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377-383 Fourth Street: Variances for Proposed 20 unit, 5 story Apartment Complex Denied

30 Apr 2014, Posted by Rob Crow in News

Dear Village Resident

Over the past several months, the Village Neighborhood Association Board of Directors (VNA) engaged in a significant and successful effort to make sure that the concerns of the community and adjoining property owners were taken into consideration regarding a proposed  twenty unit, five story apartment complex at 377-383 Fourth Street.

The proposed apartment complex was to sit immediately adjacent to Public School 5 and six residential properties. The proposed building was to be about the same height as the school and would have blocked sunlight to the easterly facing windows of PS 5 where young children seek to learn and grow. The complex as proposed would have also towered over both the schoolyard, which includes a children’s garden, and the many adjacent residential homes and their backyards.

The VNA actively communicated with both the owner and his representatives as well as the Division of City Planning. The VNA’s goals were to strike a proper balance between what was being proposed and what is currently permissible for the location (one and two family 3 story homes). While we made some progress (the original proposal was for an even larger apartment complex with a massive party deck), unfortunately a compromise was not reached.

At a public hearing before  the Jersey City Zoning Board of Adjustments on Thursday April 17, 2014, the VNA and members of the community voiced their concerns and objections to the proposed project.  We were appreciative of the Zoning Board for taking the time to carefully consider our objections. It was apparent to us that they cared deeply about the Village neighborhood, and at one point during the proceedings, the chairwoman commented that “the Village neighborhood is one of the last funky and cool neighborhoods in Jersey City”, and “attention should be given to preserving this aspect of the neighborhood”. This prompted a spontaneous round of applause from the many VNA members in attendance. We couldn’t have agreed more. At the conclusion of the hearing (which lasted two hours), the Zoning Board voted unanimously to deny the needed variances to construct the proposed project. The efforts of the VNA and community proved both worthwhile and successful.

We are often asked “What do neighborhood associations do?” Looking back on the hundreds of hours the team had collectively spent over the past few months, this effort perfectly answered that question. For the past seven years, the VNA has maintained a process designed to handle similar demands on our neighborhood from quality of life issues to development. The VNA was able to quickly mobilize and connect the dots between city agencies, developer, PS 5 school community, and Village residents through a clear strategy and dissemination of timely and accurate information about the proposed project.

The VNA will continue to fight passionately on behalf of the children of PS5 and members of the Village community as we vigilantly represent our neighborhood.  Moving forward, and as we stated to the owner, we look to continue our discussions in regards to the development of 377-383 Fourth Street so that a mutually agreeable project can be accomplished. We will provide updates and feedback to the community regarding any changes to the project’s status.

Regards,

VNA Board of Directors

 

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