A petition for a referendum on the bond issue for the Edison redevelopment project was rejected on technical grounds.
New Jersey rules* on development states that any ordinance that pertains to local redevelopment or housing cannot be changed through referendum, which was one of the reasons why Karen J. Carnevale, municipal clerk, rejected the petition, according to documents provided by the township.
Residents, who were part of petition drive, were undeterred by the setback. Windale Simpson said they were digesting the reasons why the petition was rejected.
"I understand the democratic process," Simpson said. "It's a back and forth thing. I remain optimistic."
Simpson is part of a group seeking the repeal of a . The ordinance would issue general obligation bonds to the developer of the Edison property on Main Street, Prism Capital Partners, LLC.
The bonds in question will cover the infrastructure costs on the proposed project that would erect 333 luxury apartment units for-rent and 18,500 square feet of retail space in the Edison battery building.
Besides land rules stating that a referendum cannot change the ordinance, the municipal clerk also cited the following on why the petition was rejected: some of the signatures were considered invalid, and not every petition sheet had a resident attesting under oath that the signatures were valid.
The petition was submitted to the town last week,
“It is my understanding that the petitions have been reviewed by the municipal clerk, who has determined, based on the law, that the process for petitioning an ordinance does not apply in this instance and that the requirements have not been met,” Mayor Robert Parisi said in an email statement. “I trust that the clerk is following the state statutes with regard to this issue to ensure the township is in compliance with the law.”
(Editor's note: a previous version of this report incorrectly read that "West Orange law on development states that any ordinance that pertains to local redevelopment or housing cannot be changed through referendum." It is actually state statute, not local laws that govern the question of a referendum on any local redevelopment.)