Letter to the editor: Time to Return to Regional Planning Water is Life Where is the Green Elephants?

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Dear Editor:

Civic Virtue is the main purpose and underlying meaning to the saying, one nation under god. This is why freedom of religion and individual rights not divine right or prerogative became the foundation theme of the American Revolution; to establish good government through the souls of enlightened people, or elites. We call this wrongly perhaps freedom, instead of responsibility or patriotic obligation to the greater good. It appears instead “civilization” the improvement of all mankind, has become an individually owned commodity of class and the benefactors of capitalism alone. Private wealth and property have cancelled out the common ground of society transforming nature into property and landscapes into real estates to extremes to accommodate the wealthy separating so-called society or law and order into private spheres recreating a new form of law and disorder. Because we are Americans we have been taught or in many cases indoctrinated into accepting authority and wealth as the only dimension of humanity. We no longer think or even imagine we pretend that this arrangement is the pinnacle of the all for all.

One most important fact is that conformance provides legal shields against developers’ lawsuits. How much would this have saved Parsippany already? The Waterview outcome would have been successful and the affordable housing alleged threat/obligation if any, would be mitigated in favor of environmental factors of importance, sensitive landscapes would be recognized and avoided or reduced in scope as appropriate.

Parsippany is in the Planning Area of the Highlands so all parties concerned would be given the best possible outcome and be made to consider environmental factors especially water protections. What good is a tax ratable of dubious certainty or PILOT deals like the UPS office complex, where over a 30 years period if the facility stays operational the town will gain only minimal tax retable’s, inflicting environmental damage and quality of life issues like traffic, more duties for police and fire. ($80,000 over 30 years)

The town administration must come to its sense and see that enlisting in a regional benefit to secure good land use and best practices that will benefit the community and the society into the future is a much wiser choice. We must stop being micro management by outside interest and SuperPac officials, that have a big picture sighted in on economic development at the expense of the environment and the quality of life our local taxes are supporting, not in the best interest of Parsippany itself.

If a future does exist it must have some continuity with our common human heritage and bring us past into now. From Economics Unmasked by Manfred Max-Neef: Nature has an infinite number of dimensions one one of which can be bought and sold. Land can in no way be considered a marketable commodity, simply because it is not produced by humankind to be sold; nor will its amount increase if the price per acre rises or diminish if the acre price goes down. It is the heritage of all mankind today, and of all future generations tomorrow. It cannot be owned, any more than one can own the stars, the sun and the moon.

We have reached a stage in our political/economic development where we must return to what our ancestors knew, as described above. Americans bounty or freedom was inherit in its natural beauty and resources provided by nature for the common. Our accelerated rate of development has brought us little as a people, but has raised the few above the many with an economy that serves those in power and not the humanity of all. It is time we the people and we the powerful realize this divide and mend it for the cause of real value; life itself.

Parsippany’s way back to what needs to happen is to be entitled to belonging to and participating in the regional conformance of the Highlands Master Plan. No administration has the right to deliberately deny or ignore this benefit to better our way of life. The NJ Highlands Water Protection and Planning Legislation would bring to everyone more transparency, more public participation and most of all legal protections against corporate developer lawsuits, saving tax payers dollars in the millions. 

Land use and water protection can not be seperated, nor can the fact that we pay tax dollars not to better ourselves or maintain the goals of our Master Plan but to settle for less by unnecessary compromises or capitulations affecting our quality of life and its long term health and welfare.

When the Mayor says and the council agrees that Parsippany will and is going to grow the economy by his discretion without a sound way forward and in the name of tax ratables’ over environmental concerns, one must see that our best interest are not being met. Parsippany’s greatest resource is its water which lies beneath our feet and where from the aquifers of the buried valley we extract 65% of our potable water supply. the other 35% comes from two other sources of private ownership. It is a matter of time before this aquifer is effected by over- development and contamination of which we the people will bear the burden of costs in money and health.

We have already seen a rise in costs concerning police overtime and numerous lawsuits from developers; including the Council on Affordable Housing; which also has criteria under regional conformance to protect environmentally sensitive landscapes. The Master Plan brings legal protections from such suits

We pretend we have “home rule” it is a fantasy as developers rule. We can only offset these increases in the costs of living here, not by siting Money Magazine but by Conforming to the Regional Master Plan which will benefit all. Parsippany is in the Planing Zone, so corporate landowners only need comply with the highest standards and become partners in protecting the future of life and maintaining the aesthetic values of the once great landscapes remaining of a place called Pa-Sippo-Nong. 

Let 2017 bring us into the benefits and advances of the Highlands Water Protection. Parsippany not Profit at Parsippany’s expense. It time for the Republican Green Elephant to show. REP Republicans Environmental Protection; which were part of the passing of the Highlands Water Protection Act 2004 an overwhelming bi-partisan legislation. What happened since then; money in politics no doubt. Who can be against clean water, clean air, good land-use? Without the return to regional conformance we shall know who puts themselves above the people above common sense; good government is not a business its an obligation of oath in public trust. “An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it”-JFK

Nick Homyak
Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034

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