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Edison Redevelopment Update

Additional resolutions, ordinances on second reading moved to later meeting

township council meeting, the two ordinances and two additional resolutions regarding the Edison redevelopment project will now be up for approval during the March 20 meeting.

Additionally, the bond ordinance introduced and will be re-introduced March 6 after a procedural error was made, officials announced late Friday night.

"Background information about the township's debt was prepared but not on file in the township clerk's office prior to the Feb. 21 meeting," Mayor Robert Parisi said in a release. Due to the mistake, he said, the bond ordinance will have to be re-introduced.

The March 6 meeting will take place at township hall at 7 p.m. All other actions related to redevelopment will be postponed until March 20.

The council will meet at March 20 at 7 p.m. The meeting will include an as well as answers to any questions and comments from the public.

The council will vote on a resolution approving a modification agreement and an infrastructure construction agreement.

Also up for a vote on second and final reading will be the bond ordinance and the ordinance outlining the financial agreement between the township and the developer.

If all ordinances and resolutions are approved March 20, the developer must still garner approval from the zoning board before proceeding with construction. Construction is expected to take 20 months.

wohopeful February 27, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Our town leaders cannot even manage to follow a simple procedural matter, how do we know they haven't been lax on other more critical parts of this deal. At this rate the issue should just be moved to a referendum vote during the May elections and let the taxpayers decide.
Paul P February 27, 2012 at 11:10 PM
It would never happen, the vote would be a landslide against it, and they would have a referendum to reinstate the previous referendum.
wohopeful February 28, 2012 at 01:29 AM
I would bet that those running for re-election in May would favor moving it to a referendum vote since it will spare them from voter backlash if the project moves forward.
Gary Englert February 28, 2012 at 05:04 AM
@ wohopeful & Paul P: Clearly, jointly and severally, your reach exceeds your grasp on this entire matter. As there has never been a "previous referendum" on redevelopment, something that never happened or existed cannot be reinstated. As the remaining issues open for discussion and requiring any approval by the Council are very narrow (a change from condos to rentals and issuance of $6.3 Million in General Obligation bonds), I don't think those running for re-election will have any problem justifying their votes on the matter.
Paul P February 28, 2012 at 06:03 AM
Anyway, the topic was procedural errors. It's not really a big deal, it happens all the time, and will be corrected as said in the article. With the re-election coming up. maybe we can get some candidates who can actually follow procedures, unlike the nit wits we currently have seated on the council.
Gary Englert February 28, 2012 at 06:37 AM
@ Paul P: Your inability to read and understand the printed word, assess the situation and properly apportion responsibility is troubling and, rather clearly, results in a faulty conclusion; that being that the Council is responsible for a document not being on file in the Clerk's when necessary. First, do understand that there is a first time for everthing and this is most certainly the first time that anyone in the Administration or Council has been involved in this particular process and at this particular point. A legal/professional review of hundreds of pages of documents and the statutory requirements for approval revealed financial data available elsewhere in the building needed to be on file, as well, in the Clerk's Office at the time the ordinance was introduced, If there was human error anywhere, it most certainly was not on behalf of any member of the Council.
Paul P February 28, 2012 at 07:34 AM
Human error may be to blame, but for the town council to vote on an ordinance , that was missing a key piece of paper, they have to bare some responsibility. Perhaps the so called legal/professional review should be done prior to handing the council and ordinance to vote on. Especially since they are to inept to take a minute or two to look at something before voting on it.
Paul P February 28, 2012 at 03:54 PM
An elected legislative body voting on a 6 million dollar infrastructure bond and 30 year tax break for the developer, should be held to a higher standard . As arcane as the legal requirement may be, it was still required, by law. You just admitted the town council and the mayor don't know what they are doing, And they want to get into the real estate business with PRISM?
Gary Englert February 28, 2012 at 07:53 PM
@ Paul P: You're overstating the importance of some arcane statutory requirement that has no practical effect on much of anything; essentially making a mountain out of a molehill. It's of little more consequence than someone neglecting to thumb tack a piece of paper to a bulletin board. Over the last 12 months, +/- $5 Million was bonded for other infrastructure improvements in town...as is routinely done each and every year...and nobody made a peep. Given that the costs will be carried by another, there even less reason to make a fuss when doing essentially the same thing has been proposed for Edison Village. Nobody is "get(ting) into the real estate business with PRISM;" we're following through on the commitment we made to engage in a public-private partnership when we encouraged this developer to purchase the battery factory, invest in West Orange and revitalize a challenged neighborhood in our town.
Gary Englert February 28, 2012 at 07:55 PM
@ Paul P: One must wonder if you have such unwaveringly high standards in each aspect of your life and career. The documents before the Council supporting the ordinance were voluminous (4-500 pages by most accounts) and the subject document (apparently) was not even required to be among them but, specifically on file in the Clerk's office when the ordinance was introduced. Surely, nobody on the Council, nor in the Administration (nor the general public for that matter), has any reason to doubt that full and complete information concerning the Township's financial condition (in general) and bonding (in particular) is not readily available. This is clearly a rather arcane legal requirement and also likely one that nobody involved had ever encountered before; why would they? Your criticism is nothing more than an extreme example of nitpicking.
Paul P February 28, 2012 at 08:54 PM
ON a 21-acre property along Main Street here, where Thomas Edison once presided over his Invention Factory and Commerce Center, Mayor John McKeon indulged in a little ribbing of a developer who will reinvent the site as a residential and retail project. “Gee, Ed,” the mayor said to Edwin H. Cohen of Prism Capital Partners, “you paid, what, about $45 million for this?” Mr. McKeon gestured at a collection of concrete buildings pocked with missing chunks of facade and broken windows. “What a deal,” he said, rolling his eyes and chortling. Mr. Cohen laughed genially right along with him. “Hey, you’re on the hook for this, too,” the developer said. The $230 million Edison Village redevelopment project is a public-private undertaking, proceeding under the town’s plan and tied to a $52 million bond sale and an agreement that the developer would be making payments in lieu of taxes.
Gary Englert February 28, 2012 at 09:07 PM
@ Paul P: And your point here would be what? This exchange was from three or so years ago and the +/- $50 Million bond proposal (on which Prism would have paid all the carrying costs) was never brought to a vote before the Council.
Paul P February 28, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Mr. Cohen laughed genially right along with him. “Hey, you’re on the hook for this, too,” the developer said. What you call "a public-private partnership" is the same as , being in business with.
Gary Englert February 28, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Paul P: Again...what don't you get about the idea that redevelopment didn't begin with Prism? It began with West Orange soliciting developers to come here to invest in and renovvate the property and that Prism was the company chosen from those who expressed interest and presented proposals????
Paul P February 28, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Do you have proof other bidders were solicited and their was an actual bidding process? Here's the whole article for anyone wishing to read it http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/realestate/06njzo.html?exprod=permalink
Gary Englert February 28, 2012 at 10:34 PM
@ Paul P: Yes, though all the names escape me at the moment (Paul Bucha, a Medal of Honor recipient headed one group, Larry Pantirer another and there were one or two others as I recall), there was an exhaustive presentation and selection process, in public meetings before the Council, at the beginning of the last decade. One developer even jumped the gun and purchased the Barton Press site before the process was complete. Ultimately, Prism came to terms with them and bought that parcel as well. This is all water under the bridge but, the Times article certainly confirms how long Prism has stayed th course here...and paid taxes on a vacant parcel, that hasn't brought them a penny of income.

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