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ShopRite Plan Declared Complete

Planning Board won't hear testimony until at least January

Inserra Supermarkets Inc.'s plan to construct a ShopRite at the site of the former A&P on Greenwood Avenue was declared complete Monday by the Planning Board, although two other township boards will have to review the plans.

The board unanimously voted in favor of the application, which only gets the hearing process started. Essentially, the board was reviewing whether Inserra had submitted the needed plans and specifications to earn hearings before the board on its minor subdivision plan to remove the existing structures on the property and construct a new supermarket.

However, as Chairman Robert Steinbruch noted, "They have a little more work to do." 

Peter Ten Kate, Boswell Engineering's representative, told the board that he'd like to see more architectural details provided, and he recommended that the project go before the Design Review Board and the Shade Tree Commission, which would review landscape plans.

The Design Review Board meets as needed. It was not known Monday night when they may review design specifications. The Shade Tree Commission's next scheduled meeting is Dec. 1. Steinbruch said it could be January before the application is back before the Planning Board.

Inserra's plan calls for clearing the lot for a one-story supermarket that would be open seven days a week, around the corner from the Boulder Run shopping center, which houses a Stop & Shop.

James E. Jaworski, Inserra's attorney, said the supermarket chain holds longterm leases on the property, whose lots are owned by the New York Susquehanna and Western Railway and Wyckoff-Grossman LLC. All existing structures would have to be demolished, including the strip mall that currently holds Nicky's Best Pizza, Curves and the Motor Vehicle Commission office.

Several variances would be needed to construct the project, including waivers on lot coverage, lot depth and rear-yard setback. Ten Kate said the project calls for the removal of 69,000-square-feet of retail space, with the ShopRite scaling approximately 65,000 square feet. Jaworski also has said Inserra would provide 403 parking spaces, which would exceed township requirements. Deed restrictions in the plans filed at town hall's Planning office call for a fence, the possibility of retaining walls and the promise to not undertake any construction that would impede drainage.

Fliers distributed around the township and e-mail alerts circulating express skepticism if not opposition to the plan as proposed. Much of the concern stems from dissatisfaction with the Stop & Shop project, which some felt was too big and a poor fit for Wyckoff, while others objected to its aesthetics. The Friends of Wyckoff, which was active in questioning the Stop & Shop construction, have urged members to attend meetings to keep watch on aesthetic concerns, although they generally feel that redevelopment is a "positive solution" to the abandoned supermarket that is on the site presently.

Approximately 20 residents attended Monday's session of the Planning Board after e-mail alerts urged attendance to voice opinions on the plan. However, public comment was not solicited.

A letter from a township couple was read into the record, though. They wrote the board to say "what the town doesn't need is another supermarket" and expressed concern that the project would overload local streets, tax resources and turn the area into a shopping hub.

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