NUTLEY, NJ - Eugene Diaz, principal, Prism Capital Partners, LLC presented the Nutley Board of Commissioners an award for the Nutley code officials for their diligence to move in Ralph Lauren to the On3 campus during the Nov. 18 public meeting. Ralph Lauren and its 1,100 employees completed the move into 100 Metro Blvd. in October.

Prism crossed the $200 million threshold mark of their investment of the On3 campus. “[…] I think it’s a big mark of confidence, and our commitment to responsible development in the community,” said Diaz.

Soon after the award was presented, Diaz requested an appeal to the BOC to withdraw their objection to the application in Clifton in front of their planning board for development of the Marriott Hotel and medical office building. “It’s having a reputable damage to our ongoing discussions and negotiations with potential tenants to continue to attract them to this campus. And I really think that the public nature of the objection tarnishes Nutley’s own brand image as a pro-business friendly municipality,” said Diaz.

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Diaz asked the BOC to contact Prism to discuss any concerns they have and to continue the one-on-one discussions.

According to Diaz, Prism has always represented themselves to have the best interest of the community at heart. “I think the advice you are getting from the redevelopment council which I boil down to this idea that somehow you have to hold leverage over us as a developer here to get us to do the right thing, I think is completely wrong,” said Diaz “I don’t think anything that we [have] done to date can go remotely near irresponsible development,” he added.

Diaz believes by the BOC appealing the hotel they are sending a message that implies they do not want the campus developed as a mixed use livable, workable environment.

Public Affairs Commissioner Steven L. Rogers responded, “I am going to be very frank and very clear on how I feel. […] To begin with I feel you came up here [to] try to soften the target and then after the target is softened, you come off with this idea that you should officially request us to withdraw something that we feel is necessary. To do what? Not to tarnish the image of you, or of the project or this township but to represent the people of this community,” he said. “I want you to understand that you come to a community where the people stick together [and] work together,” he added.

Rogers was offended and believes Diaz’s request was outrageous. Rogers said his motives always were and always will be for the best interest of the taxpayers of this community.

Diaz added, “None of my statements went to ethics at all of anybody or motive, [...] I think there is a path that we have previously embarked over the three years that somewhere has gone off on a different direction and its generated animus between the two parties which cannot continue.” 

According to Diaz, Prism, Nutley and Clifton were meeting monthly but have not done so recently.

Rogers interrupted and told Mayor Joseph P. Scarpelli that Diaz had his 15 minutes and asked to end the conversation. Diaz left the meeting with no further comment.

Township Attorney Alan Genitempo said the monthly or bi-monthly meetings were canceled by the Clifton side and Nutley is ready to meet at any time. “We were told there is no new news to report so there is nothing to meet about,” he said.

According to Genitempo, the redevelopment committee has consistently dealt with Prism in terms of trying to get detailed information regarding the future development of the property. Nutley is rejecting to certain things in Clifton relative to understanding the impacts that may occur in Nutley due to development in Clifton. In order to enter and exit the On3 campus traffic will go through Nutley public roads.

Genitempo said he is happy that Diaz is interested and willing to invest money in infrastructure on roadways.  According to Genitempo, for the last two years the attorneys in Nutley had a weekly conference call with attorneys and had countless meetings with engineers with Diaz and his professionals to discuss traffic uses and certain uses on Kingsland Street. Certain roadway changes they are requesting include the intersections of Kingsland Street at Bloomfield Avenue, Ideation Way and Cathedral Avenue.

The BOC has taken the steps to hire Sam Schwartz Engineering, traffic engineer, to determine what impact the total redevelopment will have on the township and the residents.

“I had made it clear to the attorney for the Clifton planning board that I don’t believe the Commissioners are absolutely objective the uses but they need to know the impacts and we believe that needs to come through our zoning board,” said Genitempo.

Scarpelli said, “The public should know that we have asked for a traffic study for a year and it has not been provided and that we had to go out and provide our own traffic study […].  We are concerned with development of this entire site and how it’s going to affect [Nutley]. […] We want to make sure that we mitigate any of those potential problems going forward.”

Over two thirds of the traffic will go through Nutley because the only way to get into and out of the campus is using Route 3 Eastbound.

“It’s convenient to sometimes piece mail this process, but this Board of Commissioners has been steadfast that we are not going to piece mail this. We allowed the vacant buildings to be occupied but going forward we are going to make sure the citizens and our quality of life are not affected,” said Scarpelli.

Parks and Recreations Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci added, “We are not going to approve things on a transactional basis. We will approve things that are appropriate. Our responsibility as commissioners here are to the people of Nutley. […] We will not sacrifice the people of Nutley for a tax dollar. Tax dollars are important but quality of life is equally important.”

Revenue and Finance Commissioner Thomas J. Evans said, “We have a philosophical difference as to the approach to the redevelopment of the property. We […] have reinforced time and time again that we need to understand what a full build out not just on the Nutley side but on the Clifton side.[…] The property of the redevelopment needs to fit with the community”

Most of the new development of the 120 acre property will be done on the Clifton side which poses significant impacts on Nutley. 

The next Board of Commissioners meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3.

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