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Crossroads Developer: Two Box Stores Are ‘Worst Case Scenario’

Board questions past, future environmental cleanup of site, which used to house Ford plant

A 600,000-sq.-ft. shopping development that includes a series of small shops, a movie theater and two box stores is the ‘worst case scenario,’ Crossroads developer Tony DiGiovanni testified Monday night at the continuation of a public hearing on the Crossroads Town Center. DiGiovanni told Mahwah’s planning board and about 60 residents in the crowd Monday night that the layout being presented at the hearing – with a 20-acre parcel of land on one side of Mahwah's containing smaller shops and a pedestrian corridor, and a 30-acre parcel on the other side of the hotel with two big box stores and one smaller storefront – might change.

“During this preliminary hearing we are seeking approval for the worst possible scenario, for the biggest stores we would be trying to fill,” DiGiovanni said. “After we start negotiating deals with tenants whose needs may be different than what we have presented here, we will make adjustments accordingly.”

During the current hearing, which ,  the Crossroads Developer Associates are seeking preliminary approval of the roadmap for the shopping center at the intersection of Route 17 and 287. According to Crossroads attorney Jim Jaworski, once that is granted, the developer will start negotiating agreements with stores that could fill the development, and return to the planning board later for a more-specific final approval. “This is all speculative in regard to tenancy [of the storefronts],” Jaworski said.

According to the board, so long as the final plan for the development maintains the main components of the preliminarily approved site plan, slight changes can be made. DiGiovanni’s comments about the box stores were made in response to board members asking whether or not he would consider changing the inclusion of the larger retail spots. “The public outcry against this seems to be mainly concerned with the two big stores,” board member Ward Donigian said.

According to Jaworski, the plan for the shopping center is in “complete accordance” with zoning ordinance 1684, which was to outline guidelines for the development. The ordinance was , but not before the developer with the township. “The Gospel is [ordinance] 1684,” Jaworski said. Many changes to the plan suggested by board members were “not in line” with what the land use law dictates, Jaworski said.

“The plan for this center always looked like this,” DiGiovanni said. “I think the ordinance makes it clear that the layout anticipated is for two box stores.” He also said that splitting up the square footage of the box stores into smaller shops would not necessarily reduce traffic to the site. Planning board members said the “regional draw” of the bigger box stores is the main concern of many residents.

Monday night concluded the testimony of civil engineer Michael Junghans, who responded to questions about the design elements of complex. Future sessions of the public hearing were slated to include testimonies from an architect, traffic expert and planner. After a request from township engineer Mike Kelly Monday, the hearings will also include testimony on the current environmental status of the site, and the environmental impact of the development.

At a previous portion of the hearing, the developer indicated that if any contamination is found on the site, the Ford Motor Company would be responsible for cleaning it up. Ford operated a manufacturing plant on the site until 1980. “I think we should have testimony on the environmental history of the site, if any contamination was found, how it was cleaned, and what should be done going forward,” Kelly said Monday. “Also, might we get a representative from Ford here to confirm that Ford is the responsible party, and willing to clean up any contamination that has been found?” he asked.

The board decided it would consider public documents outlining the Department of Environmental Protection prescription for any necessary environmental cleanup at the site. The developer agreed to have an environmental expert testify at a later session of the hearing. However, DiGiovanni testified that “the DEP and Ford have completed cleanups of the site, and removed all soil that did not meet the standards for commercial development.”

Planning board members and members of the public expressed concern about the environmental status of the land. “The developer says Ford is responsible for the cleanup,” resident Phyllis Stewart said. “Ford doesn’t have the best . We need to check this out.”

Gottardo DiGiacopo March 04, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Andy Schmidt, Cudos to you for your informed, concise and civil discussion of the historical and developing facts regarding Crossroads. i am always disappointed by how your opposers take your unbiased information as a personal assault. you are a model citizen when it comes to political civil discourse. and i must question the objectivity (and common sense) of anyone who shares this information in support of a pro-mall argument: "Now I want to point out that over the years I have had the Macy's, Fortunoff,Wakefern,C/S grocers, BJ's and Costco accounts. Malls are built in a way that the traffic is off the road and into the mall. Palisades, Willowbrook, Roosevelt Field,Rockaway even GSP all make sure you get trapped in the mall..." Do you think he is secretly working against the mall?
Hank March 04, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Oh wait a second Gottardo your the guy who does want the mall because our HS kids will take drugs and sell their bodies there.
Randy H March 04, 2012 at 09:18 PM
I saw Earth 2100, I really liked that film as well. It is a shame what we have done to the planet and continue to do, I just did a quick google search which was “humans are they good for the planet” this is the first link that came up http://gnelson.hubpages.com/hub/Are-Humans-Good-For-Planet-Earth below is article from the website, boy if this isn’t the truth.
Randy H March 04, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Are Humans Good For Planet Earth We were never asked to take over the planet, we just did it. I am not so sure that we are doing a good job. For millions of years the planet got along just fine without our leadership. The trees produced oxygen, the oceans produced fish, and sure the planet got hit by a meteorite or two and the climate got hotter or cooler but species survived or not on their own abilities. It was a natural thing that determined a species success or failure. Then we humans took over. Two things happened. First we decided that we were more important than any of the other species and second we increased the speed of change. The first point should be obvious. There is not much that we won’t eat if we are hungry or destroy if it is in our way. Our numbers are growing to the point that the planet is straining to feed us. We will genetically modify other species to suit our needs. Which brings us to the second point; we have increased the pace of change. Changes before the human species were slow and measured, tested by thousands of years and hundreds of circumstances. You can read about more change in a single issue of the New York Times today than happened in the entire year of 1725. We don’t have time to absorb all the new things or all the new ideas before they are replaced by newer ones.
Randy H March 04, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Did you know that when the first settlers landed in America that a squirrel could climb a tree on the east coast and not touch the ground until the Mississippi river. Now there are roads and houses and farms and ranches, the forests are gone. They were in our way. Now add technology to the mix, I am writing this on a computer and posting it on the internet all in the same day. It is like time is being compressed and no one is watching the clock. We are not the only important species on this planet We will not survive without the others. As we continue to change things to our will, we better remember that this planet is our home. We don’t have another plant to move to when we use this one up. It took millions of years for oil to pool under the Gulf of Mexico. . It took up a few months to foul the water of the Gulf with that oil. A hundred years from now our food will still come from the soil we poison with pesticides. We poison our rivers and other water sources like they do not matter. We are using resources at an unsustainable rate and in the process doing irreparable damage to our home. We are destroying plant and animal species at a rate that far exceeds their creation. We may be the most intelligent species on this planet but we are also the most irresponsible.
Randy H March 04, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Any change affects the planet like ripples on a pond. We all have that one thing in common. We share this planet. The ripples of others affect us all. We need to consider how the change we make affects this planet we share. We need to treat this planet, Earth, like we don’t have another one to move to when we have used this one up. It is our home, our only home.
JP March 05, 2012 at 06:33 AM
Randy, that's too big a scale for individuals to cope with. The Earth will take care of itself when it deals with humans, as it always has, with natural calamities. If you think humans rule this planet you are surely mistaken. Earth rules us, and you only need to be in the middle of one natural disaster to realize that. We are trivial when it comes to the power of this planet.
resident March 05, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Mary you must be kidding with the comment about selling your house and move out. Might be easier to do if you don't live in West Mahwah. These comments turn my stomach.
Randy H March 05, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Hello JP, I couldn’t agree with you more. Humans do not by any means control the planet, mother nature has shown mankind time and time again, it can take Humans years and years to build anything and mother nature will destroy it in seconds, you are 100% correct in your statement. I just found that article very true how humans act like we can destroy and destroy the earth and nothing would come of it. What I truly find very sad and disheartening is humans as they destroy what’s in our way for what we call progress has no regard for any other creature that may live in the forests we cut down, or kill from our poisons from what we pour in the rivers that end up in the oceans.
Randy H March 05, 2012 at 01:33 PM
One part of the article I found amusing and very true was ” There is not much that we won’t eat” how true is that, all you have to do is walk into a supermarket and how many different animals and fish there is to choose from. We have made the whole world our kitchen, if it walks, crawls, swims or fly’s we will kill it and eat it on massive scales. What I really love and think it so amusing is if another animal weather it is raised by us for food or is a wild animal that kills a human it is marked as a man-eater and must be destroyed. I have no idea why humans can’t get it through our thick skulls, we are made of flesh and bones and weights on average between 120 to 220 pounds of easy pray for animals. As I have always said, if you don’t want to get bit or killed by a shark, simply don’t swim in the ocean, last time I checked a shark has not been caught trying to eat a human on land.
Randy H March 05, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I mean we as humans have this idea that animals should know better then to kill and eat humans, I mean really how are we this stupid to even likes this, what is their a school in the mountains for bears and in the oceans for sharks informing their young you can kill and eat every thing but humans. I mean we can kill and eat as much as we like and that is ok, but the second what we are trying to kill and eat kills a human it is a whole different story, everyone gets upset, it is on the news, a man eating shark kills a man, what do you expect if you are swimming in the ocean, you just swam into the sharks kitchen. Humans are still part of the food chain, the only reason is our brain to build weapons to kill larger and much stronger animals then us, other wise we would all be living in constant fear and hoping that when a large predator comes into our camp site it takes some one else and not me to eat. If you look at it from a predators point of view, when they hunt they go after the sick, old and weak, well if you were a shark and were hungry would you try to catch a fast tuna and burn a lot of calories or with no effort at all open your mouth and swallow a human, we are slow in the water and very weak as well, no risk for the shark to get injured, and that is a plus plus for a predator as it did not burn a lot of calories to catch and eat us.
Randy H March 05, 2012 at 01:34 PM
If there is a God, how disappointed he must be at what humans have done to his creation, which is earth and how we treat all the other species, we share earth with. As I always tell my wife when a major catastrophe happens especially from nature or a wide spread disease or just not enough food and people say why God how could you let this happen to us, what did we do to deserve this, all you have to do is look around the world and see how we have changed the planet, treat each other and treat other animals and that should be answer enough why God turns his back on us and lets nature have it’s way with us. I mean really JP, I don’t know if you have any pets or not, but if someone came into your home and tried to hurt you or your pet and you managed to get this person out of your home would you really care if you hurt this person in the process or if he had noting to eat, I know I would not, due to what he tried to do to me. So if you look at it from Gods point of view, why should he care about us especially how we treat each other and every thing else on his planet? We as humans have faith when we need it on a personal level, other wise it is business as usual.
Randy H March 05, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Anyway I have gone on long enough about this, I read where you have not watched Earth 2100 as of yet, but I think you will enjoy it as your comment when saying “the Earth will take care of itself when it deals with humans, as it always has, with natural calamities” is true and shown in this film at all levels. Enjoy the movie, take care.
Randy H March 05, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Anyway getting back to Earth 2100, there is no doubt in my mind that we as humans will not change, it is on too large of a scale, it is a world problem, not just a US problem, and when the crap really hits the fan, it will be too late because we would of passed the point of no return, and that is truly sad as was stated in the article I found “We may be the most intelligent species on this planet but we are also the most irresponsible” how true is that.
JoeRobertson March 07, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Ralph, perhaps you were not at that public hearing where 500 people showed up. The Stop The Mall committee, of which I am NOT a member, are REPRESENTATIVES of the people of Mahwah. A lot of people are not able to come out to all of the meetings. That does not mean they don't care, they do.
JoeRobertson March 07, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Bring it on, traffic bottlenecks, crime, flooding. BTW, how many aliases are you going to create, "Lily?" (rolling eyes) You're not fooling anyone.
JoeRobertson March 07, 2012 at 01:33 PM
You've already accomplished that for yourself on this forum.
JoeRobertson March 07, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Of course you "agree with Lily"... you ARE Lily under another alias.
JoeRobertson March 07, 2012 at 01:34 PM
JP... psst.... office space. That's how it was originally zoned.
JoeRobertson March 07, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Why should someone "sell their house and move" when their house was there first? And.. who is going to buy a house when it's now flooding and full of traffic?
JoeRobertson March 07, 2012 at 01:39 PM
JP, c'mon. IP addresses? Two words, "Proxy Server." But you knew that, didn't you. And yes, I totally see a pattern here with one person and multiple aliases.
JoeRobertson March 07, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Uh, no. Not "losing it" just caught the "pro-mall" people.. um.. I mean PERSON red handed.
JoeRobertson March 07, 2012 at 01:44 PM
JP, I think you mean "pro mall 'PERSON'" not people. But hey, what's a few aliases on a newspaper forum? It's kind of hard to make aliases appear at planning board meetings, isn't it? Where are all those "pro mall 'PEOPLE?'
Hank March 07, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Back in the day 400 people would show up.
JP March 07, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Joe, stop trolling and be serious will you. If you think everyone pro-mall on here is one person, you seriously need help because in your anti-mall dreams you wish we were all one person. Does it bother you that there's actually a group of people that approve of the project? Does it bother you that the whole town ISN'T behind you? It does doesn't it?
JP March 07, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Mayor Bill says it's less then 60 now.
JP March 07, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Her name's Lily Joe, not Sybil Dorsett.
resident March 08, 2012 at 12:51 PM
JP - When is the next election for Mayor and who is going to be running?
JoeRobertson March 09, 2012 at 07:11 AM
JP, it's not that difficult to see patterns in writing. There are a number of aliases on this forum from the same "pro-mall" person.
Hank March 09, 2012 at 12:12 PM
now its 58 due to the recent arrests

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