ShopRite Coming to Wyckoff after Unanimous Planning Board Vote

The "long, arduous road" from inception to Design Review Board to Monday night's vote lasted more than three years.

The Wyckoff Planning Board voted unanimously Monday to allow Inserra Supermarkets to go ahead with its plan to build a massive grocery store on an abandoned Greenwood Avenue commercial site, in spite of some board members' lingering concerns regarding a potential increase in traffic on township roads.   

"Redevelopment of this site is what I think is needed," said Wyckoff Planning Board Member Scott Fisher. "It will bring jobs to the community and the surrounding area [and] it will beautify the area."

Each of the planning board's nine members voted in support of the application, which asked the land use board to consider requested variances for issues such as lot depth requirement, buffer width, parking stall size, sign regulations and design issues such as non-compliant slope.

Board Member Robert Kane called the three-plus year process leading up to Monday's vote a "long, arduous road," but stressed that the deliberation on the Inserra application had not taken "too long."

"To those who believe this process should have been shortened, circumvented or rushed: If you believe that than you just don't get the process," Kane said. "We the planning board have an obligation to the town to make sure that we have afforded everyone the opportunity to have their voices heard and their positions set forth."

Similarly, Planning Board Member Doug Christie called the Inserra application a "big deal" for Wyckoff, and said that he wasn't surprised nor taken aback by the duration of the application process.

"I don't think the application took that long," Christie said. "This is very important for our township; there are not many parcels of property left and whatever we do we want to make sure we get it right."

The time invested by attorneys, experts, and board members was well spent, said Christie, who is also a Wyckoff Township Committeeman.

Christie, however, voiced a strongly-cautious approval for the project, citing a potential traffic situation on one of the streets adjacent the ShopRite site

"I'm very concerned, and I'm not the least bit comfortable with the entrance off Greenwood Avenue and that parking lot design," Christie said. "Leaving that up to 'We'll figure that out later if it doesn't work,' is a poor design — we've spent two and a half years, we ought to get that right." 

Vehicle traffic at food stores is especially intense in the days leading up to weather events and holidays, Christie said, and should that volume reach a critical mass, "that could be a huge bottleneck for us.

"So, I am concerned about traffic."

Planning Board Member Doug Macke, however, posited that were the existing supermarket and small strip mall that now sit vacant on the Greenwood Avenue lot to be re-inhabited rather than razed to make way for a ShopRite, traffic would increase on the streets of Wyckoff and the planning board would have no say on the matter.

"While traffic is a concern, I don't know that it is an overriding concern," Macke said before giving the application his blessing. 

"Traffic was a concern when the YMCA started their summer camp, does that mean there should be no summer camp?" asked Planning Board Member Jaime McGuire before casting her vote in support of the application.

Planning Board Chairman Richard Bonsignore said that many of the issues that were raised by opponents of the application throughout the process were mirrored by the application that eventually led to the development of Boulder Run.   

"The concern of traffic — and I do feel it is going to be of a concern — how is it more of a concern that it was with Boulder Run?" Bonsignore said.

Bonsignore said there was an economic motivation in approving the application, as well.

"To have a thriving entity come into this community and create traffic, I think, also creates life and movement and could, in turn, have people introduced to adjacent businesses and that is part of the master plan," Bonsignore said.

The public had twice been given the opportunity to speak up regarding the project, and has been generally favorable to the application. The few persistent voices expressing trepidation with another supermarket in Wyckoff had been residents worried about this potential increase in traffic.

Following the unanimous vote approving the application, Attorney Robert J. Inglima, Jr., said the board's decision was "not unexpected."

Inglima, who represents Munico Associates and Wyckoff Residential — effectively the interests of the Hekemian family and Boulder Run — did not want to comment on a potential future appeal of the board's decision before first seeing its official resolution.

The Wyckoff Planning Board's next meeting in scheduled for Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m.

Click here to browse through more of Wyckoff Patch's in-depth coverage of the Inserra application.

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.

susan November 28, 2012 at 01:29 PM
That is correct, Linda. I look forward to the competition which always results in lower prices for the consumer. I'm also looking forward to improving that parcel of land which has been an eyesore for way too long.
brian November 28, 2012 at 02:05 PM
You may not have wanted a supermarket, but that plot of land is been vancant for quite a long time and an eye siar. There is simple reason why there would never be a bowling alley or movie theater. They are not economically viable. Not too even mention, how the neighbors would either complain about loitering and a movie theater generating traffic to 1 or 2 in the morning. The reality was that it would be a supermarket or an abandoned piece of land forever. I could also imagine the upcry if was to become low income housing.
John Briggs November 28, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I have a question for those who believe that Wyckoff shouldn't have two grocery stores.... How many grocery stores should any town have? Should their be a limit on them? Should there only be a limit on grocery stores, or should we limit how many gas stations, pizzerias, banks or hardware stores a town has too?
Gary Rabinowitz November 28, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I have a similar question for "John Briggs" -- should zoning laws exist? Should government officials and existing residents have input into what gets built, as it relates to many things like traffic burdens, cost of policing, costs of extra roads/access, etc? Should any government restrict the building of grocery stores, gas stations, pizzerias, banks? And if your answer to that is 'No,' why should there be any restrictions on developing this or any commercial land into a strip club, shooting range, halfway house for recovering drug addicts, or an RV car park? Should planning & zoning boards try to gauge the likely impact a new development will have on the existing ratable payers? Or should they let anything go and let the tax & town fiscal 'chips' fall where they may? As with many things, and to answer your question, there is some art and some science involved. There are reasonable points made by the 'pro Shop Rite' camp -- add to the tax base (potentially), remove an eyesore, increase the convenience to Wyckoff residents. To those points, I would rebut that any addition to the tax base will likely be short term, as will the temporary improvement in town aesthetics, as we will likely be back to square one in a few years once either Stop & SHop or Shop Rite fail or vacate the property. The fiscal implications of this scenario are what concern me: Wyckoff taxpayers are better off with a thriving 'anchor tenant' Stop & SHop and thus Boulder Run, than without.
Gary Rabinowitz November 28, 2012 at 04:44 PM
And "Yes" -- towns should consider limiting the # of gas stations, banks, grocery stores, assuming their reasons are based on the common good rather than some cronyism. If you disagree, perhaps you should read up on Houston TX. The strip clubs, storefront churches, pawn shops and convenience stores love the anything goes zoning laws of Houston. Me? Not so much. Or read up on the muted effects of the housing bust on tightly zoned areas in and around San Francisco compared with the anything goes zoning free for all in the Central Vally and Inland Empire, which were decimated during the housing bust. Cheers John Briggs. GXR
John Briggs November 28, 2012 at 07:17 PM
You can't be serious in your argument where you compare grocery stores, gas stations, pizzerias and banks to strip clubs, shooting ranges, halfway houses and RV Parks, can you? They are clearly two very different types of businesses. So, lets hear it then... How many pizzerias should a town have? Would it matter if one pizzeria exclusively serves Brooklyn Style, while another exclusively serves speciality pies? Should the town limit which sandwiches the pizzeria offers on its menu too, as that may infringe on the amount of restaurants should be allowed in the town?How many gas stations are too many? How many banks should a town have?
Gary Rabinowitz November 28, 2012 at 07:26 PM
I guess you're the only one asking "serious" questions. Since you would rather evade rather than answer the questions, or care to hear an absolute answer ("5 pizzerias") rather than the answer I provided, I have zero further interest in arguing with an axe-grinder or answering your pointless questions. Good day "John Briggs." GXR
qdogPa November 28, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I am confidant that Shop Rite will thrive in Wyckoff...Stop and Shop should be worried, as it is their business that is going to suffer BIGTIME, and deservedly so...
NLTITAN November 28, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Hey Brian - we use to have a bowling alley in Wyckoff!!! No Kidding! The building behind the Dairy Queen!!
Patti Tee November 30, 2012 at 06:05 AM
I just don't get it... They closed the A&P and moved Walgreens because they claimed that was a bad location for stores to survive (weird, out of the way place?). The A&P couldn't survive there (I LOVED that store btw...) so why would another grocery store survive? just doesn't make sense to me....and what will become of Stop & Shop now?After all the money & work to build that super stop & shop, they will go out of buisness now too? this is a bad idea all around.
NLTITAN November 30, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Patti Tee - I also liked the A&P and Wallgreen's at that location - very convenient. The Walgreen's on Clinton Ave., - you have to wait (it seems) five minutes at that light. Anyway, as I have said numerous times, Shop Rite has more variety of products and it is cheaper!! Stop & Shop NEVER has enough cashiers working (only on holidays). They didn't have to make it that big!! I don't believe they should make Shop Rite huge either. I liked it when Grand Union was there!!!! Not everyone agrees with everyone - that's what make the world go 'round!!
B~ November 30, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Q, No that is incorrect. Both were viable at the time they were located next to each other. It was the building of the new A&P in MP that made the closing of the Wyckoff location.
PO'd December 01, 2012 at 05:36 PM
History has shown that two stores cannot co-exist on this site. This will again be true especially in light of the increased sizes of both stores. I'd prefer only one store there and that would be Shop Rite. Suggestion: Shop Rite approach Stop N Shop and offer to buy their existing store and then not use the development rights. Consumers win as Shop Rite is cheaper, residents win as there is no increase in traffic and each of the retailers win as Shop Rite gets a new store, Stop N Shop gets paid and they both lose the risk of failure and closure. Then bring back the DMV and Nicky's Pizza. Hey, just my two cents.
NLTITAN December 01, 2012 at 05:56 PM
PO'd - The DMV will NEVER come back. They were going to close one and it just made easier that Wyckoff DMV closed. Sure, I miss it too! I also miss Leslie Pools!! Suggestion is a little weird. Neither store has to be huge like Stop & Shop. The Grand Union was just fine. All you people talk about are the grocery stores - what about the monstrous VACANT store by Marshall's? Who's great idea was it to have a Marshall's in Wyckoff anyway?? NOT THE WYCKOFF RESIDENTS!!! Another "HURRAH" to the Town Council!!
Lily Ebanson December 01, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I agree Linda C, Marshalls is a digusting waste of space....Should have kept the the Grand Union.... & Ben Franklin! They had so many useful things to buy there.... :(
Jeanette December 01, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I don't think it's question of whether or not Wyckoff can support 2 grocery stores. They most likely can but the question is do we NEED to rather large grocery stores? The original Stop & Shop pulled out of NJ because they felt at the time they could not expand the way they wanted to. They A&P was where the old Stop & Shop was but then then built a HUGE A&P in Midland park and decided there was no need to keep the one in Wyckoff open. Everyone seems to complain about how big Stop & Shop is but nothing is said about how big Shop Rite will be. While the Shop Rite is only 62,000 square feet its ONLY approx 8,000 small than Stop & Shop. I don't like the way Boulder Run is set up at all with different sections of store. The original set up was great. Could park in one place and pretty much walk from store to store and shop. with Shop rite in town there will most certainly be competition between the 2 stores but most certainly there will be more traffic going through that area. Franklin Ave is bad now then add to the traffic that Shop Rite will draw from other towns will make it even worse.
NLTITAN December 01, 2012 at 09:24 PM
I don't get it people!!!!!! The "Y" has brought more traffic than any stores. Do I have to say it again? We had A&P, Walgreen's, DMV, Leslie Pools, etc. - TRAFFIC was the same!! Why do you keep harping on traffic??????? We don't need a big Shop Rite and we also didn't need a big Stop & Shop!!!!
eugene lipkowitz December 02, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Zoning rules, and variances thereto, could make it easier for property developers to provide paved pathways for shoppers to walk between the various stores that are, or will be, located in Boulder Run and one or another of the various smaller commercial properties adjacent thereto. There is no good reason why non-athletes must always drive or take roundabout walks to avoid shrubbery in order to get from CVS to a grocery store to Firestone and thence to the Post Office. Public policies designed to facilitate barrier-free walking could cut down on congestion resulting from even some shoppers having to drive onto, utilize, and turn off often-crowded local streets during a single multipurpose shopping expedition.
NLTITAN December 02, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Eugene - Bravo - I think???!
brian December 03, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Yes Linda. There use to be a lot of bowling alleys in a lot of towns. They are now out of business. In fact, at a higher level, I believe companies like Brunswick have gone chapter 11. Bowling alleys in high rent areas do not make money.
Son_of_Wyckoff December 03, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Well the talk is of the two supermarkets in town. Wyckoff had 3 supermarkets back in the day. Granted all smaller foot prints, i would be willing to bet that all three would fit in the footprint of Stop & Shop now. GU at Bolder Run, A&P where Walgreens is at Clinton& Wyckoff and GU where Walgreens is at Cedar Hill. Wyckoff is a developers dream, nothing and I mean nothing is turned down. Sure the township committee will hide behind the fact it was the zoning board that approved it. Well i look at it this way, we don't vote the members of that board on, they are the friends of the committee so next November show you anger and vote a new committee member in. Vista, a done deal.
NLTITAN December 03, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Jon December 03, 2012 at 08:26 PM
we need to brainstorm now for good ideas for the stop and shop spot so we dont get another marshalls disaster
Jamie Bryant December 03, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Why does everyone seem to think that one of these businesses (stop&shop or ShopRite) will go out of business? There are thousands of instances where similar types of stores are nearby or adjacent or across the street, from one another. In fact there are many businesses that thrive because of the attraction created by a downtown area that fosters these similar businesses. Maybe I totally missed something here, but has stop & shop ever stated they will go out of business? Are we all just guessing that their business model can't sustain competition? Does anybody know anything about business? and brainstorming about good ideas to replace stop and shop is an absurd way of looking at this... its incredibly subjective. It's clear that you don't like Marshal's but somebody is not going to like the business that you brainstorm to take its place. Marshal's seems to be sustaining in their storefront, so why do we need to start hand picking the particular stores which we should allow in this space?
Jon December 04, 2012 at 12:54 AM
doesn't have to be my idea by any means, as a matter of fact I'm probably at the bottom of the list of people to be consulted as I'm not ashopper, the thought was there was and is a lot of complaining about marshals as it is the first step in turning our town centerpiece ( i guess) in to a strip mall fit for rte 4, immediate effect felt by small local biz see you next saturday forced to close, and i guess people are assuming one of the grocery stores will fail because we've had 2 before and one has moved or closed,, the sheer sizes and thereby overhead costs will be tough to bear the natural price wars which from 10 thousand feet seem to benefit shop rite.Hopefully they both thrive as empty box stores are an eyesore ,, we all want that small town feel but times are tough and small business' are suffering, take a peek at ridgewood highest vacancies in their storefronts since 1970;s
NLTITAN December 04, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Jamie - The "team" in Wyckoff evidently doesn't care about our opinions!! I'm done brainstorming, reaching out to the mayors (past and present). Nothing helps!! Has anyone received their PSE&G and Rockland Electric bills? BOTH of mine went up even though I didn't have heat or electric!! How about that Township Committee?????
LC January 09, 2013 at 07:06 PM
That's correct, KTitan.
LC January 09, 2013 at 07:17 PM
I might also add that during Hurricane Sandy, Stop 'n Shop was open, but when my husband and I went in there for ice (which they didn't have) and noticed a table set up with a coffee urn and cups, we asked if we could buy a cup of coffee. After the miserable, sour-pussed cashier told us with an annoyed look on her face that they didn't have any ice left, she then told us "no, that coffee is for our own employees so you're going to have to find someplace else." From what I understand, the Shop Rite in Oakland publicized to their customers that their freezers were available for residents to bring their frozen foods from home freezers to their big commercial freezers for the duration so they wouldn't lose all their food. What a difference in customer service. Stop 'n Shop is probably going to lose many of their employees as well once Shop Rite starts hiring for the new location.
LC January 09, 2013 at 07:22 PM
I vote for Ben Franklin. What a great store. Anyway... Like I said before, I'm not a big Marshall's fan (Home Goods is on my A list, however), but it hasn't turned Wyckoff into the terrible place some of you think would be the result of a Marshall's. You folks should get over yourselves.
Meg Johnson March 24, 2013 at 06:16 PM
Here's the thing... I LOVE Stop & Shop! But i can't afford it! I am a nurse and work very hard for my money... now the politicians felt free to again put their hand in my wallet and are taking nearly $500 A MONTH OUT OF MY PAYCHECK! The trip to Fairlawn to Shoprite is a pain, but economically worth my time. I will still go to Stop and Shop as I love their Nature's Promise line. But I will do most of my shopping at Shoprite. I have no money tree growing in my backyard. A&P is right down the hill, but I NEVER go into that place! The prices are OUTRAGEOUS. But I guess there are many people who are blessed with not having to worry about money...


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