Essex Green Redevelopment scheme

Essex Green Sign

Here is the plan we have all been waiting for: “The 300 Executive Drive Redevelopment Plan.” In preparation for the July 11th presentation at Town Hall, by Mayor Parisi, Town Attorney Richard Trenk, and representatives  of the developers themselves, reviewing the plan prior to attending the meeting is recommended. 

If you are unable to attend the meeting but have questions or comments you would like to bring up, please do so on the OGWO FB page, or by emailing info@ourgreenwestorange.org

An OGWO member will be sure to convey your message or inquiry during oublic comment at the meeting. 

What's Behind The ReDevelopment of Essex Green & Executive Drive?

On 12/6, the WO Planning Board voted in favor of the RE-development plan for Essex Green Shopping Center, with the Town Council agreeing 4-1, on 1/9/18. (Despite residents' objections.) A move that could potentially impact residential property taxes for years to come.

The Big Deal

PROS:  

Residents will have a "fresher" Essex Green Shopping Center, offering stores and restaurants to shop and dine at. As well as office buildings along Executive Drive to attract businesses.

CONS: 

1. Residents do not know exactly what will be at the *new* plaza: Box store, Restaurants, Townhomes...?

2. Town administration is making deals with the developer that could potentially impact residential property taxes for years to come, such as designating it as an "Area in need of  Re-Development." (See  W.O. Main Street Re-Development Project)

3. With this designation, comes the developer is eligible for tax ABATEMENTS (tax breaks) at an estimated 30% discount over 30-years.

4. Essex Green Shopping Center & Executive Drive is the second largest tax revenue producing source West Orange has. With substantial decreases in tax revenue, residents will absorb the loss through their own property taxes, and a loss in funding to support our municipal services. (Police, fire, schools, roads...)

5. The strategy the Town has taken to move this project forward has created concerns involving conflicts of interest, tenants rights, environmental impact, safety, residential impacts, procedural steps taken, financial promises, PILOTS, a slowing retail market, public use, and much more.

Residents demand answers

Town Has $9 Million

Why do we need a Redevelopment area when the town is already due more than $9 million for selling the property where the current Public Works building is located and when the properties in the redevelopment area are already zoned for a municipal building

Mayor Recusal?

Why did Trenk say publicly that Mayor Parisi had recused himself from this redevelopment and then the mayor subsequently posted multiple times on Facebook demonstrating intimate knowledge of the project not known publicly and even stating that he would provide tax abatements only for a municipal purpose?

Conflicts of Interest

The Town Council attorney (Mr. Kayser) and the Township Attorney (Mr. Trenk) each told the Town Council that the other had consulted an independent attorney regarding possible conflicts of interest of having a voting Planning Board member (Andrew Trenk) vote on the very plan his father (Richard Trenk) has been pushing. How come an independent attorney wasn’t consulted before the vote took place?

Tax Breaks for Developers

The property owners stand to save millions of dollars in a tax abatement. Under the law, they would negotiate a PILOT that would be much lower than what they would pay on any improvements to the properties. That discount could amount to millions of dollars over 30 years

Blighted Area

Do you believe these tenants would locate in a “blighted” area -- national and regional brands that include Panera, AMC, Shoprite, Sears, Petco, Total Wine, Macy’s, Pearle Vision, Xfinity, Gamestop, Coldstone Creamery, SuperCuts, GNC, H&R Block, CitiFinancial, TGI Fridays, a federal agency, Geico, and Lincoln Educational Services?

Campaign Contributions

Mayor Parisi has stated that he has taken campaign money from BNE. (Which is one of the purchasing companies.)  Which other families, friends, leasing companies, or any of the companies that may eventually bid on the redevelopment of Essex Green and Executive Dr. have written checks to the Mayor's campaign fund?

Timeline for Essex Green ReDevelopment Project

This document was received through an OPRA request. Sent by our own town attorney's law partner (Mark Moon) to our  very own town attorney (Richard Trenk) to the developers (Clarion, and BNE), the developer's attorney (Francis X. Regan), West Orange business administrator (Jack Sayers), WO Police Chief (Abbott), WO municipal engineer (Len Lepore), WO CFO (John Gross), the developer's leasing agent (RealtyProOnline), and the very planner contracted by the town to write a favorable report to find Essex Green an Area in Need of ReDevelopment. 


Relevance: The Town of West Orange had intended to open the door to tax abatements and PILOTs even before it was presented, voted on, or made public. Designating Essex Green as an Area in Need of ReDevelopment was the goal from day one, despite what Mayor Parisi, and his administration stated.

SPECIAL ALERT:  OGWO Member files civil action lawsuit against Township of West Orange, in Superior Court of NJ. 

Seeks to overturn the Essex Green/Executive Drive Area in Need of Redevelopment decision, as supported by WO Mayor Parisi, Town Attorney, Richard Trenk, the Town Planning Board, and the Town Council of West Orange. Conflicts of interest cited, as well as Town's condemnation of the shopping center and office buildings as blighted in an effort to provide developers with (likely) tax abatements, and the town with (likely) PILOTs.