NUTLEY, NJ - Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci responded during the Tuesday, Dec. 3 Nutley Board of Commissioners public meeting to a post made by Mayor Joseph P. Scarpelli in the online Facebook group run by Anthony Buccino, “You know you're from Nutley N.J. when” regarding the redevelopment of the Hoffmann- La Roche campus, now the site of On3 and the developer Prism Capital Partners.

The post by Scarpelli stated, “Whether you favor round-about circles or improved intersections, the bottom line here is we the Board of Commissioners have been asking for an overall build out and a traffic study for over two years. It would be irresponsible for us to allow any traffic modifications or improvements without having the best information […] available. From the beginning we agreed that our community would be best served by requesting from the developer an overall, including Nutley and Clifton, conceptual plan for the entire site. We should never allow another developer to move forward without safe guards in place. Take a right on Kingsland [Street] from 3 [p.m.] on and you can see the traffic there is backed up. […] we, as a board, requested numerous times and we decided to commission {a traffic study].  A piece mail transactional development is unacceptable. We remain open-minded and welcome smart development that will serve both communities well into the future. With open honest dialogue we have negotiated, supported and secured the Seton Hall Hackensack Meridian Graduate School of Medicine, Modern Meadow, Ralph Lauren, Quest Diagnostics, and appropriate parking facilities. Our responsibility […] first and foremost, is to our residents. We look forward to a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship between the Township of Nutley and the on3 development.”

Tucci said, “I feel it was important to support what the Mayor [posted], because it wasn’t the Mayor’s decision, it was the Board of Commissioners’ decision. And it’s something I totally believe in. […] It’s not that Nutley is not open to development, we fought hard going back to when Mayor [Alphonse] Petracco and I were the representatives there to get that development underway, to get the medical school there, and we were told […] you’re not going to get any big [pharmaceutical] or medical type development there for the next 25 years. […] we beat the odds, we got them there. […] but we will not proceed without appropriate safe guards.”

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Public Safety Commissioner Alphonse Petracco said, “We’re not here to give the store away. […] That site is way ahead of schedule and the residents of Nutley are reaping the benefits because the ratables that are coming on line or the jobs that are out there. […] All the companies there have been fantastic to us.”

Petracco commended Public Affairs Commissioner Steven L. Rogers on the way he conducted himself at the Nov. 18 BOC meeting when Eugene Diaz, principal, Prism Capital Partners, LLC requested the commissioners withdraw their objection to the application in Clifton in front of their planning board for development of the Marriott Hotel and medical office building. “We’re not going to be bullied and we’re here and we live in the town and we’re here for the best interest of the taxpayer, the residents […],” Petracco said.

Rogers said that while many businesses are closing, such as A.C. Moore, that others are coming to Nutley. He also agreed that the township has to look out for the taxpayers.  “We’re not going to be bullied by anybody just to make a decision because it would be politically healthy, it would be politically advantageous. The board doesn’t work that way,” he said.

Rogers suggested before one believes what one reads on the internet, especially regarding the redevelopment of the On3 site to call the commissioners. “I believe in healthy discussion,” he said.

Revenue and Finance Commissioner Thomas J. Evans said, “Right now social media is being used to influence public opinion, that which suggests the approach we are taking as a Board of Commissioners isn’t sound, isn’t the right path. […] We’ve all heard comments but I want to put a point on them, we will look for great job opportunities for the residents of the town, we will look to recover permanently every tax dollar that we can recover from that property.”

According to Evans, the township is also looking for greater opportunities to improve home property values. “But we won’t forsake the quality of life of our town to do it. […] The traffic study is core to understanding what that impact can be,” he said.

“It’s nice to say, oh let’s looks at an assisted living project because its only on four acres and that’s something quick that we can do. That’s exactly what the builder would like us to do. It’s great to say oh he’s put out in the past that on the west side of the railroad tracks he’d like to build 400,000 square feet of space. It’s also nice to say, okay those are nice improvements on the Nutley side but there is well over 2 million square feet of space that is going to be developed on the Clifton side. […] What is the impact on all of that on our town, on our roadways, and the quality of life associated with that,” he asked.

Evans said there already have been comparisons to the amount of people on the site 30 to 40 years ago and there had to be traffic patterns then. He pointed out the township has changed since then and today cannot compare.

“As a position of the board we taken approach says we don’t want to do it piecemeal, we don’t want to do it without good confident data that suggest that we know what the impacts are going to be on all those decisions,” said Evans.

Scapelli said the township made sure Ralph Lauren moved in quickly, the township has also approved a temporary driveway, and a garage that was still under construction but safe.

“This Board of Commissioners is always going to watch out for the people of Nutley. […] And we will cooperate when we need to cooperate.[…] We cooperated with the developer, for anyone to think that we are not being cooperative that’s just not true,” he said.

There is approximately 2 million square feet that will be developed on the Clifton side of the On3 site.

 

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