According to the Parsippany-Troy Hills Township clerk’s office, the revised ordinance scheduled for first reading at the Council Meeting on Tuesday, July 16 will not be introduced. When asked for a copy of the revised ordinance, Focus was told the ordinance is not finalized at this time.
The revised ordinance when introduced will permit rezoning of that tract of land in the Waterview Complex. The proposed project would include a 40,000-square-foot supermarket, likely Whole Foods, and a 137,000-square-foot “big box” department store (originally thought to be Target, but now rumored to be Lowe’s). For the residential portion of the project, the developer is seeking to build a neighborhood of townhouses—first 72 units, but then reduced to 65. The ordinance will allow the construction of parking lots for more than 1,100 cars and increase the amount of allowable impermeable surface from 45 percent (what the current POD zoning allows) to 75 percent.
By covering the area with asphalt and sidewalk, rather than keeping the trees, plants and soil that soak up rain water for the aquifer, water is prevented from being absorbed and has to flow somewhere else—along with all of the possible pollutants from cars, people and buildings.
Also at stake in this project is quality of life and property values for local residents. Part of RD Realty’s plan is to create two more lanes on both eastbound and westbound sides of Route 46 to accommodate increased traffic and potentially channel surplus traffic onto Route 202, a proposed access road to Intervale Road, and Boulevard in Mountain Lakes.
Citizens for Health, Safety & Welfare is the non-profit organization spearheading the opposition of the project, a group comprised of Mountain Lakes residents, Parsippany residents, and concerned individuals from neighboring towns. The group’s trustees estimate that 500 or more households have come together to support the cause. The citizens group is a New Jersey non-profit organization with three trustees, a 9-person board of directors (president, vice presidents, secretary, treasurer), with no official “membership.”
The Waterview Rezoning Proposal had its first hearing before the Parsippany Planning Board in October, 2012. Very few attended since it was not well-understood or publicized. At the next meeting in December, enough residents showed up (roughly 180) to shut down the meeting since the council chambers was filled over its capacity. The word started to get out about Waterview in time for the next meeting that was rescheduled at the Parsippany High School. Roughly 600 angry residents showed up for that meeting. By late December 2012, a small, loosely knit group of concerned citizens had banded together to create “Don’t Rezone Waterview” (ultimately renamed C4HSW). In February 2013, the Planning Board made its recommendation to the Parsippany Council in favor of rezoning Waterview. The remaining 26.6 acre Waterview property is currently zoned POD (Planned Office Development) for office buildings only. The Planning Board followed the developer’s recommendation that the property be rezoned to include zoning for mixed residential and commercial. By February 2013, C4HSW had organized sufficiently to hire an attorney and one expert to represent the interests of the hundreds of residents who had shown up to these meetings and were denied to opportunity to present any evidence in opposition to the developer’s case. The recommendation to rezone Waterview was then sent to the Council, where it currently awaits a decision. At the Council meeting on March 19, the Parsippany Planner presented his version of the Ordinance to Rezone Waterview. This version included an entrance onto Intervale Road which had been voluntarily removed in the Planning Board stage by the developer. The township council tabled the ordinance.
The next agenda meeting for the Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council will be held on August 6 at 7:30 p.m. at 1001 Parsippany Boulevard, and the Regular Council meeting will he held on Tuesday, August 20 at 7:30 p.m. at 1001 Parsippany Boulevard, unless otherwise changed.
(Note: The Agenda Meeting scheduled for August 13 at 7:30 p.m. has been re-scheduled to August 6, 2013)
The Regular Agenda Meeting scheduled for September 10 will be held at Parsippany Hills High School, 20 Rita Drive, at 7:30 p.m. and the Regular meeting is scheduled for September 17 at Parsippany Hills High School, 20 Rita Drive, at 7:30 p.m.