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Two Lawsuits Against Redevelopment Dismissed

West Orange residents' opposition to the council approved financial agreement and $6.3 million in general obligation bonds for the Edison project redeveloper fall short in court.

Two lawsuits filed by residents challenging the township’s  for the Edison Village redeveloper were dismissed in state Superior Court. 

In April, Residents Kevin Malanga and E. Michael Taylor sought to overturn an ordinance passed by the council in March to grant a 30-year tax exemption for the redeveloper, Prism Green Associates IV LLC. 

The lawsuit was dismissed on July 27 in state Superior Court. 

Malanga and Taylor challenged the township on multiple issues regarding the financial agreement. This was because instead of collecting taxes, the township will enter into a payment in lieu of taxes with the redeveloper, who agrees to pay a reduced amount in taxes to the township instead of regular estate taxes. 

, the plaintiff’s claimed the council’s vote was “arbitrary and capricious.” They claimed  the council did not have enough information about the effects of the financial agreement on the township nor the effect the redevelopment would have on the town.

In addition, a lawsuit filed by other residents challenging the ordinance that allowed for the sale of $6.3 million in township backed bonds for infrastructure improvements in the downtown redevelopment area was also dismissed on June 22. 

A group of residents, led by Mark Meyerowitz, Rosary Morelli and Windale Simpson, gathered more than 2,000 signatures in an attempt . 

The Superior Court ruled that the bond ordinance was not subject to state law governing referendums, according to a statement issued by the township. 

The petition challenging the bond ordinance to bring the matter to a referendum was rejected earlier this year. 

The township’s legal fees were paid for by the redeveloper and not by the township, according to Mayor Robert Parisi. 

Those who filed the lawsuits were not available for comment. 

Parisi said he was not surprised by the outcome of either case. 

“We were confident that we were very deliberate in the entire process,” said Parisi on Thursday. “There were several delays, and a lot of that had a lot to do with us trying to be very careful and cautious in making sure we were doing everything in accordance with the law.

“We were pretty confident that the court would rule the way it did.” 

Parisi also added there are currently no other lawsuits filed against the township with regards to the redevelopment. However, he did not rule out the possibility of future appeals and other lawsuits.

“Right now we continue to be anxious to get this project started,” said Parisi. “I continue to believe it is good for the downtown and good for the township.”

The redevelopment is now . Changes to the site plan by the redeveloper have pushed the plan back to the Planning Board who must vote on the new plan. 

The current plan is to build 334 luxury-style apartments in the old Edison Battery Building on Main Street for the first phase of the project. There will also be about 18,500 square feet of retail space and a parking garage that will hold 642 parking spaces.  

The redeveloper will seek approval from the board at its Sept. 5 meeting at town hall at 8 p.m. 

Leigh-Ann Zaolino August 13, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Everyone needs to step back and sip their tiger blood and chill out... especially those hot under the colar about the mear mention of appointed political positions. Every politician rewards their contributors in some way, face it and move on as it is not pertinent to the primary topic. It must be a huge burden to be OZ the all knowing... aware of every difference someone has made for the greater good. Play word games with friends on FB. That will entertain you better. An insult is an insult no matter anyone tries to justify same. Post till you drop, you will be talking to yourself. I have no time for foolishness.
Gary Englert August 14, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Leigh-Ann Zaolino: First, I believe it's m-e-r-e (are you sure you don't need a dictionary?) and I can assure you, I'm not the least hot under the collar...and certainly not because of anything Mr. Prginano has to say. :-) Purely and simply, most people have been ignoring what has to say and giving him a wide berth for years. Further (again to the reading comprehension issue) what I said and what you apparently think I said are two entirely different things, as I specifically do not know what Mr. Prignano might have done (at any time or anywhere) on behalf of the greater good. Perhaps, he'd like to reagale us with some accomplishment that might possibly justify his criticism of everyone and everything that comes into his sights. Inquiring minds want to know.
Gary Englert August 15, 2012 at 06:52 PM
The suggestion that Mayor Parisi isn't "listening to the residents of the town" is without basis in fact as said residents have been clamoring for Main Street's rejuvenation for decades. What the Mayor is not doing is being swayed in the direction of a very vocal minority who have been impeding progress of one type or another for nearly as long. Lastly, nobody is "gving away" anything to "the millionaires at Prism." When all of its concerns are met and resolved, the Township will bond $6.3 Million in order to upgrade and renovate 100 year old infrastucture that it already owns and is responsible to maintain, however, the resources to pay the debt service will be provided by a special assessment to Prism and the PILOT program already in place. That's no "give away" but, an intelligent way to finance something the Township will ultimately have to do in the normal course of business.
Gary Englert August 15, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Mayor Parisi "did not rule out the possibility of future appeals and other lawsuits" as nobody know what direction this crew is likely to head next. If an erstwhile political candidate, a flagrant litigator, WOTRA's widowed matriarch and a federal felon trying to rehabilitate his image as a civic activist isn't a motley gang that couldn't shoot straight, I don't know what is...and I damned sure wouldn't listen to any of them either.
john anthony prignano August 16, 2012 at 01:53 AM
This all would have been resolved by now if the litigants had enlisted the services of Rchard Trenk to guide them through the process..

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