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Waterview Rezoning Ordinance Moves Forward

An ordinance to rezone a tract of land in the Waterview Complex was introduced on first reading Tuesday night.

The Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council approved a controversial rezoning ordinance on first reading with well over 500 members of the community, both for and against the rezoning, during Tuesday's meeting.

The ordinance, which rezones a tract of land in the Waterview complex was passed on first reading in a 3-1 vote after a colorful two and a half hour meeting complete with applause, shouting, cheers, hisses and boos from both sides of the issue.

The rezoning changes the area to a mixed retail, commercial and residential overlay district which paves the way for a potential development of a 26.6-acre tract in what is currently a part of the 132-acre property known as the Waterview Corporate Park. A developer, RDR, plans to build a Whole Foods Market and townhouse community on the tract.

The next step, said Township Attorney John Inglesino, is for the proposal to go before the Planning Board for a decision on whether or not it is consistent with the town's master plan. It would then come back before the council for a presentation by the township planner on traffic issues and fiscal impact, as well as comments from the public and a final vote.

In attendance of Tuesday's meeting were members of a local opposition group, Citizens for Health, Safety and Welfare, made up of Parsippany and Mountain Lakes residents, has opposed the development since it was first proposed.

The group previously said they would try to prevent the Township Council from acting on the ordinance by flooding the meeting with enough people to exceed the maximum capacity and have it shut down. However, the auditorium holds approximately 1,200 people and they fell drastically short.

Also in attendance were union members who came out in support of the project.

In total, about 30 members of the community appraoched the microphone during the public portion of the meeting both to slam and speak in favor of the Waterview development proposal.

The opposition opined that the project will have negative impacts on the township such as traffic, pollution, noise, crime, flooding and a plethora of other problems.

“I have a lot of concerns such as the pollution, traffic, noise and everything that's going to go along with it,” said Bob Sudol who's house sits within 200 feet of the proposed property. “The fact that Whole Foods and two box stores means that this area is going to be busy 24/7, 365 days a year. This is impacting not only myself but all my neighbors.”

He is also concerned about water runoff onto his and his neighbor's properties from impervious surface from the blacktop, he said.

Inglesino answered that the applicant will be compelled by law to prove that it will meet New Jersey Division of Environmental Protection regulations and not create water runoff to adjacent properties.

“The last meeting I attended here there were very serious concerns for having ample police to do the job that has always been done and been done well,” said Ron Owens of Intervale Road.

He also asked the council who had read the studies on how many police officers would be needed if the proposal were to go through.

“There is no doubt there will be an increase in crime,” said Councilman Paul Carifi, Jr. but Barberio said the township will conduct its own study.

Those in support of the proposed development expressed that the project will bring work to Parsippany as well as positive impacts on taxes and ratables.

“People have families in Parsippany that have an extra part-time job that gets them through their life and gets them food to feed their families,” said Mayor James Barberio in response to a comment about the new jobs only being temporary or part-time.

“I find it hard to pay my taxes now with a job,” said Arne Berg, a Halsey Road resident of 54 years. “The taxes from this place is supposed to be around $20 to $22 million in 20 years, there's a study on that. I don't want to lose that ratable. We need money for the town, the schools and the police.”

Councilmen Michael DePierro, Jonathan Nelson and Council President Brian Stanton voted in favor of approal for first reading. Councilman Paul Carifi, Jr. voted against. Council Vice President Vincent Ferrara was absent from the meeting.

“I have stated that all along we should be filling our retail and offices spaces that we have and we need to refurbish, reconstruct what we have which would in turn bring work for union workers,” said Carifi. “That being said, like I stated from the very beginning I feel that the impact on the quality of life to the residents of Parsippany far outweighs the positives for this project and I vote no.”

“An introduction is not adoption, we are not voting on the ordinacne,” said Nelson explaining his affirmative vote. “Many times ordinances are introduced and they are not passed so be mindful of that.”

The ordinance is up for second reading and adoption at the Sept. 17 meeting including a presentation and public comment. The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Parsippany Hills High School.

Pete August 21, 2013 at 08:50 AM
These public displays are all a sham. The town administration wants the re-development, and they'll keep pushing -- in public and behind closed doors -- until they get it. One must ask -- "who's profiting here ?" As the old saying goes, "Foller the dollar".
Parsippany Taxpayer August 21, 2013 at 09:15 AM
The only ones that were for this project were the out of town union bums that have no skills and were chomping at the bit to make a quick buck off the backs of the Parsippany taxpayers. I didn't see any Parsippany residents ecstatic about adding to overcrowding of schools, additions to an already ugly traffic mess and concerns regarding additional water pollution to the towns water supply which is already high with contaminants. But hey this is Parsippany which was founded on corruption and behind the scenes deal making without regards for the taxpayer so this should come to no surprise to anyone that the mayor and board aren't working for the taxpayers.
Steve August 21, 2013 at 10:33 AM
"The Place to be, Parsippany" should no longer be the motto for our town. I held out hope that our Council would vote no on this proposal-even the introduction, but it's apparent that they simply don't care about the residents who live in the area of the proposed development, the residents who will be impacted by the traffic (let's not get suckered into believing the traffic impact study which is a load), the wildlife in the area, or the simple fact that we don't NEED this Whole Foods or the box stores proposed for this site.
Concerned Citizen of Parsippany August 21, 2013 at 11:18 AM
If the Waterview project is the Mayor's Economic Development Plan for Parsippany he promised 4 years ago this does zero for Putting the Pride back in Parsippany. What about all the empty commercial buildings on Route 10 & 46,take away Smith Field and the Veteran's Park and Route 46 will look just like RT 10 in East Hanover. The current administration needs to seriously think about who is going to work at Whole Foods, maybe they will take a part time job there after the next election. Who will shop there, probably not the Indian or Asian communities, they shop at the their own stores, just drive by Patel Brothers or the Asian stores on 46.
Ed Dantes August 21, 2013 at 11:21 AM
I hope people are smart enough to remember the work of our fine Mayor come election day. As of now the Mayor has control of the council as he has three votes in diPierro, Stanton and Ferrera. That will come to a halt in November regardless of which council candidates win, even if he should win himself. He must act now and force through all the "GOOD" he's going to do for Parsippany before he loses his grip
Tim Geiger August 21, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Agreed with all the above. What also saddens and concerns me is the Nelson "yes" vote. What the heck??? We need a Mayor who will act in good faith on behalf of Parsippany residents and fight this unneeded development this November. This will be the first election where I will write in a candidate who will put a stop to this nonsense before Parsippany becomes a place from which to flee.
Bob Crawford August 21, 2013 at 04:14 PM
At last evening's meeting, Mayor Barberio continued to say that one of the primary reasons why he was actively and enthusiastically supporting the Waterview project rezoning was to bring jobs to Parsippany. After acknowledging that any construction related jobs would be temporary, Mayor Barberio was asked to estimate the number and types of "permanent" jobs that he anticipated would be coming to Parsippany. The Mayor couldn't answer the question. Mayor Barberio was then asked if, during his numerous conversations with RD Developers, he had been provided with any type of specific information about the "permanent" jobs that would come Parsippany's way. The Mayor couldn't answer. Mayor Barberio was then asked if he had provided the Council members with any information about possible Waterview related jobs and again the Mayor couldn't answer. In fact Mayor Barberio so badly bumbled the jobs issue that Town Attorney Inglesino once again felt obligated to rush to the Mayor's rescue. However, while doing so doing Mr. Inglesino, unlike the Mayor Barberio, stated that job creation was not a critical factor and that the Town Council, in its deliberations, should discount its relevance and importance. A performance truly worthy of Abbot and Costello and yet a performance Parsippany can no longer afford
David Comora August 21, 2013 at 04:55 PM
I'm surprised to hear that the Mayor and Mr. Inglesino are now downplaying the jobs angle. I also thought that was the major reason the Mayor supported this initiative. I'm also curious to know what would have happened if the council voted against introducing the ordinance? Would it have been a dead issue at that point? I give Mr. Carifi credit for standing his ground and voting against the introduction of the ordinance. I'm concerned that even if Mr. Nelson ultimately votes against the ordinance, he's put himself in a John Kerry like position of being for it before he voted against it. Has anyone followed the money on this? Ie. Which candidates have received contributions from developer and who has received the most?
Selene August 21, 2013 at 05:54 PM
LOVE your comment Bob...hahahahahaha...
Dds August 21, 2013 at 09:04 PM
The Waterview ordnance is an terrible idea on so many levels. First, the ordnance is looking to have impervious surfaces of 75 percent!!! Parsippany already has to buy water from other towns, this would only lead to more taxpayer money being used. In addition, if this rezoning ordnance would come into effect, then other companies would try to do the same thing and this whole mess would start all over again. Guys say no to Waterview!
Lorrie Cancillieri August 21, 2013 at 10:12 PM
All four of us at the meeting last night (8/20) were sickened by BOTH our mayor and maybe future mayor BOTH OF THEM voting in favor of this monstrosity!!! Not only one, but TWO mayor/s not supporting who they are serving!! We are extremely appalled at this. They are supposed to be on OUR SIDE (the residents/constituents/taxpayers).
Parsippany Taxpayer August 21, 2013 at 11:09 PM
These crooks are all on the take of the developer. They don't care about school crowding, reduced property values, drought conditions, water conditions --- it is business as usual and a 2002 scandal all over again. I have never seen a more pompous bunch of board members. I am taking our $200K+/ household annual earnings and moving out of this declining town and spending it in a community that actually listens to their taxpayers and selling our place to some immigrants with 12 kids and one big extended family -- yep figure I might as well add to the school crowding issue on the way out since I feel completely shafted by my local officials and the changing population mix that doesn't seem involved in the community.
Bob Crawford August 22, 2013 at 09:43 AM
Perhaps we need to give Mr. Nelson and Mr. Stanton the benefit of the doubt and assume that they concluded that they simply did not have the information they needed to make an informed decision and so voted yes to give themselves the time they needed to get that information. To anyone who attended Tuesday evening's meeting it was clear that very little information regarding the environmental and economic impact of the Waterview Project has been provided by Mayor Barberio to Council members. Whether the failure to do so has been by design or as a result of gross incompetence has yet to be determined but Mr. Stanton and Mr. Nelson have until the September 17 meeting to get the information they need. In all likelihood that will require an outreach effort on their part that will go well beyond simply waiting to hear what the Administration will present on the 17th. If Mr. Stanton and Mr. Nelson fail to do so then another yes vote on their part will be unacceptable
Ed Dantes August 28, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Just a thought. Why doesn't the developer use the old Loman Ford property directly across Rt 46? The old building could be knocked down and a new building could be built back on the property. There is already a large parking lot from the car dealership and no wetlands would be destroyed.

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