Revised Whole Foods Plan to be Presented Monday

Attorneys for Waterview Plaza's developer give Patch advance look at changes.

When the township Planning Board gathers at Parsippany High School Monday night to resume hearing testimony on the proposed Waterview Plaza development project—which would include a new Whole Foods Market—it will see a revised plan that may ease the minds of worried potential neighbors.

Attorney Joseph O'Neill of the firm Garofalo & O'Neill, which is representing developer RD Realty, exclusively presented news of the changes to Patch. 

RD Realty wants to turn the now-undeveloped land, which presently is zoned only for office space, 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.

O'Neill said the changes are being suggested in hopes of making the project more palatable to residents who have registered vocal opposition to the plan at previous Planning Board meetings. In fact, so many residents filled Council Chambers at Town Hall Dec. 17 to register their disapproval, the fire capacity limit was surpassed and the gathering had to be postponed to Monday and moved to a larger location.

"These changes are in answer to the complaints we heard," O'Neill said. 

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.

The lawyer offered a summary of the alterations made to the plan presented thus far:

  1. The residential development access has moved from Intervale Road to Waterview Blvd. This would answer resident complaints about traffic disrupting the lives of those who live on Intervale Road.
  2. Building setbacks to the properties on Forest Drive, initially set at 50 feet, have been increased to 75 feet. Some residents expressed their belief that 50 feet was not enough setback space.
  3. The residential component density has been reduced to seven dwelling units per acre and the non-residential component has a net floor-area ratio of .3, which is the same as similar districts in Parsippany. Many had stated their discomfort with an initially higher density in the project.
  4. A pedestrian connection has been added to the shopping center to enable those in residential units to travel on foot safely to the retail section.
  5. The residential building height has been reduced to 35 feet from 40 feet to conform with the maximum allowed by law in residential zones. There had been complaints over the initial plan, in which the three-story townhomes being built would have exceeded what's allowed by ordinance.

From the first presentation of the project, O'Neill and partner Robert Garofalo have argued that they are discussing only the concept at this point and that most of the plan's elements can be changed.

When the Planning Board finishes hearing testimony and public comment, the body will make a recommendation to the Township Council, whose five members will decide whether the Waterview tract development will proceed.

Dave Phillips January 07, 2013 at 02:02 PM
The vast majority of Parsippany residents (and Mt Lakes) are against this vile plan that will destroy the character of the area and their quality of life. It is likely that hundres of people will show up tonight at Parsippany High School to voice their discontent to the Planning Board, which includes the Mayor. Members of the Council will surely be in attendance. The Mayor and Council were voted in by the people of Parsippany. Hopefully the Planning Board will do what's right for Parsippany and deny the illegal spot zone change.
Marc January 07, 2013 at 03:12 PM
I'm for it because it will help with property tax relief in Parsippany. Plus it brings a good store and I'm against telling people that their valuable property can't be developed thus making it worthless. its all about compromise here. It can be done and should be done but where everyone agrees. There are not many places to build. There are no more 4 acres parcels in Parsippany. Im unsure what this one is but I personally looked for one and there is 1 residential 3.96 acre left.
Curt January 07, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Marc, The parcel in question was given to the Township as open space, and the Township sold it back to a developer!! In the Township Master Deed it was supposed to be left as office space. We are not saying they can not develop it, just stick to the original plan. If you gave the property to the Township as open space you would expect it to stay that way. The previous owner was an animal lover who gave other towns land and animal organizations land, she also started St. Huberts Giralda on her farm for dogs, cats and horses. It is still used today for open land and for pet adoption-pet training. Her name was Geraldine R. Dodge, Google it and then tell me the developer has the right to make a profit. The Developers made their money already from the other half of the property on Waterview Blvd. The Township should never have sold land given to it by such a great environmentalist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOOK IT UP!!
Curt January 07, 2013 at 03:44 PM
Dave Phillips January 07, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Why not use existing properties zoned for commercial development? Or build it next to your home and raze the existing housing around you.
Joe Moyenne January 07, 2013 at 05:09 PM
I have to disagree with your analysis of development and taxes. It's not quite that black and white. While that can certainly be the case, especially for residential situations, I think it's unlikely an office park or even retail space alone would increase demand for services to such an extreme level that the cost surpasses the increase in tax ratables (assuming no tax breaks are given).
Edd Flammer January 07, 2013 at 06:32 PM
Why should they bother making a "real plan" when the Intervale folks are going to demand a million changes.. and then still fight it.
Curt January 07, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Joe, This development includes 75 town homes. That is why I made my statement.
Parsippany Taxpayer January 07, 2013 at 06:44 PM
And the mayor will be voted out by those same people this year -- poor handling of the storm response and him being out of touch with these zoning changes which the majority of the taxpayers are against will be surely his downfall. If we would have even known 1/2 of what we know know we would have never bought in Parsippany. It is sad that the board and mayor seem to be working more for the developers than the people that elected them and pay their paychecks. It makes you wonder what perks they are receiving on the side -- is this a repeat of 2002 ? Those found guilty in that scandal only got a slap on the wrist.
Parsippany Taxpayer January 07, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Marc -- when you have 100+ new students going to an already crowded school I am guessing that is going to help the tax base when they build new schools, when the local property tax values go down in Intervale and residents sue for reassessment and lowering of property taxes. When you are waiting longer in traffic and watching some of your good earners leave Parsippany I guess that is going to help as well. Can someone tell me the last time taxes went down in parsippany? You can bet the local government will spend 1.10-1.25 on every extra 1.00 earned so don't kid yourself... Your taxes aren't going down but your quality of life certainly is.
Parsippany Taxpayer January 07, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Joe you are crazy -- office space is job of people contributing and desiring to live in the community. It doesn't add anywhere near what residential adds to the cost of infirastructure. Intervale is primarily single family homes and now you are going to slap 70 some row homes in an upscale neighborhood and bring down the values while pushing up the goverment service costs (aka - everyone's taxes). The land was given for a reason and the government twisted that reason to begin with and is now looking to make an illegal zoning change to line their pockets at the cost of the residents of Parsippany... A huge disgrace and I am going to do everything in my power to make sure the mayor and board members that are backing this lose their seats this year. Just because the federal government is a political mess doesn't mean we have to tolerate it in our local community.
Chris January 07, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Lowering taxes???? Nothing in this world is said to be certain except death and taxes. No matter what happens, I have full confidence that our town government will find some way to raise taxes.
Chris January 07, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Whole Foods - Good Idea More High Density housing - Bad Idea. I live in one of the apartment complexes in Parsippany... and let me tell you. It sucks. I hate it an am looking to move out and buy a house instead. If I had a house in Pars, I would be worried that more high density housing would drive my property values down and bring more of the wrong type of people here to Parsippany.
Kevin Brancato January 07, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Hey Reality Checker, First look at other towns response to Sandy. The Mayor, PD and all of the town workers did a great job given the challenges presented. As far as you accusations on corruption in the town, please go to the County Prosecutor with your evidence or shut your mouth. As for regretting your move to Parsippany You do have the choice to leave, please don't let the people who sincerely want to discuss issues hold you back.
Natalie Davis (Editor) January 07, 2013 at 07:44 PM
No, Harland, the article said this is the information as provided by the attorney.
Marc January 07, 2013 at 08:03 PM
The proposed plan allows for 1.1 million in tax revenue. Poor management of tax funds is why my taxes go up 300 bucks a year or more. The town sold it back to the developer for revenue shortfalls.
Parsippany Taxpayer January 07, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Chris -- good luck on home ownership... I see Parsippany turning into another Dover. Property values are down 4% Y-O-Y whereas other decent towns in north NJ are up year over year. Reason why -- poor leadership... Let's throw in some more rentals to the 7,000 rentals already in Parsippany with the other project behind the Irish pub and through in some row homes in the nice Intervale area. Anyone with 1/2 a brain knows this does nothing to attract desirable taxpayers to Parsippany. No it takes those families of us making a great living to think about selling and bailing on Parsippany.
Parsippany Taxpayer January 07, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Kevin -- well I am glad you did some research on this. Parsippany was one of the last towns to get their power back up -- wonder why? Also the mayor couldn't multi-task his way out of a paper bag in managing the outage and the water main break. All the while the local gas stations and hotels were gouging people from the town. A good mayor is a great leader -- he has the right infrastructure to address ongoing issues and be proactive in getting results. You are right it will be good when our above average family income is no longer supporting the tax base such as yourself. I will give you my bucket on the way out so you can keep bailing from the sinking ship going down.
Marc January 07, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Parsippany schools have had larger headcounts in the past.
Dave Phillips January 07, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Kevin Brancato January 07, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Don't let the door hit you on the way out !!!
Sick of the trolls January 07, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Oh, RC, where do you get your delusions? Parsippany was absolutely NOT one of the last towns to get their power back up. Just because it took longer than you think it should have, with your vast and encyclopedic knowledge of the electrical grid (that's sarcasm, BTW. I know it doesn't always come across, so I figured I would help you out a little) doesn't mean that Parsippany was last, or that the Mayor and Council did not do everything they could to make it happen in a timely manner. Furthermore, I don't know where you get your definition of gouging from, but I don't recall seeing gas go for more than $0.20 more after the storm than before it, which was pretty standard all over the state, not just in Parsippany. As I've said to you before, if you're so unhappy here, please leave, don't let the door hit you on the way out. In the meantime, stop coming here with your angry, irrelevant, and unsubstantiated rants that nobody wants to hear.
Sick of the trolls January 07, 2013 at 11:35 PM
" office space is job of people contributing and desiring to live in the community." What does that even mean? Look, RC, make up your mind: either leave town, or run for mayor. You can't have it both ways. If you do decide to stay and run for office, please change your screen name so we know EXACTLY who you are before we vote, otherwise we might wind up with worse than what we already have.
Sick of the trolls January 07, 2013 at 11:41 PM
Ohh, sorry RC, no points this round. According to Zillow (http://www.zillow.com/local-info/NJ-Morris-County-home-value/r_1241/) home prices are down throughout Morris County for the third straight year. Better luck next time. I'd offer you a copy of our home game, but since you're so intent on leaving the township, I figure you're better off finding a new one.
Kevin Brancato January 07, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Thanks RC. Don't let the door hit you on the way out
Harland January 08, 2013 at 12:06 PM
Marc, I've lived in Parsippany for the past 20 years. During this time, developer after developer has appeared before the town council with high density building projects and the same promise - "my project will bring in tax revenue for your town". In those 20 years, my taxes have never gone down, but instead, they steadily increased. A few years ago, the township expanded several of the grade schools because we were out of capacity (at the taxpayer's expense), and in the last 2 years, the number of classes for certain grades had to be expanded at my child's school because the class sizes grew too large. Development = increased services = increased taxes. Don't believe that the increased taxes will be a net gain for the township.
Marc January 08, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Harland, There is zero chance of tax relief with no increased revenue. Of course its up to the town management to make it work. If they cannot make it work, blame them not contractors and economic expansion.
Harland January 08, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Natalie, I don't understand your point. If the attorney is representing the developer, then the message about the plan being subject to change is coming from the developer. Maybe I don't understand how all this works, but it doesn't make sense to me that the township would approve a plan that is so drastically different from the existing zoning unless the plan was completely thought through. Right now, the plan we're seeing is terrible. I can't imagine how much worse this will get if they're allowed to change aspects of the plan post approval.
Nicholas Robert Homyak January 10, 2013 at 01:41 AM
Waterview Fantasy verses reality The most important paper for this "development" is the Environmental Impact Report" is was not examined nor was it present the night of January 7; as to the sites' wetland and the wetland transition area; how this will affect the aquifers; underground system. It mentions trees but no balance on hand of the types nor their age and ecological significance, for example food for birds, butterfly and other mammals. IN ORDER FOR THE DEVELOPER TO DESTROY THIS REMAINING WOODED AREA THE TOWN WOULD HAVE TO ALLOW CHANGES IN THE ZONING ORDINANCES. We must ask; when was this area zoned; what year exactly? Things have changed much in time. Therefore the area should be considered for Re-Zoning as an open space or wildlife bird sanctuary. This would maintain our sense of place and community. One witness for the corporate developer stated; "this development is unique" and admitting other developments in the surrounding areas; implying that this project is not needed. What would be "unique" would be our community preventing this and having the area saved through our zoning board which after all is suppose to represent the community and sense of place before all! THINK PARSIPPANONG NOT PARSIPANNY..
Natalie Davis (Editor) January 10, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Harland, you had said the article claimed something. No, the article reported someone else claiming something. This is journalism; the article can claim nothing.


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