LAWSUIT CHALLENGES IRONBOUND UPZONING

In a process that took years, spanned three mayors and was led by an urban planner who just won a MacArthur “genius” award based, in part, on those efforts, the City of Newark overhauled its zoning laws in 2015.

It was the first such comprehensive revision in more than 50 years and was widely praised not only for the substance of the new zoning,  which was based upon goals of environmental justice and accountable development, but for the open, participatory process by which it was adopted

Recently, in a move that would seem to undermine the well-thought out plan embraced just two years earlier and to contradict its participatory approach, Newark amended its zoning to increase the maximum building height in part of the Ironbound. And it allegedly did so without providing nearby residents the legally required notice.  Continue reading LAWSUIT CHALLENGES IRONBOUND UPZONING

CHRISTIE TARGETS ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATE COMMISSION SEAT

Governor Chris Christie might be a very lame duck at this point, with only a little more than a month to go, but as he heads toward the door, he has taken a parting shot at Edward  Lloyd, the environmental lawyer who is one of the longest serving members of the Pinelands Commission.

Continue reading CHRISTIE TARGETS ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATE COMMISSION SEAT

SENATE COMMITTEE DELAYS VOTE ON BANNING DANGEROUS PESTICIDE IN NJ

Earlier this year the Trump administration jettisoned environmental rules that would have halted the use of a pesticide that has been shown to damage children’s brains. Pending state legislation that would at least do so in New Jersey hit a road block last week.

Continue reading SENATE COMMITTEE DELAYS VOTE ON BANNING DANGEROUS PESTICIDE IN NJ

GETTING A SWAMP MALL INSTEAD OF A COMMUTER TUNNEL

Many New Jersey commuters are experiencing a “summer of hell” marked by cancelled and delayed train service due to the deteriorating rail link to New York City. They might want to know why the state has not been able to get its act together to build a badly needed new train tunnel, even while it has been pushing relentlessly to build a mall in the Meadowlands.

Continue reading GETTING A SWAMP MALL INSTEAD OF A COMMUTER TUNNEL

NJ APPLESEED FIGHTS FOR OPEN SPACE ON HOBOKEN WATERFRONT

Context of this Case

A battle over whether a developer will be allowed to renege on a promise to provide open space on the Hoboken waterfront was argued before the Appellate Division on February 28.

New Jersey Appleseed’s Renee Steinhagen represents Fund for a Better Waterfront in several related appeals involving the Monarch Towers development.

The dispute concerns whether two 11 -story condominium towers can be built on a nearly two-acre waterfront parcel where the developer promised in 1997 to provide open space, including tennis courts and the final segment of the developer’s Hudson River Waterfront Walkway.

The construction faces fierce public opposition and would violate Hoboken ordinances that prohibit residential development on piers and platforms over the Hudson River. Those ordinances were adopted in December of 2013 in response to Superstorm Sandy, and in conformance with newly adopted federal and state standards to protect communities from flood hazards.

Read below about this case and NJ Appleseed’s work: Ron Hine reports for the Fund for a Better Waterfront.

Continue reading NJ APPLESEED FIGHTS FOR OPEN SPACE ON HOBOKEN WATERFRONT

COURT ORDER DO-OVER ON PINELANDS PIPELINE APPROVAL

A lot of attention has been focused on the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would carry crude oil across four western states, damaging the environment and disturbing Native American historical and cultural sites.

Similar battles over proposed pipelines are taking place right here in New Jersey and recent developments will at least delay two of those projects and hopefully allow for more public input on their impact.

Continue reading COURT ORDER DO-OVER ON PINELANDS PIPELINE APPROVAL

How will sale of Saint Michael’s Hospital transform healthcare in Newark?

Governor Chris Christie’s administration has put off for nearly three years deciding what it should do about the future of healthcare in Newark. But the scheduled sale of the bankrupt Saint Michael’s Medical Center, one of five Newark hospitals, should force a decision.

The outcome of the sale will likely help shape the quality of healthcare that Newark residents receive, according to industry attorneys and analysts. It could also affect the financial stability of all of the city’s hospitals.

State involvement in hospital bankruptcies normally is limited to issues related to operating licenses. But not in this case, for three reasons:

First, the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority, which is chaired by Acting Commissioner of Health Cathleen Bennett, issued tax-exempt bonds for Saint Michael’s that currently total roughly $230 million.

Second, the state also owns another troubled Newark facility — University Hospital, which is facing millions of dollars in annual operating losses for the foreseeable future.

Third, if the state allows the sale of Saint Michael’s it should get a short-term financial shot in the arm. But if were to decide to take over the facility, it could realize a greater payback over a longer period.

Continue reading How will sale of Saint Michael’s Hospital transform healthcare in Newark?