Honeywell Master Plan Update, April 20, 2012
Recently I updated my perspectives regarding the Honeywell proposal to amend the Master Plan. I analyzed pro’s and cons via the web and then attended the April 19 Town Hall session. I now support it. I strongly feel that Honeywell has completed its due diligence regarding its planned investment in its property. Private entities rather than public are best at projecting investment return.
I believe the major complaints about traffic increases are overblown and are manageable. Note below a link to a pro plan letter to the editor by ex Mayor O’Hagan a week ago and my response on-line.
As we saw with Bayer’s moving of employees to Hanover Township, major companies can move all or major parts of their businesses easily and overnight, taking with them jobs, ratables, and the quality of life and high property values that come as a result. That is why mayors work so hard to attract or keep existing companies in their municipalities. Freeholders do the same at the county level. And Gov. Christie is doing everything he can to retain our state’s major employers and attract new ones from around the world.
Here in Morris Township we face a choice. We can approve the zoning change for Honeywell’s Global Headquarters, thereby retaining 1,200 professional jobs, increasing the amount of revenues Honeywell’s property pays in taxes from $1.5 million to $4.4 million, maintaining approximately 50 percent open space on the property, and creating thousands of new jobs in the short- and long-term. Or we can reject the zoning, thereby causing Honeywell to leave the township entirely. The choice is that clear. And it is that important.
Over the past two years, the Planning Board, Honeywell, and engaged citizens have had a dialogue on what to do with the property. In that time, Honeywell revised its plan to reflect much of the public’s input, for instance, removing a hotel and stacked townhomes. The revised plan that is currently before the Planning Board is in keeping with the existing character of the community, as confirmed by the Planning Board’s independent planner. And it represents a significant improvement in traffic generation as opposed to current zoning, according to an independent traffic expert hired by the Planning Board. It does all this while still generating more revenues, maintaining more than a thousand high-paying, professional jobs, and creating hundreds of new jobs that new construction brings.
It is important to remember that Honeywell is only requesting a change in the zoning. They will not have carte blanche approval to change the property. Instead, they will come back to the Planning Board to seek approval through public hearings for all specific changes.
In this economy, the choice is obvious. To preserve the quality of life we enjoy in Morris Township, the Planning Board should approve the zoning change.
Pete O’Hagan Sr.,Former Mayor, MORRIS TOWNSHIP
My response on-line
I live nearby. Appears Honeywell has listened to us well and has been flexible. I support their current plans. I especially like their economic impact study dated march 19 2012 on their web site: local earnings of $47.5 Million and 970 local jobs. If any of my neighbors disagree please stop by or call me.