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Parsippany’s PILOT Projects Spark Intense Debate Amongst Residents

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PARSIPPANY — The Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Library meeting room was packed with over 150 residents, on Wednesday, December 13, eager to learn more about the Parsippany’s current PILOT (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) projects.

The Town Hall meeting was organized by Parsippany-Troy Hills Councilman Justin Musella and included Ken Kaplan from KenKap Realty, Parsippany Board of Ed member-elect Andy Choffo, and Park Ridge Council President William Fenwick.

The Town Hall meeting was organized by Musella and included Ken Kaplan from KenKap Realty, Musella, Parsippany Board of Ed member-elect Andy Choffo, and Park Ridge Council President William Fenwick (not pictured)

Councilman Justin Musella announced three additional PILOT projects would be voted on during the Township Council meeting on Tuesday, December 19. He encouraged everyone present at the Town Hall meeting to attend and voice their concerns. The PILOT projects include 7 Campus Drive and 6 Sylvan Way. 7 Campus Drive is a vacant office building to be demolished to make room for a warehouse; 6 Sylvan Way, the former corporate headquarters of Avis Rent-A-Car, will be demolished to make room for a Lifetime Fitness and 240 multi-family housing units.

It’s worth noting that at the December 5 Council meeting, Musella was the sole dissenting vote against three PILOT incentive projects.

•The first PILOT plan approved was for 249 Pomery Road. The property consists of an outdated former printing plant to be demolished to make room for a warehouse. On October 17, 2023, the Township Council adopted Ordinance No. 2023:21 as an area in need of redevelopment; Click here to download the PILOT financial agreement.
•The second PILOT plan approved was for 2 Campus Drive. On September 26, 2023, the Township Council adopted Ordinance No. 2023:23 and a redevelopment plan for a portion of the Property entitled “2 & 3 Campus Redevelopment Plan;” Click here to download the PILOT financial agreement.
•The third PILOT plan approved was for 3 Campus Drive. Avalon Bay will build multi-family houses. Click here to download the PILOT financial agreement.

Avalon Bay will build approximately 430 multi-family apartments with an Affordable Housing Component at 2 and 3 Campus Drive.

Choffo spoke on the impact of PILOTs on the school district. Under the PILOT program, the fees are divided, with 95% allocated to the municipality, 5% to the county, and none directed toward the school district.

Kaplan presented a contrasting view, holding up a picture of a dilapidated, graffiti-covered building that was boarded up.

Kaplan presented a contrasting view, holding up a picture of a dilapidated, graffiti-covered building that was boarded up. He argued that this is what PILOT projects were designed for, and the buildings in Parsippany do not resemble such conditions. He emphasized that the warehouse market was thriving with high rents, and Parsippany’s proximity to major highways (Routes 287, 80, 10, 46, 202, 280) already made it an attractive location without the need for additional incentives. Kaplan dismissed the Mayor’s claims that developers would walk away as baseless.

Park Ridge Council President William Fenwick. He was elected to office because of a PILOT

Fenwick shared Park Ridge’s experience with PILOTs, highlighting the lack of public understanding and unmet revenue promises. In Park Ridge, a mixed-use PILOT project initially promised $700K in revenue but eventually delivered only $400K, with vacant spaces due to high rental prices. Fenwick also stated, “I was elected because of PILOTS.”

Musella voiced his opposition to PILOTs and their impact on residents, offering financial documents related to recent PILOTs for 2 and 3 Campus Drive for attendees to review.

Following the initial presentations, members of the audience were invited to the microphone to ask questions and express their views. Some residents expressed concerns about John Inglesino’s role as an attorney for the developers while also serving as one of the town’s attorneys, questioning whether this posed a conflict of interest.

Parsippany Resident Thomas Williams asked “Why is the Mayor and other Council members in favor of the PILOT? What do they see to justify these approvals?”

Dennis Letts

Dennis Letts directed his statement directly to the Mayor.  “You have time to go on 101.5 every day this week slamming Councilman Musella but you don’t take time to listen to residents or host a meeting to explain your position.”

Ines Proust, another resident, inquired about the process of recalling Mayor Barberio.

Ines Proust, another resident, inquired about the process of recalling Mayor Barberio. Park Ridge Council President Fenwick explained that it wouldn’t be an easy process and mentioned that the Park Ridge Mayor had resigned amid a recall attempt.

You can watch the meeting on Facebook by clicking here.

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Frank Cahill
Frank Cahillhttps://www.frankcahill.com
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.
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