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HomeLocal NewsThe District at 1515 PILOT Program was approved: 4-1

The District at 1515 PILOT Program was approved: 4-1

Parsippany will receive $61 million municipal share of PILOT over 30 years

PARSIPPANY — The Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council passed Ordinance 2019-01: Execution of a Financial Agreement with the District at 1515 Urban Renewal on Tuesday, February 19 by a 4-1 vote. Councilwoman Janice McCarthy voted against the project.

As pointed out during the February 5 meeting, the project is part of Parsippany’s solution to its affordable housing obligation. The “District at 1515” will provide 34 low and moderate income apartments on site. Additionally, they will pay in excess of $3.3 million into the Township’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The Township will have these funds at its discretion to meet the fair share housing obligations for rehabilitation, new construction programs, and/or an affordability assistance program. Some of these contemplated programs will allow the Township to receive 2-for-1 credits toward its COAH obligation. The additional funds would permit Parsippany to gain more credits through the rehabilitation and affordability assistance programs, which is advantageous to the Township, avoiding new development or undeveloped ground and will add no new apartment units in Parsippany, relieving pressure on the board of education.

The District at 1515 will be developed in two phases. Phase I will consist approximately 63,684 square feet of retail space and 273 residential units, including no less than 21 affordable residential rental units. Phase 2 will consist of 36,000 square feet of retail space and 168 residential units, including no less than 13 affordable residential rental units.

Council Vice President Janice McCarthy

Before casting her vote, Council Vice President Janice McCarthy said “I think that as I’ve said repeatedly that this is a forward looking concept. I think it’s going to be a quality project. I think the builder is dedicated to making it a quality product. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. I am also encouraged that council member Peterson has been working with them and come up and, and you know, coming up with ideas that she feels would benefit the town. So I think that’s all very positive. Again you can only deal with the facts that are before us. As I’ve said repeatedly and I hopefully for the last time I’ve made my feelings known about the financial agreement, I stand by that information that I’ve provided and stated here at the council meetings. I vote no.”

Council President Paul Carifi, Jr.

Council President Paul Carifi said “In meetings that we had with the developer to get a further explanation of the project at that time and I discussed that with them and I wish I would have been made, more aware to the public a long time ago. The main need for the PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) is for the road improvements. If it were not for the road improvements to keep a lot of the traffic at the very end of Parsippany towards the Hanover area over, that way and off of 202, the developer would not need the PILOT. The main reason for the PILOT is for the $6½ to $7 million worth of road improvements. It was mentioned, the Kelly Act, we’re not going to have to do snow removal or garbage removal. We’re not going to be responsible for that, for the life of the PILOT. We’ve been given legal advice and legal opinion, I will say that this in no way, shape or form, serves as a precedent for PILOT programs from other developers. And I believe that this is the least impactful. Am I in favor of a PILOT? No. Do I, do I think it’s a great project? Yes. Do I like the PILOT? No, I don’t. But if you have to weigh the lesser of the two evils, the PILOT program and this development, it’s the only way this can be built. I vote yes.”

The project size has decreased to 441 apartments to go along with the 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurants. The District at 1515 is designed for residents to walk out of their front door and enjoy a meal, drink or spin or stretch class without ever getting into their car
Councilman Michael dePierro (File Photo)

Before voting Councilman dePierro stated “The Stanberry proposal at 1515 Route 10 is overall an attractive development with a mix of residential retail and open space. The majority of the proposed 441 apartments, are projected to be studio and one bedroom which will reduce the number of school children. The roughly $7 million provision for an access road from Dryden Way to Johnson Road will provide an alternate route to the 1515 tract, Delta Dental, the octagon building and others heading in that direction to avoid the Route 202 and Route 10 intersection. This traffic improvement privately funded by the developer is the only way that this improvement will be made. This project also helps the township with its affordable housing obligation. The project will provide 34 moderate and low income apartments and pay an excess of $3.3 million to the townships. Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Our local unions will be involved in most of this project generating revenue for our workers. Also, the pilot financial agreement should increase Parsippany’s tax revenues. Although I am still not comfortable with a PILOT project that includes apartments, I am less comfortable with the consequences if this project is defeated; the access road will not be built. The proposed 441 studio and one bedroom apartments could approach 800 three and four bedroom apartments producing many more school children. Increased traffic on Routes 10 and 202 the aesthetics of the property will suffer. Our unions will not get to work. All things considered. I have to support this project. I vote yes.”

Councilwoman Loretta Gragnani

“I also have a statement in 1515 is the first project in Parsippany that proposes a mixed use development. It is assisting Parsippany without COAH obligations. The Kelly Act relieves the township of snow and ice removal, road improvements and street lights. The issue of utmost concern is the pilot program. I have been informed by legal counsel and this administration that there is no legal basis for other developers to receive a PILOT. We would not be setting a precedent. A formal request was sent to the Morris County Administrator, Mr. Bonanni for a non resource development area bond. It should by the Morris County Development Authority and must be approved by the freeholders of Morris County. This bond will bring relief to Route 10 and 202 by providing a roundabout to Dryden Way. On January 28, the Parsippany Council and Township received a letter from Day Pitney attorney Craig Gianetti, Council for 1515 with an alternative plan for 800 units. This plan was also filed with the courts. It may be said, this is just a tactic, I for one, did not want the court dictating to Parsippany how our affordable housing obligations and ongoing litigation. Mentioned in Parsippany Focus recently by removing 380,000 square feet of office space, it lowers our vacancy rate from 20%, by 2%, to 18%. Lastly, I have spoken tonight with the attorney for 1515, Mister Perlman and I have asked for a letter stating in simple language that the rear and side easement roads dedicated to Parsippany will be maintained by Stanbery for the life of the pilot. And I have been assured by Mr. Perlman that that letter would be forthcoming. Based on the above, I will also be voting yes for this project,” stated Councilwoman Loretta Gragnani.

The Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills will receive revenue of $61 million municipal share of PILOT over 30 years, $54 million more than if the property were to remain office space with no PILOT. Parsippany’s share of the annual PILOT payment will be over $1.6 million at project stabilization, increasing to over $5 million. This is significantly more than the current $92,000 tax revenue the township is receiving. If the existing buildings remain office use (providing they are fully occupied), the Township would generate $7 million in tax revenue over 30 years. With the proposed PILOT, The District at 1515 will generate $61 million in tax revenue for Parsippany-Troy Hills over 30 years. That works out to be an additional revenue of $54 million.

Stanbery will have to submit plans to the Parsippany-Troy Hills Planning Board for approvals.

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Presented by Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany

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Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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