Two lots located along Edwards Road were designated as areas in need of redevelopment after the Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council at its Feb. 14 meeting passed an resolution to do so at the behest of the Planning Board.
“This is the second step proposed with the redevelopment process with regard to this property,” Township Attorney John Inglesino said. “The first step occurred when the council proposed a resolution instructing the Planning Board to conduct a study to assess the redevelopment need.”
Following the study, the Planning Board felt there was a need for redevelopment of the two lots. Inglesino stressed that no determination has been made on how to use the land.
“[The resolution] is not intended to consider what would be developed on this property,” Inglesino said. “What the plan is would come later, and that would be the next phase. Tonight is simply to declare whether the area is in need of redevelopment again.”
A redevelopment plan, unlike a zoning ordinance, gives the township the ability to specify the type of development that will be built on the land when it is ready for such a step.
“You have much more control about what’s going to be built there,” Inglesino said. “You can get into a lot more specificity, whereas a zoning ordinance is usually very general. A redevelopment plan, which is the next step, can be very, very specific.”
Residents, along with some members of the council, expressed concerns that the redevelopment plan leaves the door open for the construction of a dense housing complex on the property. Some fear that sort of development can cause further flooding problems in an already flood-prone area while raising taxes due to the number of children who potentially could inhabit the complex.
“I don’t know why you’re touching that; it’s a marsh,” resident Sylvia Shulin said.“We’ve got enough of everything in a town. We’ve built every square inch in this town and my taxes keep going up. [If] you want to put apartments there, I’m telling you we don’t need any more. If it brings more school children into this area, don’t tell me our taxes aren’t going up. They will go up.”
Councilman John Cesaro advised the township to proceed with caution before deciding what to build on the lots. If the township does decide to construct a residential development, the councilman advised that the township limits the number of units.
“I definitely think whatever you guys contemplate in terms of moving forward, you should definitely watch how much housing you plan on concentrating on those acres,” Cesaro said.
In light of these concerns, Inglesino further stated that redevelopment was the best route for Parsippany. The option would allow the township to make a public-conscious decision as to what the ultimate function of the property is.
“Under the redevelopment mechanism, we have a greater ability to require flood mitigation aspects [as part of the] plan. Once it’s declared in need, we’ve established public purpose for a redevelopment project,” Inglesino said. “That includes not only the development of whatever the project is, but can require more in the way of public improvements. That’s another reason why you’d want to go the redevelopment route, particularly in this case.”