Save Mt. Pleasant Forest fundraiser tops $20,000
We are dedicated to improving the lives of those in our community, including our local wildlife and trees! OGWO is a volunteer-led, 501(c)3 charitable organization. (Including our executive board.) Your contribution today helps us continue our advocacy work - Thank You!
OGWO continues to accept charitable donations to support families who were displaced by the 275 Northfield Road rock slide. Read Steve Strunsky's article below.)
West Orange Schools staff and students continue to raise money for our town's displaced residents. Donations are still being collected. Click the "Donate Now" button above, or click HERE. Read Eric Keifer's article below.
Questions remain as to why the rock slide occurred, and why the township of West Orange did not immediately send engineers out to the site to assess the stability of the cliff. Additionally, have other homeowners below the cliff been contacted, and have their backyards and properties been assessed for safety? OGWO is following the story closely, in part because the rock slide took pace directly below the Seton Hall Prep athletic complex, which they constructed after removing a 40-acre old growth forest. Could this have been a factor in the rock slide? Is the why the township of West Orange is treading the investigation with kid gloves? (The Zoning Board, Planning Board, Township Council, former Mayor( Assemblyman McKeon) have all had a hand in the clearing of the forest and the resulting construction of impervious areas, turf fields, and lacking drainage systems. We urge residents to urge leaders NOT to allow the demolition of 275 Northfield until a full investigation has been completed. Click the button below to contact Andrew Bruck, Acting Attorney General of NJ, or call his office at: 609-984-5828.
Our Green West Orange is joining the Quiet Communities movement in an effort to create an even safer, healthier and more equitable township. We are advocating for a ban on using gas-powered leaf blowers within West Orange. Please sign and share our petition, complete with links to local officials who can support and pass such an ordinance.
The flier is available as a download below, complete with more information.
For information, visit our Leaf Blower page HERE.
Please take a moment to sign our petition by clicking the button below.
What began as local municipalities banning gas-powered leaf blowers has become entire states working towards similar initiatives. California is leading the way, and now Washington, D.C. has upped the ante in this Climate Emergency fight!
A valid concern is for businesses who use, repair, and sell gas-powered lawn equipment. Check out our Leaf Blower Page for information addressing how these bans are good for the industry.
Our Green West Orange members have been working to protect and preserve one of West Orange's most impressive historical structures: The Hecker Carriage House. (If the name Hecker sounds familiar, it's because you may recognize it from shopping the baking aisle: Hecker Flour is still sold today!)
Read American Institute of Architects NJ's press release below, complete with a short historical overview.
Read the April 2021 Jersey Digs article HERE about the uphill battle residents are having in saving this historic house.
On 20, 2021, the majority West Orange Zoning Board voted to approve CubeSmart's application to build a storage facility along Pleasant Valley Way. The proposed storage facility poses a grave danger to the neighborhood because it requires the excavation of a high-gradient slope, directly beneath Roosevelt Ave. The township’s zoning ordinance states: “disturbance of slopes 25% or more is prohibited.” This ordinance was put in place to prevent erosion and reduce the risk of dangerous landslides.
Under Municipal Land Use Law, the applicant for this project had to prove that this project will not be a detriment to the Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance. View West Orange's Steep Slope/Land Use Regulations HERE. The applicant convinced al but two zoning board members that building this commercial structure in a residential neighborhood is a beneficial use for the site. This project will endanger the homes above it, as well negatively impact the property values of the surrounding homes. No tax ratable is worth it.
The road to a $100 million dollar tax break for the Executive Drive developer has been paved for the second time, by the majority Township Council. (And Township Planning Board) The developer seeks to build 425 apartments at Executive Drive. They seek a $100 million, 30 year tax break from us! Mayor Parisi is for it. (The same mayor who takes campaign contributions from the developer, BNE.)
Webinar ID: 813 3279 7995 Password: 196291
Our Green West Orange was first established to help protect the townships's trees. Join fellow residents, including our local youth, in advocating for a stronger tree ordinance:
Stay updated on meetings by subscribing to our blast, above.
Earn good karma!
OGWO seeks graphic designers, illustrators, writers, PTA Reps, & social media posters. Have a skill we didn’t mention above? Email us!
So many organizations in WO that OGWO supports & partners with. Join us! Join them! Be part of the solution!
OGWO is proud to highlight videos that help educate others about what is happening in West Orange. Pop some corn, find a friend, and visit our videos page!
The zoo has already been expanded several times. Why does the Essex County Executive want to expand the Turtle Back Zoo yet again?
County Executive Joe DiVincenzo claims that the zoo needs a 500 seat amphitheater to provide education for the thousands of students who visit the zoo each year. However studies show students learn better in smaller settings and there already is a smaller amphitheater in the zoo.
What sort of education is the County Executive talking about?
Wild animals will be forced into small enclosures and then paraded out before large audiences using strobe & LED lighting rigs, and a full speaker system.
How is this education rather than entertainment?
It’s not. Animals being displayed in this way before large crowds have little to no educational value and cause the animals stress and extreme discomfort. In reality, the county plans to rent out the pavilion to private groups. We can expect concerts, parties and other entertainment to take place there as the county collects “premium” rental fees.
Why is such a large amphitheater needed?
The county wants to increase attendance at the zoo from the current 900,000 visitors/year to 1.2 million. This will cause more traffic, sound and light pollution and damage our last large forest. All effecting the suburban neighbors.
How many trees have to be destroyed for this latest expansion?
At least 135 mature trees and many, many smaller trees, undergrowth, plants and wildflowers; an entire habitat in fact. And this is not the first time. In total, since 2005 more than 10 acres have been destroyed. Hundreds of trees.
Is that so bad? Doesn’t growth have to happen?
The South Mountain Reservation is the last large wild space in Essex County. Already the county has destroyed significant parts of this historic land to build a zip line, mini-golf course, and confined artificial habitats for exotic animal ill suited to our climate. They have taken away a natural resource placed in trust for the citizens of Essex County to make money for the county. Surely land that has already been zoned and developed can be devoted to these purposes, if they are really needed, not this historic Reservation.
Besides harming trees and animals, what else is wrong with the project?
As we watch an entire continent go up in flames, as the ice caps melt and species are wiped out every few days, do we want to destroy more open space? Trees and plants also absorb and preserve enormous amounts of the most precious resource on the planet: water and they offset tons of carbon dioxide. Now that so many trees have been chopped down, the roads flood after each rain.
If the amphitheater is built, will more expansion and more destruction take place?
Looking at how the county has behaved in the past, there is every reason to be concerned that yet more land will be seized for other destructive projects. In fact, their own plan projects development in almost every direction.
What is the name of this amphitheater project?
When the county discovered that many citizens opposed this destructive and unnecessary Amphitheater project, they decided to call it the “Conservation Pavilion.” Many people find this offensive: what kind of “conservation” destroys natural habitat to put up an entertainment arena? It’s a CON.
What can we do about all this?
When young people, especially students in Essex County, speak out, it makes a big impact. Students are not a passive audience, they are citizens, leaders and have a stake in the future—their future. The few students protesting at recent Town Council Meetings and hearings have been hard to ignore.
When we attend meetings, what can we say?
Share your feelings about having more land destroyed, more animals mistreated and all in your name and in the name of your education and for the supposed betterment of your home and community. One or two talking points are all that is needed; speak directly from your heart.
South Mountain Conservancy Writes the County
A sample of some of SMC's recommendations for the County:
...while we think that the County’s announcement of public hearings on the master plan is excellent, the process from the start should have included stakeholders, both West Orange and the Conservancy. That was not the case. Too much money and precious land is at stake for this to have been developed in a vacuum.
As reported by Essex County resident Judith Rosenthal, esq. (who was in attendance at both the Essex County Open Space Advisory Board, and the Essex County Freeholders meetings, July 8 & 10, 2019):
Freeholder President Brendan Gill has issued the following statement in response to community concerns regarding proposed construction and expansion at Turtle Back Zoo:
It's happening again! (And no it's not because of Covid...) Recent proposal of another 1.5% increase compliments of WO Twp.
Curious about the WO power structure? How do the dots connect in West Orange?
Advocate for change. Petitions to help West Orange grow & flourish.
OGWO responded to a home on Woodland Ave., Friday, May 10, 2019 to document and question why 11 healthy trees were being cut. There were no tree removal permits issued.
OGWO and an enviro-passionate Roosevelt Middle student handed out and planted 150 trees for free to West Orange seniors & interested residents.
West Orange residents continue to advocate for a sustainable, green, & safe Essex Green Shopping Center, despite the majority Township Council and administration siding with the wealthy developer, Clarion Partners, LLP. Up next Executive Drive.
The township of West Orange yet again designates a town property as "blighted," essentially handing another wealthy developer potential BIG tax abatements for residents to pay. The WO Public Library is the latest blighted area.
West Orange residents are the new owners of Rock Spring Country Club, located at 90 Rock Spring Rd. 138-acres for $12 million. Help fellow residents keep their eye on how well the Mayor follows through with his "gentleman's agreement" that the property will not be developed more than the 15-acres he has promised.
West Orange, NJ 07052, US