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Last Chance to Comment on Edison Redevelopment Before Final Council Vote

Council will meet Tuesday night to approve two final resolutions

Residents have one last chance to voice their opinions before the township council regarding the Edison redevelopment project.

The council is slated to meet at township hall at 7 p.m. to vote on two resolutions approving a modification agreement and an infrastructure construction agreement for the $125 million project to redevelop the 20-acre land surrounding the Thomas Edison factory building.

If approved, the project must then garner approval from the planning board before construction on Phase I can begin.

The first phase calls for 333 luxury apartment units for rent and 18,500 square feet of retail space in the Edison battery building. It will also include a 635-space parking garage and a Jitney service to both the Orange and South Orange New Jersey Transit train stations.

The council already and for the project last month. Councilman Joe Krakoviak has consistently expressed concern over the project's "unknowns" and was the sole councilman to vote down the ordinances.

While the project has gained favor in the eyes of many residents and business owners, others have recently taken to the streets petitioning for a referendum on the bond ordinance.

For more information on tonight's township council meeting, see attached agenda. Check Patch tomorrow for the final vote by the council.

Adam Kraemer April 03, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Remember how the five council members vote today: When you vote in May
John P April 03, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Absolutely!
Mark Paulson April 03, 2012 at 11:30 AM
The Edison development is a wonderful thing for West Orange. Unfortunately we have complainers in this town who show up at school board meetings, town counsel meetings and anywhere else where they can speak negatively on various issues. They never offer positive solutions. I am so sick and tired of listening to these people mock and ridicule the town that I love. People need to stand up against their negativity. It does nothing to benefit our wonderful community. If you love West Orange, I urge you to support the Edison development and to stand up to these habitual complainers.
Will Rod April 03, 2012 at 12:38 PM
What we are sick and tired of is more taxes year after year! Maybe if our municipal taxes and school taxes werent go up this year, many of us would be more inclined to support these efforts. Our school tax levy is going up 4% this year! Theres a pattern here of tax and spend and we need to make a stand on something. This is a lightning rod for taxpayer sentiment. I think thats what your missing. Enough is enough!
John E Misorek April 03, 2012 at 01:15 PM
If approved, it will become a white elelphant. There is no market fro additional housing in West Orange. Just look around town, there are at least 300 homes for sale & very few are being sold now.. John Misorek.
wohopeful April 03, 2012 at 01:34 PM
John, try more like 600 homes currently for sale in West Orange compared to some neighboring towns: Livingston 200, Verona 120, Montclair 300, and even Orange @ only 225. The flight out of WO has already begun.
Cynthia Cumming April 03, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Yes, that is why the project calls for rental units. People are already calling the developer to find out about them.
Gary Englert April 03, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Well folks, when comparing houses for sale in surrounding towns, do keep in mind that West Orange is significantly larger (in land area, population and number of structures) than most all of them. Accordingly, we are bound to have more homes for sale than the others.
Paul P April 03, 2012 at 02:32 PM
So what happens if Susie Mac is wrong about the affordable units. She is under the impression the COAH is no longer relevant. and so it's ok to set aside less units. But she's wrong, as usual, and i the COAH sues West Orange, say hello to even higher taxes to pay for the lawsuit.
Jake Freivald April 03, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Prism's projections are based on a 950K annual PILOT to the town. The PILOT is tied to revenue. If Prism gets less revenue, the town gets less money. Here are some projected rents: 1. 613-square-foot studio (31 units): $1,761 2. 822-square-foot 1BR/1BA (122 units): $2,000 3. 1,252-square-foot 2BR/2BA (92 units): $2,499 Parking adds over $100/month. If they can't get these rents, or if they can't fill 95% of the units, the PILOT will decrease proportionally until it hits the agreed-upon minimum, $650K. Let's analyze the numbers based on the minimum PILOT: $650K-$150K property tax credit = $500K. $500K-$200K bond service = $300K. Now consider the number of children coming into the school. The council is talking about giving the BOE $10K per child. The developer's demographer estimates that 17 children will live in the development. The BOE's demographer says over 40. At lower rents, it's possible that the number of families with children will be higher. If we assume 40 children, that implies a payment of 40 * $10K = $400K going from the PILOT to the BOE. $300K-$400K = negative $100K. That's before accounting for additional police, garbage, sewage, or other services. There are other things to consider that I'm not even putting out here. The bottom line is, I'm not against redevelopment per se, but I believe that this financial arrangement is too risky for us. Full disclosure: I'm running for Town Council.
Gary Englert April 03, 2012 at 02:57 PM
You can analyze and debate all the "what if's" to death but, the simple fact remains that the preponderance of arguments come down on the side of supporting the redevelopment project.
Cynthia Cumming April 03, 2012 at 02:57 PM
If, If, If. And who's Susie Mac?
Will Rod April 03, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Spot on jake. You and joe k will get my vote! Let common sense prevail!
John P April 03, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Mark, I would love to see the Edison historic area alive and vibrant. I just don't want to pay for it now or in the future. I don't believe that I should be classified as a "habitual complainer" after one post with only one word in response to a post that states no opinion on the subject. Perhaps after read the OP, I decide not to vote for Joe K because of his opposition to the project. You could read this post either way. We should agree to disagree and not call each other names. Who knows? On the next issue, I may be in your camp supporting fine and performing arts in our schools or something else we both agree on.
Gary Englert April 03, 2012 at 03:22 PM
@ Jake Freivald: All the intermediary math considered, what's the absolute worst case scenario? The project goes belly up, the property sits unsold, the Township is involved in litigation for years to enforce its rights...the taxpayer's absorb the carrying costs of the bonds...for a whopping $24 a year per property owner. It's such a small amount if individual risk to begin with and really pretty remote.
john316 April 03, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Welcome to the Edison Projects Show...And now your host Gary Englert...Gary you are not a Town resident now a city employee...but you have defended and fight this project more then the Prism people have done till Today...why so much interest on your behalf this project gets approved ?...
Jake Freivald April 03, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Gary, no matter what I say, you'll keep coming back, and I don't intend to spend my day arguing with you. We'll have a beer after the election. I'll leave you with this: The fact that you have to respond to a simple analysis that I have run, rather than calling up a proper risk analysis done by the developer and the town, means that there's much more that we don't know. You claim that the risk is small, but I don't see any factual basis for believing that to be true. And, contra other comments, risk *is* important. I'm not saying that we should never take any risks: Just that we should know what they are, first.
Gary Englert April 03, 2012 at 03:40 PM
@ john316: Questioning anyone's credentials while hiding behind a screen name and revealing nothing of yourself is the height of laughable hypocrisy. I have nothing personal to gain from this matter but, have followed the redevelopment process for years and, as a result of knowing that history, can express an intelligent opinion...as is my right.
Gary Englert April 03, 2012 at 03:47 PM
@ Jake Freivald: What I'm suggesting is those with the requisite leadership, vision and the courage to take action are already far beyond your intermediary assessments; try and catch up. I'd still like to know what your Team's standard bearer ( Joe Krakoviak) was doing while sitting on the redevelopment sub-committee for all thos months. If he didn't get answers to his questions and the best deal possible for the Township, why did he vote to bring the matter before the Council?
Jake Freivald April 03, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Show me the risk assessments, please, that put them so "far beyond".
Gary Englert April 03, 2012 at 03:58 PM
@ Jake Freivald: Didn't your fearless leader (Joe Krakoviak) ask for such risk assessments before voting to bring the proposal before the entire Council? If that doesn't say that this is as good as it's going to get, what did Joe accomplish by sitting on that sub-committee?
Mark Paulson April 03, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Joe P, If you have complained less than 5 times at the board of ed meetings, town counsel meetings , NJ.com West Orange Forum, the Patch, shouted on a soapbox at Shoprite, or run unsuccessfully in various elections, you are not a habitual complainer. I am not referring to people like you. One post doesn't. begin to qualify as a type of individual that I am thinking about. I am referring to people who wake up every morning just to say, THIS TOWN ...@#$@%^.. One word doesn't even get you into the door of this habitual complaining club. Sorry if you thought I was responding to your comment. I respect the right of anyone who has a different opinion. I am just tired of people who complain just to complain, no matter what is being presented.
Cynthia Cumming April 03, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Wasn't the assessment of risk involved done individually in collaboration with the legal firm of McManimon and Scotland as well as the financial firm NW financial? I believe it included a rental market analysis, a traffic study (which may need to be updated depending of the planning board's ruling), and the school impact study performed by NW financial and the planning department. The original financial proposal was negotiated by the administration in collaboration with the professionals listed and the sub-committee of Councilman Karkoviak and Anderton as the Council representatives. Once put together, isn't it correct that the rest of the Council members were provided with the documentation and individually briefed on the proposal several times by the professionals? At that time, the rest of the town council (sans, apparently, Mr. Krakoviak), provided input proposed changes, at quite an investment of time and effort. So, Mr. Krakoviak has all the documents already; and Team Krakoviak would certainly have access to them. Additionally, the town approved special assessments bond issuances for Llewellyn Park, Ridge Road, and Eagle Ridge, so a project of benefit to the whole community, not just limited roads, is not an unreasonable consideration, especially since it will ultimately benefit the entire township.
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