Green Initiative to Bring Solar Panels to Community Center and Library
Governing body also hears residents' concerns about the Parsippany Road rehabilitation proposal.
The Parsippany-Troy Hills Town Council is moving ahead on the next phase of a project to bring solar power—and reduced energy costs—to the township.
At its Tuesday night agenda meeting, the council approved hiring Parette Somjen Architects, of Rockaway, to assist in the installation of solar panels for the Community Center's tennis facility.
Township Business Administrator Jasmine Lim told the council that the $26,000 required to pay Parette Somjen for its professional services will come from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant through the federal Department of Energy. The grant also will cover the projected cost for the installation of 30-kilowatt panels, which is estimated to run between $120,000 and $140,000.
Additionally, the council approved an application to the Local Finance Board for the installation of solar panels at the Parsippany Library. The panels, which will provide 200 kilowatts of energy, will be placed on the library's roof and on canopies in the Halsey Road structure's parking lot.
This project is part of the second phase of the Morris County Improvement Authority's Renewable Energy Program. Earlier this year, Brooklawn Middle School, Littleton Elementary School, Troy Hills Elementary School, Central Middle School, and Parsippany High School were equipped with solar modules in the program's first phase.
According to the county's Improvement Authority, which stipulates that funding for the effort will come from the sale of revenue bonds, the Par-Troy school district could save more than $30,000 in energy costs through the use of solar energy.
In the public comment portion of the meeting, a couple who lives on Old Parsippany Road requested that the Town Council reject a proposal to put a bank and a five-story condominium building on the lot at 272 Parsippany Rd.
Over the past several weeks, the Planning Board, at the council's behest, has considered approving an overlay ordinance for the lot, which was designated for rehabilitation in January. The panel must determine what type of development present zoning laws would allow to take the place of a vacant building now standing on the site.
Cerbone-Prisco, a development partnership out of Parsippany and Summit, proposes filling the lot with Renaissance at Parsippany, a bank and a six-story (five stories with a parking level), 50-unit luxury condominium geared to professionals.
Robert and Julia Peterson told the council that the project is wrong for Parsippany.
"I'm here...to encourage you to maintain the low-rise character of Parsippany," Robert Peterson said. "Problems associated with [a high-rise] development include increased population density, the need for more services [such as fire], increased traffic congestion and a change in the very nature of the area. High-rise development has no place in a suburban setting."
Julia Peterson agreed.
"In Planning Board meetings, it is not permissible to ask, 'How would you like a six-story building next to your house?,'" she said. "But I would ask the councilmen this question: How would you like a six-story building next to your house or visible from your deck?"
The Planning Board will consider granting the ordinance overlay to the Parsippany Road project at its May 16 meeting. In the end, the council will make the final determination.
In other news, the Town Council agreed that former municipal attorneys may offer testimony in the trial of Parsippany developer Edward Mosberg.
Mosberg was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2008 for allegedly giving sweetheart deals over a 20-year period to former Planning Board attorney John Montefusco Sr. and his son, John Jr., who once sat on the Board of Education.
Montefusco Jr. was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for failing to pay taxes on profits on homes he flipped.
His father pleaded guilty to making $97,576 through flipping real estate properties and was disbarred. He still awaits his ultimate sentence.
The issue was discussed by the council members in executive session.
Returning to its public session, the council announced that it approved a waiver of attorney and client privilege, enabling former city lawyers to testify about their dealings with Mosberg.
The Town Council will meet in a regular session on Tuesday, May 17.