Our Green West Orange holds walk and talk in Essex Green

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — On Jan. 13, Our Green West Orange members hosted an Essex Green Walk and Talk, led by Kevin Malanga and Gary Van Wyck, to show West Orange residents what OGWO finds to be deficiencies in Clarion Partners proposed plans for Essex Green Shopping Center, which is currently being considered at public hearings by the Zoning Board at Town Hall.

Councilwoman Cindy Matute-Brown and Council President Jerry Guarino were in attendance. Approximately 50 residents attended or watched on Facebook Live.

According to OGWO, issues with Clarion Partners proposed plans include drive-throughs, a dangerous traffic layout, lack of sidewalks and removal of 148 trees.

“Violating their own corporate responsibility statements, which boast an architectural approach that promotes sustainability, reduction of greenhouse gases, energy and water reduction, Clarion Partners will leave residents of West Orange with an Essex Green that is substantially less green, by cutting 148 established trees and planting 170 saplings in similar constrained medians, which lack adequate soil and water,” OGWO said in a statement. “The trees will never reach a height to provide shade. There will be no attractive plant-filled bioswales to contain stormwater, no green roofs, no water-saving appliances and no clean energy systems, such as solar power on those huge rooftops.”

Clarion Partners is currently requesting variances to create two new drive-throughs and to permit more signage. The next Zoning Board hearing takes place Thursday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m. in Town Council chambers, 66 Main St., West Orange.

Photos Courtesy of Sally Malanga