Township Planner Ed Snieckus guided the Parsippany planning board through the details of the consistencies and inconsistencies the proposed Waterview development had with the township’s Master Plan at Monday night meeting.
The report Snieckus gave was dated Sept. 5 and has four different sections: Study area and summary; municipal land use requirements; RCR overlay; and Master Plan consistencies/inconsistencies.
The board passed unanimously Snieckus’ report and presentation of the proposal’s inconsistencies. The matter now goes over to the town council, which meets on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. for a second reading and a public hearing.
Board Attorney Michael Cresitello said that the governing body has two options, they can amend the ordinance to address the inconsistencies or adopt it in spite of the inconsistencies.
Last month the Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council introduced a controversial rezoning ordinance on first reading. The ordinance, which rezones a tract of land in the Waterview complex was passed on first reading in a 3-1 vote.
Snieckus said that there were several inconsistencies with some of the goals in the 2004 master plan:
- Goal: “Maintain and enhance the existing areas of stability in the community to encourage proper distribution of land uses by designating areas uniform that should have their own development characteristics. The principal goal is to preserve and protect the residential character and existing density of the community.” Snieckus said that the Waterview development addresses the this goal because the proposed townhouses have a medium density and serves as an “effective transitional use between existing single-family residences, … which is at a moderate density … to the commercial development.” He added that the proper setbacks of the development from certain roads add to the density transition.
- Goal: “The Township’s policy is designed to acknowledge its existing and established broad array of housing, not to allow any more multi-family housing or townhouses due to the large percentage of the housing stock, which is already devoted to these housing types … This specific goal, specifically identifies that this site is not (set up) for that use at the time of the 2004 Master Plan. So that in of itself represents an inconsistency with the Master Plan. It’s something I wanted to identify for the board’s consideration … While it’s inconsistent … when I say ‘the efficient use of land,’ it’s in the review of where in fact we should zone for specific types of land uses. In my opinion, when you provide the correct utilization and alternatives that promote the efficient use of land, you’re furthering some of the objectives of zoning based on the municipal land use law.”
- Goal: “Encouraging and providing buffer zones to separate incompatible land uses. That goal is being furthered by this ordinance” because of several items: setbacks and performance standards, Proper arrangement to lessen impact, preserving topographical lines,
- Goal: Preserve and enhance the township’s retail and commercial area by providing a functional role in the community … Big box retail should be discouraged throughout the township. The proposal was to limit large-scale commercial uses at this place. It was not contemplated at the time of examination. One of the primary planning issues was … (it) can create concerns of traffic … if not properly regulated.” Snieckus said that although big box stores are not encouraged, he said that the proposal safeguards surrounding areas with the buffers and setbacks.
- Goal: Consolidated development: should be an encouraged, facilitated, comprehensive approach which would be a unified and integrated development and minimize the number of curbcuts. I feel that the proposal has unified access into and out of the contemplated development. Antoher part of this goal is the physical aesthetics, which Snieckus said that there are features of the proposal that accomplishes the “aesthetic objective,” such as signage and landscaping
- Goal: “Identifies transitional uses in clearly defined areas, which will serve to act as a buffer between two adjacent zones of distinctly different uses. I’d like to offer that the proposed townhouse will provide a transition between moderate density and commercial uses” and the setbacks contribute to achieve this goal.
- Goal: preserve, protect and diversify the Parsippany-Troy Hills community. “Goal No. 10 I feel we do further and support by this ordinance,” said Snieckus.
There are also 12 objectives in the 2004 master plan that Snieckus brought up.
- Objective. Encourage the township’s actions and guide appropriate use for development of lands that will promote the general welfare. Snieckus said that several things that the development would do to better the general welfare included providing goods and services, an employment center and a residential option close to major transportation and services.
- Objective. Ensure that the development within the township doesn’t conflict with the general welfare of the citizens in the municipality. Snieckus said that this objective is met because of the setback requirements, appropriate controls to protect adjacent residents, landscape buffers and a cap on building height.
- Objective. Promote and establish an appropriate population density and concentration that will contribute to the (character preservation) of the neighborhoods. Snieckus again said that the setbacks and buffers met this objective as well as the townhouses transitioning the different densities.
Snieckus added that “the density has gone down from the 72 units … to 60 units to the acre” and that setbacks and required buffers were increased or improved from the required amount.
“If you recall, we were looking at a 50-foot buffer from Intervale Road … and we offered the revision of 75 feet,” said Snieckus.