.

Waterview Retail, Residential Concept Plan Recommended to Council

Police officers were called more than once to escort critical residents away from the microphone at Parsippany Planning Board.

The Parsippany Planning Board Monday finally approved a concept plan that could bring Whole Foods Market, a big box retailer and a 65-unit townhouse community to Waterview Plaza.

More than 600 residents came to Parsippany High School for a special hearing on the proposed Waterview development. Many stood in long lines for a turn at a microphone to comment on the proposed RD Realty development project. Most offered harsh critiques of the plan. Still, the board voted 8-1 to recommend that the Township Council draft an ordinance to turn 26.6 acres of the tract zoned for office space into an overlay zone.

The lone dissenting vote came from board member Turan Ayaz.

Certain conditions went along with the vote: The concept was allowed to move ahead for the subject property as long as the developer limits maximum residential density for the townhouses to six units per acre, ensures no access to nearby Intervale Road, a minimum buffer of 50 feet between the Waterview zone and the adjoining one and  a maximum height of 35 feet.

Conflict was the watchword of the night from the very beginning of the meeting. Some audience members loudly booed and jeered, mocked an unemployed man—the only resident to speak for the plan—who said the project would bring jobs to Parsippany–and some even threatened Mayor James Barberio that approval could hurt his chances at re-election.

Passions ran high at the public microphone. Two uniformed Parsippany Police officers were on duty to keep the peace. On a few occasions the officers were called upon to remove residents from the microphone when their comments exceeded the three-minute limit imposed on residents by board Chair Kaushik "Casey" Parikh.

"We're having police escort people out for going past three minutes?" asked an incredulous Felix Demicco to applause. "What the hell kind of thing is that?"

The audience, some of them members of the grassroots group Don't Rezone Waterview, seemed almost entirely in opposition to the plan.

The rancor began after the group's just-hired attorney started to address the Planning Board and informed the members that according to law, they had no jurisdiction in a concept review case, a view dismissed by the board.

Parsippany resident Felix Demicco closed the public comment section with a plea that earned him a standing ovation.

"Please help us. You're our representatives, not the developer's representatives," he said. "We need you to look out for us. We hope you make a recommendation to the council that they do not rezone Waterview."

diane holder February 12, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Barberio's Blunders and the hits just keep comming!!! You gotta love this failed administration that the taxpayers keep paying for at the expense of our children!!
Parsippany Taxpayer February 12, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Sabot -- no I think the greater Parsippany community is in the dark at the payoffs and money that changes hand behind the scenes and the real impact that is going to be felt - falling resale values, crowding schools, additional traffic, environmental impact, and negative impact on life. Then there are those of us like myself and my wife who realize the deal is already done, the board is corrupt to the core and it is better to plan to get out of this community as quickly as possible versus watch this community turn into another Dover as personal greed trumps these folks representing the taxpayers that voted for them. I feel for you if you live in Parsippany because these type of projects are going to be going on all over Parsippany as they continue to turn this community into cheap housing (rentals) and clog the roads at the expense of the existing taxpayers. Hopefully you just rent and don't have any real skin in the game.
Parsippany Taxpayer February 12, 2013 at 11:49 PM
It wasn't the mayor -- he is the most incompetent out of touch mayor I have ever seen. Just another day of business as usual where this town could care less about the taxpayer and is too busy catering to the developers and bending the laws and zoning to accommodate. Why would someone do this? The only reason that I could think of is personal gain -- isn't that the Parsippany government way?
Parsippany Taxpayer February 12, 2013 at 11:52 PM
How can this township really justify another 30 officers? 19,500 homes or so in Parsippany -- lets just pay another 4.5M in compensation. Although as we continue to turn this town into another Dover I am guessing we will need them police as the town draws more and more undesirables with all of these bad projects in the works.
Roman Hoshowsky February 13, 2013 at 12:03 AM
The mayoral candidate who opposes this plan will get my vote!
eric hauge February 13, 2013 at 12:07 AM
As usual, our Planners and Zoners just keeled over regarding what the developers want. But it should come as no surprise, since they've been doing it for DECADES!
David Comora February 13, 2013 at 12:55 AM
I must admit that I'm perplexed how a planning board, armed with a zoning map would willingly recommend changing that zoning to the obvious detriment of the surrounding neighborhoods. Who exactly do they believe they are serving. I guess for transparency sake, it is good that this will go you the council as residents can actually vote out any council candidates that support this measure. Does anyone know which council members support this initiative? Has any one heard of the Mayor and Council have decided to shelf this issue until after the election?
David Comora February 13, 2013 at 01:07 AM
Jonathan, you are absolutely right. The planners should be representing the community and the residents, and they are armed with a map that was designed to do just that! Its very disturbing that they are willing to change the zoning to accommodate developers, at the expense of so many residents. As you mentioned, the land was purchased with full knowledge of the zoning limitations. Its a sad reflection on the board that so many members have chosen to ally themselves with the developer over the well being of local residents.
Natalie Davis (Editor) February 13, 2013 at 02:21 AM
I stand by my statement. I heard and saw some attendees mock an unemployed man. I did not say "all" or "most." "Some" is accurate. I heard shock and dismay as well. I also heard jeering and mocking by "some." Big room.
Robyn M. February 13, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Are you from Mars? How does adding a major shopping complex along an already busy corridor not change things? This is why my husband and I are considering moving out of Parsippany. We just don't fit into Stepford.
Robyn M. February 13, 2013 at 02:54 AM
Those of us who want out have to bide our town. Many of us didn't buy all that long ago and have lost value in our property due to the economy. It will happen, it just may not be as soon as we'd like.
Parsippany Taxpayer February 13, 2013 at 04:00 AM
Mike -- like an unemployed man is going to get a good paying job in a temp construction job (those will be day hires subbed from Newark or Paterson). That is right he is going to be a cashier at Target or Whole Foods making a living on 8.50/hour. Keeping this office is better for employment in the area -- anyone with any intelligence realizes this.
Parsippany Taxpayer February 13, 2013 at 04:05 AM
Alexa -- he is up this year to be voted out. His track record with Sandy was horrible as he was completely incompetent and this isn't the only rezoning project that there is some money changing hands on right now. Keep in mind this clown was on the board back in 2002 (same year as the last zoning scandal) Funny how quickly Parsippany residents forget. Or perhaps people aren't doing their homework and just listening to the winded slogans while the town deterioriates.
Ron Owens February 13, 2013 at 03:20 PM
I'll also bet that those 6000 who did not attend also wouldn't have their quality of life, drinking water, and clean air affected. Let there be no mistake- we are not against Whole Foods! My daughter is a personal chef and she buys hundreds of dollars of food there a week. We are against how ANY sprawl development would compromise us.
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 13, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Think; why not incorporate this last remaining mature wooded forest into a park or wildlife sanctuary? How; buy sticking to the rules, that development is unnecessary and undesirable in the type proposed. We don't need office space or more living space at present. What we do need is trees, wetlands, natural diversity. For example first and foremost IT IS NOT SMART GROWTH as the State of New Jersey has described in their criteria. The wetlands issue is still viable and the new information from the developers own report shows inaccuracies or an incomplete boundary of the exact wetland and transition zones; so then the development must not under justification of these premises be sanctioned. This means the real market value of the property can not be as high as speculation allowed it to become in the first place. It should be reassessed and bought by the Town, County and State not with taxes but with other monies available for such purpose or monies raised by citizens in other ways. There has to be a way to give the owner his "fair market" value and turn it over to the community for a natural preserve.
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 13, 2013 at 07:40 PM
In regards to the booing of the 'alleged" unemployed gentleman; just remember Joe the Plumber, the character who showed up in the McCain Obama campaign who turned out not to be a plumber at all. This one individual whom spoke in behalf of himself and employment, may or may not be presently employed. The issue is the Land its value as real estate or its god given nature and gifts to the enhancement of the geographic place known as Parsippany. Its worth is beyond any dollars of redemption and involves other forms of life that are with us on this planet. Waterview is a "last remaining mature forest community". How many trees, how many other valuable vegetation? To advocate for jobs and the undermining of State Laws and environmental regulations is downgrading to all. It leads to more apathy, more fatalistic attitudes and mistrust in those entrusted to guard the integrity of the nation and ALL PEOPLE. That person whom ever he was represented me, myself and I over we the people..
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 13, 2013 at 07:42 PM
In regards to the booing of the 'alleged" unemployed gentleman; just remember Joe the Plumber, the character who showed up in the McCain Obama campaign who turned out not to be a plumber at all. This one individual whom spoke in behalf of himself and employment, may or may not be presently employed. The issue is the Land its value as real estate or its god given nature and gifts to the enhancement of the geographic place known as Parsippany. Its worth is beyond any dollars of redemption and involves other forms of life that are with us on this planet. Waterview is a "last remaining mature forest community". How many trees, how many other valuable vegetation? To advocate for jobs and the undermining of State Laws and environmental regulations is downgrading to all. It leads to more apathy, more fatalistic attitudes and mistrust in those entrusted to guard the integrity of the nation and ALL PEOPLE. That person whom ever he was represented me, myself and I over we the people..
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 13, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Remember Key; the vote was only to advance the plan, that keeps changing by the way; to the next step. Keep in mind that this proposal is not Smart Development and involves wetland issues. Supporting the Passaic River Coalition would be a good idea for everyone, including the Planning Board.
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 13, 2013 at 08:08 PM
Pearl200 your logic is no logic; Whole Foods can occupy several vacated building in Parsippany that would be wholesome, this ploy using whole foods, whom ever Whole Foods really is, is the smoke in mirrors. Does Whole Foods endorse not following State Smart Growth Principals and trying to ignore or deceive the public about the truth of wetlands on the property?
k hurley February 13, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Annie - you are exactly right! The property will be "relatively" expensive to develope because of it's babbling brook, 100 yr old trees and rolling hills. Just another reason Parsippany should try to "save" it rather than demolish it!!
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 19, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Anyone notice how trashed and littered Parsippany is now? Imagine more development. It would only bring more trash and litter to a township that cannot now maintain itself against trash; one cannot walk 10 feet without plastic trash in the streets and walkways, is that part of the American exceptional-ism that we should be so proud of? Waterview will be just another "zoned for garbage" disaster area.
Robert Simpson February 19, 2013 at 11:12 PM
I am sure there is unique vegetation and animals there that would prevent this property from being developed. We need the EPA investigation of this property. This is watershed property. Why hasn't our open space money purchased this property. Are we saving the money to build a field of dreams?
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 20, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Quote; Mayor James Barberio Whippany River Watershed Committee, “We are always looking for ways to make our township more ecologically friendly”. We must ask that he make it not only friendly but ecologically sound for the future. The developers allegations that “no impacts appear or are proposed” is not true they will in fact occur in many ways; runoff, litter, exotic invaders and depletion of the aquifer systems. Big Developers have had their way long enough in this area. It is time to listen to the people and then some. It’s time for the birds, bees and butterflies of our community. Eminent Domain is feasible go to the people
Robert Simpson February 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM
It appears that Mayor Barbero's actions are the opposite of what he says.
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 20, 2013 at 01:12 PM
here in Parsippany NJ a big developer JMF Properties is persistent in having his way with a last wood upland mature forest which is centered in the Troy Brook wetlands ecosystem; recently the Passaic River Coalition has joined in. The upland forest which should be critical to the whole of the wetland system is earmarked for "dumb development". JMF has been odious in their pursuit; improper maps; claiming Smart development principals and their EcoLScience report that gives them; so they claim a green light is quite ambiguous as far as the wetlands and their claim "no impacts are proposed or will occur. The report actually shows there are wetlands on the property. What is troubling it appears our town fathers seem to think that the only problem is that the land "remains undeveloped"; as if this is some social sin. When looking at the Rutgers map in the library it appears this Block Lot is in critical habitat; as far as if and when the development begins the wetlands systems and aquifers will surely be impacted. Some important tree and plant species exists important to bees, butterflies and song birds. This is surely an attack on the very integrity of the Wetlands Protection Act itself and an insult to Smart Development criteria for the State of New Jersey.
Robert Simpson February 20, 2013 at 04:24 PM
When a developer plans a project, the first thing he looks for is prospective tenants. Investors do not make loans for projects that may not produce profits. No tenant, no loan, no loan, no project. We can all tell Whole Foods we don't want them. How many letters to Whole Foods will it take?
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 20, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Robert Simpson; do we really know who "whole foods" is? just some corporate enterprise. Its just a ploy for the dumb development. This is what happens when people undermine good government and let private interest take over.
Robert Simpson February 20, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Yes Nicholas we know who they are and they are looking for locations for new stores. Google for more information. World Headquarters Whole Foods Market, Inc. 550 Bowie Street Austin, TX 78703-4644 512-477-4455 512-477-5566 voicemail 512-482-7000 fax Global Partnership Evaluation Group For national partnership or sponsorship opportunities: www.pinpointclient.com/wholefoodsmarket
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 26, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Looking over Wetland Regulations in Court Avoiding Legal Problems and using some of the Rutgers Chapter 3 Drainage Area Troy Brook Storm water Management publications where Waterview is actually mentioned. . This very site is mentioned in Chapter 3 Rutgers Troy Brook Regional Stormwater Management Plan as to Address Loss of Biodiversity and for Recharge to Aquifer and Baseflow Maintenance. This developer will only worsen these goals for improvements. The property owners expectations are now conflicting with other adjoining property owners; the property owners has become "unreasonable" and is investment backed. (not of the community). The developer may also be guilty of trespass in the form of various nuisances and safety issues. Our aquifer issues will certainly not be improved nor advise by the scientific advisers be adhered to. Also IF THE PROPERTY OWNER DOES NOT OWN THE ADJOINING WETLANDS AS SHOWS NO REAL INTEREST IN THEM BECAUSE OF THE MAGNITUDE OF THE OVER-LAY. THIS DEVELOPMENT WILL IMPACT THE ADJACENT WETLANDS IN A MANNER GREATER THAN ANY 50-FEET BUFFER CAN DEAL WITH. Wetlands are a form of common property; correct? His over-lay will compromise, jeopardize and eventually erode the latter adjacent wetland and the aquifers. THE DEVELOPER MUST ALSO ACCOUNT FOR THE CUMULATIVE IMPACT OF USES. This over-lay may help destroy even more land once gone gone forever.
Nicholas Robert Homyak March 03, 2013 at 02:15 AM
How can the Mayor be a member of the Planning Board; without a degree in environmental ecology and hydrologic science? As he stated the developer has rights; rights above and beyond the community. Just remember Columbus discovered America; and the first thing he did when he landed was ask for a drink of water..

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »