Resident Argues for Highlands Council Participation to Protect Waterview
We want to know your opinions on issues of the day.
It was obvious at Tuesday's Town Council meeting that Town Attorney John Inglesino didn't know what he was saying concerning Highlands Council conformance and how "that block lot" could have fit into the Highlands' Master Plan. In addition, the council members appeared to be going along with developer RD Realty, which wants to rezone Waterview.
Don't think for one minute that these guys or the Planning Board took any effort to diminish the developer's exceeding demands. Inglesino also seemed more worried about saving the town from "fantasy" lawsuits. Who would sue the town for not allowing residents three minutes to speak before the council because the attorney for Don't Rezone Waterview [now known as Citizens for Health, Safety and Welfare] wished to argue the case?
In addition, while town leaders don't want to be controlled by the Highlands Council's Master Plan, citizens were never asked if they wanted their town to participate with this environmentally focused effort.
With the Rutgers study in hand and other legal decisions in land-management law standing as important precedents, the Waterview tract targeted by RD Realty's plan can be protected easily and maintain its rightful place as a natural capital asset.
Inglesino is too image-centered; he is not a good community person. There are plenty of land management and wetlands protection court decisions that demonstrate citizens who oppose this plan have a strong case.
It is becoming clear that the developer chose Parsippany as the site for this proposed strip-mall project because the company saw weak politicians and thought it could overcome the opposition and win approval.
But the obstacles are real.
The most important obstacle: When RDR targeted the 26.6 acres of Waterview, the company knew it was zoned in the past for office development only. The company also knew that the land is in the Troy Brook watershed, which would require dealing with wetlands and aquifers. RDR should of been made aware of the Rutgers Study by the township.
Mayor James Barberio is aware of this study and has a business program scheduled for April 17 with Dr. Christopher C. Obropta of the Rutgers Equine Science Center, the very man who supervised it. If the township had opted to sign the for the Highlands Master Plan conformance petition, this land would have been protected already. This also demonstrates our township leaders' lack of environmental awareness.
Innovation and real caring for the future of the community can only be found here, with the residents and with our natural environment respected, not in our vulnerability to be preyed upon by developers.
Lastly, there has been lots of talk about water and whether the town is challenged in that area. Go to the Highlands website for the answer. But remember that quantity is not the only concern here—quality counts too. Protecting the Waterview tract helps keep our waters recharged and clean.