Author Topic: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue  (Read 107686 times)

Offline just watching

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24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« on: January 25, 2009, 07:32:20 PM »
Here is the application that was scheduled to be heard 1/21/2009 by the Hackensack Zoning Board of Adjustment.  There's a lot of cases to be heard, and they probably didn't get to this one yet.

They are probably starting with this 24-story proposal so that they can "drop" to 5 or 10 stories, and get that approved.  320 Summit Ave is on the east side, midway between Golf Place and Berry Street.  Unsure if this is the property that sold for a very high amount just a few years ago with intent to build a nursing home that goes through to Prospect Ave.

Someone should contact the folks at The Carlyle and the Barridge House, this will block their sunset views.  In fact, everyone who has a sunset view on Prospect Ave should be in an uproar. If this goes through, the rest of Summit Ave south of Passaic will be compromised. What about Bill Noonan and his group who fought Excelsior III a few years ago.

Let's see if our Zoning Board is sophisticated enough to see thru this plan.  What's the point of zoning if things like this are to be approved ???

10.         Application V# 23-08 SP# 21-08
   Address: 320 Summit Avenue  Hackensack, New Jersey 
   Block: 344  Lot(s): 3,4,5,14  Zone:  R-75 & R-3
             Bergen Passaic Long Term Acute Care Hospital LLC

Applicant requests  Demolish the existing one family structure and construct a 24 story medical office building. 

The following were found to be deficient:

1.   Use Variance Required
2.   Insufficient Lot area Required 30,000 sq. ft. Proposed 20,000 sq .ft.
3.   Insufficient Lot Width Required 125 Proposed 100
4.   Insufficient Rear Yard Set Back Required 40 Proposed 0 to edge of R-3 District
5.   Exceeds Maximum Lot Coverage Required 30%  Proposed 40.5% for R-3
6.   Exceeds maximum height ratio Side Yard  Allowed 4:1  Proposed 19:1
7.   Insufficient Buffer Zone  Required 6  Proposed 0 to edge of R-3 District
8.   Insufficient Parking Spaces Required 562  Proposed 402
9.   Insufficient driveway width Required 18-22 for 2 way Proposed 10 for 2 way
10.   No paving in side yard
11.   Insufficient area for back up aisle spaces-
12.   Exceeds maximum sign area Allowed  12 sq. ft   Proposed 96 sq. ft.
13.   Insufficient Sign Setback  Required 20ft Proposed 0ft.
14.    Any other Variance or Waivers that may be required.



Offline Homer Jones

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2009, 05:56:36 PM »
Does anybody know what happened with this application on the 21st?

Offline murphyonsummit

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2009, 03:30:07 PM »
Update ...

On Saturday, February 7th we received our notice via certified mail that the issue will be discussed at the February 18th Zoning Board meeting.  The applicant, Bergen Passaic Long Term Acute Care Hospital, LLC, is applying for the variance for four (4) properties located at: 

316 Summit Ave
320 Summit Ave
324 Summit Ave
329 Propsect Ave


Note, this is not just one residence that will be knocked down as part of this plan.  It involves four lots/homes to create a multi-story structure and a parking garage for over 400 vehicles on Summit Ave!  The plans are on file in the Construction Official's office (City Hall, 65 Central Ave, Hackensack, NJ) and may be viewed from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm.

Again, the hearing is Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 7 pm in City Hall, 65 Central Avenue.  Please come out and show the city that the residents of Hackensack do not support this request in the suggested location!
« Last Edit: February 08, 2009, 03:36:02 PM by murphyonsummit »

Offline Homer Jones

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2009, 07:55:59 PM »
Old Homer has a question here.

Are we playing at Yankee Stadium or Shea Stadium? What I mean is that when parties make application for relief from a zoning ordinance, they are generally looking for a bump such as 8 parking spaces instead of the required 10; or placing an antenna for wireless phone service on an apartment building . In cases like these, the Zoning Board of Adjustment is the correct venue. These types of applications appear to be in keeping with what an ordinance calls for; but with a little breathing room. Let's call that Shea Stadium (at least very temporarily).

Now on the other hand; with this Summit Avenue application, might the applicant be in the wrong stadium? Doesn't this application really represent a re-zoning of the properties involved? Didn't this Planning Board and this Mayor and Council pass a new zoning ordinance within the last two years? Who owns these properties? How long have they owned them? Are we looking at an assemblage to countervene the intent of the zoning ordinance?

Maybe this game should be played at Yankee Stadium instead of Shea, and the powers that be send the applicant to the Planning Board and request that they advise the Mayor and Council that maybe, just maybe, they were wrong and recommend that the subject lots be rezoned to a Prospect Avenue type zoning designation and let the mayor and council make the final legislative determination by amending the ordinance.

Why waste everybody's time and start the application at Shea and then send everybody back on the Major Deegan to Yankee Stadium?

Offline just watching

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2009, 11:29:19 PM »
Thanks, Murphy, for your valuable information.  The city should have put that on the docket, or required that the applicant list all the houses on Summit Ave which would be potentially affected.

To answer Homer, that a complicated question, and there have been instances where the city has been sued for putting an application before the "wrong" board. Such was the case with the HUMC parking tower at Atlantic & Newman Streets. It was approved by the Planning Board, but then residents sued and the courts overturned the approved. They ruled that it has to go before the Zoning Board, which split it's vote and narrowly approved it (by only one vote).

In the case of the 24-story Summit Ave application, that's called a USE VARIANCE.  They are asking to build a USE not permitted on Summit Avenue. Definately goes to the Zoning Board.  More specifically it is a "D" variance, which is the most difficult of all variances to secure.  I believe that the application is being heard by the correct entity, the Zoning Board of Adjustment.  At least the way the laws are currently written.

Subdividing a lot, for instance to build new homes that conform with zoning, generally goes to the Planning Board.  Building a massive addition to the Shops At Riverside goes to the Planning Board, because the addition is an allowed use. There would be no use variance.

State law allows some communities to combine the boards, and have only 1 entity.  This is impractical in Hackensack due to the case load.  It's enormous compared to other communities.  In fact, right now there are more "big" applications in Hackensack than in Newark, with over 6 times our population.  The rest of us owe a debt of gratitude to the city residents who volunteer, at no pay, once a month to serve on these boards.

I have long advocated that the State legislature take a second look at defining what goes before either Board.  The Planning Board should be in charge of "big" applications, including major use variances. The Zoning board should be in charge of "small" applications, such as house additions, new decks, sign variances, subdividing a lot to build only 2 houses, and so on.   I agree with the old Homer, the folks who define the zones (Planning Board) should be the ones who have the same if the zones are to be violated in such a massive fashion. But that's not the way Municipal Land Use Law is set up.  If you don't like it, talk to your State Legislators

Offline irons35

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2009, 09:31:48 PM »
316 summit bought 8-20-08 for 800K
320 summit bought 2-13-07 for 998,333
324 summit bought 2-13-07 for 998,333 from same owner as 320.
329 prospect bought 2-13-07 for 1,328,333 from same owner as 320 and 324 summit.
all sold to
BERGEN PASSAIC LTACH C/O BRACH   
   433 HACKENSACK AVE 8TH FL   
   HACKENSACK NJ 07601 

Offline just watching

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2009, 10:40:28 PM »
Now, this is getting REALLY scary.  It would be one thing if they had contracts to purchase the houses, and they would only spend that kind of money if they won the variances.  But no, that's not what is going on.  They already invested 4.125 million dollars.    All for the hope of OVERWHELMING the City of Hackensack, either at the Zoning Board level, or by appeals in Court. This is big-time Chutzpah. These people have deep pockets and want to go to war.

They are going to say it's an "inherently beneficial use".  This is really going to be a battle royal. 

One thing going in the City's favor is that the Zoning Code was upgraded in June 2005.  Not only did the city specifically decide to keep the single-family Zoning current, but they tweeked the definitions.  The R1 zone (75 feet wide, 7500 square feet) was abolished citywide in favor of R60 (60 feet wide, 7500 square feet), R75 (75 feet wide, 10,000 square feet), and R100 (100 feet wide, 20,000 square feet).  R1A is now called R50, so the city has FOUR zones defining the size of single-family lots. That's how serious we are about the importance of the single-family land use.  This part of Summit Ave went from R1 to R75, so the required lot size went from 7500 to 10,000 square feet.  Eric Martindale worked on this for years, and was eventually able to push this through in the final month of the Zisa administration.

The fact that the lot size was increased, even if only slightly, shows the city's determination to preserve the street. This will play big at the hearings, and in Court.

The city would be very smart, at this time, to adopt a Historic Preservation Ordinance outlining a historic preservation district.  Certainly Summit Ave from Beech Street to Catalpa Ave should be included, as well as the east side of Maple Hill Drive, and probably parts of Hamilton, Anderson, Lookout, Clinton, and Euclid Ave. At least as far east of Prospect Ave on those streets.  The more levels of protection that exist, the more likely it is that this proposal can be defeated.  It's way overdue for Hackensack to have a historic preservation district. This is needed even if this proposal didn't exist. The 1990 Master Plan listed all the houses on Summit Ave that have historic value. 

Note also that the city's zoning used to have a clause, until the early 1990's, that allowed a more intensive use to protrude 75 or more feet over the zone line into a less intensive use.  That's how multi-unit dwellings reached the west side of Third Street without any variances despite an R2 zone that was 100 feet wide along the west side of Third Street. Various residents protested this, and pressured the Council, even noting that Summit Ave could be at risk by a "punch-through" from Prospect Ave.  Then a developer tried to take advantage of this loophole on Essex Street and "punch through" to Kaplan Ave, not far from the Tri-Boro Diner,. If approved, a commercial use would be on both Kaplan Ave and Essex Street. The residents there fought it bitterly, and the Council FINALLY passed an ordinance to remove that loophole.  That property is now, over 15 years later, being built on.

That ordinance change is now to the great benefit of Summit Ave, over 15 years later.  We'd have a lot less power to resist this if that old clause was still in the Zoning Ordinance.

Offline murphyonsummit

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2009, 03:17:40 PM »
The 24-story tower will take up the lot on Prospect .... the three lots on Summit will house a circular drop-off/pick-up driveway with a five-level, underground parking garage with space for over 400 cars!  Sorry, but this is not what I thought single family zoning meant. 

Offline Whitey

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2009, 11:24:49 AM »
I understand that this application will NOT be heard at the February 18 meeting of the Zoning Board.  There are other applications on the agenda to be heard.

Offline just watching

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2009, 05:18:49 PM »
I agree, that's not my idea of the single-family zone.  Even if they deeded the surface to the city as parkland and built a playground, I wouldn't want it.

The delay could be a good sign.  The Zoning Board is known for stonewalling applications that they don't like.  There was a proposal a few years ago to make 3-story condos in a 2-family zone, and they were not townhouse-style. It was literally snaking through the back yards of houses on Berdan Place and James Street.  It was a crazy lot shape, at one point it was only a few feet wide in the middle of the lot.  After jerking them around for nearly a year and hearing every other application that they wanted to, the Zoning Board denied it unanimously.  Geneva Youngblood was furious, she was going to make big profit on the deal.

By the way, I noticed today that a bunch of burned and blighted houses on Gamewell Place, just west of Union Street was torn down.  Including one house on South Park Street. Not sure what is proposed there.  I'll make a seperate string for this item.  If the city is smart, they'd try to re-direct the Nursing Home down there, the lot is big enough.  Hey, they can buy a few more of the worn-out old houses on Union Street, and do whatever they like down there, as far as I'm concerned.  That's where we need this type of development.

Offline nataliemcdonald

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2009, 12:09:06 AM »
I'm confused when I read this thread, so please allow me to ask a question because I've been away from home for so long.  Is this proposed tower at the same location as the two houses which were back-to-back, one on Prospect Avenue and one on Summit Avenue, and were owned by a Dr. Aurelio Buonanno back in the late 1970's?  Thanks!


Offline Prospect Avenue Coalition

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2009, 10:11:03 AM »
@just watching, I got word out to Bill Noonan and some members of Concern for Hackensack in addition to my own board at The Camelot.

I was over at the World Plaza yesterday and they have the notices and sign-up sheets spread all over the front desk describing the Acute Care plans and announcing the Feb 18th meeting. Seems that someone else had already reached out to Bill as he informed me that this meeting has been postponed.

I will keep all the owners at The Camelot updated. We will be busy attending the City Council meeting at 65 Central Avenue on Feb 26th at 7:00 pm where we will be updated on the progress of ongoing PC Air Rights (Excelsior III) litigation and the Council's commitment to the voters to block this development. Perhaps the Acute Care protesters should attend so they can see how the PC Air Rights plan was successfully fended off and to voice their concerns regarding Acute Care at the end of the meeting. You have to get government on your side and if you pull your vote that can be very persuasive to anyone running for office.

Offline irons35

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2009, 07:12:14 PM »
yes.


I'm confused when I read this thread, so please allow me to ask a question because I've been away from home for so long.  Is this proposed tower at the same location as the two houses which were back-to-back, one on Prospect Avenue and one on Summit Avenue, and were owned by a Dr. Aurelio Buonanno back in the late 1970's?  Thanks!



Offline just watching

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2009, 10:12:29 PM »
I don't have an answer for Natalie.  And I can't believe that PC Air Rights is still in litigation.  They sold off the house they owned at American Legion Drive and Overlook, so I thought they gave up. 

Offline murphyonsummit

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Re: 24-story tower for Summit Avenue
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2009, 08:00:51 PM »
Still planning to attend Zoning Board Meeting tomorrow night (along with some neighbors).  Wouldn't want to have this come up and not be able give my thoughts on how inappropriate this idea is ... on so many levels!