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 11, 2012 at 04:44 AM
"widowed matriarch"... you just sunk to a new all time low. How dare you personally attack her like that.
badbul August 11, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Maybe Mayor Parisi wish he would have listened in 2014? Hope everyone remembers this come voting time.
Brett Kaiser August 11, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Too bad we don't have a law like in GB where a frivolous lawsuit that is thrown out MUST be paid by the offending Party(s). Maybe we can move forward then.
Gary Englert August 11, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Leigh-Ann Zaolino: Last I heard, neither he word "widow" nor the word "matriarch" were pejorative and both happen to precisely accurate in this instance.and, believe me, I can go a whole lot lower than that! :-)
Leigh-Ann Zaolino August 11, 2012 at 05:53 AM
You had to go there.. why? Attack the problem NEVER the person.
Gary Englert August 11, 2012 at 05:58 AM
Leigh-Ann Zaolino: Clearly, your definition of an "attack" and mine differ greatly..and calling a spade a spade most surely is not one.
Leigh-Ann Zaolino August 11, 2012 at 06:04 AM
Perhaps they do differ. I stand by attack the problem NEVER the person
Gary Englert August 11, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Leigh-Ann Zaolino: And I would opine that there's a big difference between attacking someone and accurately identifying them without using their names.
wohopeful August 11, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Ms. Zaolino, you are most certainly accurate in that we should be attacking our problems in West Orange. Unfortunately we are faced with a Mayor who continues to side with millionaire developers over the willful protest of the residents who came forward with their signatures to let him and the town council members know of their displeasure. Based on Mayor Parisi's comments and his past bullish behaviour (i.e. police firings) he feels that the only way to resolve issues is to litigate them. Protecting the status quo is doing real harm to our town and we must go to work on the problems as you so accurately state. Crime is up yet the status quo want to ignore that fact and fire policemen, Millionaire developers want our tax dollars yet they continue to play bait and switch with their misrepresentations to us and Mayor Parisi and his status quo camp continue to support this abhorent behaviour to no end, The beautiful OSPAC sits idle and in decay as a result of personal agendas as opposed to benefiting the good people of WO, Contracts are given out to double dippers and incompetents while our Mayor fires policemen, the list goes on and this does not even include the very costly shenangians going on at the BOE. Our Mayor is not attacking any of the real issues facing our good community, he is stuck in the status quo.
Brett Kaiser August 11, 2012 at 11:53 AM
...and the STATE Superior Court ALSO Said there was no Merit to the lawsuit...so you don't believe in or government now?
Alan Sanders August 11, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Without merit referred to the fact that a referendum on a municipal government sanctioned development was not permitted state law, not that it lacked social or political value.
Alan Sanders August 11, 2012 at 01:50 PM
not permitted BY state law.
Brett Kaiser August 11, 2012 at 01:53 PM
So.. frivolity....whilst KNOWING that was not permitted by LAW..is good? Go waste some other towns's time, money an resources. PLEASE
Ryan August 11, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Alan, that was only the case with one of the suits. The other was found to be without foundation in fact. I.e. the claim that council's vote to approve the PILOT was "arbitrary and capricious" was judged by the court to be without foundation.
Mark Meyerowitz August 11, 2012 at 04:55 PM
What state superior court ruling are you talking about? We did not file anything yet in any other court.
Brett Kaiser August 11, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I want the town to file a suit to recoup all the money wasted
Leigh-Ann Zaolino August 13, 2012 at 06:45 AM
Glad I annoyed you, I win again.
Gary Englert August 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Annoyed? Not in the least...and exhibiting your lack of familiarity with a dictionary isn't a victory! :-)
Leigh-Ann Zaolino August 13, 2012 at 04:45 PM
There is nothing wrong with my comprehension skills or knowledge of the English language. You completely missed the point, either on purpose or because you are obtuse. Just remember, when you have something to say about everything, eventually no one listens to anything you say! When you disagree with people there is no need to resort to insults, whether subtle or direct. Have a nice day!.
Leigh-Ann Zaolino August 13, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Gary... In the words of our younger generation... GET A LIFE
Gary Englert August 13, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Leigh-Ann Zaolino: If you think the words "widow" or "matriarch" are in any way pejorative, you really should revisit your assertion concerning your comprehension skills and knowledge of the English language. When I offer an opinion, it's generally because I have something to say that adds to the conversation. This tangent begun and furthered by you? Not so much.
john anthony prignano August 13, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Leigh - Ann Rosary is a widow , she is, in a manner of speaking , the matriarch of WOTRA . I think it is admirable that Rosary, in her circumstances and at her age, continues to work tirelessly on behalf of the beleagured citizens of West Orange . Englert says it was not an attack, just a statement of fact . Englert often calls me a twice failed political candidate . That's true . Stating that I twice tried as hard as I could to make a positive difference in the lives of a large number of people, is true . Twice failed candidate is certainly not a perjorative term . Englert sometimes refers to me as Mr. Mom . Again how is describing me as the full time caregiver for my 25 year old { powerfully built } autistic son an attack of some sort . That's not aan attack . In the classic tradition of Crocodile Dundee, when I say Englert has been appointed to at least 3 government jobs that he did not have any qualifications for { even the one covered by Civil Service } , and that he got them purely through cronyism , THAT'S an attack , mate.
john anthony prignano August 13, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Gary Englert August 13, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Not only is it an attack, it also happens to be untrue as, public or private sector, I've been eminently qualified for any position/employment I've ever held. Take your best shot if you'd like to dispute that with something other than your incessant, repetitive nonsense. If acting like a raving lunatic in public constituted your best effort to "make a positive difference in the lives of a large number of people" then I feel very, very sorry for you...and if you've made a difference for the greater good in any regard, I'm most certainly unaware of it.
Gary Englert August 13, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Leigh-Ann Zaolino: Congratulations...you've got john anthony prignano in your corner which will surely elevate the level of discourse...NOT!
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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