Jersey City's 'High Line' Spurs Controversy

A proposal to redevelop an abandoned rail embankment in Jersey City has pitted preservationists and smart growth proponents against each other.

The embankment runs six blocks and is 100 feet wide. A developer has plans to build housing along the line, as well as a new park.

"The idea of dense development alarms preservation groups that want a project more fitted to the surrounding neighborhoods and with more emphasis on park space. 'We've envisioned a habitat-oriented park and trail,' said Stephen Gucciardo, president of the Embankment Preservation Coalition. 'In an effort to compromise, we support concentrated development on the easternmost segment and western at-grade parcels.'

Hyman agrees that a park should be central-his proposals call for 50 to 85 percent open space-but when Jersey City officials opposed zoning changes for the project, Hyman countered with a court-approved, as-of-right plan with no park space that removes the embankment outright. Preservationists then successfully landmarked the embankment, and a hardship exemption for demolition was denied by the city."

Full Story: High Tension Surrounds Jersey City High Line

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