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Letter to the Editor: Millburn Residents Against Proposed Stop and Shop

Millburn-Short Hills organization, Residents for Traffic Safety, write a letter to the editor on their stance against a new supermarket in a recap of their latest forum.

To Millburn-Short Hills Patch:

About 20-25 residents attended the Residents For Traffic Safety forum on Thursday, Nov. 29 to express their concerns, ask questions, and offer their ideas regarding the Stop & Shop development planned to be built on Millburn Avenue.  Generally, the comments centered around public safety and lowering of the quality of life in the area due to the greatly increased car and truck traffic that the supermarket will draw.  As resident Mary Fran Johnson stated, ”I can’t believe that an additional 6,000 cars a day would NOT have an impact on the quality of our neighborhood and town.”

Attendees agreed that all trucks should not be required to enter and exit on Millburn Avenue and that there should be a traffic light at the Morris Avenue site entrance where trucks could enter. Stop & Shop would have to request a waiver from the DOT for such a traffic light.

There also were questions regarding the traffic light at Millburn Avenue and Baltusrol Way approved by Essex County and the impact on residential streets of an extended traffic queue on Baltusrol.

Numerous attendees worried aloud about the safety of students from Millburn High School and St. Rose Academy crossing Millburn Avenue with even more traffic than now seen on the congested street.

Reflecting comments made a recent Zoning Board meetings by the township engineer and the board’s traffic consultant, questions and skepticism were raised as to the ability of tractor trailer trucks to negotiate right turns onto Millburn Avenue from Morris Avenue and from Millburn Avenue onto Short Hills Avenue, as well as into and out of the loading dock area off Millburn Avenue, exacerbating traffic problems.

Springfield resident Peter Quinn, focusing on the store’s loading dock area,  echoed a critique by the Zoning Board traffic consultant who had noted that “It appears that the acoustical wall restricts circulation and will create back-ups on Millburn Avenue.”  Quinn consulted a professional truck driver about turn-arounds in the dock area and was told it was an “almost impossible” turn that would take “up to 45 minutes to execute.” He suggested that the Zoning Board have a professional trucker look at the configuration and determine if the turns can be made as S&S claims.

Quinn also noted that one of the four loading docks will be tied up with a dropped half-trailer housing a generator for standby power. That would leave only three active docks for a store nearly double the size of King’s, which has six loading docks. 

Resident Larry Gelber was concerned with safety and quality of life considerations. He asked, “What will be the safety impact to residential streets near and abutting Baltusrol Way and how will the values of homes in the Glenwood area be affected?  What will happen to the congestion at the high school and St. Rose school at the beginning and end of the school day?  What will happen to the flow of traffic along Millburn Avenue when large delivery trucks attempt to negotiate this area?  Will this development result in fewer potential customers willing to brave the traffic nightmare?  The residents look to township leaders to do all they can to protect us and our community.”

Eli Heitin expressed concern about “a lack of awareness in our community of the impact this “superstore” will have on the area.  Traffic will become unbearable on Baltusrol Way and Millburn Avenue and our children’s safety will be compromised.  The Zoning Board has a responsibility to protect our welfare.”

Given the reported inadequacies of Stop & Shop’s traffic study, residents agreed that a comprehensive, independent traffic study was needed and that Stop & Shop’s claims should not be taken at face value.

Attendees vowed to bring their questions to the Zoning Board meeting on December 17, at 7:00 p.m. at Millburn Town Hall.

 

Adam Newfeld December 12, 2012 at 02:28 AM
This property has been an eyesore for decades, and I'm not sure if property taxes have been kept up on. If the residents don't want a S&S in that location, then they should find a better tenant, or pay springfield the lost tax revenue, untill the property is filled.
LHG December 13, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Exactly. What would the local residents like to become of this property? It has been an eyesore for almost 20 years. Would you like 30 new houses to be built there instead? Perhaps an auto repair shop? Car dealership? Sitting vacant forever is not the answer.
ASquared Video Productions December 13, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Soooo .... let me see if I understand this. Let's leave the property vacant and cost Springfield millions in tax revenue just so we can look at an empty building with a weed ridden parking lot and continue to use the Shop Rites in Millburn & Springfield which are old, dirty, crowded, small and outdated. Springfield needs a 21st century supermarket. Oh and BTW that stretch of Millburn Ave. is already congested anyway and I don't think it will make that much of a difference. http://www.stopandshopspringfield.com/project-details
Dad-from-Springfield December 13, 2012 at 06:35 PM
I don't understand why the communities in this area fear change so much. I welcome a new supermarket and personally prefer the Stop and Shop stores. Shoprite is satisfactory and Kings is as always overpriced. Seabras is more for quick one off shopping when passing by, not a store of choice. I welcome the Stop and Shop and foresee doing most of my shopping there.
ASquared Video Productions December 13, 2012 at 06:47 PM
The Shop Rites in the area were modern for 1960 and the one in Millburn looks like it hasn't been expanded or touched in decades. What is the big deal about having a nice new, MODERN supermarket. Those who fear change will allow Springfield to remain the time warp that it is.
Bob Groder December 14, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I being a citizen of springfield want something there at the vacant lot. if the citizens in both towns dont want it then come up with an alternative solution. an idle building does no good for anyone in town. solutions are # 1. let this go through, # 2 build another store or auto shop or something that makes sense # 3 last resort build more houses there which would bring in new taxes in town. If they can take away princess farm and build new houses there and behind the former holiday inn why not houses and create a new community in town? or # 4. Put this on a ballot and let the citizens decide since its such a touchy issue would be possiblily.
Shane Ronan December 14, 2012 at 05:13 PM
I believe the property is owned by Stop and Shop. At this point they aren't going down without a huge fight. There is no reason to put this on the ballot, as there is nothing to vote on, they either meet the zoning rules or they don't.
judi ayre December 21, 2012 at 12:07 PM
An unncessary drugstore and bank has been built on many corners in Union County without much objection as far as I know. This store is not that different but is using an existing deteriorating building, a big plus as it see it. The years of seemingly endless litigation remind me of a child having a tantrum; stop, step back and see that the situation has changed and go on. Do the NIMBY people have such power to prolong this lengthly and now nonsensical battle?
B Freeman December 21, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Not sure why Millburn is so bent out of shape with regards to the Stop & Shop which is located closer to Morris Ave and Millburn Ave when they allowed the building of 30 town homes at the corner of Millburn Ave and Short Hills Ave where congestion is already bad enough and closer to Downtown Millburn, Short Hills Train Station, and Parochial School on the corner. Watch what happens to congestion at that corner with moving vans, garbage trucks, residents, visitors, etc all going in and out of that area and the impact on traffic. What I don’t understand, how is this different than the Shop Rite in Millburn? Have you’ve seen one of their trucks pull out onto Main St and block traffic, I have. Doesn’t seem to bother residents there, so is that different? They are very close to Taylor Park, how is not safe? They have about the same amount of traffic flow as would Stop & Shop. What about traffic increase when all those empty stores on Millburn Ave are no longer vacant?

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