WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange Planning Board unanimously approved the Amended Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan for the Edison Redevelopment project with Prism Green Urban Renewal Associates IV, LLC, PB-12-09, with certain conditions negotiated between the developer and town attorneys. The Planning Board meeting, which began at 8:00 pm, ended at 11:20 pm after several discussions and input from the public and developers.
Members of the Planning Board and the public raised questions and concerns over the proposed parking garage at the site, including accessibility, security, and traffic issues. In addition, resident vs. retail parking was discussed, along with the need for Prism to decide upon filing a Certificate of Appropriateness with the West Orange Historical Preservation Commission, or the state, or federal sources, should they choose to apply for state or federal tax credits. (The Edison Factory is on the National Register as an historical landmark). The current proposed plan included amendments to the original approved plan of 250 rehabbed units and 45 newly constructed, to now include 280 rehabbed rental units retrofitted in the historic building plus 20 new ones, with additional changes to the parking garage. Other components of the proposal remain unchanged. Prism explained that the proposed changes were actually in the better interest of the township compared to previously approved versions.
West Orange resident Rosary Morelli, co-founder of Citizens for Responsible Government Spending, (along with Windale Simpson, Althia Tweiten, Michael Scharfstein and Mark Meyerowitz), claimed that Prism still owed taxes to the township for this quarter and until paid, the plan should not be approved. CFRGS unsuccessfully sued the township for rejection of their petition to bring to referendum the approval of 6.2 million dollars to support town infrastructure for the redevelopment project. Eugene Diaz, Prism developer, expressed frustration, saying that the payment of taxes was in accordance with the agreement with the township. The Redeveloper will comply with the township agreement.
Other discussions revolved around jitney service for Main Street, which was ultimately resolved by Prism's agreement with Lenny Lepore, Township Engineer, to determine at what point and how, if needed, jitney service would be provided - either in tandem with the township or privately.
The attorneys for the township and Prism will work out other recommended conditions for approval of redevelopment, such as: new traffic studies every two years; making Charles Street a one-way; working with the police Chief and Planning Board on parking garage security issues,within one year of being built; provision of a parking plan for the garage and retail area; and securing DEP permits prior to construction.