August 2017, marked the thirty-year anniversary of Jim Doyle moving to Hoboken. He came from law school to start a career in environmental law with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New York City office, where he continues to work today as a supervisor in the legal office. Along the way he married his wife, Leah Healey, has led the Hoboken Harriers running club and their charity events for the past 22 years, served on the hospital’s managing board in its time of crisis, advocated for more park space through his involvement in HobokenParks.Org, serves on the Green Team, and most recently he is serving on the City Council and the Planning Board.
Four years ago, Jim ran for City Council for the first time, and he articulated certain goals. They included improved zoning and planning in our City, park acquisition and uses, green infrastructure, less reliance on residential development, and bike and pedestrian safety.
Jim is proud of his role in the distinct progress that has been made on all these fronts. Jim has chaired the Council’s Zoning and Master Plan subcommittee for the past four years and has served for the past three years on the Planning Board, as the Council’s designee. In the face of tremendous development pressure, stemming largely from our current economic conditions, Jim has worked with his council colleagues to amend the zoning laws and with fellow Planning Board commissioners to hold the line in an effort to preserve many of those things that make our City so special. The Build-out analysis that Jim urged be performed has been completed, and its conclusions will inform the on-going Master Plan Re-examination process where we evaluate what zoning changes are necessary in the face of external changes facing in our City.
Part and parcel with the Master Plan Re-examination process, Jim has publicly advocated for future development that is focused on commercial uses, rather than residential, to both stem the increase in population and provide more local job opportunities in Hoboken for our residents. Jim also serves on the Council subcommittee that generated the plan to preserve the Neumann Leathers Building as a space for small businesses and artisanal uses. Jim advocated for Neumann Leathers as a great example of how we can preserve and rehabilitate existing buildings to create a home and flexible space for such small businesses.
Park acquisition was a significant reason Jim was motivated to run for Council four years ago. And the City’s results in the past four years in this regard have been impressive. Jim has steadfastly supported the Mayor and the Administration’s use of its available tools to acquire over nine acres of park land, such as the Southwest Park (through eminent domain), the park under construction at 7th and Jackson Streets (through redevelopment negotiation process), and the newest Pop-up park in northern Hoboken (through a traditional, negotiated sale). Jim chaired the ad-hoc Council subcommittee regarding the acquisition of that Pop-up park, and he is eager to see it become a permanent park that will also help alleviate local flooding during storm events.
As a member of the Council’s Environmental Services Committee, Jim has urged for additional funding in our budget to ensure proper and enhanced maintenance of our present and future parks. On that Committee, Jim is also proud to have played a role, working with the Administration, in arriving upon a design and implementing the construction of a 9/11 Memorial of which we can all be proud.
As part of the above-mentioned zoning changes, Jim advocated for and obtained zoning amendments to incentivize Green Infrastructure in building projects in Hoboken. As a US EPA employee, Jim is committed to environmentally sensible development. As a member of the “Green Roofs for Health Cities” certification program, he saw to it that green roofs were included in those amendments, and through his roles on the Council, the Planning Board, and his continued membership in the Green Team, he has helped facilitate rain-barrel installations, rain-garden projects, and encouraged LEED certification for developments. Jim has also been actively engaged in the Rebuild By Design process, by attending and testifying at many of the RBD public hearings.
Lastly, but certainly not least, Jim is a bicycle and pedestrian safety advocate. Jim understandably supports pedestrian safety efforts, as he has been the head of the Hoboken Harriers running club since 1995. Jim also promotes bicycle safety; he was the co-founder of Hoboken’s first free bike-sharing effort, called “Hobiken”, and consistently supports bicycle and pedestrian-friendly initiatives. Jim believes more people on foot or on bikes means fewer cars on the road, cleaner air, and a healthier citizenry.
While Jim has certainly seen a lot of physical changes in the past 30 years, the reason he chose to make Hoboken his home remains unchanged. The friendly neighborhood feel of the City, the ease and convenience of getting around to so many great local businesses, and the diversity of people make Hoboken the place Jim wants to live and a community he wants to fight to preserve.