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.
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