Government

Court Date Set for Oral Arguments in Prism Lawsuit

a6c64ff9ef1710d77d4b_best_ab550d080eeda8bf8529_dfc88e0fa075685f5c0d23b520ed605cartist-rendering-of-main-street.jpg
Credits: www.westorange.org
a6c64ff9ef1710d77d4b_best_ab550d080eeda8bf8529_dfc88e0fa075685f5c0d23b520ed605cartist-rendering-of-main-street.jpg

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Supreme Court of New Jersey has scheduled oral arguments on November 12, 2014, from 9:00 am to 11:00 am to begin the determination of the outcome of a lawsuit filed against the township by several residents unhappy with the approval of a $6.3 million dollar bond that would fund infrastructure projects around Prism Capital Partners, LLC proposed downtown redevelopment at the site of the Edison Battery factory.

The oral arguments will determine whether or not the ordinance establishing a $6.3 municipal infrastructure bond approved by the township on March 6, 2012, is valid. West Orange residents Rosary Morelli, Althia Tweiten, Windale Simpson, Mark Meyerowitz and Michael Scharfstein began lawsuits against the township on May 12, 2012, the first filed in Municipal Court after their group, Citizens for Responsible Government Spending, failed to have their petitions certified to go to a referendum vote. The group also objected to the township's approval of a 30 year property tax abatement. That lawsuit and its appeal were decided in favor of the township.

However, the New Jersey Supreme Court has agreed to hear the component regarding the ordinance. The plaintiffs claim that the town did not apply for approval from the local Finance Board at the NJS Dept. of Community Affairs after adjustments were made to the Redevelopment plans.

Sign Up for E-News

The First Phase of the proposed Edison Village would be comprised  of "approximately 333 residential rental units; (ii) approximately 18,500 square feet of commercial retail space; (iii) approximately 31,700 square feet of other amenity support space; and (iv) a parking structure containing approximately 635 spaces (the “Parking Deck”); and (v) such other parking areas as may be approved by the Planning Board in accordance with the provisions of the Redevelopment Plan to accommodate parking for residential and retail uses as hereinafter provided; together with such public infrastructure and improvements relating thereto, including utilities, roadways, pathways, sidewalks, public rights of way and open space, as identified in the Phase 1 Infrastructure Construction Agreement and other amenities on the Edison Battery Parcels (collectively, the “Phase 1 Project”)."

Speculation spearheaded by the group at township council meetings and supported by Councilman Joe Krakoviak, who voted no on the project, have centered around Prism's tardiness in property tax payments, which to date total $549,618.00 on multiple properties including the Battery Factory project at 175 Main Street and properties on Ashland Avenue comprising the site of the old Barton Press building.

As the property owners, Prism has until the end of the year to bring their taxes up to date before the township must consider the default process, though opponents of the project are calling for default proceedings to begin now. In addition, detractors of the project are claiming that there is no reason why Prism cannot begin construction, even with a lawsuit pending. 

With mayoral and township council elections looming, Prism and the Downtown Redevelopment project has become a focus of criticism for incumbents Robert Parisi, running for re-election as mayor, and Susan McCartney and Victor Cirilo, seeking re-election for township council.

In an interview with TAP into West Orange, Mayor Parisi commented on Prism, their tardiness in paying taxes and the start of construction, saying, "Why they don’t pay, it’s a little bit discouraging, but they do eventually pay the late fees and the interest and we’re going to continue to work with them and every tax payer who gets behind on their taxes.”

Contrary to his opponents in the mayoral race, Parisi does not believe that Prism's failure to begin construction on the project is due to financial insolvency. "Most of their financing for construction is going to be through lenders in addition to their own equity through their financial partners,” said Parisi, “so no I’m not concerned about that. They are going to have to be current on their taxes before they start the project.”

As for the $6.3 million bond, it would not take effect until the project is well underway and at the point where infrastructure work (roads, sidewalks, etc.) is required. To date, the township has not issued any money or bonds on Prism's behalf.

What many residents may not realize is that Prism has already invested a substantial amount of money in the property, including remediation totaling approximately $60 million dollars as well as paying milliions in property taxes since purchasing the parcels without any offsetting revenue and with carrying fees. 

TAP into West Orange will provide updated information as it becomes available.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

$100 OFF per Week for Summer Camp Now!

July 12, 2018

Guerrero Marital Arts is now offering an 8-week summer camp for summer 2018!

Pick which weeks you want!

Camp Weeks are:

July 16, July 23, July 30, August 6, August 13, August 20, August 27

Includes the following:

Fitness
Fun (through Sports, Play and Games)
Field Trips (may cost extra)
Life Lessons
Reading Time
Martial Arts
A great place to ...

Bucco Couture Summer Sale on All Custom Suits, Shirts and Casual Wear

NUTLEY, NJ — Save while looking sharp! 20% off all summer wear an extra 10% savings for Military, Veterans and all first responders at Bucco Couture, 187 Franklin Avenue in Nutley, with the launch of some new products such as our tracksuit line, crushed cotton drawstring pants and jeans. 

We also carry Bugatchi and Rober Graham casual wear as well as stretch high V-neck ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

July 14, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters in Newark, according to one of two ordinances approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, August 15, 10:00 AM

Cancer Center Resource Room, Belleville

Living Well with Parkinson’s Disease Support ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_04cbbf122cf5df3a3091_festival_b

Sat, August 25, 2:00 PM

Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center (OSPAC), West Orange

LE PIQUE NIQUE WINE & MUSIC FESTIVAL

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

West Orange PAL Spring Travel Baseball Teams Wrap Up (Championship Team Photos Included)

The West Orange PAL Spring Travel Baseball season started with a cold front. Practices began indoors in January with teams practicing two nights a week working on conditioning and baseball fundamentals. Once the snow had melted teams began battling the cold and working outdoors, with three or four practices a week in addition to their games. 

And the hard work and dedication paid off! All ...

Public Invited to Essex County Opioid Use Prevention Task Force Meeting

July 15, 2018

CALDWELL, NJ — All Essex County residents, mayors and councils, law enforcement members, school officials, clergy members, civic organizations and more are invited to join in the next Essex County Opioid Use Prevention Task Force meeting on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss how the Essex County communities can join work together to eradicate this epidemic.

The meeting will be held at the ...

Would Shedding

How much wood wouldn’t a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck woodn’t?

 

Enough already.  

 

I get it.  It is an easy mistake to make, misusing would and wouldn’t.  It happens to me all the time.

 

“Honey, when I said I didn’t see any reason why I would go to the ballet, I meant to say I couldn’t see ...

Extra Time

It was close to 70 minutes into the match and I had to go to the bathroom.  Badly.

As fans watching the World Cup know too well, bathroom breaks are a serious dilemma, especially for those who don’t have a TV in the loo.  This biological necessity is exasperated by beer, which during World Cup matches also fuels a strong propensity to throw chairs and instigate riots.