What began as two 24 story towers dropped to 22 then 18 and now 8 stories. Area residents packed two meetings regarding 1600 Park Avenue in January, first a developer-sponsored presentation on January 10 and then a Zoning Board hearing on January 18. The Mayor of Hoboken, Anthony Russo took notice and by February wrote a letter to the Hoboken Reporter expressing his opposition to this high-rise development. Shortly thereafter, the developer, Sanford Weiss conceded that he would come up with a new proposal that conformed to the 8 story building height limit of the Hoboken zoning ordinance. Weiss expressed the desire to create a project that community residents found acceptable.
Kim Fox, the leader of Residents for Responsible Development of 1600 Park Avenue, sparked the opposition to this 344-unit, luxury residential development at the north end of Hoboken. Two fundraising parties held by this group amassed a sizable war chest that allowed the opposition to hire a land-use attorney, Jonathan Drill of Stickel, Koenig & Sullivan and a traffic engineer, John Desch of John Desch Associates. Based on the advice of their attorney, opponents wrote a letter to the Zoning Board pointing out that an amended application was never submitted by the developer. The Zoning Board, in turn, informed the developer that his application was incomplete and could not be considered until the amended application was submitted and an appropriately revised traffic study had been completed.
Weiss proposed to build this luxury rental project in an industrial zone at the north end of Hoboken two blocks from the Tri-City Sewage Authority plant. In addition to a variance for height and lot coverage, the project required a use variance since residential projects are not a permitted use in this district. This project clearly struck a raw nerve in this community that, over the past 3 to 4 years, has experienced an extraordinary surge in the construction of residential units, causing Hoboken’s traffic and parking woes to reach a crisis level. The proposal prompted numerous letters to the editor in the Hoboken Reporter from residents complaining of over-development.
Residents for Responsible Development of 1600 Park Avenue enjoys the support of a number of other organizations in the area, including the Coalition for a Better Waterfront, the Environment Committee of Hoboken, the Quality of Life Coalition, the Friends of the Weehawken Waterfront and the Riverview Neighborhood Association in Jersey City heights.