Proposed Secaucus apartment building now three stories, not four

By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal
on November 26, 2014 at 1:13 PM, updated November 26, 2014 at 1:54 PM

Hartz Mountain wants to turn the vacant lot at 34 Meadowlands Parkway in Secaucus into a four-story residential building, but they have to lower the proposed height of the building to get approval from the Meadowlands Commission. Photo taken on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Reena Rose Sibayan | The Jersey Journal

SECAUCUS – Developer Hartz Mountain is moving ahead with a three-story, 63-unit apartment building on the site of the old Hess truck-service facility on Meadowlands Parkway.

Hartz has downscaled the plan somewhat after the Meadowlands Commission denied the developers a height variance earlier this year. Instead of four stories, the building will now be three, planned open space has been decreased and two units have been eliminated.

Construction is expected to start early next year and take one year to complete.

The new plans do not have to go before the Meadowlands Commission. Mayor Mike Gonnelli said he asked Hartz to go before the commission because he preferred the original plan with more open space.

"They could have built it this way from the beginning," Gonnelli said.

Hartz sought a variance to build as high as nearly 55 feet in a zone where the maximum height allowed is 35 feet. Commissioners voted against granting the variance at their September meeting, with Gonnelli said they were "going to find a way not to do it" once they found out he supported the project.

A report prepared by Meadowlands Commission staff recommending denial of the variance request said the higher height sought by Hartz would impact light and air in the surrounding neighborhood and would "not relate" to the height of surrounding structures. Only Commissioner Mauro DeGennaro supported granting the variance.

At the time, Meadowlands Commission spokeswoman Melissa Nichols told The Jersey Journal that commissioners have no problem with the Secaucus mayor.

"We have repeatedly invited Mayor Gonnelli to meet with us to discuss any issues or concerns that he may have, offers which, to date, he has declined," she said.

The building, set for the eastern side of Meadowlands Parkway near the Route 3 ramp, will have about 100 parking spaces.

Terrence T. McDonald may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @terrencemcd. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.