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ShopRite Supporters Outnumber Those Opposed to Supermarket Application

Majority of Wyckoff residents speaking at Monday night planning board session say Inserra Supermarkets is a good fit for the township

Wyckoff residents spoke up Monday night, voicing mostly their approval over the application before the township planning board to build a 64,000-square-foot ShopRite supermarket in the shadow of the Boulder Run Stop & Shop.

Amid eight residents calling for an up-vote in the long-debated land use application, four residents expressed tepid concern and only one resident stood firmly against the plan, in what is likely to be the final of two open public forums before the Wyckoff Planning Board's scheduled vote on the application in November.

"I right now have a tough time getting through town — my concern is the traffic," said Wyckoff resident Dennis Putis. "Wyckoff was once known as a town of churches — I don't want to see Wyckoff become another Paramus ... I don't think we need it."

Nicole Moody, a Greenwood Avenue resident, is a new mother who is concerned about the potential increase in traffic on her block.

Moody, who said she currently shops at Stop & Shop in Wyckoff "for convenience" and ShopRite in Ramsey "for bargains," lives across the street from the proposed supermarket. She asked the planning board what she and others in her position would do if the traffic proved to be unbearable were the ShopRite to be built.

"When and if ShopRite comes, if the traffic becomes [a problem] where will [we] go from there?" Moody asked. "Who do we talk to? How do we get it straightened out?"

Planning Board Attorney Joseph Perconti noted that while the board hadn't made a decision to approve or strike down the application, if traffic were to worsen as a result of the supermarket Moody could address her concerns to the township committee and then the planning board.

The range of opinions from residents who urged the Wyckoff Planning Board to OK the Inserra application went from those looking to see competitive pricing on groceries to those who believe the presence of another supermarket in the township would been boon for local jobs and the economy.

One such resident was Kathy Marsico, who said the vacant Greenwood Avenue lot is a "complete eyesore" that does "nothing but hurt the appearance of our town and our property values," and needs to be commercialized to boost commerce, jobs and increase ratables.

She, however, went on the offensive against Stop & Shop and opposing lawyers.

"For years we have been given the runaround by Stop & Shop wasting out time and tax money... we continue to get one feeble delay tactic after another from the Stop & Shop company, obviously in order to avoid the introduction of competition," Marsico said. "There could be no other motive and I find these tactics despicable."

The Fieldstone Terrace resident went on to ask for a boycott of the Stop & Shop company in Wyckoff.

Her call to action was later rebuked by Wyckoff Planning Board member and Township Committeeman Doug Christie, who called the woman's plea wrongheaded.

"Every citizen and every business in the town of Wyckoff — or any town for that matter — is given their due diligence and fair play ... the applicant, ShopRite, has every right to ask the town to come in," Christie said. "The objectors have every right to fight that ... I think it is unfair, I think it is hurtful, and I think it is irresponsible that someone would suggest in our town that they would boycott Stop & Shop.

"Let us remember that when you go into Stop & Shop there are a lot of employees in there that work and live in our community," Christie said. "I think that was a bad suggestion... that's not what we're about."

At the conclusion of the approximately one and a half hour meeting board officials and attorneys confirmed that the agenda for the next Wyckoff Planning Board meeting on Oct. 10 would not contain any hearing on the Inserra application.

A special meeting is scheduled for Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. to hear closing arguments on the ShopRite application, and a vote is expected to be called on Nov. 26.

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.

John Margroff September 25, 2012 at 02:01 PM
In the late 1960's, Tom Claire of Claire Shoprite petitioned Wyckoff to erect a large Shoprite Supermarket near the Intersection of Cedar Hill Ave and Sicomac Ave. A Grand Union Supermarket was already presented on Cedar Hill Ave. The residents in that area managed enough support to have that petition denied, the main reason being the increased traffic flow the Shoprite would bring to the area. What is the difference bewteen that Shoprite and the Inserra Shoprite now proposed. Because the access route of RT 208, the Claire Shoprite will have been much better suited than the present proposed Shoprite. Today many of the Shoprite supportors have no concern for the residents on Franklin, Godwin, Wyckoff and Crescent Aves, who every day have to fight the traffic on Franklin Ave, to access the town of Wyckoff, or go through town. 40 years ago there would be too much traffic for a Shoprite, has that changed and has it gotten better? What is good for the Inserra Shoprite that was not good for that Claire Shoprite?
Janet September 25, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I do agree about the traffic situation but it is Boulder Run that brings in the most traffic, not just Stop and Shop. Since Boulder Run was enlarged, along with the new Stop and Shop traffic has been a lot worse. With Marshalls, Blue Moon, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc. you get more traffic. Many of the older "kids" are dropped off there from Nutley and other towns not near here. (my own kids tell me this) You won't get this for the ShopRite since there is one in Oakland and one in Ramsey. A good percentage of Shop Rites business will be residents of Wyckoff, Midland Park and Waldwick. Shop Rite will only be a supermarket, not a "mall". No kids will want to hang out at a supermarket like they do a mall where there is a McDonalds and Starbucks.
Q September 25, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I didn't make it to the meeting last night but count me in as one who is NOT in favor of the application. I do not want to see ShopRite in Wyckoff. Two large grocery stores back to back will cause one to go out of business, eventually, and then we are back to the issue of no competition and a vacant eyesore of a building. Some other type of business should go into the former A & P area. I agree that ShopRite has cheaper goods at the moment but once they corner the market in this area, prices will go up. Also, I find the quality of perishible goods at ShopRite to be lesser than that of Stop & Shop and A& P. I would prefer a more upscale business to grace the lot on Greenwood.
Mitch September 26, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I am for the Shop Rite, I can't understand why there is a question of zoning. There was an A&P there before and it is being replaced by another Supermarket. The current site is an eyesore. I find the Stop & Shop representatives to be hypocritical. When the expansion at Boulder Run took place creating a true mega center, and the citizens of Wyckoff asked for trees to be saved and the aesthetics to be more palatable, Stop & Shop basically told the residents to take a hike. This is the USA, a free market economy, if Stop & Shop is afraid of the competition, then they can lower their prices to be competitive. I do sympathize with the residents of the area who are concerned with the traffic, but there was a Supermarket there before.
JAZ September 27, 2012 at 12:54 AM
YOu could not be more right Q... Shoprite will cause Stop and Shop to close and then what? It truly is a mess and no one is held accountable for what happened at Boulder Run...
LC October 03, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Q-Aren't we the la di da person? A&P's produce is always fresh and inviting (at least the one in Ridgewood/Midland Park), but Stop & Shop's produce is two thumbs down compared to a busy Shop Rite where the food turns over VERY quickly. Shop Rite's prices are always consistent and reasonable, but if they do charge more for some of their services and products, it may be to satisfy all the "superior" people like yourself here in Wyckoff. What upscale venue would you suggest for that vacant eyesore?
Joy McCracken November 17, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I've lived in wyckoff and midland Park for more than forty years at one time in the 70'sthere was an A&P a Stop & Shop and two Grand Unions and nobody had a problem Let Shop Rite build a store already we need lower prices in this economy
LC November 19, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I remember that also, Joy. I keep saying that there were 2 Grand Unions and various people keep telling me I remember it incorrectly! Glad you brought this up. We need Shop Rite here. It'll provide jobs and some competition.

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