Letter to the editor: Inglesino should go after Waterview fiasco

parsippany focus

lettersDear Editor:

After the Waterview Fiasco I’m convinced Township Attorney John Inglesino along with the entire Planning Board does not represent the community. Parsippany has 2,436 acres of ground water recharge of which Waterview was part of. Water is a public trust belonging to all of us and its future is uncertain. Governor Christie has suspended the Water Quality Institute since he came into office, which means we do not know what is in our water, many contaminants seep into our ground water over time, it must be a constant vigil.

Christie is also impeding the New Jersey Highlands Conformance procedures, which would also protect our water and remaining landscapes from improper development. People in government whom favor private over public interest should remain outside the circle of government, because the “common good” is not their intention.

If Mr. Inglesino is so close to the Governor, because of his fund raisers for Christie’s campaigns, it is only at the expense of favors of a private nature in return. What ulterior motive existed behind Waterview, the destruction of a beautiful landscape in an old Parsippany neighborhood and ignoring Waterview’s natural assets, its trees and water resources? Progress without evolution is not knowing when enough is enough.

Why is the present Parsippany Administration so against improving their present Master Plan? How can Parsippany officials claim they can come up with a better master plan than the one we could have under New Jersey Highlands Conformance? In fact if our municipal plan adopted the recommendations and science of the Highlands dedicated work, we could protect ourselves from outside forces of corporate developers. What right does Parsippany have not to protect our water resources, water belongs to all of us, we belong to the Highlands of New Jersey our inherit responsibility is protecting that resource. What would a real American do? Developers come to Parsippany still because of our legacy, we must now move into the future.

Mayor Barberio in 2010, “We cannot turn back the clock. We are making great progress in our community” In 2010 Parsippany started to proceed with the Highlands Conformance, to better protect our land and natural resources, to improve standards for developers and protect water and increase open space. It suddenly stopped because of Governor Christie, however our municipal plan did not adopt or improve with all the new found knowledge and information. It should be explained how moving forward did not include improving our municipal master plan?

One of the well promoted benefits of Conformance is the legal shield provided by the State. State regulations, or a municipal Master Plan that is substantially in conformance with a State level regional plan has a “presumption of validity”, recognized by all courts of law, which puts the burden of proving otherwise on the plaintiff. A self-standing municipal Master Plan has no such presumption, forcing the municipality to defend the validity of its authority in every challenge (i.e. legally demonstrate that its ordinances are neither arbitrary nor capricious). So a suing developer, say, not only has a higher bar to satisfy its claims in court, he is, in effect, suing the State, not the municipality. Plus the State has agreed to provide some level of legal counsel or representation to Highlands conforming municipality.

Could it be our Town Attorney has ulterior motives in not improving our Master Plan? Giving developers reign thereby receiving political funding for John Inglesino’s political agenda; private corporate interest and profits over what is good for all. For example:

If Par-Troy wanted to protect those 2,436 acres of Prime Ground Water Recharge, they could do so through their own zoning ordinances, Master Plan updates, etc.  For instance, Harding Township in Morris County (entirely in the Planning Area, like Par-Troy) has no intention of conforming to the Highlands RMP because in most cases, their Master Plan and zoning ordinances are stronger than what is laid out in the RMP.

In Par-Troy’s case, and the case of many other Highlands communities, the RMP provides stronger protection than the town’s current plans, which is why conformance is often encouraged.

Since Conformance to the regional Master Plan is voluntary, however little an effort the Town makes in considering Conformance is probably OK as there are no statutory requirements. However Parsippany’s obvious behavior towards conformance is narrow minded and conceited. What excuse does the Township have they can act without conformance at any time to improve all our lives?

We should not allow Parsippany to become a dumping ground for corporate developers they have already impacted Parsippany’s landscapes more than enough.

Nick Homyak

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