Advance Realty Sues Hoboken’s Zoning Board

1417 adams hoboken rendering
Rendering: Minervini Vandermark

Earlier this year, Advance Realty presented plans to Hoboken’s Zoning Board to develop a parking lot into a new 58-unit rental building with almost 13,000-square feet of retail space. After three hearings, the Board eventually denied the company’s application in May.

Now, AR Adams Investor LLC, a subsidiary of Advance, is taking the city’s Zoning Board to court. The lawsuit, filed August 9th in Hudson County Court, claims that the Board’s denial of the company’s application was “arbitrary” and “capricious,” and argues that other development sites on the same block were granted similar variances that Advance was denied.

The development itself, presented for 1417 Adams Street, would have risen six stories and covered 100% of the land. Designed by Minervini Vandermark, the industrial-inspired building would have featured housing and significant retail space, 3,000-square feet of which would have been given to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties free of charge for the next 15 years.

Other features of the proposed development included a rooftop pool, a 3,811-square foot common landscaped courtyard, a green roof system, six affordable housing units, and 66 parking spaces partially consisting of a triple-stacking automated system. But the property falls in an I-1 Industrial Zone, which meant Advance’s rejected vision required nine variances for approval.

In their case, lawyers for Advance argue that permitted uses in Hoboken’s I-1 District are “severely outdated, economically and practically unfeasible, and create a zoning scheme in northwestern Hoboken that is out of context with surrounding areas.” Hoboken has studied the area as far back as 2004’s Master Plan, and the city’s Planning Board did designate the zone as the North End Rehabilitation Area back in 2013.

graphic from complaint
Graphic from complaint

However, no rezoning plan has been approved almost four years later, and that inaction has “established a defacto moratorium or prohibition on development while zoning ordinances and/or development regulations are further evaluated,” according to the lawsuit. Advance additionally argues that “due to the fact that it is not economically feasible to develop in the I-1 District, Hoboken’s continued adoption of this zoning scheme, and failure to revise the same, has effectively precluded owners, in particular [Advance Realty], from making reasonable use of their property.”

The lawsuit names four other projects on the same block that the Board has approved since 2010 to support their case. The Pilsner Haus & Biergarten, the NoVia Flats, the Marquee Lofts, and the currently under construction 1410 Grand all have 100% lot coverage similar to what 1417 Adams was seeking and all were granted “nearly identical” variances to what Advance applied for, according to the suit.

From a technical standpoint, Advance also argues in the filing that the Board did not finalize the Resolution of Denial within the statutory allotted 45-day window as set forth by New Jersey law. The company is seeking an order reversing the Board’s denial of the application and wants the court to grant approvals for 1417 Adams.

The lawsuit likely won’t be resolved any time soon, but in a case of interesting timing, Hoboken will be hosting the first community workshop as part of the planning process for the North End Redevelopment Plan on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. While that progress may be considered heartening to some, the debate about the place and actions of the city’s Zoning Board doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.


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