After three presentations on the proposed Waterview proposal, council members responded with questions about public safety and traffic before the public hearing was opened up. Due to time constraints, the public hearing will be continued at the next council meeting on Oct. 1 at Parsippany Hills HS at 7 p.m.
Councilman Paul Carifi brought up the traffic numbers and how they were reflective of the rush hour traffic associated with the current office space zoning, which would be in the early morning and evening when people typically go and leave work.
“These comparisons are for that time frame, but the overlay zoning, you would have traffic going in and out of that area all day,” said Carifi. His statement was followed by loud applause from the crowd.
“A regular office building, at 2 p.m. in the afternoon, you’re not going to have much traffic … Also, the study only includes Saturday, what about Sunday?”
Gordon Meth, director of traffic engineering with the RBA Group, Inc. responded, “The Saturday peak hour is what we deem to be the highest (traffic) hour to be analyzed for the weekend and (when) the highest trip generation happens. The presumption is if that hour works, then every other hour works … The idea is to find the … worst case scenario of the area’s traffic and the complex’s traffic.”
“Currently the township will take in approximately $69 million this year in revenue and taxes. What percentage of the revenue stream will this project be?” asked Nelson. Joseph Burgis, principal of Burgis Associates, answered that “It would be a relatively small percentage.”
In regards to the consistencies and inconsistencies, “basically we would be here over and over again,” said Council President Brian Stanton. “If it looks good on paper, we can just keep coming here with new projects.”
“This is a provision of the municipal land use law. It allows you to take a look at something that is inconsistent with your prescribed zoning that was established at one point in time,” said Ed Snieckus—of Burgis Associates, Inc and Township Planner. “Things change over time and sometimes you have to respond to those things … Could you keep doing it? Of course. Is it encouraged? Probably not. It’s probably better to amend your Master Plan.”
Carifi brought up the need for impact analysis on public safety, crime, the effects on Emergency services, the first aid squad, the amount of calls, etc …
Burgis added that their research broke down similar numbers from various shopping centers like the proposed Waterview development.
“With 142 residents, this project in and of itself doesn’t generate any additional police officers. The state estimate is that suburban municipalities like Parsippany requires 1 police officer for every 500 residents,” said Burgis, adding that due to limited amount of time to ready their presentation for the council, they were not able to get specific numbers for the Waterview development.
Carifi added that he made a few calls to other places in Morris County with a similar situation and the general response was that “there will be a large increase in generated response calls to these facilities,” adding a request for Burgis to look into the impact of the development on the police and public safety departments.
During the public hearing, those who came up to speak overwhelmingly opposed the proposal.
“The traffic issue does not mention how long it takes an 18-wheeler to get from point A to point B. It doesn’t talk about a school bus … and what that can do to travel time,” said Sig Balaban of Grecian Street, adding that the community doesn’t need another supermarket. “Your responsibility is to protect our community.” He reminded the council that November elections are right around the corner.
“We have a lot of empty office space. We don’t need another office building. We could use another upscale store,” said Arne Berg, of Local 102 IBEW.” The town has strung along Whole Foods, the developer, for more than a year now. We need some closure on this, we need some progress on this, we need some jobs out of this … We all vote too in November.”
Mary Purzycki, who drove a school bus for 26 years, said that the traffic “impact was always major. We would be late for schools … We the residents have our peace and quiet on Saturday and Sunday and now you’re going to take that away … that (presentation) was so slanted.
Herold Law Attorney Rob Simon previously brought up a possible conflict of interest with Township Planner Ed Snieckus for advising both the township council and the planning board on the proposed Waterview development. He spoke up during the public hearing as well and mentioned several items to the board in his three minutes, including a protest petition that asks for the proposal to be passed with approval from two-thirds of the board.
Simon, who represents Health, Safety & Welfare, Inc. Don't Rezone Waterview ("CHSW"), “said that the development is “flawed and tainted … (and the township did not) hear any testimony from any expert from the general public. It’s in blantant violation of the muncipal land use law.”
Elliot Ruga of the NJ Highlands Coalition emphasized environmental impacts of the project, saying that “there is no shortage of work for sustainable developing in the highlands.”
Peter Steck, Community Planner, said that in his analysis of the Master Plan, it states that the site “discourage(s) big boxes and discourage(s) multifamily. To say somehow that it’s balanced, it’s like saying, which part of the word ‘no’ do you not understand … In my opinion, this does not advance public purposes.”
A subcontractor who works at Parsippany’s Hunting Ridge Condo/townhomes often said “there are so many children there (at Hunting Ridge). Three-quarters to one-half of those are rentals. There are 3-4 children in each rental … I know for a fact, taht it’s overcrowded … there are 180 bedrooms, how can you only have 142 people?”
During the public hearing, each person received three minutes to speak.Citizens for Health Safety and Welfare were "outraged" to have only three minutes for their public experts in comparison to the "Parsippany Experts (who) were allowed over one hour," said the organization.
Related Patch Articles:
- Waterview Proposal May Bring $1.14M in Tax Revenue
- Waterview Proposal Benefits Balance Master Plan Inconsistencies, Planner Says
- Proposed Waterview Development: Traffic Impact are …Non-Existent
- Controversial Waterview Development Decision Delayed
- Waterview Development Receives Planning Board Approval
- Waterview Plan Poses Potential Conflict for Parsippany Planner, says Attorney
- Survey: 63% of Residents Support Waterview Development