2019 Hub City Development Docket: Watch Decisions About New Brunswick’s Future

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—It can be hard to keep track of all the plans for new developments in New Brunswick, but we are going to try.

Technical meeting agendas released to the public for the first time offer a new window into the city’s development pipeline, and an advance look at possible futures for many sites across the city.

After pressing city officials for access to the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meetings—where developers, lawyers, and the city’s experts hash out thorny issues prior to public hearings—New Brunswick released all of this year’s TAC meeting agendas, and granted the public access to another lesser-known committee.

The public is still not allowed into the Wednesday morning meetings without consent of the party appearing before the board, under new rules set forth by Acting Planning Director Daniel Dominguez in response to our requests to attend. But Dominguez also opened up the city’s Minor Site Plan (MSP) Committee meetings to the public for the first time ever.

The MSP Committee meetings had been held in an off the record setting similar to the TAC. But beginning with the August 21, 2019 hearing on a plan for Bristol-Myers-Squibb’s research and development facility, the meetings will be open to the public.

MSP Committee meetings are held as necessary, usually on the third Wednesday of each month at 10am in the conference room of the Planning Department on the second floor of the Civic Square building at 25 Kirkpatrick Street. It is followed by the TAC meeting.

While some of the juicy details may remain secret, the agendas give clues about developments that may soon come before the city’s land use boards, and give community members advance notice of development projects that may affect their neighborhoods.

But the hearings they hold do provide the primary opportunity for public input in the process, and the discussions that take place there often shape the nature of the developments that are approved.

Not every project that starts the process finishes with an approval and not every project that gets approved gets built. Many developments depend on further approvals from other entities or financing decisions yet to be made by investors.

This article will document the major steps along the way, including advance notice of development-related hearings and votes from the city’s public boards and committees.

This docket will be updated throughout the year as projects are approved or denied, and as new applications come forward. Videos will be included whenever possible.

This article was last updated on November 13, 2019.

Upcoming Hearings and Meetings

CITY OF NEW BRUNSWICK MUNICIPAL PUBLIC ACCESS PLAN Planning Board consideration of the Municipal Public Access Plan for adoption as an official component of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Element of the Master Plan scheduled for November 18, 2019

  • Planning Board Hearing – 11/18/2019: City Hall, 78 Bayard Street @ 7:30pm

10 INDUSTRIAL DRIVE – PAL ASSOCIATES, LLP ZB-2019-10 Variance application for installation of a building façade sign related to the existing industrial “Aaron & Company” plumbing supply business. Located at 10 Industrial Drive, Block 597.01, Lot 9.01 (Steven Hehl, Esq.)

  • 1st Review – 8/21/2019: “Will submit site plan application. On for October 7, 2019 [Planning Board meeting]. Questions about signs, dumpsters, trash circulation, remove barbed wire. Will submit plot plan to show these and will ask for waiver of all other checklist items.”
  • Applicant was unable to meet deadline for October 7, 2019 Planning Board meeting
  • Planning Board Hearing – 11/18/2019: City Hall, 78 Bayard Street @ 7:30pm

127 EASTON AVENUE UNIVERSAL PROPERTY SERVICES (SHELL), PB-2019-01, Site plan & use variance application for the conversion of a gasoline station/auto repair/retail use into a gasoline station/retail use at 127 Easton Avenue, Block 71, Lot 29, 31, & 33. (David Himmelman, Esq.)

On September 23, the Zoning Board voted 5-2 to approve a convenience store in place of an auto garage.
  • 1st Review – 2/20/2019
  • 2nd Review – 6/19/19: “(Ready for July 22 ZBA, No revised plans)
  • Zoning Board Hearing Postponed – 7/22/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing Postponed – 8/26/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing and Approval – 9/23/2019
  • Zoning Board Reconsideration of Approval – 11/25/19: City Hall, 78 Bayard Street @ 7:00pm

205 HAMILTON STREET – 3 AMIGOS, LLC, ZB-2017-14, Site plan and variance application for the construction of a third floor addition to the existing mixed-use building located at 205 Hamilton Street, Block 57, Lot: 62.05 Zoning District: R-5A (James F Clarkin, Esq.)

  • 2nd Review – 8/21/19: “Will revise plans and return to TAC. Try for October 16, 2019 [TAC meeting]. Major revisions requested. Lighting, landscaping, relocation.”
  • 3rd Review – 10/16/19
  • Zoning Board Hearing – 11/25/19: City Hall, 78 Bayard Street @ 7:00pm

Recent Approvals and Denials

294 LEE AVENUE – GLORIA LEGACY (SUPER FRESCO), ZB-2017-20, Major Site plan application with use and bulk variances for the construction of a rear addition and a two-car garage in a mixed-use building at 294 Lee Avenue, Block 259, Lot 7, Zoning District: R-5A (Mark S Shane, Esq)

On September 23, the Zoning Board voted 6-0 to approve an addition behind the Super Fresco on Lee Ave.
  • 2nd Review – 4/17/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing Postponed – 8/26/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing and Approval – 9/23/2019

City-Endorsed “Redevelopment” Projects

50 NEILSON STREET/45 HASSART STREET (LOWER GEORGE STREET REDEVELOPMENT AREA) – STIRLINGSIDE URBAN RENEWAL, LLC, ZB-2017-22, Site plan and variance application for the construction of a multifamily residential building located at 50 Neilson Street, Block 121, Lots 1.01 and 1.02, Zoning District: R-6 (Jong Sook Nee, Esq.)

A developer received unanimous approval for a five-story apartment building at Neilson and Hassart.
  • 3rd Review – 7/17/2019: “TAC explained to the applicant that there were several items outstanding and needing to be updated. TAC wants revised plans, but not necessary to return to TAC if plans address the comments. Applicant is facing a funding deadline and will revise plans and reports by August 5 to be on for the August 26 ZBA. TAC advised that August may be difficult getting 7 members.”
  • Housing Authority Designation and Concept Plan Approval – 8/21/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing, Approval, and Resolution of Memorialization – 8/26/2019
  • City Council Long-term Tax Exemption Hearing Postponed – 9/5/2019
  • City Council Long-term Tax Exemption Hearing and Ordinance Approval – 9/12/2019
  • Mayor Signs Long-term Tax Exemption Ordinance – 9/12/2019
  • Tax Credit Application Filed with NJ HMFA – 9/12/2019
  • Housing Authority Approval of Redevelopment Agreement – 9/25/2019

20 JERSEY AVENUE (JERSEY-HANDY REDEVELOPMENT AREA) – NEW BRUNSWICK-JERSEY URBAN RENEWAL LLC Fast food, medical offices, 192 apartments, warehouse space, and parking structure on Jersey Avenue

  • Housing Authority Designation and Concept Plan Approval – 12/19/2018
  • Housing Authority Approval of Redevelopment Agreement Postponed – 3/27/2019
  • Housing Authority Approval of Redevelopment Agreement Postponed – 5/22/2019
  • Planning Board Approval of Amended Redevelopment Plan – 9/9/2019
  • Housing Authority Approval of Redevelopment Agreement – 9/25/2019
  • Site Plan approval still required from Planning Board

GEORGES ROAD (SANFORD-REMSEN REDEVELOPMENT AREA) – FULTON SQUARE URBAN RENEWAL LLC Apartment buildings similar to Fulton Square

  • Housing Authority Designation and Concept Plan Approval – 12/19/2018
  • Housing Authority Approval of Redevelopment Agreement Postponed – 3/27/2019
  • Housing Authority Approval of Redevelopment Agreement Postponed – 5/22/2019
  • Housing Authority Approval of Redevelopment Agreement Postponed – 9/25/2019

Proposed Changes to Redevelopment Areas

AMENDMENT OF THE SCATTERED SITES REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
In February, the Planning Board reviewed and approved of a proposed amendment to the scattered sites redevelopment plan pursuant to the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law: 109 Howard Street, 147 Remsen Avenue, 377 Lee Avenue, 42 Joyce Kilmer Avenue, 7 North Ward Street, 84 Jersey Avenue, 164 Paul Robeson Boulevard, 53 Remsen Avenue, 69 Handy Street.

  • Planning Board Approval of Redevelopment Plan Amendment- 2/11/2019
  • City Council Approval of Redevelopment Plan Amendment – 3/20/2019

90-200 JERSEY AVENUE – REQUEST TO AUTHORIZE REDEVELOPMENT STUDY
Planning Board review of the City’s referral request to authorize a redevelopment study for the parcels known as 90, 100, 120, and 200 Jersey Avenue. Block 242, Lots 1, 2.06, 3.02, 5.06.

  • Planning Board Request For Redevelopment Study – 8/12/2019

AMENDMENTS TO FRENCH-PROSPECT REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
Planning Board review of the proposed amendments to the French-Prospect Redevelopment Plan (amendments to allow for building heights up to 250 feet)

  • Planning Board Hearing and Approval – 10/7/19
  • City Council Ordinance Hearing and Approval – 10/16/19

Developments Pending Final Approvals

48 COURTLAND STREET – RECON SERVICES, LLC, ZB-2018-21, Site plan application with bulk and use variances for the construction of a multifamily residential building at 48 Courtland Street, Block 65, Lots 14.01, 16, 17, 19.01, 21, 22, 23.01 and 25 and the city right-of-way at Duke Street and Central Avenue, Zoning District: R-5A and C-1 (Thomas Kelso, Esq.)

The Zoning Board unanimously approved apartments for a site that includes some city-owned land.
  • 1st Review – 1/16/2019
  • 2nd Review – 3/20/2019
  • City Council Resolution of Consent to Allow Zoning Hearing Approved – 4/17/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing Postponed – 5/20/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing Postponed – 6/24/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing, Approval, and Resolution of Memorialization – 7/8/2019
  • Project still requires City Council and Mayor to sell public land to developer

147 REMSEN AVENUE (SCATTERED SITES REDEVELOPMENT AREA) – RAIN LAKE PROPERTIES, ZB-2019-11 Bulk (Lot Area, Width, Impervious, Driveway) and FAR application for renovation of a 2-family dwelling. Located at 147 Remsen Avenue, Block 209, Lot 1 (James F Clarkin, Esq.)

  • Planning Board Approval of Redevelopment Plan Amendment- 2/11/2019
  • City Council Approval of Redevelopment Plan Amendment – 3/20/2019
  • 1st Review – 9/18/2019: “Site Plan Exempt: Planning review to be done by DPECD”

Other Active Development Applications

153 JOYCE KILMER AVENUE – OLEGARIO & FELIX PEREZ, ZB-2019-04, Use variance application to operate a retail store in the R-5A Zone at 153 Joyce Kilmer Avenue, Block 241, Lots 3 & 4 (Thomas Kelso, Esq.)

  • 1st Review – 5/15/2019: “Must revise & resubmit revised plans to TAC.

159-161 THROOP AVENUE – PECES CORP, ZB-2019-05, Preliminary and final site plan application with use and bulk variances for the construction of a mixed-use building to be located at 159-161 Throop Avenue, Block 217, Lot 1.01, Zoning District: R-5A (Peter Lanfrit, Esq.) (James Stahl, Esq.)

  • 1st Review- 5/15/2019: “Several issues with plans. Must revise & resubmit revised plans to TAC.

130 REDMOND STREET – NINA AND JASON HOFF, ZB-2019-03, Preliminary and final site plan application with use and bulk variances for the construction of a residential building to be located at 130 Redmond Street, Block 151, Lot 39.01, Zoning District: R-5A (Peter Lanfrit, Esq.) (James Stahl, Esq.)

  • 1st Review – 5/15/2019: “Conceptual issues with this proposal. Resubmit plans and return to TAC

33 & 39 GEORGES ROAD – INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE, ZB-2019-09, Prelim/Final Major Site plan, Use and Bulk variance application for the conversion of residential building into a mixed use building located at 33 Georges Road in the C-1 Zone, Block 252, Lot 3.01 & 6.01 (Peter Lanfrit, Esq.)

  • 1st Review – 6/19/2019: “(Revise plans and return to TAC in August, Submit plans by August 1st.)

Other Approvals and Denials Finalized This Year

12 INDUSTRIAL DRIVE – COLGATE PAPER STOCK, INC, PB-2018-05, Amended site plan and variance application for the modifications of the existing site layout and the construction of an addition located at 12 Industrial Drive, Block 597.03, Lot: 1, Zoning District: I-2

  • Planning Board Hearing and Approval – 12/10/2019
  • Resolution of Memorialization – 1/14/2019

147 NEILSON STREET – NEILSON CROSSINGS, LLC (DAVID ADAMS), ZB-2018-09, Site plan and variance application for the construction of a multifamily residential building located at 147 Neilson Street, Block 5, Lot 6.01, Zoning District: R-6

  • Zoning Board Hearing and Approval – 12/17/2018
  • Resolution of Memorialization – 1/28/2019

121 FRENCH STREET HOLD, LLC, ZB-2018-15, Variance application for the conversion of a former place of worship into a retail storefront located at 121 French Street, Block 26 Lot 4, Zoning District: C-2A

  • Zoning Board Hearing and Approval – 12/17/2018
  • Resolution of Memorialization – 1/28/2019

750 JERSEY AVENUE, LLC (WICK COMPANIES), PB-2018-06, Site plan and variance application for the construction of a warehouse located at 750 Jersey Avenue, Block 598, Lot 3.04, Zoning District: I-2 (Thomas Kelso, Esq.)

  • Planning Board Hearing and Approval – 1/14/2019
  • Resolution of Memorialization – 2/11/2019

520 JERSEY AVE ASSOCIATES, LLC, PB-2018-07, Site plan and variance application for the construction of a warehouse to be located at 520 Jersey Avenue, Block 242, Lots 16.01, Zoning District I-2 (James Clarkin, Esq.)

  • Planning Board Hearing and Approval – 1/14/2019
  • Resolution of Memorialization – 2/11/2019

938 SOMERSET STREET, LLC AND PRESTIGE HOME BUILDERS, LLC, PB-2018-08 Site plan and variance application for the construction of a mixed-use building to be located at 938 Somerset Street, Block 554, Lots 6.01, 9, and 10, Zoning District: C-2B (James Clarkin, Esq.)

  • Planning Board Hearing and Approval – 1/14/2019
  • Resolution of Memorialization – 2/11/2019

203 HAMILTON STREET, LLC (JOSEPH CHEDID), ZB-2018-12, Site plan, variance, and minor subdivision application for the construction of a multifamily residential building to be located at 203 Hamilton Street, Block 57, Lots 17, 19, 60, and 61.01, Zoning District: R-5A (James Clarkin, Esq.)

  • Zoning Board Hearing – 1/28/2019
  • Approval and Resolution of Memorialization – 2/25/2019

188 EASTON AVENUE – JOSEPH BOYLAN (BOYLAN FUNERAL HOME), ZB-2018-19, Variance application for the installation of a six-foot fence in the front yard of the property located at 188 Easton Avenue, Block 67, Lot 4.01, Zoning District: C-3B

  • 1st Review – 1/16/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing and Approval – 2/25/2019
  • Resolution of Memorialization – 3/25/2019

136 REMSEN AVENUE – ENEROLISA RODRIGUEZ, ZB-2017-02, Site plan and variance application for the construction of a mixed-use building to be located at 136 Remsen Avenue, Block 197, Lot 24, Zoning District: C-1 (James Clarkin, Esq.)

  • 1st Review – 1/16/2019
  • 2nd Review – 2/20/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing and Approval – 3/25/2019
  • Resolution of Memorialization – 4/29/2019

501 JERSEY AVE PROPERTY, LLC, PB-2018-09, Site plan and variance application for the construction of a warehouse to be located at 501 Jersey Avenue, Block 596, Lots 7.02 and 7.03, Zoning District: I-2

  • 1st Review – 1/16/2019
  • Planning Board Hearing and Approval – 4/8/2019

90 BAYARD STREET – BAYARD GROUP, LLC (WICK COMPANIES), ZB-2018-20, Amended preliminary and final site plan application with use and bulk variances for the construction of a mixed-use building to be located at 90 Bayard Street, Block 20, Lots 12, 13, 14.01, 16-19, and 20.01, Zoning District: C-4 (Thomas Kelso, Esq.)

This skyscraper was approved in 2017, but the developer is seeking changes to their plans before starting.
  • 1st Review – 1/16/2019
  • Minor Site Plan application for modification of mixed-use building – 5/15/2019: “Motion to Approve: M: Bignell, 2: Stellatella (5-0) Carley, Paige, Dominguez. Aravind Aithal will prepare Minor Site Plan Committee resolution.

295 SANDFORD STREET – ESTATE OF BERNARD SCHRUM, ZB-2019-01, Use and bulk variance application for the construction of a new single-family home in the R-5A zone at 295 Sandford Street, Block 226, Lot 8 (Peter Vignuolo, Esq.)

  • 1st Review – 2/20/2019
  • 2st Review – 3/20/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing Postponed – 4/29/2019: “(Application not to be heard tonight. Applicant requests to be carried to May 20, 2019)”
  • Zoning Board Hearing and Approval – 5/20/2019

355 LIVINGSTON AVENUE – OSMAN BORAIE, PB-2019-03, Minor Site Plan application for the modification of a mixed-use building to be located at 355 Livingston Avenue, Block 300, Lots 7.01, Zoning District: C-3A (Pro se)

  • 1st Review – 6/19/19: “(Approved by Minor Site Plan Committee. Will resubmit final sketch.)

501 GEORGE STREET – JOHNSON AND JOHNSON, ZB-2019-06, Preliminary and final site plan application with use and bulk variances for the reconfiguration of a parking lot to be located at 501 George Street/J&J Plaza, Block 95, Lot 1, Zoning District: O-1 (James Clarkin, Esq.)

  • 1st Review – 5/15/2019: “Ready for 6/24/19 ZBA. Revised plans will be submitted by 6/4/19
  • Zoning Board Hearing – 6/24/2019
  • Zoning Board Approval and Resolution of Memorialization – 7/8/2019

235 GEORGE STREET DIALYSIS CLINIC INC, ZB-2019-02, Site plan, use and bulk variance application for the construction of a new medical dialysis clinic with accessory parking areas in the C-2B and R5-A zones at 235 George Street/52 Tabernacle/64 Abeel Streets. Block 126, Lots 3.01, 7, 8.01 (Lawrence Calli, Esq.)

  • 1st Review – 2/20/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing – 4/29/2019
  • Informal Meeting – 5/15/2019: “Informal meeting with attorney and engineer to clarify changes to site plan and parking details… Add to agenda for 6/24/19 ZBA
  • Zoning Board Hearing Postponed – 5/20/2019: “(Application will not be heard tonight – to be carried to June 24, 2019)”
  • Zoning Board Hearing and Approval – 6/24/2019
  • Resolution of Memorialization – 7/22/2019

303 GEORGE STREET – MATRIX AEW NB, LLC, ZB-2019-01, Variance application for the installation of façade signs on a mixed use building located at 303 George Street, Block 117.01, Lot 1, in the C-4 Zoning District. (Sandy Galacio, Esq.)

  • 1st Review – 6/19/2019: “(Ready for July 22 ZBA, No revised plans)
  • Zoning Board Hearing and Approval: 7/22/2019

30 CHARLES STREET – CHARLES ST NB, LLC, ZB-2018-14, Site plan application variance application for the construction of a multifamily residential building at 30 Charles Street, Block 454, Lot 32.0, Zoning District: C-2B (James Clarkin, Esq.)

  • 3rd Review – 3/20/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing Postponed – 6/24/2019
  • Zoning Board Hearing and Approval – 7/22/2019

100 GEORGES ROAD – BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO., LLC – PB-2019-07 Minor Site Plan application for conversion of pavement area and installation of a concrete pad and liquid nitrogen tanks located at 100 Georges Road. Block 349.01, Lot 1.02 (Ryan Kennedy, Esq.)

  • 1st Review – 8.21.19: “Approved by vote. Will resubmit plans to address all comments.”

25 FRENCH STREET/150 SOMERSET – RWJ BARNABAS HEALTHSOUTH BUILDING EXPANSION, PB-2019-04, Prelim/Final Major Site plan application for the expansion of an existing medical building (2015 RWJ Core and South Building Expansion) located at 1 Robert Wood Johnson Place, Block 24.01, Lot 1.01. (Lisa John-Basta, Esq.)

  • 1st Review – 6/19/2019: “(Ready for August 12 Planning Board, No revised plans.)
  • Planning Board Hearing and Approval: 8/12/2019
  • Resolution of Memorialization: 9/9/2019

191 HAMILTON STREET – CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, INC (PREMIERE PROPERTIES), ZB-2018-16, Minor Site Plan approval for to the previously approved multifamily residential structure located at 191 Hamilton Street, Block 57, Lot: 54.01, Zoning District: R-5A (Thomas Kelso Esq.)

  • Building already approved and built, but they installed equipment on city property
  • 1st Review – 7/17/2019: “Applicant appeared and explained the modifications. No new variances. Minor Site Plan Committee approved 6-0. Resolution will be forthcoming. (Bignell, Carley, Stellatella, Bletcher, City Engineering, Construction)”
  • Resolution of Memorialization – 8/21/2019
  • City Council Hearing and Approval of Ordinance Granting Easement – 10/2/2019

Other Land Use and Development Actions

SELECTION OF BOARD OFFICERS AND ATTORNEYS
In January, the Planning Board re-elected Jeff Crum as its Chair. Later that month, in the absence of longtime Chair Nancy Coppola, the Zoning Board elevated Vice Chair John Cox to the top spot on the Board.

John Cox is the longest-serving member of the New Brunswick Zoning Board, and he is now its Chairman.

Aravind Aithal continues as Board Attorney, and Acting Planning Director Daniel Dominguez takes over for Glenn Paterson as Board Secretary. The New Brunswick Housing Authority (NBHA) Board of Commissioners elected Tony Giorgianni as Chairman in August. John Clarke continues to serve as the NBHA’s Executive Director and, while the NBHA’s general counsel continues to be Manfredi & Pellechio, John Hoffman of the Wilentz Firm continues to serve as its redevelopment counsel.

MEETING START TIMES
The Zoning Board adjusted the start times of their meetings, moving them from 7:30pm to 7pm. The Planning Board still meets at 7:30pm.

Meetings are held in the Council Chambers located on the top floor of City Hall at 78 Bayard Street. Free parking is available behind the building on meeting nights.

AMENDMENTS TO LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE AND ZONING ORDINANCE
On August 12, the Planning Board approved changes to the city’s Land Development Code and Zoning Ordinance to allow for an increase of fees. The City Council subsequently adopted the increases and Mayor James Cahill signed them into law.

  • Planning Board Approval – 8/12/2019
  • City Council Ordinances Approved – 9/5/2019

 

Charlie is a community organizer, a Rutgers journalism graduate, and a 2018 independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.

He can be reached at (732) 993-9697 or [email protected]