Stop & Shop Variance Application Unanimously Rejected by Zoning Board
At Monday's Zoning Board meeting, following closing statements by attorneys representing Stop & Shop and Village Supermarkets (ShopRite), all six board members present voted to deny the applicant's request for variances to enable its traffic plan.
Zoning Board Chair Cheryl Burstein told the Millburn Item that although she felt the applicant met some of the positive criteria, it failed to give credible testimony about traffic. Other board members cited concerns about traffic, safety and problems with tractor-trailers crossing the roadway center line when entering or exiting the site on Millburn Avenue. These are exactly the positions strongly espoused by Resident For Traffic Safety as well as the vast majority of residents who have attended hearings during the past two years.
Zoning Board to Issue Decision on Stop & Shop Application at Feb. 10 Meeting
The Zoning Board of Adjustment will deliberate and vote to grant or to deny Stop & Shop’s application on February 10 at 7:00 p.m. at Millburn Town Hall. Five affirmative votes are required to grant the variances in this case.
In early December attorneys for the opposing sides, Stop & Shop and Village Supermarket, Inc., submitted briefs to the Board. Testimony is referenced as well as statutory requirements and applicable legal decisions to support each brief’s position.
CLICK ON "RFTS IN THE NEWS" FOR RECENT ARTICLES AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR BY RFTS MEMBERS
PLANNER CRITICIZES TRAFFIC PLAN IMPACTS
The testimony of Andrew Janiw, Planner for ShopRite, at this past Monday’s Zoning Board meeting told a totally different story than what had been heard from witnesses for Stop & Shop about the impacts of the proposed supermarket at the former Saks Fifth Avenue location on Millburn Avenue.
Mr. Janiw’s testimony was thorough and detailed as he described the goals and objectives of the Land Use Plan as defined in Millburn’s Master Plan. These include: “to coordinate and integrate appropriate land uses that will promote the character of the township as a small suburb …;” and “to maintain a pedestrian scale … in the Glenwood business area.” He emphasized several times that the Master Plan states that the B-3 Neighborhood Business zone “is characterized by small lot development occasionally providing some on-site parking, but with the general characteristic of serving local shopping needs.” Also, “the scale of development should be carefully limited to avoid overbuilding and exacerbating a parking problem.” He stated that the Stop & Shop would be 4-1/2 times the size of stores in the B-3 zone across the street and that Millburn has a right to control impacts of a development by use and scale standards. [continue reading]
KEY ZONING BOARD MEETING ON SEPT. 16 AT 7 P.M.
The Millburn Township Zoning board will hear further from traffic engineer Joseph Staigar, who has testified that the traffic plan proposed by Stop & Shop doesn't meet Millburn's traffic ordinance and that by having all truck traffic enter the site from Morris Avenue, exacerbation of the already severe congestion on Millburn Avenue could be be avoided.
In a related matter, The Millburn Item reported on Peter Quinn's request that an independent truck driver be invited to testify before the Zoning Board on a number of issues involving the current plan for trucks to enter the site from Millburn Avenue across from Glenwood Drive. Among them is truck turn-around and where trucks will go when all delivery bays are full. In previous testimony, Stop & Shop's traffic planner said that if the bays are full, the tractor trailers would likely continue down Millburn Avenue to the downtown area and then turn on Main Street.
EXPERT SAYS STOP & SHOP FAILS TO COMPLY WITH ORDINANCE
Testimony of Joseph Staigar, the traffic engineer for ShopRite, was heard Monday, August 19 at the Zoning Board of Adjustment. His testimony centered around the Millburn ordinance that regulates access and egress at the Stop & Shop site.
In a word he answered, “No,” when attorney Thomas Scrivo asked if Stop & Shop’s traffic plan met the standards of the ordinance. He went on to say that Stop & Shop’s application does not meet the township's 5 conditional use standards for traffic at retail sites. [continue reading]
NEW TRAFFIC NUMBERS SUBMITTED; DOUBTS REMAIN ABOUT TRAFFIC IMPACT CLAIMS
At the May 6 board meeting, Stop & Shop submitted new information due to inadequacies of its traffic study. This is the flawed, incomplete report that Stop & Shop’s planner cited when he testified on April 8 that the “the design as proposed will not cause a substantial traffic impact.”
RFTS believes this claim should be regarded with great skepticism, bordering on disbelief. See our Letter to the Editor in The Item.