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Waterview Retail, Residential Concept Plan Recommended to Council

Police officers were called more than once to escort critical residents away from the microphone at Parsippany Planning Board.

The Parsippany Planning Board Monday finally approved a concept plan that could bring Whole Foods Market, a big box retailer and a 65-unit townhouse community to Waterview Plaza.

More than 600 residents came to Parsippany High School for a special hearing on the proposed Waterview development. Many stood in long lines for a turn at a microphone to comment on the proposed RD Realty development project. Most offered harsh critiques of the plan. Still, the board voted 8-1 to recommend that the Township Council draft an ordinance to turn 26.6 acres of the tract zoned for office space into an overlay zone.

The lone dissenting vote came from board member Turan Ayaz.

Certain conditions went along with the vote: The concept was allowed to move ahead for the subject property as long as the developer limits maximum residential density for the townhouses to six units per acre, ensures no access to nearby Intervale Road, a minimum buffer of 50 feet between the Waterview zone and the adjoining one and  a maximum height of 35 feet.

Conflict was the watchword of the night from the very beginning of the meeting. Some audience members loudly booed and jeered, mocked an unemployed man—the only resident to speak for the plan—who said the project would bring jobs to Parsippany–and some even threatened Mayor James Barberio that approval could hurt his chances at re-election.

Passions ran high at the public microphone. Two uniformed Parsippany Police officers were on duty to keep the peace. On a few occasions the officers were called upon to remove residents from the microphone when their comments exceeded the three-minute limit imposed on residents by board Chair Kaushik "Casey" Parikh.

"We're having police escort people out for going past three minutes?" asked an incredulous Felix Demicco to applause. "What the hell kind of thing is that?"

The audience, some of them members of the grassroots group Don't Rezone Waterview, seemed almost entirely in opposition to the plan.

The rancor began after the group's just-hired attorney started to address the Planning Board and informed the members that according to law, they had no jurisdiction in a concept review case, a view dismissed by the board.

Parsippany resident Felix Demicco closed the public comment section with a plea that earned him a standing ovation.

"Please help us. You're our representatives, not the developer's representatives," he said. "We need you to look out for us. We hope you make a recommendation to the council that they do not rezone Waterview."

Robert Simpson February 20, 2013 at 04:24 PM
When a developer plans a project, the first thing he looks for is prospective tenants. Investors do not make loans for projects that may not produce profits. No tenant, no loan, no loan, no project. We can all tell Whole Foods we don't want them. How many letters to Whole Foods will it take?
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 20, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Robert Simpson; do we really know who "whole foods" is? just some corporate enterprise. Its just a ploy for the dumb development. This is what happens when people undermine good government and let private interest take over.
Robert Simpson February 20, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Yes Nicholas we know who they are and they are looking for locations for new stores. Google for more information. World Headquarters Whole Foods Market, Inc. 550 Bowie Street Austin, TX 78703-4644 512-477-4455 512-477-5566 voicemail 512-482-7000 fax Global Partnership Evaluation Group For national partnership or sponsorship opportunities: www.pinpointclient.com/wholefoodsmarket
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 26, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Looking over Wetland Regulations in Court Avoiding Legal Problems and using some of the Rutgers Chapter 3 Drainage Area Troy Brook Storm water Management publications where Waterview is actually mentioned. . This very site is mentioned in Chapter 3 Rutgers Troy Brook Regional Stormwater Management Plan as to Address Loss of Biodiversity and for Recharge to Aquifer and Baseflow Maintenance. This developer will only worsen these goals for improvements. The property owners expectations are now conflicting with other adjoining property owners; the property owners has become "unreasonable" and is investment backed. (not of the community). The developer may also be guilty of trespass in the form of various nuisances and safety issues. Our aquifer issues will certainly not be improved nor advise by the scientific advisers be adhered to. Also IF THE PROPERTY OWNER DOES NOT OWN THE ADJOINING WETLANDS AS SHOWS NO REAL INTEREST IN THEM BECAUSE OF THE MAGNITUDE OF THE OVER-LAY. THIS DEVELOPMENT WILL IMPACT THE ADJACENT WETLANDS IN A MANNER GREATER THAN ANY 50-FEET BUFFER CAN DEAL WITH. Wetlands are a form of common property; correct? His over-lay will compromise, jeopardize and eventually erode the latter adjacent wetland and the aquifers. THE DEVELOPER MUST ALSO ACCOUNT FOR THE CUMULATIVE IMPACT OF USES. This over-lay may help destroy even more land once gone gone forever.
Nicholas Robert Homyak March 03, 2013 at 02:15 AM
How can the Mayor be a member of the Planning Board; without a degree in environmental ecology and hydrologic science? As he stated the developer has rights; rights above and beyond the community. Just remember Columbus discovered America; and the first thing he did when he landed was ask for a drink of water..

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