Journal Square, the City of Jersey City’s historic downtown, is once again realizing its extraordinary potential for redevelopment and renewal. The, The Journal Square Vision Plan, prepared by A. Nelessen Associates (ANA) and Dean Marchetto Architects, PC (DMA) represents one of the crucial first steps in realizing the potential. The Journal Square Vision Plan is the direct result of years of planning and describes a long-term vision that has emerged for Journal Square. The Vision Plan was intended to be both a record of an extensive public planning process and a guide for the future development of the Journal Square neighborhood. It contains a compilation of maps, diagrams, images and text describing recommendations on a broad range of topics including urban design character, future land uses and transportation concepts for the Study Area.
THE JOURNAL SQUARE 2060 REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
As per the Plan’s Introduction:
On November 25, 2008 the Jersey City Municipal Council determined, by Resolution # 08-879, the Greater Journal Square Study Area to be an “area in need of rehabilitation,” pursuant to the New Jersey Local Housing and Redevelopment Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:12A- 1 et seq.). Previously, portions of the Journal Square area were also declared to be an “area in need of redevelopment,” called the Journal Square Redevelopment Plan originally adopted in 1974 and amended several times since.
This redevelopment plan focuses on Journal Square, the PATH rail station and bus depot, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods within walking distance, comprising an area of approximately 211 acres, 57 city blocks, and approximately 1600 individual parcels.
The purpose of the Journal Square 2060 Plan is to foster the redevelopment of Journal Square, Jersey City’s central business district, by providing for transit oriented development of new housing, offices, commercial, and public open spaces within walking distance to the Square and transit facilities, returning Journal Square to a flourishing central business and shopping destination.
Since the mid 1950’s, various plans in and around Journal Square were adopted by the Jersey City Municipal Council to address the adjacent air-rights development over the PATH rail cut and various development parcels in the vicinity of the Journal Square Transportation Center. Then in 2007, Vision Journal Square was prepared by A. Nelessen Associates, Inc. (ANA) and Dean Marchetto Architects, PC (DMA) in coordination the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) and the City of Jersey City. The process included multiple charrettes and public meetings, producing a comprehensive vision for the greater Journal Square area. The Journal Square 2060 Redevelopment Plan is the culmination of seven (7) years of combined planning efforts of the city, private sector and community to bring about a redevelopment plan that would take root and is a spring board for long term growth in the “Square”.
Baldwin Place is being developed as an “as-of-right” use in accordance with the Journal Square Plan.
What does “As-of-Right Uses” mean?
In each zoning district, certain land uses are permitted as the principal and primary uses of land; these are called as-of-right uses. That is the case with Baldwin Place. The zoning which has been in place since the adoption of the Journal Square 2060 Redevelopment Plan in August of 2010. Moreover, accessory uses that are customarily found in association with these principal uses, but which are incidental and subordinate to them, are also permitted as-of-right. For example, in a single-family zoning district, a single- family home is the principal use and a garage or shed is allowed as an accessory use. In most cases, the owner of an individual lot who proposes an as-of-right use of that lot need only submit construction drawings and secure a permit from the building inspector or department. Typically, no zoning decisions are involved in such an application. And that is the case with Baldwin Place. Because the plan was developed as an “as-of-right” project, the developer is required to submit their plans to the Planning Board for site plan review. The project is now in the Planning Division for review.