15 Sep 2014
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Expert Planner Backs ShopRite Application; Public Comment, Board Vote Scheduled

Township's planner expressed no major opposition to application that would raze former A&P site and construct a new 65,000-square-foot supermarket in Stop & Shop's backyard

Expert Planner Backs ShopRite Application; Public Comment, Board Vote Scheduled

Testimony by the Wyckoff Planning Board's expert planner Monday night largely supported the application to develop of a 65,000-square-foot supermarket in the footprint of the former A&P shopping center off Greenwood Avenue. 

At a special planning board meeting in , provided testimony arguing that land use documentation — including Wyckoff re-examination reports of 2005 and 2010 and the township's — did not preclude, or did in fact support, redevelopment of the A&P site.

He dismissed concern over a variance requested by the applicant regarding a 20-foot deficiency in a buffer strip where the proposed building borders property, and spoke only briefly about "observation, criticism and concern" over the "undue length" of the parking lot. 

Kauker said there was adequate parking in the proposed plan and that the furthest spaces, which he called a "hike," would likely only be used as employee parking or during a peak holiday situation.

"Would your testimony be that the variances requested... could, if this board wanted, be granted without any substantial deviation from the master zoning plan or the intent of the master zoning plan?" asked Board Attorney .

"I believe they can," Kauker said. 

The objectors, representing and Munico Associates, called Jersey City-based planner Edward Kolling, who provided some testimony contrary to Kauker's opinion.

Kolling did not support Kauker's assessment that the 2005 and 2010 reexamination reports and current zoning ordinance support a case in which the planning board could feasibly approve the Inserra Supermarket application.

planner argued that there was a natural growth from market to supermarket but, "when it continues to grow to be superstores it's a matter of intensity and an amount of judgement has to be used by the board and the people interpreting the ordinance because I don't know where the line exactly is."

He contends the former A&P site was zoned for a food store in a shopping center and not a "superstore."

As attorneys traded examination and reexamination of the witnesses, testimony became snippy and Perconti stepped in to expedite the proceedings.

"Here's what happens as we wind down in this application, everybody's going to try to spar to get the last say... I'm not going to [allow it]," Perconti said. "We've been here two years, if [board members] can't get the issues before them then shame on them, but I'm pretty sure they have... we get it."

Public Comment, Board Vote Scheduled 

Perconti proceeded to lay out tracks leading to the conclusion of the Inserra application.

The board's next meeting is Sept. 12, at that meeting opposing attorney representing Munico Robert Inglima would cross examine traffic   of Boswell Engineering.  

Following that, a Sept. 24 special meeting has been scheduled for public comment.  

An Oct. 10 meeting would be used to tie up potential loose ends, but may not be needed, Perconti said.

Briefs and arguments would be supplied to the board no later than Oct. 22, the date of closing arguments. A decision would likely be handed down by the board on Nov. 26, Perconti said.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at  Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on  Facebook and  Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up  for our daily newsletter.

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