stagnant and unproductive land… to render it useful and valuable for contributing to and servicing the public health, safety and welfare, providing for appropriate standards for buildings, and other improvements to capitalize on the strengths of the redevelopment area, including its prime location, convenient roads access, and proximity to transit service,” per the ordinance.

The redevelopment plan would permit buildings up to 60 feet in height above the elevation of Tonnelle Avenue abutting the property for multi-family residential buildings, shopping centers, and hotels.

Residential density would be capped at 110 units per acre, which can be increased by the Planning Board if there would be suitable parking for the residential use and the site can accommodate the increased development yield.

For wholesale, storage, distribution, warehousing, and light manufacturing uses, the maximum building height would be 60 feet from above the elevation of Tonnelle Avenue abutting the property, but would not to exceed 75 feet above the average grade surrounding the building.

For storage of trucks, buses, passenger commercial vans, taxis, cabs, and limousines, the maximum building height would be 35 feet. For motor vehicle repair uses, the maximum building height would be 30 feet. For these uses, the minimum buffer from adjoining residential uses would be 25 feet.

Parking requirements would be a one to one ratio for residential uses. For warehousing with less than 60,000 square feet, one space would be required for every 1,250 square feet of gross floor area, and for warehousing with more than 60,000 square feet, one space would be required for every 2,500 square feet.

For light manufacturing uses, one space would be required per 750 square feet of gross floor area, and for motor vehicle uses, one space plus two spaces per service bay would be required. Indoor bike parking would also be required, with one space for every two dwellings, as well as street trees.

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.

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