Town Council to VOTE Feb 19, 2019 7pm: Town to Purchase Rock Spring Country Club?
Montclair Country Club is selling their Rock Spring Country Club location, at 90 Rock Spring Rd. The developer is asking $14 million for this 138-acre golf course, and Mayor Robert Parisi surprised the public with a Township offer of $11.2 million. Mayor Parisi has since issued a Facebook [2/8/2019] post titled, "Facts Matter." The PDF is available for download below.
Below is an account as described by a West Orange resident, and posted publicly on Facebook, February 6, 2019 (the morning after the Township Council meeting where Mayor Parisi made the surprise offer.):
"You cannot make this stuff up! Last night at the Council meeting, with more than a 4-page agenda packed with legislation, the council recessed at about 7:30 to enter an executive session that the printed agenda stated was for "the purpose of discussing contract negotiations." Shortly after 9 p.m., the council returned to the chambers along with Mayor Parisi, who stepped to the podium and announced that the township has been in negotiations with Montclair CC and the County for many weeks regarding the sale of Rock Spring CC. He said things just didn't work out between the County and MCC, and so the township is planning to buy 140 acres of the property and hire an outside contractor to run it as a public golf course!! Unfortunately, at this point there were only a couple of residents and two reporters left in the chambers to hear all this. (Apologies for the poor video on FB live, but I was half-asleep in the back of the chambers when this stunning course of events took place.)
The mayor had few details; he said he still needs a few days to finalize some things and would not negotiate in public. The only reason the public got a peek at any of this was because the Council had to approve four resolutions to do due diligence prior to the sale, including approving vendors to do an appraisal, environmental study, legal work, etc. Council members are sworn to silence until the mayor's "public announcement," so I got little more info than what was said in the Council chambers.
But a few key points: it clearly involves only 140 acres of the property, not 168 acres like the County's proposal. What's going to happen to those other 28 acres -- open space or residential development? Also, it appears the County can't afford MCC asking price, but West Orange can? Of course, no dollar figures were ever mentioned. One last point, the County Exec's WO representative was there at the start of the meeting, but in a change of habit, he did not get up during Public Comment to speak about County matters, even when called upon by Council President Guarino. Needless to say, he didn't stick around to hear what happened in the executive session.”
Join residents at 8pm on Thursday, February 21st at Town Hall as the owner of Essex Green Shopping Center continues their presentation to the WO Zoning Board about their plans for ReDeveloping Essex Green. At this meeting, the ZB & residents will have an opportunity to question Clarion's architect about his testimony. Clarion's Traffic Engineer is on deck to testify next.
Will the Zoning Board ask hard questions, and require Clarion to provide the very best shopping, dining, and recreation experiences West Orange residents deserve?
Invite your neighbors! Spread the word! Bring your questions, too!
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