On March 18, 2013, counsel for RD Realty submitted a letter to the town attorney threatening to force Parsippany to accept an exclusive residential rental complex of 530+ units with 106 set aside for low income housing if Parsippany failed to rezone Waterview with the proposed mixed use overlay ordinance.
The likelihood that RD Reality could successfully be granted a zoning change to put in a combination of 530+ town homes with at least 106 low income housing units on the Waterview property is very weak. At this time, Parsippany has built some 152 units more than required by law and our round three plans call for the building of an additional 274 low income units. The idea that a developer could force Parsippany to put in another 106 units above and beyond what is required is an outright threat. It is an attempt to scare Council into allowing a super-dense shopping mall development that a sizable group of residents do not want. Is this how democracy works in 2013? An outside developer, who does not own the land, comes in and demands something that violates our Master Plan and destroys a neighborhood – bad enough, but if they don’t get their way they threaten to put in an alternate plan that will do all of the above PLUS further over burden our schools?
Not only do we have a solid plan to deliver on round three obligations, the status of these requirements is very much up in the air. Parsippany has joined the League of Municipalities in opposing round three COAH requirements. In total, 22 different appeals from various groups have been filed challenging COAH’s methodology, the allocation of the projected low income needs, the agency’s failure to consider existing state and Highlands plans and priorities, and the imposition of overwhelming financial burden on taxpayers. This litigation went before the New Jersey Supreme court in 2012 and a decision is not expected until after November 2013. Post decision, COAH will have to re-write the round three rules, take public comment, make more changes, etc… These rules are not going anywhere anytime soon.
So, what’s the likelihood that a court is going to force Parsippany to build round three low income housing units in 2013 or even 2014? Not likely. Local courts will be hesitant to grant zoning changes for COAH until round three rules are clearly established after which time RD Realty, a speculative developer submitting plans on land they do not own, will be long gone.
Citizens for Health, Safety and Welfare
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Copyright 2013 Parsippany Focus