This letter to the editor is from Lake Hiawatha's Nicholas Homyak
Town Council Don’t Rezone Waterview Not Highest Best Use.
Highest Best Use; Zoned for Garbage. “Reminds me of a Soprano’s episode”
The Town-Council of Parsipanny should deny the ordinance for rezoning the Waterview Tract, Landscape for the following reasons and contentions. In that it is neither in conformity nor in principal compatible with NJ Title 40 Land Use nor is the rezoning capable of being considered in the realm of ‘Highest Best Use’ principals. In a Smart Development Sense only in the mind of the developer and the Planning Board; this entity has promoted the endeavor by the developer RDR at every step.
The planning Board has reasoned that this ‘rezoning ordinance’ should advance to the town-council for a vote, without considering background and other facts concerning how this ordinance will affect the wellbeing of the immediate community, the surrounding communities and the environmental impacts on the Troy Brook and its Wetlands systems. The issues of water quality, water recharge and stormwater runoff have been almost completely ignored. The Planning Board simply has stated that there is adequate water supply and in short the impacts on the Troy Brook Wetlands are a matter for the NJDEP.
If our water supply is adequate why does Parsippany pay in addition $270k to buy 124 million gallons of water from a private enterprise? This 270k may very well rise under drought conditions or loss of addition water supply due to Recharge problems. No considerations have been given by the Planning Board in consideration of Hydrologic Alterations of wetlands urbanization. In addition no considerations were made given possible climate change and need for addition benefits stemming from wetlands in their performance of ecological functions. Increases in accumulative effects of pollution were not considered. So in addition to our Planning Board brushing aside the impacts on future water supply, they simply state adequate water exits and the aspect of pollution is addressed by a “zoned for garbage benefit”.
RDR only admitted Highest Best Use is expanse of retail and that their development has roads leading to it.
Waterview Loss of Biodiversity Troy Brook Management Plan B Voluntary
RDR along with the Planning Board has ignored intentionally the Troy Brook Regional Stormwater Management Plan B- approved December 21, 2007. Passing this off in to the NJDEP without allowing public comment, cross examination or even knowledge that such a study exists. Waterview is specially mentioned as to its important in the maintenance of “biodiversity” in the Troy Brook system; especially for ground water recharge. Would not Highest Best Use be the recognition of the natural resource asset that the land presently performs, minus any development, never mind a rezoning which would impede the natural environmental functions of the wetland?
RDR contends their property has no existing wetlands but ‘borders on such and that a wetland transition zone does exist on the property. RDR is being allowed to behave as if their property exists in a vacuum. No impacts will take place. RDR contention in their Environmental Consulting report is that ‘no indicators of wetland hydrology were observed on the property. This statement is not true considering their place in the Troy Brook System has been identified as of critical importance in loss of biodiversity and recharge of ground water. How can one border on a wetland and not effect that wetland through development; Impossible. This also demonstrates Highest Best Use is simply not rezoning this property. It will bring future costs with its accumulative impacts and diminish the sense of place and the wellbeing of the citizens living here. RDR boasts of their Whole foods alliance but speaks not of its word or intention in complying with all NJDEP Regulations and “voluntary” compliances that would be for the best. If their goal is profit, they will surely not volunteer to comply with conformance to the Rutgers Troy Brook Management Plan, which was done for the benefit of all.
Brown Space Not Considered
The planning board by not using already existing Brown Space, developed dead space and the possibility that Waterview itself will become such is also not in conformance to the NJ Title 40 Land use Law nor in conformance with best use principals; again Waterview does not exist in a vacuum. RDR claims to have wanted the best possible choice for the community. This is a lie. If they were benevolent in any way they would invest in brown Space opportunities. Their proposed development has nothing new or innovative in energy or actual need in the surrounding population; retail is an insult along with their whole foods Ploy.
The Planning Board along with the encouragement of Mayor Barberio has allowed RDR to advance against the community. In fact our community has been taken-over of sorts turned into a corporation with the Mayor and Administration acting like CEO; s and Vice-Presidents. After the community overwhelming showed through, town-meetings and other methods RDR rezoning was not wanted RDR should have on its own left or come up with a more sensible plan. RDR took on the character of a sociopath and threatened this community with its power. Our Mayor whom makes $106,000 a year has taken our money and sided with RDR against us. That too is a violation of Public Trust. The Mayor cannot serve two masters. The Mayor, Planning Board and most of the Town-Council are acting like little Caesars. It appears that RDR has taken over, under some mutual admiration political society whom owes no allegiance to community or our American Landscapes. This whole episode demonstrates a form of betrayal, lack of knowledge by public officials in the issue at hand, a display of arrogance by some toward common people. We the citizens have somehow become excommunicated from our democracy at the local level; disenfranchised.
Why was environmental committee not allowed to participate; what was that all about?
Nicholas R Homyak
Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034
September 12, 2013