by Robert Spiegel
On behalf of the nonprofit Edison Wetlands Association (EWA), I am writing regarding the township of Edison’s recent action in betraying the public trust by voting to steal preserved parkland off the Recreation and Open Space Inventory in order build a three-acre hall in the Dismal Swamp Conservation Area.
Ironically, at the beginning of the council meeting, Council President Robert Karabinchak stated that his goal this year was to make Edison a better town. You can’t create a better town by destroying ecologically sensitive wetlands that protect neighboring families from dangerous flooding.
This proposed development would clear-cut pristine forests, pave over ecologically sensitive wetlands, and destroy a culturally important area of the Dismal Swamp in Edison. The development would also drastically increase flooding for the thousands of families who live next door and nearby, who already suffer from the recent overdevelopment that has taken place in this densely populated and diverse region. If this proposed development isn’t that detrimental to the Dismal Swamp, then why did the applicant hire a connected planner and law firm to represent them?
Hundreds of Edison families have repeatedly voiced their opposition to this development. Concerned Edison residents were shocked at Wednesday night’s council meeting when they were told that they couldn’t comment on the proposed resolution to move forward with this development. Every other resolution on the agenda was open for public comment.
Furthermore, there is a new member on the council — Mr. Lombardi — who was the first to vote in favor of the resolution despite not being present for any of the numerous meetings when so many Edison residents spoke out passionately against this project. Mr. Lombardi should have been able to hear the concerns from Edison’s residents’ first-hand, yet the township attorney made sure that couldn’t happen. Instead, Lombardi was used as a pawn in this game. When asked if he remembered one fact from the case, Mr. Lombardi’s silence was deafening.
Yet again the Edison Council, with the exception of Bob Diehl and Wayne Mascola, failed Edison taxpayers and took the easy way out. A land swap could have been a perfect resolution for this long-standing problem being that there are hundreds of acres of abandoned lots and underutilized land throughout Edison that would be ideal for redevelopment and suitable for this development to be built on. Edison’s request is now being sent to New Jersey’s Green Acres Department for a final review and decision.
At the end of the meeting, an Edison resident that lives near Alexis Lane summed it up perfectly: “Democrats are supposed to be for the people and environment.” Obviously the Democrats we have in Edison care more about protecting developers than doing what’s best for the people of Edison.
If you would like to become more involved and help defeat this proposal, visit NJDismalSwamp.org.