A movie theater that would be at the top of the pedestrian-friendly area of the ‘Crossroads Town Center’ shopping development proposed for the land surrounding the Sheraton Mahwah Hotel just got a bit smaller.
According to a developer presentation Monday night at an , the theater, which was previously proposed to have 3,000 seats, will now have 2,035. Though representatives of the Crossroads Developer said the exact number of screens built would be up to the independent theater vendor that would operate the facility, that many seats would typically make up an 8-12 screen theater.
The change was in response to board concerns about parking near the theater, which, in the proposal, is located near smaller retail shops in an area designed to be pedestrian-friendly. The other side of the development would contain two big box stores.
In its previous submission, the developer proposed 407 parking spaces, or about one spot for every 12 seats in the theater – the minimum required by a township ordinance allowing for the Crossroads Town Center development to be built. Reducing the number of seats in the theater would knock that ratio down to one parking space for every five seats in the theater.
The planning board has been debating the number of parking spaces and layout of the pedestrian-friendly side of the development for about a year during the ongoing public hearing.
The tweaked internal traffic plan presented by civil engineer Michael Junghans Monday included several changes to the design of the interior of the site - including turning the current traffic circle into a two-way road, with a turning lane in the middle, and adding a sidewalk running around the entire loop, which would connect the smaller retail side of the development with the big box side.
Monday night, board members brought up additional concerns about the flow of people driving and walking through the center, saying that the proposed plan did not include enough pedestrian connections between parking areas and stores, restaurants, and the theater.
“I don’t think we can have too many crosswalks or sidewalks,” Planning Board Chair Todd Sherer said. “We can’t overdue safety."
Crossroads representatives said they would make additional changes to the design, add in more pedestrian-friendly elements, and return to the board with a future presentation.