Redeveloper seeks to subdivide 44-acre lot on Constable Hook

The board will also hear an application to construct a six-story mixed-use building at the site of the Da Noi restaurant

The Bayonne Planning Board is set to hear two applications at its October 11 meeting, according to its posted agenda. One application seeks to subdivide a large industrial lot, and the other looks for approval of a proposed six-story building uptown.

Da Noi Residence Urban Renewal, LLC is proposing a six-story mixed-use multi-family residential and neighborhood commercial building with 47 residential units and approximately 1,695 square feet of commercial space, and various amenities.

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The current redevelopment area consists of three lots on Avenue C, consisting of a mixed-use residential and commercial building home to Irv’s Liquors at 1099 Avenue C, a residential building at 1101 Avenue C, and the Da Noi restaurant at 1105 Avenue C, as well as two homes at 66 and 68 West 54th Street. The sites were designated as areas in need of redevelopment by both the Planning Board in February of 2020 and the City Council in July of 2020, after a redevelopment study was conducted.

The redevelopment plan was subsequently approved by the Planning Board in December of 2020 and the City Council in March of 2021 after some postponement due to debate over whether to require ground floor commercial space. These planning approvals cleared the way for the redeveloper to seek final site plan approval in 2022 amid the pause on most major redevelopment pending the completion of an impact study, although the approvals were granted prior to when the pause was enacted.

In September, the application was carried to the October meeting. Barring any request that the board postpone the application again, it seems poised to be heard on October 11.

Also on the Planning Board’s agenda is an application by Duke Realty Redevelopment, LLC at East 22nd Street and Hook Road. They are seeking preliminary and final major subdivision and variance approval to subdivide the property in Constable Hook into two new lots.

The property, which is approximately 43.96 acres in size, is located in the city’s I-H Heavy Industrial Zone (I-H Zone) and consists of tanks, pipelines, office space, and other improvements and structures. The present uses on the property will remain unchanged, according to the applicant.

Various variances sought in subdivision application

One of the lots will be approximately 39 acres, known as Proposed Lot 1. The other will be approximately 6 acres, known as Proposed Lot 2.

Proposed Lot 1 will have frontage on East 22nd Street, Avenue J and Hook Road, notably containing International-Matex Tank Terminals (IMTT) Bayonne Terminal at 250 East 22nd Street. Proposed Lot 2 is triangular-shaped, surrounded by Proposed Lot 1 and rail lines.

Bulk variances are sought for street frontage, lot frontage, lot depth, tank setback, side yard setback, according to planning documents by the applicant. In addition four waivers are requested.

One of the city’s zoning ordinances requires that all lots in the I-H Zone have a minimum lot frontage of 125 feet. Because Proposed Lot 2 does not abut a street, the applicant requires a statutory variance.

The property will contain various easements to accommodate vehicular access, utilities, and pipelines. Due to the property’s odd shape and site constraints caused by existing structures and rail lines, the strict application of the street requirement would cause “exceptional and undue hardship” to the applicant while “providing no real safety benefits,” the applicant argues.

According to the applicant, the aforementioned access easements are of sufficient size and shape to continue to provide safe, efficient, and convenient access for servicing, fire protection and equipment, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles necessary for the ongoing protection of health and safety, according to the applicant.

The applicant argues that the creation of these access easements will promote the future redevelopment of Proposed Lot 1 and surrounding properties.

Another ordinance establishes a minimum lot depth of 200 feet for the I-H Zone. Proposed Lot 1 cannot meet this requirement due to the existing shape of the Property and requires bulk variance relief.

The applicant also seeks bulk variance relief another ordinance which establishes the I-H Zone’s minimum side yard setback requirement to be 25 feet. A variance is required for an existing storage tank on Proposed Lot 1, which the applicant plans to subsequently demolish.

A rendering by Gate 211 Architecture of the mixed-use commercial and residential redevelopment proposed by Da Noi Residence Urban Renewal, LLC.

Other variances and waivers sought

In terms of the variance for the tank setback, the existing tank is not adjacent to any other use or user and will not impact any neighbors, nor will it affect the way the property currently operates. According to the applicant, the property will “operate tomorrow as it does today: safely and efficiently,” and the setback provides sufficient space between existing structures for safety purposes.

According to the applicant, the setback will be limited in its duration. They plan to demolish the structure at some point in the future.

In addition to the variances, the applicant also requests four submission waivers. The first waiver requested is for the Order of the Administrative Officer, which the applicant said is because the Municipal Land Use Law permits direct application to the Planning Board.

The second waiver requested is for the Environmental Assessment report. The applicant argues all uses are existing and not changing, and the subdivision application will not impact those issues or environmental conditions on the property.

The third waiver requested is for the Copies of Protective Covenants, deed restrictions or easements. The applicant states this is because the survey identifies the same and that they have also submitted an electronic title
commitment with links to individual deeds, restrictions, and easements, though hard copies can be provided if necessary.

The final waiver was for Site Photos. The applicant said this is because the application is for a subdivision, and no changes are being proposed, although the applicant will present site photos as exhibits at the hearing should the board require it.

According to a site plan referral from the Historic Preservation Commission as of September 29, the Commissioners did not express opposition to the proposal. However, they were concerned with preserving the nearby Constable Hook Cemetery while changes take place in the industrial area.

Another site plan referral, this time from former Director of Municipal Services Gary Chmielewski as of September 14, criticized the need for a subdivision. Chmielewski questioned the request for a subdivision if nothing on the site is changing.

“I see no reason for this application in its present form,” Chmielewski wrote. “What are the real intentions for the subdivision???”

Redeveloping Constable Hook industrial area

The major subdivision comes ahead of the city preparing to redevelop the Constable Hook section of Bayonne. The industrial area is filled with many properties over 100 years old and is due for revitalization, officials said.

The Planning Board will meet on October 11 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall at 630 Avenue C. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org.

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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