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Zoning Board Continues Deliberating 700 Mountain Way

Hail Mary play by concerned residents extends further the long-discussed townhome proposal .

The Parsippany-Troy Hills Zoning Board of Adjustment failed to come to a conclusion for a proposed townhouse development on Mountain Way at its Wednesday night meeting. Board Chairman Robert Iracane announced that the case would be carried to Sept. 21 after concerned residents introduced their own expert witness to the case.

With pro-development testimony concluded by attorney Robert Garofalo, Iracane invited residents to comment on the proposal. Rick Jilleba, who heads Preserve Mountain Way, a group of citizens opposed to the townhouse plan, announced that his organization hired David Zimmerman to testify in front of the board as to the environment effect of building the townhouses.

The environmental effect the townhouse construction could have on the area, including the presence of steep slopes and the possibility of runoff, have been a main focus of residents opposed to the project.

Jilleba stated that residents weren’t aware that the board would make a decision at tonight’s meeting and asked for an extension to allow Zimmerman’s testimony.

“We had no idea that this was going to be the session where the applicant concluded his presentations, because it’s gone on for so long,” he said. “Our arrangement with Mr. Zimmerman has been that he would continue to read the transcripts as the meetings progressed, then we hoped that the board would allow us to schedule him to come in at a time that’s convenient for him and the board.”

Garofalo, who has appeared before the board 11 times over the past six months to make the case for building a 22-unit townhouse community near single-family homes along Mountain Way, Rocky Heights and South Powder Mill Road, argued that the case has gone on long enough, and lobbied the board for a vote.

Board Attorney George Johnson had a different opinion.

"My recommendation is to give the concerned persons an opportunity to have Mr. Zimmerman testify,” he said. “My concern is that if you do not, and there are further proceedings, that we’ll be back here anyway.”

After careful consideration by the board, Iracane announced that the case would carry over to Sept. 21, allowing for testimony, a cross-examination by Garofalo, and resident comments.

The 700 Mountain Way project originally was intended to feature 38 for-sale townhouses for residents age 55 and older. After neighbors raised concerns, the project was revised to have only 22 units and no age restrictions.

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