After four hours of public comment, the Jersey City Planning board voted down a proposal by Newport Associate’s to lower the parking ratio at The “Revetment”, a 6-story residential building being constructed at the 10th Street Embankment location in historic Hamilton Park, Jersey City.
Originally agreeing to 163 parking spaces for 163 units, LeFrak’s team made their case to the Planning Board Tuesday night to lower parking based on city traffic surveys and current usage at their buildings throughout the area.
After twenty-six neighborhood residents expressed their outrage concerning the requested deviation, the planning board sided with the public, citing their concern about the validity of the numbers Newport Associates used in their testimony, and the overwhelming display of opposition from the neighborhood, despite the recommendation of city planning officials that the Board approve the deviation.
The Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association (HPNA) led a grassroots campaign to rally residents to show up to the meeting, which was scheduled at 5:30PM. It was thought that, due to the meeting time on a workday and a miserable rainy night, most would be unable to attend. “We must acknowledge and thank the community first for supporting the HPNA’s efforts to hold Lefrak to the terms of its previously approved resolution. Many who turned out may or may not have been HPNA members, but they responded when it counted — especially for a meeting that was scheduled at 5:30PM in an effort to minimize the ability of residents to attend,” they said.
The City Planning Board was also acknowledged: “The Board was extremely attentive and concerned. They truly listened to its residents. They acknowledged that it was amazing to see so many neighbors speak that evening in defense of the written resolution the developer had signed off on just a few years ago. Their dedication to attending that meeting made this happen.”
LeFrak’s Newport Associates were clearly disappointed in the outcome, and have yet to release a revised parking solution. In a statement, they were quoted as calling the vote “a sad day for Jersey City”. They were clear in their testimony that they felt the 1 to 1 parking was now unnecessary and that the parking provided within other available lots and the Newport Centre Mall would be sufficient to make up the difference. “The requirement for ‘one to one’ parking imposes on future development in Jersey City an accommodation of car ownership and desire for parking in front of one’s home that is based on a suburban lifestyle, and not on the lifestyle of transit-oriented sustainable urban development…The frustration expressed by residents about the lack of free street parking reflects both unrealistic expectations as well as unhappiness with the city’s residential parking permit program.”
The HPNA welcomed LeFrak to re-enter negotiations with the community and promised to keep residents informed of the changes as they emerge.