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Waterview Development Bad for Parsippany and Mt. Lakes, Says Grassroots Group

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I represent Don't Rezone Waterview, a Parsippany grassroots organization that includes residents of Mountain Lakes. We, along with residents from Rainbow Lakes and other neighboring towns, are banding together in opposition to the proposed rezoning of the Waterview corporate park.

The group is comprised mostly of Parsippany residents, led by people who live along Forest Drive whose properties back up against the proposed development.  The first meeting was held at the Parsippany Library earlier this month.  We have been consolidating mailing lists; speaking with lawyers, experts, government officials; developing social media (currently on Yahoogroups), working on public relations and networking with environmental organizations. 

In Mountain Lakes, I can tell you that I personally know of six local attorneys involved behind the scenes trying to fight this nightmare scenario —in their spare time—which will destroy our local region.  But we are fighting an uphill battle since we do not have the time or financial resources to mount a formidable defense against the developer.   

We need experts willing to testify at the Feb 11 final Planning Board meeting at Parsippany High School to rebut the developer’s testimony regarding the lack of environmental impact and the impact of the legal changes they are proposing. 

The Planning Board has played an interesting game with the public.  When too many people showed up for its December meeting at Parsippany Town Hall, it was postponed and relocated to Parsippany High, where over 300 extremely angry local residents showed up and began raising issues and questions. 

Most people were told to stop their questions and sit down since they did not specifically address the given testimony of the developer’s architect.  The Planning Board attorney said, in most cases, that these questions should have been asked of the developer’s expert planner who had already testified at an earlier meeting.  People were livid that they were, in effect, being gagged. 

After nearly five hours at this meeting and after most of the public had gone home, the developer then introduced his planner, who had been sitting next to him the entire time, to offer additional testimony!  No one bothered to tell the public that he was sitting there the whole time or that he would be speaking and that they could address their questions to him.  It was a sickening display of gamesmanship. 

Clearly, the Planning Board intends to recommend this massive rezoning change and the Town Council will rubberstamp it—it appears very clear to most that Mayor James Barberio (who also sits on the Planning Board) is strangely staunchly in favor of this plan despite huge community opposition —and has apparently made himself unavailable to Parsippany leaders of the opposition.   

The Parsippany Planning Board and its former attorney John Montefusco Sr. are no strangers to 2008 charges of corruption involving taking kickbacks from developers.  

The Environmental Commission of Mountain Lakes will make its recommendation regarding the Parsippany development scheme to the Mountain Lakes Borough Council Monday, Jan. 28, from 8-9 p.m. at Mountain Lakes Borough Hall, 400 Boulevard. 

The commission has been investigating traffic, water, and light/noise/air pollution issues and their impact on the region.  The developer proposes to eliminate all water wellhead protections and there are apparently many such wells located on the 27-acre and 132-acre properties.  The effect would be that they could put in gas stations or anything on top  of our drinking water wells that come from our aquifer and the NJ Department of Enviromental Protection has already stated that our region will suffer severe water shortages or may be out of water by 2030. 

The towns of Parsippany and Mountain Lakes are already under water restrictions.  Mountain Lakes had to apply to the federal Enviromental Protection Agency in order to get a half-million dollar air stripper to repair the water damage done to its well on Route 46 due to B & V Dry Cleaners dumping toxic chemicals into the ground surrounding the wellhead.  Those federal monies are now next to impossible to get. 

The total destruction of the 27 acres of woodlands will also permanently damage the water recharge area which is critical to our aquifer. 

Despite all of these issues which will clearly affect the property values in Mountain Lakes and our quality of life, the Mountain Lakes Borough Council has demonstrated severe reluctance to get involved in what it considers the business and sole discretion of Parsippany.  Very strange indeed, since residents of both municipalities are extremely outraged by the rezoning proposal.

We all will be affected negatively in a big way.

We ask residents of Parsippany to stand with us at the Monday Mountain Lakes Borough Council meeting and at the Feb. 11 final meeting of the Parsippany Planning Board at Parsippany High, 309 Baldwin Road. We want to pack the 800-person capacity auditorium (perhaps with enough people that the meeting will have to be postponed for an additional 30 days).  The public will, at that time, have the opportunity to ask the developer’s planner the questions they wanted to ask at the last meeting, plus expert testimony will be permitted, and every member of the public will have the opportunity to speak for 3 minutes.

Nancy du Tertre
Mountain Lakes
Don't Rezone Waterview 

Jackie Bay January 28, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Another point that needs to be made here is the probable access to Intervale Road. The current zoning prohibits such access and the new zoning (written by the developer) prohibits access to Forest Road in Parsippany. What happened to the prohibition for Intervale Road? If you look at their site concept, you see a very prominent break in the "buffer" that would be an ideal location for access roads to Intervale. Don't be fooled - they will bring that traffic onto Intervale Road and Intervale residents will have an unsafe situation with a huge increase in traffic on a windy road that is not equipped to handle it. The other big issue is the reduction in the buffer from 200 ft to 50 ft. Along with this reduction comes the destruction of a hill that currently shields Mountain Lakes from the proposed development site. Can you imagine looking straight into the massive parking lots?
Scott Dean January 28, 2013 at 08:30 PM
I am truly waiting for eyes to open in this town,not only from its citizens but from these boards in this case the planning board. The days of not being held accountable are over,as you can see especially on Patch everything will eventually come out. The days of having a secret or helping out a friend will not be tolerated. Do the right thing for the residents,the wildlife,and your conciences.And think ahead do we really need another scandal in Corruptianny!!!
Annie January 28, 2013 at 08:47 PM
We need to pack the Feb. 11, 2013 7:30 pm meeting at Parsipapny High, please bring everyone you know, inlcuding children, teenagers, etc as they count as a person. We need to show that we are all in this together, regardless of age. Decisions made today will have an everlasting effect on the youth of today and their future in Parsippany and Mountain Lakes.
Parsippany Taxpayer January 29, 2013 at 03:33 AM
This grassroots movement is desperately needed. We need to get effective literature out to all residents of Parsippany in particular to make sure everyone in Parsippany knows what these unethical politicians are trying to pull. Sadly this is only the beginning as they are already being persuaded to rezone the office spaces behing the Irish restaurant on 46 to rentals or row-homes. Additional traffic, additional schools, additional taxes. It is ironic that our current good for nothing Mayor was on the board back in 2002 -- the same year Parsippany had a major developer make financial incentives to board members to push through a controversial development. The developer was found guilty but served no jail time -- must be nice to be able to buy your own get out of jail free card. We were trying to make Parsippany a great place to call home but to be honest we are now considering packing it in as the lack of integrity in Parsippany government is appalling.
Dave Phillips January 29, 2013 at 04:47 AM
The planning board really needs to reject this absurdity.
Parsippany Taxpayer January 29, 2013 at 05:04 PM
They are not going to reject this -- too much money changing hands behind the scenes. It looks like 2002 all over again. That slogan Parsippany is a great place to live is starting to look like a joke. 2002 corruption http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AqHset5bKmJBlwvXjmCZphibvZx4?p=parsippany+corruption+2002+zoning&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-701 Our wonderful mayor was on the Parsippany Township Council back in 2002. We keep electing the same corrupt scum bags back into office. About time the local community start voting for folks that truly are looking out for the good of the community as the good old boy system is ruining Parsippany. http://www.parsippany.net/Officials/Official.aspx?id=1
Parsippany Taxpayer January 29, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Sorry here is the direct link for the 2002 zoning corruption -- if it smells like corruption, looks like corruption and acts like corruption then it doesn't take too much to connect the dots to the current saga. http://www.npgop.org/wordpress/?p=540
Parsippany Taxpayer January 29, 2013 at 05:13 PM
This is only the beginning of the Township Council ruining Parsippany -- as here is another development that is going to decrease property values, increase congestion and crowd schools and raise taxes. http://www.nj.com/morris/index.ssf/2013/01/parsippany_office_park_a_flop.html For the right price it seems like anything can be rezoned in Parsippany at the expense of the local taxpayers - in increased taxes, decreased property value and deteriorating quality of life as we add more apartments and low priced house to a market with plenty of quality housing available. Parsippany is becoming the new Dover.
debbie smith February 02, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Don't Rezone Waterview: http://www.dontrezonewaterview.com Online petition: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/deny-application-to-rezone-waterview-tract.html Yard Signs: $5 each. Pick up from Len: Cell: 973-229-8740. Home: 973-394-0550. Or he'll drop them off to you.

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