Fresh off the opening of a Whole Foods Market last month, Lincoln Harbor is continuing to emerge as one of Hudson County’s hot spots. Amid that boom, a debate has emerged as to exactly how much development should be allowed in the neighborhood.
Back in May, the township’s planning board held their first meeting about a 344-unit proposal for a parcel that Hartz Mountain owns near the Hoboken border. The property is right next door to the Hamilton Cove which is currently under construction and would see two 18-story towers connected by a tiered base.
The complex, set to rise over 200 feet and intended as rentals, would include 398 indoor parking spots and retail space on the building’s ground floor. Renderings show a rooftop pool and as part of the deal, Hartz Mountain would construct a public dog park along Harbor Boulevard. Weehawken’s planning board has already held six meetings on the proposal, with a seventh one set for later this month.
The marathon of hearings is necessary in part because after creating a new redevelopment plan for Lincoln Harbor in 2016, Weehawken granted their planning board authority to set the standards for building heights, lot coverage, and number of units allowed. According to Fund for a Better Waterfront, one of the objectors to the application wrote a letter to the township claiming that the delegation of authority to the planning board to determine those parameters is inconsistent with New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law.
There are a few other issues that have arisen from Hartz Mountain’s application, including the reality that a portion of the project site is technically in Hoboken and could require additional approvals from their planning board. There is also a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection waterfront permit associated with the project that has been challenged by objectors.
The neighborhood around the proposed development has a lot of moving parts, as Hartz Mountain’s land is adjacent to the federally funded Rebuild By Design project. That endeavor will build a four-acre public park along the cove’s interior that would act as a natural flood barrier. The program has garnered much attention despite scant actual work taking place, although officials are hopeful that ground will be broken on the project within the next year.
Another point of contention with Weehawken Cove has been a “boat graveyard,” an issue that has almost become a summer rite of passage. Several news outlets, including CBS New York, have been documenting the seasonally recurring issue of owners essentially “squatting” their boats in the cove for free, but leaving them to rot after they’ve sunk. The problem remains prevalent; on a recent visit to the proposed development site, there were about a dozen boats in the cove and at least six of them were at least partially submerged.
While the cove has some issues it likely needs to work out as it evolves over the next few years, the planning board’s next hearing to discuss the latest development proposal will take place tonight, August 20, at 7:30 p.m. inside Weehawken High School.