Letter to the Editor: Town Attorney Spreads Disinformation Concerning Highland

Garden State Orthopedics

Dear Editor:

At the Tuesday, February 7 Parsippany-Troy Hills Council meeting township attorney John Inglesino chose to “grandstand” using the ten questions, submitted by me on January 3, to disseminate what could only be called disinformation. He has done this before whenever the subject of Parsippany’s participation and possible benefits under regional conformance to the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act comes up.

John Inglesino has continually spoken in a negative and false sense against the Highlands Act accusing it of being responsible for Parsippany’s situation concerning what he calls unfair public housing share Parsippany must be subjected to because of it. For the purpose of keeping this short, two falsities will here be answered.

1. Concerning the Memorandum of Understanding between the Highlands and the Council of Affordable Housing; was stated with certainty as being no longer in affect. He states that the MOU is no longer in standing. The MOU is important because it upholds higher environmental landuse polices, avoiding sensitive landscapes for public housing; again waterview stands as the best example. (He sites a case concerning Chester, NJ, which only pertains to Chester’s special circumstance as proof the MOU has been negated).

Not True. The agreement MOU between the Housing Council and Highlands Conforming Communities has not yet been rescinded (which the HC can, as has not, done). Even though COAH does not exist as a functioning state agency, we are expecting the Courts to defer to it in addressing conformed municipalities in the Planning Area because its provisions are a valid record of agreement between 2 authorized agencies existing at the time and acting in response to and under the authority of an executive order. A town can reduce or better plan its housing obligation by defending sensitive landscapes within its own boundaries, and COAH (HC) does have environmental policies. 

2. Town Attorney speculates of the Constitutionality of the Highlands Act. Stating that in the past it may very well have not mustered legitimacy in the Courts, and then stated the Highlands legislation had never been challenged at the level of the US Supreme Court. 

 Not True. The Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act signed on August 10, 2004 with overwhelming bipartisan support. Further more the Highlands Act, which has withstood at least three challenges in appellate court and the US Supreme Court, when petitioned, refused to hear a further appeal. 

Suggest Mr. Inglesino brush up on his knowledge of this subject. It is a fact Governor Christie has made the demise of both the Highlands and Pinelands legislation a hobby of his. Rather than advance and encourage his states water supply health and sustainability through good land use he has sold out to the private interest; perverting the NJDEP in its mission and mandate to protect our welfare, health and safety in protecting our water supply.

Parsippany appears to being managed by the same mentality, rather than defending our town’s master plan and sense of home and place, we cater to what is called economic improvements with complete disregard to our environment and natural resources.

What Town attorney Inglesino calls loss of local control and determents under regional conformance is pure here-say and conjecture. Only if a legitimate sound reason exists to reject or diminish in size a development proposal will the Conformance enlighten and make transparent to all parties the reasons. Parsippany is entirely in the planning zone, but has environmentally sensitive landscapes, which even under the regional “conformance process” could have been better protected by using the “check-list option” both Waterview and Forge Pond for example. These options were not implemented while Parsippany was in a “conformance process” from July 2010-June 2014. Instead developers determine our master plan, which is somehow not seen as a detriment? 

The one thing that also stands out is the complete silence and lack of response by our Council Members. Only Councilman Peluso asked Mr. Inglesino for a written copy of the response to the ten questions, he was refused. Remaining in the “conformance process” would definitely have helped Parsippany now that we need it most with the present affordable housing situation. Parsippany also has refused to seek a declaratory judgment. Which also warrants an explanation. Do we have a covenant with corporate developers as opposed to the people of Parsippany it is evident from Forge Pond to Waterview; up next affordable housing; what ever developers desire, while we pay our taxes and pay the salaries of officials who do not have our best interest in mind. 

When there is a Master Plan, the subordinates exercise their initiatives within its framework, and there is thus greater cohesion in seeking to achieve the superior commanders object. The commanders being the resident citizens of Parsippany and their elected officials. Knowing they are part of an even greater effort to help commonly shared human environmental goals and maintain their sense of home.

The Mayor boasts of his Town being a “regional employment center” supporting so-called targeted economic economic improvements, all with no thought of their impacts on the people who live here and the long term sustainability of our water resources. Should not a self-proclaimed “regional center” have a regional plan? These decisions and outcomes are made without us and despite us. 

Nick Homyak
Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034

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