The Parsippany Planning Board starts its new year in a new place with consideration of an old controversy: the Waterview Plaza development proposal that includes a plan to bring a Whole Foods Market to town.
Testimony on the hotly disputed issue will continue Monday at Parsippany High School, at Baldwin and Vail roads. The board's reorganization will take place at 7 p.m., and the meeting will follow at 7:30 p.m.
The Planning Board was expected to take up the matter during its Dec. 17 regular session at Town Hall. But a massive turnout of residents from Parsippany neighborhoods such as Intervale, Lake Parsippany and Rainbow Lakes, along with visiting citizens from nearby Mountain Lakes, exceeded the number of people allowed in Council Chambers under local fire law. Parsippany Fire Official Michael D'Alessandro was compelled to shut down the gathering in the interest of public safety.
The over-capacity turnout was due to an influx of residents vehemently opposed to a plan to develop 26 acres of Waterview Plaza, which is presently zoned for office space. RD Realty wants to win Township Council approval to turn the property into an overlay zone, which would allow mixed business and residential use. The developer's plan is to build a Whole Foods Market on the site, along with additional commercial space for retailers and a 72-unit upscale townhouse community.
Residents argue that the Waterview development project will create environmental problems, boost traffic, and create possible school overcrowding, higher taxes and negative impacts on their quality of life.
After testimony is finished and the body has heard public comment, the Planning Board will make an up or down recommendation to the Township Council.