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North Bergen adopts redevelopment plan for area along Tonnelle Avenue

There haven't been any formal site plans submitted to the township yet

An aerial rendering of the existing site looking south, via Google Maps.

North Bergen is considering allowing redevelopment in a large area along Tonnelle Avenue. Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners adopted an ordinance approving a redevelopment plan for the area at its October 12 meeting after it was introduced in September.

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

Redevelopment plan approved by board

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 redevelopment 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.

On September 6, the Planning Board reviewed the redevelopment plan, recommending it to the Board of Commissioners. This paved the way for the board to introduce the ordinance in September, and held a public hearing and voted on the matter in October, although no township official or member of the public spoke on the topic.

When the ordinance was introduced, Township Administrator Janet Castro said: “This is ten parcels. 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.”

Inside the redevelopment area on Tonnelle Avenue

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.

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.

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 allows 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, forbids automobile body repair shops.

The redevelopment plan permits 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. For wholesale, storage, distribution, warehousing, and light manufacturing uses, the maximum building height is 60 feet from above the elevation of Tonnelle Avenue abutting the property, but will 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 is 35 feet. For motor vehicle repair uses, the maximum building height is 30 feet. For these uses, the minimum buffer from adjoining residential uses is 25 feet.

For more information on the ordinance, read past reporting at: hudsonreporter.com/2022/09/22/north-bergen-considers-redevelopment-plan-for-10-parcels-on-tonnelle-avenue. The ordinance only authorized the adoption of the redevelopment plan, meaning final site plans must still be submitted to the township by any redeveloper looking to build on the site.

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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