WESTFIELD, NJ -- Another planning board meeting has passed without reaching a conclusion as to whether or not the Stop & Shop on Elm Street will be able to make renovations.
During the planning board meeting on March 4 ,being that this was not the first time this issue was put in front of the board, the more major in-store renovations weren’t discussed much, but instead the focus was on the parking lot expansion. Both an engineer and traffic expert was used by the defense as witnesses to testify.
“From a traffic perspective I would expect that traffic generation won’t change much from the traffic already being generated,” said Dan Disario, a traffic expert that is licensed in both New Jersey and New York.
Since the last planning board meeting, the proposed outdoor parking lot renovations had changed to include two new parallel parking spaces as well as a renovation of the existing handicap spaces. The wall around the perimeter of the parking lot had also been revised from16 feet to 26 feet. The number of parking spaces will also be expanded from the existing 102 spaces to 140.
An overall layout change was also proposed for the outdoor parking lot. Many of the parking spaces will be changed from parallel to perpendicular to the entrance of the store. The current one-way lane system for navigating the parking lot will also be changed to a 24-ft wide two-way lane. Disario deemed this change as “sufficient for utilization.”
An expansion of the loading dock was also proposed. The expansion was proposed to make tractor trailer deliveries safer. Dasario explained his observations of the parking lot and the multiple reverse maneuvers that truck drivers have to do to appropriately unload.
“When that backing maneuver is going to occur it won’t be in an active parking lot,” said Disario.
A local community resident of Orchard St., Doug Schnorr, had questioned the traffic expert about the possible increase in truck trailer traffic.
“Will there be an increase of trucks?”asked Schnorr.
According to the previous testimony it was answered that there will be no extra tractor trailers.
There will be a special planning board meeting on April 3 at 7:30 p.m. during which two more witnesses will testify on Stop & Shop’s behalf.