On Tuesday, April 11, the Site Plan Review Committee of the Hoboken Planning Board is scheduled to review NY Waterway’s (DBA Port Imperial Ferry Corporation) application to use the Union Dry Dock site for a diesel ferry maintenance facility. The company is seeking preliminary and final site plan approval for a conditional use and site improvements at this waterfront location.
Last November, the City of Hoboken acquired the property from NY Waterway through an eminent domain action. In mid-February, in accordance with a consent order filed with the court, the City Council approved a 5-year lease. Objectors speaking at the Council meeting expressed fears that NY Waterway would attempt to remain beyond the 5-year term and sought answers to how the terms of this lopsided agreement were reached.
NY Waterway is proposing to use the site to maintain and repair its ferry fleet, store 20 ferry boats along the 3 piers and refuel vessels when the fueling station in Weehawken is not available. They are also proposing a sullage system for pumping sanitary waste from the ferries. About 45 employees, working in shifts, will be able to drive to and park at the site.
On April 6, the Fund for a Better Waterfront wrote to the Hoboken Planning Board asserting that the application was deficient for a number of reasons as follows:
- The applicant has proposed to use a portion of the site that falls outside the boundaries of the lease agreement approved by the Hoboken City Council on February 15, 2023 and conflicts with current plans for Hoboken’s Sinatra Drive Project that includes a two-way protected bicycle pathway, a landscaped area and expanded pedestrian sidewalk.
- The applicant has failed to show the boundaries of the approved lease for 5.6 acres of this 8.2 acre site.
- The plans fail to show the proposed roadway traversing the site.
- The applicant has not provided a Neighborhood Impact Report despite the significant impacts that the diesel ferry maintenance facility will have on the surrounding neighborhood. The extended period of time for the 5-year lease is not “temporary” and does not warrant waiver of the Neighborhood Impact Report requirement.
- The applicant’s proposed removal of trees should be reviewed by the professional team designing the park at this site, as they may recommend that the trees NOT be eliminated.
The lease gives NY Waterway control of 68 percent of the site. The ferry company would occupy all of the piers, 85 percent of the water area and nearly all of the land at the water’s edge, leaving the City with less than an acre to start building the promised park.