November 2015
Central Ave Redevelopment Plan
Ogden's End Ogtoberfest Recap
Special Day at the Farmer's Market
Take a Look at the Heights!
Holiday Party
Keep up with the latest news and activities
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Next RNA Meeting:
Tuesday, November 10th at 7:30 PM


Harbor View Health Care Center
178 Ogden Avenue
1st Floor Cafeteria

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Membership dues and donations help sustain the RNA. Annual dues are $10. Please contribute on our website, at an RNA meeting, or make checks payable to Riverview Neighborhood Association and mail to:
PO Box 7176 
Jersey City, NJ 07307

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Riverview Neighborhood Association's (RNA's) monthly meeting will be held this Tuesday, November 10th at the Harborview Health Center, 178 Ogden Avenue (at Franklin) at 7:30PM.  At this month 's meeting we will outline what we have been able to learn about the City's plans to establish a Redevelopment Plan for Central Avenue, we will be reviewing development projects that are proposed for 506-508 Central Ave  (Key Foods site) and 52-58 Cambridge Ave. We will also have updates on the gazebo rebuild for Riverview Park and an update from the JC Parks Coalition about the The Bigger Dig.  Representatives from the Resident Response Center and the Jersey City Police Department will also be present to address your concerns. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Without Notice, City Drafts Central Avenue Redevelopment Plan

RNA recently learned that the Jersey City Division of Planning has drafted a redevelopment plan for the entire business district on Central Avenue and parts of Cambridge Ave.  The Central Ave SID (Executive Director David Diaz) and Ward D Councilman Michael Yun had several meetings with the Jersey City Planning Department to come up with this draft without any consultation or input from Heights neighborhood groups or the community at-large. While the plan as currently drafted does not allow for condemnation of property,
it opens the door for high rise development in the Heights and indeed recommends high rise development in the center of the proposed redevelopment area.

Here are some of RNA's major concerns about the draft Redevelopment Plan and this approach to zoning in the Heights:

1. Any broad redevelopment plan in the Heights wipes out the protections of the zoning variance process. If the redevelopment plan is implemented, it could be easily amended without significant community input: all it takes is the submission of an application for an amendment to the planning board along with the associated $1000 fee, and then getting five members of the City Council to support it.  There is an exhaustive history and precedent in Jersey City for Redevelopment amendments being recommended by the planning board and easily passed by the City Council despite community opposition.

2. This plan opens the door and sets a precedent for HIGH RISE DEVELOPMENT in the Heights, there is already a proposed zone that would allow at least one 14 story building (higher if they include office space) and it would be relatively trivial to start adding other areas to that zone via amendments.  The most predominant zone allows for 7 stories with virtually unlimited density.
3. This plan was drafted behind the community's back with no local groups being alerted as to what was happening or asked to weigh in.

4. The Redevelopment Plan approach up-zones the entire Central Avenue Business District and parts of Cambridge Ave without going through master plan analysis to figure out if a zoning change is even needed.

5. The draft Redevelopment plan does not make a convincing case that adding height to Central Avenue will accomplish the stated objectives more than the current Neighborhood Commercial zoning. The NC already has virtually unlimited density up to 4 or 5 stories.  

6. Many other business districts in New Jersey have used programs like incentives, grants, support to revitalize commercial strips without seeing the need to up-zone for high rise buildings (currently, the Innovation Team is working on programs in the form of small business renovation grants, incentives, online permitting/licensing portals, and market needs analysis assistance)

7. The plan does not consider that our infrastructure (roads, sewers) and schools most likely can't handle this dramatic increase in density.

8. Our public transportation system in the Heights is already at capacity during the rush hours and this plan does nothing to address alternatives to vehicles.  We don't see how the current bus lines could possibly handle this increase in density and NJ Transit has refused to add service. 

9. We have not seen a lot of variance requests for Central Ave which would be the typical sign that the zoning is not working and might need to be examined.

10. Central Avenue is not at capacity currently.

11. We have seen that Heights businesses who make the investments to improve and provide a quality product are able to be successful in the Heights today.

12. Redevelopment will accelerate the displacement of the existing lower income community.

We do agree that Central Ave businesses need help and are open to discussing revitalization strategies that don't involve redevelopment, such as expanding the permitted uses in the existing Neighborhood Commercial Zone, Restaurant Row overlays, Furthering the programs that the JC Innovation Team is developing to assist and/or provide incentive to existing businesses in their own rehabilitation and make it easier for new businesses to assess neighborhood needs and get their doors open for business more easily and in less time.  We also fully support local beautification efforts that don't depend on promised improvement projects and monies from developers.

For these reasons and more, RNA is against this draft Redevelopment Plan (as well as any redevelopment plan in the Heights), Other community groups in the Heights have also made it clear that they are completely opposed to High Rise construction in the Heights (buildings over 75 feet/6 stories). 

If you would like to review the DRAFT Central Ave Redevelopment plan, please send an email to  We are asking all residents in the Heights to take a stand against the possible introduction of Redevelopment Plans in the Heights.  Please email the City Council and the Mayor with your concerns and opposition to opening the door for high rise development in the Heights:

Michael Yun (ward D councilman) -
Rich Boggiano (ward C councilman -
Rolando Lavarro (councilman at large) -
Joyce Watterman (councilwoman at large) -
Daniel Rivera (councilman at large) -
Khemraj Ramchal (ward B councilman) -
Candice Osborne (ward E councilwoman) -
Diane Coleman (ward F councilwoman) -
Frank Gajewski (ward A councilman) -
Mayor Fulop's office -
OgtoberFest Raises $1400 for Ogden's End Community Garden Ogden's End Fundraiser

On a beautiful but chilly Saturday in October, RNA and Farms in the Heights hosted the OGtoberfest fundraiser for Ogden's End Community Garden. Over 100 members of the community came out to experience how much this formerly overgrown lot had been transformed into a beautiful garden, enjoy food and beverages and provide needed financial support to enable this Garden to flourish and continue to evolve. Special Thanks to Fox And Crow and Palisade Liquor for supplying the excellent beer and to Nature's Own for the 40 pounds of chicken.  We also want to thank all the volunteers that made the event possible (special thanks to Nick Buffum for the Homebrew and Tine for the deserts).
A very special day at the Farmers Market

While every Sunday during May through November are special at the Riverview Farmers Market run by Farms in the Heights (RNA is a sponsor of the market) - Sunday November 1st was particularly special.

The market featured the annual Halloween Dog Parade followed by the Day of the Dead Parade and Festival featuring Grammy-nominated Mariachi band, Flor de Toloache and puppets created under the direction of Riverview Arts District resident Santiago Cohen, Beverly Brown and dozens of volunteers. 
Both events were a big hit and drew large crowds to our beautiful Riverview Park. Thank you to all the organizers and volunteers that made these events possible, in particular Santiago Cohen, Beverly Brown Ruggia, Farms In The Heights and Kimberly Tom of Naturally By Kim who donated the prizes for the Halloween dog parade. 
Flor de Toloache - Day of the Dead 2015

Photo: Susan Newman
The Arts and Business Landscape in JC Heights is evolving every Month!

Art openings at 433 Palisade Ave.(latest show was Urban Oasis photography show)
The Lincoln Inn - Live Blues and Rock every Saturday at 9:00pm, Live Blues Jam every Thursday night at 8:00pm,
The Fox And The Crow - Movie screenings in the Parlor room every Monday night at 8:00pm, DJ's on Friday and Live Jazz/Accoustic/Electronic/Blues in the Parlor Room on Saturday nights.
Trolley Car Bar & Grill - Open Mic on Wed nights at 8:00pm.
CorkScrew Bar and Grill - Live Music featuring local bands, schedule TBA. Trivia night every Thursday at 8PM
942 Summit - Bloomsbury Sq, Do You Tea, WHOS Bakery - Art, Spoken Word and special events.
Music and Visual Art Salon - Coming soon to Palisade Ave.
Murals on Palisade Ave, Central Ave and At Ogden's End Garden.

New businesses are open or in the process of opening in the Heights:

The Guitar Bar and Drum Den - Musical instruments and lessons, 362 Palisade Ave
Patsey's - Italian Restaurant and Cafe - 93 Franklin St.
The Dark Side Of The Moo - Restaurant, Coming soon to 52 Bowers St.
OZU Foods - Japanese and Sushi, Coming soon to 106 Hutton St.
Loyal Oak - Men's Fashion, 110 Hutton St.
David And Son's - Caribbean Food and Roti, 99 Franklin St. 
Noches De Colombia - Colombian, Coming soon to 231 Central Ave
Choc O Pain - Bakery, Coming soon to Palisade Ave between Franklin and Ferry
Eno's Pizza - Brick oven pizza, Coming soon to Congress St and Central Ave
Others in the works...


Please make a point to stop into these businesses and give them a chance to earn your business. Shop local

RNA'S annual holiday party will take place on Tuesday, December 8th.  Plan on celebrating with your community. Nominations for board positions will also be open in December. 
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Kern Weissman
Riverview Neighborhood Association
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Riverview Neighborhood Association | PO Box 7176 | Jersey City | NJ | 07307