Results of RNA Special Meeting about 520 Palisade Ave Development
On September 25th, The Riverview Neighborhood Association held a
special meeting for further discussion and member vote on the proposed
mixed use development at 520 Palisade Ave, the old firehouse (
link to plans
The first meeting and vote was held on September 11th produced a vote of
9 members against and 6 in favor (with 2 abstaining). The second vote
(9/25) resulted in 14 members in favor and 14 against. The vote totals,
Including votes of people that only attended the 9/11 meeting, making
the final RNA member vote 19 against and 15 in favor.
Please keep in mind that the RNA vote has no legal standing and is just
to provide guidance to the board on whether to take a position at the
Zoning Board hearing and to provide feedback to the developers in
advance of a legal hearing so that community input can be incorporated
into the design prior to the hearing.
Needless to say, the membership is split on this project. Those members
voting in favor appreciated that this is an adaptive reuse project,
appreciated the design elements and want to see a rehabilitation of the
building move forward after many years of neglect.
Those members voting against expressed concerns about the density of the
project (20 units where 17 are permitted) especially in light of the
the recent change in zoning along Palisade Ave (R2-D zone) that should
have negated the need for variances (and assurances from the City that
none would be considered immediately after passage); lot
coverage/limited rear setback and lack of parking (though none is
required) and the desire to see an affordable housing component if
variances are to be granted.
Note: The devel
oper is considering adding 2 affordable units to the project as a
community give-back but is waiting for JC planning staff to weigh in on
that idea. Several members indicated that they would have voted in favor
of the proposed development had it included some affordable
The current proposal for 520 Palisade Ave was originally presented
at our July meeting by the new architect for the project, Lee Levine,
and by the owner - Pronti Construction for questions and feedback from
the community. The previous plans that went to the zoning board
last October were denied by the Zoning Board after significant
opposition from the immediate neighbors.
The current proposal is mixed use with Retail space(s) on the ground
floor and dwelling units above. Plans presented have 20 dwelling units,
retail on the ground floor, 6 stories with setbacks at the 2nd and 5th
floors, a restored facade, and no parking (none is required by zoning as
it's a historic building that was not designed for parking).
A date for the public hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment has not been set yet.
As a reminder, the BEST WAY to have your voice heard is to speak
at the Zoning Board hearing when the date is announced, the Zoning Board
commissioners are the ones that will ultimately make the decision on
whether to approve or deny the project. The Zoning Board hearings are
typically held on Thursday evenings 6:30pm at City Hall. We will post
the date when announced. Obviously, the community is very divided on
this project, that's why it's even more important to let the zoning
board hear and consider your opinion on this project.