Residents Come Out in Force to Oppose Capitol Senior Housing Plan

Application is Withdrawn

Joseph F. McElwee displays drawing of proposed Assisted

PARSIPPANY — On December 22, 2022, Lake Parsippany residents received correspondence from Capitol Senior Housing (CSH) advising them of a proposed plan to construct an assisted living facility near Littleton Road and Beechwood Road. The notice, signed by Mr. Joseph F. McElwee, a partner in CSH, advised residents at that time that CHS had “submitted an application” for the construction project to the Township of Parsippany and that they are awaiting a public hearing by the Township Zoning board of Adjustment. (Click here to download the letter).

In the letter, Mr. McElwee invited impacted members of the community to attend a meeting at the Parsippany Athletic Building at 7:00 p.m. on January 4, 2023, in advance of the public hearing, to have an open and productive dialog, and address questions and concerns by residents on the proposed project.

Organizer Robert Asaro Sr. and Joseph F. McElwee

Before that January 4 meeting, area resident Robert Asaro Sr., whose property would be directly impacted by the project, took the initiative to organize a group of like-minded neighbors to oppose the proposed commercial building collectively.   Mr. Asaro utilized the “Lake Parsippany Residents” Facebook page to address his concerns that “the building would be located in the backyards of the homes on Fieldcrest Road, along Littleton Road, and across the street from Brooklawn Middle School on Beechwood Road.” He went on to list many problematic issues that could develop due to this construction, urging those concerned to attend the meeting and voice those concerns. Mr. Asaro, with some assistance from friends and neighbors, hand-delivered notices of the meeting to area residents days before, hoping to generate support. Obviously, it worked, as approximately 100 concerned area residents showed up for the meeting armed with a deluge of questions.

Crowd following meeting.

The meeting began as scheduled and was opened by Mr. McElwee, who also introduced Daniel T. Sehnal, the Civil Engineer on the project. He also expressed surprise that so many people were in attendance. The presenters explained that the project would include an area of 4½ acres in the proximity of the intersection of Beechwood Road and Rita Drive. The facility would house 83 units of assisted living residents, and it would be three stories high (the highest point being 42 feet) with underground parking. In addition to the residents, the facility would employ 52 employees on day shifts and five employees overnight. Egress to the facility would be off Beechwood Road only.  CSH estimates that the facility would require approximately two weekly medical assistance calls. Additionally, CHS would have its own EMS personnel available for non-emergency situations.

Joseph F. McElwee listening to residents concerns.
Daniel T. Sehnal addressing the residents.

A polite but serious crowd peppered Mr. McElwee with various relevant questions as he made his presentation, and Mr. McElwee, to his credit, tried to address each issue as it was presented. Issues arose, in no particular order, regarding increased traffic on Littleton Road, utilization of township resources, safe egress in and out of the facility, ability of fire department apparatus to access all sections of the building, etc., while many of the responses were met with overall dissatisfaction and nodding heads. Officials from Lake Parsippany Volunteer Fire Company District 3 expressed concern that their apparatus would not be able to navigate to certain parts of the building due to the configuration of the roadway and that there were no studies done, nor was any input sought regarding those concerns. Mr. McElwee stated that they would address that matter, but by then, it was evident that the presentation did not satisfy the audience’s concerns.

As the meeting proceeded, comment by comment, it became very evident to the representatives from CSH that there was strong disapproval of the proposed facility. At that point, Mr. McElwee calmly said that since it was clear that no one in the substantial crowd approved of or welcomed the new assisted living facility and that he did not want to build this project where it was not welcomed, he was “withdrawing his application” and would not be proceeding with the project, obviously to the cheers of the assembled residents.

Following the announcement by Mr. McElwee, and as the crowd gathered in groups to discuss the events of the evening, Mr. Asaro stated, “I want to thank everyone who pitched in and helped get this accomplished.” This was a community effort, and we’re all obviously very happy with the outcome.” And tonight’s turnout shows that there is still “Pride in Parsippany.”