The New Jersey Sierra Club heavily criticized Mayor Dawn Zimmer's proposal to build flood walls on the north and south side of Hoboken in a press release on Wednesday afternoon, alleging that only developers benefit from flood walls.
"Main purpose of building the flood wall is so developers can build more high rises along the water front and rail yards," Tittel said. Tittel's statement went on to say that flood walls would result in a "rationalization for more development."
"Nothing could be further from the truth," countered Zimmer, who is known to be wary about big development. The mayor continued to say that Tittel's opinion was based on "inaccurate assumptions about our proposal."
"The wall would raise the water level with the water going around the walls or being pushed into neighboring communities like Jersey City and Weehawken," said Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel. "In order for this to have a chance of working you would have to put a wall around the entire city with gates at every street in and out of the city. This will cost hundreds of millions of dollars and most likely not work anyway."
Tittel also said that walls would impact public access and views and take up open space that could be used for flood storage.
Zimmer said she doesn't propose walling off the waterfront, because the Sandy's storm surge caused water to come in from the north and the south.
"Our proposal bears little resemblance to the plans described in the release," Zimmer said.
The Sierra Club and Zimmer do see eye to eye when it comes to many green initiatives.
Zimmer said that, as stated during her State of the City address, "promoting the use of rain barrels, requiring green roofs in redevelopment projects, installing rain gardens, and working to acquire open space to help address our historic flooding problem ... (are) key component(s) of my proposal."
Ways to battle flooding in Hoboken, according to the Sierra Club, include the installment of more green roofs, less development in flood prone areas and combatting climate change by building sustainable buildings and implementing new policies.