PARSIPPANY — Mack-Cali has intervened in the Township’s Mt. Laurel affordable housing action. This means that Mack-Cali is seeking to construct multi-family housing in Parsippany, a portion of which is affordable housing. Although Mack-Cali has not specified in court papers exactly where it seeks to construct such housing, there is speculation that at least one site being considered is 1633 Littleton Road. That property currently consists of a vacant office building.
Roseland Residential Trust, Mack-Cali’s multi-family subsidiary, acquired Two Campus Drive in Mack-Cali’s Business Campus for approximately $5.5 million. The strategic acquisition will pave the way for the execution of the mixed-use master plan for the Campus in Parsippany. This property is adjacent to 1633 Littleton Road.
In a undated letter mailed to ONLY Sedgefield and Glacier Hills residents, Mayor James Barberio said “As I sated (sic) in my recent State of the Town address, our ability to comply with New Jersey Supreme Court draconian mandates on affordable housing is one of the most significant changes we face. We will face this challenge together as a community – so that you, the residents, are fully informed about this challenge and have the opportunity to ask questions and share your thoughts, views and opinions.” Click here to view a copy of the letter mailed to Sedgefield and Glacier Hills residents.
Barberio continued “I strongly believe that, given the magnitude of the issue of affordable housing here in Parsippany, I have an obligation to conduct meetings with our residents. The purpose of such meetings is to educate you on the affordable housing issue and what it means to Parsippany and potentially for 1633 Littleton Road.”
“I will be hosting a TOWN HALL meeting for the residents of Sedgefield and Glacier Hills ONLY on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at Parsippany Town Hall. The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. At that meeting you will be provided with a special briefing by our Township Attorney, John lnglesino, Esq. Mr. lnglesino will outline the history of the affordable housing law in New Jersey, including recent Supreme Court decisions. He will advise how these decisions will impact Parsippany and what we can do to minimize such impacts. We will also have our Township planner, Ed Sneickus, present to address any planning-related questions you may have. You will have the opportunity to ask questions. We are allotting one hour for remarks by me and my administration and one hour for questions and comments,” he continued.
Glacier Hills resident Brian Tappen told Parsippany Focus “A town meeting is a town meeting. The Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A 10:4-6 (1973) states: All meetings of public bodies in New Jersey must be open to the public unless closure is specifically permitted by law. If a meeting by members of a public body is closed to the public, the reason given must be one specifically authorized under the law. Members of the town should all be allowed to come and voice their opinion. This is a move by the Mayor to sell the people of Glacier Hills and Sedgefield that he is working to help them while attacking community leaders who raised this concern. His letter of 2017-03-01 to Glacier Hills says he will fight any project that is bad for Parsippany, Glacier Hills and Sedgefield, yet when community leaders tried to rally people against the project the Mayor sent letters (2017-01-23) to everyone in Glacier Hills and Sedgefield attacking those community leaders for their actions. The Mayor is trying to violate the Open Public Meetings Act and further his reelection campaign with this ploy.”
“The residents of this town know about the obligation that each town in New Jersey has to secure the numbers every year for low-income housing families. The upcoming Special meeting (for only Sedgefield and Glacier Hills communities) is just another song and dance to side step the truth. We just do not believe that our town’s elected officials would allow for a corporation to dictate where and when these buildings are to go up even if it’s on their own land. Aren’t there many other sites that are better or just a good in this town? The Mack-Cali Complex in Parsippany is 600 acres. The equivalent to a small town in the United States. It should not be allowed to be rezoned for other than what it already has been permitted from this town … Businesses and Hotels,” said Carlo Guzman, President Sedgefield Civic Association.
He continues “Mack-Cali wants to attract commercial companies into it’s complex they can easily modernize those outdated and empty ones or sell them or the entire complex. It was not permitted when Llewellyn and Prudential tried.”
Democrat Mayoral Candidate Michael Soriano stated “The Route 202 corridor is already beyond capacity, and traffic along the road has been an issue that has gone unaddressed by the current administration for far too long. This is an issue that effects most of the residents of Parsippany everyday, and the outcome of the Mack-Cali project will have an impact in every corner of town. I believe that an issue of such importance that it requires a special meeting at town hall with the township attorney present should be open to all residents of Parsippany, and that the residents of Sedgefield and Glacier Hills would welcome their input.”
Mr. Inglesino stated numerous times at Township Council meetings that the courts have not decided Parsippany’s required number of affordable housing units.
Mr. Inglesino also stated at a recent Council Meeting, the meeting will be for the residents of Glacier Hills and Sedgefield and that the Council members are not allowed to attend the meeting. Since the meeting was not being publicly advertised it would be in violation of Open Public Meeting Act if attended by a majority of the Council. Councilman Paul Carifi, Jr., is a resident of Sedgefield.
“I am extremely concerned about the Mayor’s actions. It is clear that he is using township funds and facilities, as well as employees, to conduct his political campaign. He is excluding major portions of our community, as well as the Township Council. The Mayor’s agenda is obvious. Our tax dollars are being used to fund his re-election efforts,” stated Robert Peluso Republican Candidate for Mayor.
Democrat Council Candidate Katie Cassidy told Parsippany Focus, “I’m concerned about a change of use in even a portion of the Mack-Cali complex. Building multi-family housing there would have a substantial impact on the township, especially near 202, where the traffic is already a problem. What affects Sedgefield and Glacier Hills affects other communities in the township as well. If an issue is complex enough for both the Attorney and the Planner to be present, the Council should be there as well. Sure, that would require public notice per the Open Public Meetings Act, but that should not be too much to ask. The administration should reschedule the meeting to give adequate time for public notice and hold the meeting at one of the high schools so that anyone concerned can go. Parsippany works best when its many communities come together. We should have an opportunity to do that on this issue.”
Inglesino indicated the meeting will be video-taped and be shown on public access TV and made available to the public.
Township resident Nick Homyak commented “Barberio is dividing the Town into neighborhoods because he doesn’t want another Waterview like grassroots event. This meeting should be open to all Parsippany Residents. The mayor has already sealed the town against against chance of a better outcome.”
Mayor James Barberio’s letter stated “In order that we adequately plan for this event, I ask that you contact my office to advise via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (973) 263-4297 to confirm your attendance.”
On February 7, 2017, The Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council approved a liquor license transfer to Hanover Hospitality Corp, a subsidy of Mack-Cali. The vote passed 3- 2. Councilman Paul Carifi, Jr., and Council Vice President Robert Peluso voted against the transfer. There was no location disclosed on the application.
In neighboring Morris Plains, Mack-Cali held a ground breaking ceremony, in August 2016, for its newest luxury multi-family residential community, Signature Place at Morris Plains. The three-story multi-family complex under construction is located approximately one-half mile from 1633 Littleton Road.