Choma Speaks on Entrepreneurship at Stevens

Adrienne Choma of the HSA Steering Committee will be speaking on the topic of entrepreneurship at Stevens as part of the Provost’s Lecture Series on Women in Leadership.  “I am honored to be invited to be part of this prestigious program and consider my participation, for which I am receiving no remuneration, as community service,” said Choma.  The lecture will take place on April 1st and further details are available here: http://www.stevens.edu/provost/rsvp/adrienne-choma

With Community Support, Stevens Is Responsive to Our Concerns with the Gateway Complex

Representatives from Stevens recently met with the HSA Steering Committee to present proposed revisions to their Gateway Complex project.  We are pleased to report that Stevens is being responsive to many of the concerns we voiced, specifically addressing building height, setback, location of mechanicals, and building facade. We are in discussions with Stevens to obtain detailed clarification of their plan, including their plan for parking.  The current expectation is that Stevens will present their revised plans for the Gateway Complex to the Hoboken Zoning Board sometime in the first quarter of 2015, after publicly sharing their Master Plan for future development.  The HSA Steering Committee will continue to actively monitor and address the situation as it evolves to ensure appropriate development for our community.

From the strong response we received to our petition, it is clear that the community and property owners in Hoboken are concerned and want to be actively engaged in the development in our town, especially when it concerns proposals such as Stevens seeking zoning variances for 97-foot tall buildings in a 40-foot zoned residential neighborhood. Your petition signatures and support, now and in the future, will be what ensures responsible development and a sustained quality of life in Hoboken.  Thanks for your support!

HSA Responds to Hoboken Reporter Story on the Gateway Complex

The following letter to the editor was submitted on behalf of the Hudson Street Alliance (HSA) to the Hoboken Reporter on October 22nd in reaction to their front page story on the Stevens’ Gateway Complex the weekend of October 18th.  The Reporter has not yet published our letter as of today, November 2nd, so we are sharing it with the public through numerous other channels. 

Dear editor,

In response to the article “Stevens Gateway Hearing Postponed – For Now,” I would like to articulate the position of the Hudson Street Alliance (HSA) on the Stevens’ proposed Gateway Complex.

Stevens is proposing to construct two academic buildings on the northeast and southeast corners of Hudson and 6th Streets.  They advertise the structures as being “five stories.”  Since building stories can vary and zoning requirements are stated in feet, it’s more accurate to say that their proposed buildings will be 97 feet tall.  That exceeds the 40-foot zoning restriction by 57 feet.  A skyway connecting the two oversized structures will further block existing views for Hoboken residents, as well as air and light.

One of the proposed structures replaces a 36-car parking lot, yet no alternative for those spots is in the plan. Nor is there any proposal to create the 120+ additional spots of parking that are required under Hoboken zoning for the new buildings. Stevens has yet to fulfill its commitment to provide parking for the Babbio Center or to complete construction of the parking facility on Sinatra Drive, an eyesore in our community for almost a decade.

Hudson Street is designated a historical preservation district under the Hoboken Master Plan and we should ensure that its historical integrity is preserved.  Stevens was quoted saying that it wants to preserve the “sylvan” character of its campus.  By pushing ill-fitting development onto the perimeter, Stevens shows a disregard for the intrinsic character of the surrounding neighborhood.

When Stevens brought this proposal to the Hoboken Historic Preservation Commission on September 8, several residents voiced concerns about the number of height, lot coverage, density and parking variances Stevens needed to gain approval.  Over 200 Hoboken residents have now signed the HSA petition opposing the Gateway Plan as it stands.

We are right to be cautious and wary of Stevens’ plan for expansion.  Fourteen years ago, Stevens proposed relocating their physical plant from Sinatra Drive to Hudson and 8th Street.  The local residents rallied to protest this action, personally covering legal fees of a grueling 18-month-long battle. The zoning laws from which Stevens is now seeking variances are the very ones that were subsequently adopted to protect the residential and historic character of this area and prevent future inappropriate development by Stevens.

What’s the bigger picture? Stevens is planning to double its enrollment of undergraduate students (to ~6,000) in the next five years.  Already they struggle to find sufficient housing and academic facilities.  What will be the impact of their ambitious growth plan on the greater Hoboken community? Stevens has not revealed their master plan to address their long-term facility needs.

HSA is not opposed to all development by Stevens.  We only expect them to reasonably abide by zoning requirements, respect their neighbors’ quality of life and preserve the historic character of our community.  What does the future hold if we do not insist on Stevens’ compliance with zoning requirements, the same ones that all the rest of us are bound by?

Sign our e-petition:  http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/stevens

Adrienne Choma

 

Stevens Postpones Zoning Board Hearing

Stevens was scheduled to appear before the Hoboken Zoning Board on October 28th, seeking numerous variances from zoning ordinances for the Gateway Complex project.  After meeting with HSA steering committee representatives, Stevens’ officials notified us that they are postponing this hearing, saying, “Stevens is evaluating whether modifications can be made to the project that could allay the issues that have been raised and also provide Stevens with the academic and research space we need”. We have confirmed the official postponement with the secretary of the Zoning Board who indicated that a January/February hearing is anticipated.

Although this serves as a temporary reprieve, we urge all concerned residents of Hoboken to sign our petition and stay vigilant to developments on this project which can have serious adverse impacts on our property values and quality of life.