A lawsuit seeking to void a development’s approvals has sparked a project re-design that better conforms with existing zoning, with changes that will decrease its density and add retail space but eliminate all parking spots.
The property, known as 141-143 Brunswick Street, contained the Introcaso-Angelo Funeral Home for decades until a severe electrical fire in September 2017 caused significant damage to the building. The owner of the parcel, known as EP Brunswick JC Group LLC, submitted plans last year to demolish the building and replace it with a new one set to rise five stories and just over 52 feet, containing 30 apartments and 15 parking spaces.
Jersey City’s zoning board signed off on the application in October, but the Village Neighborhood Association filed a lawsuit in January that was looking to void the approvals. The association argued five variances that were granted to move the project forward were “arbitrary” and “neither the application nor the Zoning Board made a showing as to why the variances were required for the proposed structure would not substantially impair the zone plan and the zoning ordinance.”
141 Brunswick Street is located within an R-5 Low-Rise Residential Mixed-Use Zone, a scheme that was enacted in 2017 to replace more restrictive R-1 zoning. The owner of the property has not made any public statements since the lawsuit was filed, but Jersey Digs has learned that they’ve quietly submitted new plans to the city that mostly conform with the R-5 zoning that’s in place.
The revamped project is still designed by Hoboken-based Nastasi Architects and will now rise four stories and 42 feet, which is right where height in the zone is capped. Four fewer apartments than initially approved will be included in the new plan for a total of 26, breaking down as 16 one-bedroom units and 10 two-bedroom units.
25.6 units are allowed under current zoning as are four stories and 42 feet, so those variances the old project needed won’t be necessary this time around. The new proposal would cover 70% of the lot, also allowed under current zoning. The revamp would include a retail storefront on the ground floor instead of garage parking, which is completely banned zoning-wise on the block that 141 Brunswick falls within.
The result of the changes is that the revamped 141 Brunswick Street doesn’t appear to need any variances to move forward. While the new proposal does adhere to the neighborhood’s zoning and would create a new storefront along Brunswick Street, the elimination of all off-street parking that was included in the initial project is bound to spark a debate. If the new proposal does need any minor variances, the city’s zoning board will likely hear the new application sometime later this year, although no date has been set.