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Board Plans For Its Own Traffic Study Before Crossroads Hearing

Public hearing moved to January

The Crossroads Town Center will not be seen before Mahwah’s Planning Board or the public until January 23. In an anticipated move, Crossroads attorney Jim Jaworski requested a continuance to reschedule the application’s public hearing, which was originally slated for Monday night’s planning board meeting.

The first public hearing on the site plan for the 750,000 square-foot shopping center development planned for the intersection of Routes 17 and 287 was supposed to be Monday night, in compliance with the 95-day legal limit from a site plan with the township. Jaworski asked for the extension into the new year for two reasons, he said.

First, he said the board could wait until after the January reorganization meeting, when new planning board members may be appointed by newly elected mayor Bill Laforet, who was in attendance Monday night at his first planning board meeting as mayor.

Second, Jaworski said the extra time would give the developers time to make “minor adjustments” to the site plan and resubmit it to the township engineer and other professionals for review. Jaworski said the amendments to the site plan would be based on the mostly technical comments made by the township engineer Mike Kelly of Boswell Engineering in a “thoughtful 11-page review” he completed of the original Crossroads application.

When prompted by Councilman and Planning Board Liaison Chuck Jandris, Jaworski said the “minor modifications have nothing to do with [the application's] completeness review.” Jaworski said the changes that will be made will be minor, and only in response to commentary made by Kelly in his professional review. He said the changes will not be significant enough to necessitate a new application submission.

The crowd in attendance was not satisfied with Jaworski's explanation of the potential changes to the site plan, which the lawyer said his client would be able to resubmit to township professionals by the end of this week.

Though there was a period for audience members to speak to the board about midway through the meeting, the floor was not reopened to the public after Jaworski's presentation had been made. Committee to Stop Mahwah Mall member Susan Chin got up to address the board after it had adjourned, saying she felt that it was “very rude” of the board to not allow the public to comment or ask questions about what had happened before the close of the meeting.

“Who is to say or to verify that the changes being made to the application are not significant enough to change it into a separate application?” Chin asked as bboard and audience members were leaving their seats. Chairman John Brotherton told Chin that public questions and commentary on the Crossroads application would be best suited for the public hearing beginning January 23.

Kelly is expected to reexamine the adjusted application before the January hearing.

Board member Todd Sherer asked that the board hire its own traffic and economic impact experts to conduct studies about the possible impacts of the development before that time. These studies would be in addition to those supplied by the developer in the site plan. Jandris added a request for an environmental impact study, as well.

“I really think we should have our own [studies],” Sherer said.

According to Jaworski, the developer has filled an escrow account with $128,000 to be spent on professional review services hired by the board. The board requested Kelly return to the December meeting with names of experts outside of those already working for the township who could conduct the additional studies. The board said it would like to start those studies before the scheduled January hearing.

It was estimated that a traffic impact study would take about a month to complete, and an economic impact study about a week.

Once the new hearing begins, the board said it legally has 95 days to reach a decision on the application. Several board members expressed concern about the short deadline, however Planning Board attorney Peter J. Scandariato said it is a common practice, especially with complex applications like Crossroads, for boards to request extensions from developers.

While the developer does have the ability to deny the request, Scandariato said it is usually not in its best interest to do so, because the board can subsequently reject the application if it feels it did not have enough time or enough information to make a decision.

Charlie December 02, 2011 at 02:06 AM
JP, and I see you adding so much more information, this mall issue has been talked to death, what I find amusing is all of you that want the mall won't stop crying about it, I just enjoy rubbing salt in the wound, the vote came back no mall and all of you that wanted the mall can't deal with that fact.
JP December 02, 2011 at 02:55 AM
OK, now we are getting to the truth. I missed this post before. So It's the "scum" you people don't like. The people that are "different" then you. It's the attitude that somehow you feel you're better then the people that would go to Costco or would even work there, maybe even a racial component to all of this. I suspected this was a big reason behind the Stop Mall Group. You just verified my suspicions, you self righteous bigot.
JP December 02, 2011 at 03:00 AM
Hey Charlie, I just picked up on what Mahwah Resident said about all the "scum" coming into town. This was the main reason it was opposed, wasn't it? It wasn't traffic, it wasn't flooding, it's all about the "scum" to you guys. Admit it. I've been trying to get someone to admit that here online and it finally happened.
JP December 02, 2011 at 03:02 AM
The 10 minute ride is a couple hours when you are handicapped Charlie. I see you didn't pick up on that a few months ago.
Charlie December 02, 2011 at 03:13 AM
JP, I am not sure waht you are talking about, but I do not want to deal with traffic, are you saying traffic is scum? JP, get some sleep, your going off the deep end, get some sleep I beleive you need to get some rest, the mall issue has you all stressed out. JP, I did not know you were handicapped, if that is the case how were you planning to get to the Mahwah Mall? How do you go to the stores now? Did you just move to Mahwah, or have you lived here for a few years? I guess what I am getting at is how ever you have gotten to the stores in aera, and I am sure you have gone shopping outside Mahwah, if not then how ever you were planning to get the Mahwah mall, before it was voted down, you can go to other stores as well. I am not making light of you being handicapped, I am just saying you have been getting around in the past and I am sure you have found a way to get the things you need.
JP December 02, 2011 at 03:27 AM
Please, do not patronize me with your snarky remarks. I've lived here since 1978, I have no trouble getting around, and it has nothing to do with me personally. The town, the state, and this country needs this mall for the economy and cash flow. Period. I can't wait to spend my money there.
Hank December 02, 2011 at 03:42 AM
what do you mean non binding referendum or not they have no obligation to ensure that Mahwah has no mall it's non binding I do not believe you guys have the political power you once had I find it interesting that you wanted special treatment from the board to speak even when the board said no more speakers.....you got dissed my friend
JP December 02, 2011 at 03:56 AM
Exactly. Susan Chin and the group had their say, they had their protests, they had their petition, they had their vote, now it's time to sit back and let the officials do their jobs without further complaints, without whining, and without threats.
Hank December 02, 2011 at 04:07 AM
I'm not looking for a job in the mall I want a Costco, Wegmans a Tractor Supply Store and a bunch of new eating places. Now, there are so many people underemployed in the area who would love to work there. Students from Mahwah HS, Ramapo College,empty nesters,people with bad retirement plans,pay off student loans, maybe your not college material.... it would be great for them You guys will be toast when the traffic studies show there is nothing to worry about anyway.
Hank December 02, 2011 at 12:37 PM
Mahwah Resident "wait until you see all the scum this mall brings to Mahwah" So now we know the real reason for stop the mall. I demand the town do it's own independant scum survey immediately!
Hank December 02, 2011 at 12:55 PM
JP you are a genius. Just who is this scum Mahwah Resident does not want in Mahwah. Let me guess New York, avoid sales tax,....hmmmmm
Charlie December 02, 2011 at 01:04 PM
JP, you are a real piece of work, is this not what you wrote, ”rhe 10 minute ride is a couple hours when you are handicapped Charlie. I see you didn't pick up on that a few months ago” I was just commenting on how you were able to get around town to this point. JP, this has nothing to do with the mall, you are just a bitter person and is looking for something to complain about, there I figured it out, makes sense now. So JP, the town, the state and the country needs this mall, Listen I would not too quick to pull your wallet out, because this may very well be in the legal system for a good long while, I believe this mall should be fought to the end, regardless of how much it costs, the mall has to be stopped at all costs, this is what Mahwah wants, not what you or I want JP.. What is really something if you have lived in Mahwah since 1978 I would think you out of anyone would want to keep Mahwah Mahwah, JP why don’t you help the state & country out by shopping in the malls at Paramus, the country needs you JP.
Andy Schmidt December 02, 2011 at 01:53 PM
You would get to either location by a car or minibus. If that already takes you several hours, it would take several hours plus 10 minutes to visit one of the already existing malls? Honestly, I don't quite get the point?
Charlie December 02, 2011 at 03:37 PM
Hank, I hope you are right about the traffic study, because if the study is wrong and the mall is built for some unlikely reason, then you can sit in traffic smiling knowing some kid in high school has extra money in his pocket. I personally don’t want to sit in traffic, I guess you have not seen rt 17 north on Friday night or holidays, the traffic is backed up on all the side roads, but how could a mall bring more traffic to an area, you all that want the mall have your heads in the clouds. Talk to the residents in Paramus about traffic, I am sure they can tell you how wonderful it is living in their area.
JP December 02, 2011 at 09:26 PM
So, you don't want to sit in traffic, but you want me and the others in town to sit in traffic going to Paramus when I can more easily get to a mall a couple miles from my home? You make no sense at all.
Charlie December 02, 2011 at 09:35 PM
JP, how could that not make sense. If I wanted to go to a mall, which I have not been to a mall since I was a kid, because that is the majority that is going to be at a mall, I would drive to Paramus on this very once in a while occasion and deal with the traffic for a day. Not to deal with traffic on regular basis due to a Mall being where I live in Mahwah, does that clear it up a bit, or are you still in a fog JP. I can’t see what the problem with driving to Paramus is anyway, it is only 10 minutes away, why in the world would you want to bring Paramus problems to Mahwah, that truly makes no sense at all.
JP December 02, 2011 at 09:39 PM
What I would suggest at this point to Garden Commercial (the parent company of the Crossroads Development company) is that now that the vote is over and done with, if the Stop Mahwah Mall group continues to interfere in trying to influence the local planning department by suggesting that certain planning board members step down simply because they have a different viewpoint then theirs, that a lawsuit be filed immediately against them. They have absolutely no say in preventing a PRIVATE property transaction from moving forward. They may not like the project, but they have no legal right at all to prevent negotiations from happening. They need to be prevented from interfering and let the normal process do it's job whether the project gets built or not. We've heard what they have to say (ad nauseum), now it should be solely in the hands of the officials to decide.
JP December 02, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Go back and read your post. Are you kidding me?!? You haven't been to a mall since you were a kid, and you have the absolute GALL to tell other people they can't have a mall in their own town? That's just incredably obnoxious IMO. You don't want to sit in imaginary traffic in Mahwah yet you want us to continue to sit in real traffic in Paramus instead of having these services directly in town. Simply put, you are selfish and self centered. You think about yourself only.
Charlie December 02, 2011 at 10:16 PM
JP, I could not agree more with your last sentence in your comment about letting the judge decide weather the developer rushed in the application then the town can take action to prevent the mall being built, finally JP, you made some sense and you and I can finally agree on something, I have been saying all along to let the judge decide. JP, now about the traffic, say what you like JP, I have no problem what so ever for anyone that wants to go to Paramus and sit in traffic because they want to go to a mall, but I have a REAL problem about going to say shoprite that should take no more then 5 minutes to get to and have to deal with traffic due to a mall being in Mahwah, As far as imaginary traffic, if it is imaginary I guess the malls in Paramus don't create traffic, is that what you are saying JP. JP, did you get sleep last night because I think your mind has gone to mush and you are not thinking right. Remember JP, no matter how you cut it, the vote showed everyone in Mahwah one thing, more PEOPLE don't want a mall then do, please just execpt this and go on with your life.
JP December 02, 2011 at 10:30 PM
That's not going to happen Charlie. Just as there are some in town so adamant about not letting a private construction project go forward, there are some in town that are just as adamant about not letting the detractors get their way. There is much more at stake here then just the personal, unrealistic fears of 2900 people in town. Much more.
JP December 02, 2011 at 11:14 PM
One other thing... a message to the council and planning board (I know they scan these posts). Do not give in to pressure from these detractors. You have at least half the voting people in this town supporting you in putting up this mall. keep up the good work, and help make this a new showplace for us, the citizens of Mahwah and the surrounding area. A place we will ALL be proud of. Thank you.
Hank December 02, 2011 at 11:35 PM
Charlie your group stated as fact in their newspaper ad that "20,000 more cars daily" would be using the mall. Now that Mahwah will do their own study, do you still stand behind that figure?
Charlie December 02, 2011 at 11:39 PM
JP, like I said it is in the judge’s hands now, we will all have to wait and see how the judge feels about the developer rushing in the application to beat the clock. Based on how the judge rules will decide the direction of fighting the mall will go. JP, you really have to deal with the fact that more Mahwah residents don’t want the mall then do, it is in the legal system now where it belongs. The only good thing about the mall is now the public is more focused on the Mayor and Council more then ever so they are not going to have free rein as in the past, with the Mayor and Council being watched can only lead to a better town for Mahwah.
Charlie December 02, 2011 at 11:39 PM
I hope other towns have watched what is happening and becomes more involved in their towns to avoid things that can destroy a town to happen. This mall has been a very good learning experience for all of us, and to now get involved in what happens at the meetings and not to keep our eyes closed and believe the Mayor and Council has the best intentions for our town. This mall proved that and as you can see DuPuzzo is out of the picture due to the mall. Trust me the last thing DuPuzzo wanted during his time running for Mayor was the mall, that is why he tried so hard not to have a vote on it, the town was not suppose to know about the mall, well you how that worked out for DaPuzzo. I kept saying right along, what kind of an idiot would push a project that will change the landscape of Mahwah and then try to hide it and to top it all off the same year he wants to be elected for mayor. Guess the Mayor did not think the town would come together as they did and a small group inform the town what is going on and force the town to have a vote on the matter. The new Mayor has a very short time in the Mayors seat, based on his actions and public watching, lets see how bad he wants to keep it.
Charlie December 02, 2011 at 11:45 PM
Nice warning to the council and planning board, but as I said it is in the judges hands now, lets all just keep Mahwah Mahwah, that is why we moved here and not Paramus or any other town that has malls.
Charlie December 03, 2011 at 12:07 AM
JP, the real question is how many vehicles go through Paramus per day? Then take away the Malls and how many vehicles go through Paramus? Based on that will tell you the increase going through Mahwah. I am very curious myself to see what the outcome of the traffic study will be, who knows JP, it may be more, what do you think about that?
Charlie December 03, 2011 at 12:07 AM
I am sorry JP, the above comment about the traffic was meant for Hank.
Charlie December 03, 2011 at 03:03 AM
By the way hank, I am flattered that you think it is my group. Why do you think it is my group, it is really a group protecting Mahwah and our way of life and we all should be thanking the Stop Mahwah Mall Group for their hard work in making sure Mahwah stays Mahwah, the reason we all moved to Mahwah and not Paramus. But thank you for the complement Hank.
Hank December 03, 2011 at 12:44 PM
no problem, but don't worry, the traffic study will show "Mahwah will still be Mahwah" and you can find another cause to protect us.
Gottardo DiGiacopo December 05, 2011 at 02:43 AM
deargodthatsalotofbitching

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