The Wyckoff Planning Board voted unanimously to instate Berge Tombalakian as its new traffic engineering expert for Inserra Supermarkets' application to build a new ShopRite in the township.
Tombalakian, who was not at the meeting Wednesday, will replace Gary Dean. The board voted to remove Dean from the position last month when it was revealed that he was involved in another Inserra application in New Milford, creating a conflict of interest.
Peter Ten Kate, the board's engineer and a colleague of Tombalakian at Boswell Engineering, said the traffic expert had not heard any testimony or read any transcripts that would taint his objectivity. Tombalakian will have to catch up by reading transcripts of the hearings — minus any comments by Dean — by the next hearing on June 25 at 7 p.m., when he will give his own testimony.
Gail Price, the attorney for Stop & Shop, objected to removing Dean's comments from transcripts, but also said reading them with Dean's comments could damage his objectivity.
"As far as I'm concerned, the record's tainted," Price said.
Robert Inglima, the attorney for Boulder Run, noted that Tombalakian attends the same church as Bryan Hekemian, one of the shopping center's owners. The board deemed this would not create a conflict of interest.
Attorneys for Inserra did not object to Tombalakian's appointment.