By Ron Hine | FBW | June 17, 2015
Despite this overwhelming opposition, brothers Michael and David Barry of the Shipyard Associates have pressed on with their effort to gain approval to build two high-rise residential buildings, dubbed the Monarch Towers, on a Hoboken pier. In the past year, they succeeded in getting several judges in Superior Court in Hudson County to reverse the denials by the planning boards and the Freeholders. These cases have all been consolidated and are being appealed to the Appellate Division of Superior Court. In a separate case, opponents have also challenged the NJDEP waterfront permit granted for the Monarch Towers which is also now before the Appellate Court.
An especially high hurdle for the Shipyard Associates is to overturn Hoboken’s amended flood ordinance. They filed suit in federal court challenging the ordinance on constitutional grounds. Discovery in federal court in the case of Shipyard Associates v. City of Hoboken is scheduled to continue through the end of this year, ending on December 28, 2015. On June 5, 2015, the Shipyard Associates requested permission of the federal magistrate to file a motion for summary judgment. They have made the claim that their project was deemed approved prior to the adoption of the ordinances. The ordinances, however, were adopted by the City of Hoboken after FEMA designated this pier (and nearly every other pier along the Hudson River) within the Coastal High Hazard Zone. Thus, the City’s passage of the ordinances was designed to protect the public’s health and safety, which under the state’s Municipal Land Use Law trumps any prior submission of a development application.
In 1996, the Shipyard Associates gained approval from the Hoboken Planning Board for a Planned Unit Development on ten acres of prime real estate at Hoboken’s north waterfront. The approvals included the building of 1160 residential units. In 2011, the last of those units were completed. The Planning Board approvals stipulated that the final parcel, Development Block G, was to be developed as open space upon completion of the last residential units. In 1997, the Shipyard Associates and the City signed a developer’s agreement that also included the open space provisions for Block G including a tennis court, tennis pavilion and completion of the final portion of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway.
Federal judge grants FBW opportunity to help defend Hoboken’s flood ordinances
FBW motion to intervene in federal court granted
FBW Brief (filed 06-13-2014)
Developers challenge Hoboken flood ordinance in federal court
Judge grants automatic approval for controversial Monarch Towers
Monarch Towers described as classic case of bait and switch
Monarch Towers now in FEMA’s Coastal High Hazard flood zone
Gov. Christie vetoes bill that could jeopardize flood insurance eligibility
City sues Monarch developers for breach of contract
County Planning Board stuns Monarch developers with “no” vote
DEP flouts its permit to restore pier as open space
Shipyard’s plan to privatize pier