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FR&A Analysis: Prasad’s Monument Park Donor Owns Township Vacant Land Suitable For Park

The businessman who is donating the four statues for the proposed “Peace and Nonviolence” park, targeted for open space, owns this land on Davidson Avenue.


The donor of statues targeted for a controversial “Peace and Nonviolence” monument park on township open space owns vacant land in the township that could be suitable for such a park.

The land, two adjoining rectangular lots on Davidson Avenue, is primarily wetlands, but there are about 3 buildable acres at the front of the combined lots, facing Davidson.

The property owner, Piyush Patel, is currently marketing the two lots, which total 11 acres, for about $3.8 million, according to a published report.

Patel successfully appealed one of the lot’s tax assessments in 2015, knocking it down from $2.4 million to $775,000, largely based on the presence of wetlands.

Patel was recently identified in an FR&A article as the donor of four bronze statues that Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad (D-At Large) wants to place in a monument park on about a quarter-acre of the former Consolata Mission property at Route 27 and Cortelyous Road.

The project has come under criticism from some township residents who say that it is being pushed through without proper vetting.

Patel has in the past approached township planning officials with several different projects to build on the Davison Avenue land, none of which ever made it out of the discussion stage.

Probably the most ambitious of the projects, in 2012, was for a mixed-use multi-story development consisting of a restaurant, retail space, convention center and a 10-story, 105-room hotel.

The idea was panned by Mark Healey, the township’s planning director,who in an April 13, 2012 memo to the Zoning Board of Adjustment called it “an effort to overdevelop the site.”

The application called for the borrowing of more than 40o parking spots from the adjacent property owner, which Healey said in his memo “far exceeds the magnitude of shared parking ever contemplated before one of the Township boards in recent memory.”

Patel also planned to put retail on the building’s second floor, which indicated to Healey that the shops would be only for hotel and convention center guests.

“I fail to understand how this site is particularly suitable for retail,” he wrote.

Healey also noted that Patel did not submit complete plans.

“It is strongly recommended that the applicant reconsider the proposal and downsize it to one that can be more appropriately  accommodated on that site,” Healey wrote.

 

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