WHIPPANY - A doctor says he's being forced out of his small practice to make room for big business.
Joaquin Garcia is the only Hispanic doctor serving the underprivileged in Whippany. He's operated there for years, and lives just down the road. But he says he's being told to move on so the building can be torn down to make way for a new road.
"For a physician who has paid taxes here for 22 years, not only on my business but on my home," he says, "I think it's unfair."
The township wants to eliminate a road that feeds into Bayer Pharmaceuticals. It would then build a new road, an extension of Parsippany Road, straight to the Bayer campus, which sits directly behind Dr. Garcia's property.
"The problem is that there is an influx of traffic with many vehicles and we're looking to relieve that congestion with the realignment of the roadway," says Hanover Township Business Administrator Joseph Giorgio.
But Dr. Garcia says it's really about big business. The land where the current road sits is owned by a developer, which the township says will eventually be turned into stores and possibly a hotel.
Meanwhile, he says the township is offering him less than market value for the property. He now worries about the future of his practice and his patients.
"I take care of my patients," Garcia says. "Sometimes I don't even charge them, especially the indigent population around the area... These are people who are going to be left without a physician."
Even though the two sides have yet to settle on a price, the township already owns the property. "We've always been open to helping him relocate within the township," Giorgio says. "But I don't think he's come halfway."
Dr. Garcia now has until July 15 to move somewhere else.