Preservation Group Weighs in on Roche
Nutley group doesn't want apartments or condos going on 127-acre campus when Roche closes it down in a year.
Jim Levendusky of the Nutley Community Preservation Partnership wants the township and Roche officials to know his group does not want apartments, condominiums or a mix of retail stores to replace the departing drug company at its campus on Route 3.
Levendusky said the more than 100-member partnership that has worked to preserve and restore Nutley's historic character for more than eight years is concerned about Roche's departure.
"Everybody's minds are on the Roche property," Levendusky said. "We are not in favor of anything involving putting apartments or condos there, or a mixed use involving residential and retail stores."
The property is zoned for commercial or office space use, and he said the partnership does not want to see the large campus subdivided into retail or residential units.
Nutley officials are planning a response to Roche's decision to leave and take more than $9 million in tax revenues and jobs from the community. The company will stop its operations in 2013 and sell by 2015.
Roche announced a month ago it was leaving town and closing the 127-acre campus.
Nutley’s Board of Commissioners has outlined plans to use town attorneys, planning and zoning officials, tax professionals and outside counsel to tackle lost tax revenues, possible contamination of the site and how best to use the property.
While sounding off on Roche, Levendusky said the group is also working with town officials on an historic preservation ordinance.
"We're creating a committee, and we'd like to see this move forward," Levendusky said.
"What led to our formation was that the character of the town was changing, and we were becoming much more urbanized," Levendusky said. "We saw more mulit-family houses being approved, and trees, which define Nutley so much, being taken down. We understand that changes happen, but we want to make sure it is being done smartly."