Burroughs Poole, LLC presented an application to the planning board Tuesday night for a one-story, 15,358 square feet commercial development on the 15-acre site between the highway and Paramus Road, just north of the Linwood Avenue exit. According to attorney Tom Wells, the applicant's representative, the plan requires no variances from the board.
“We were conscious of the fact that we wanted to do something that was completely consistent with the ordinance you passed,” Wells told officials.
He was referring to a rezoning of the site from residential to “highway commercial” passed two years ago at the request of property owner Malvern Burroughs, who has owned and paid taxes on the property for more than 30 years. During that time he made three proposals to the planning board, he said – one for an office building, another for a storage facility and, finally, one for townhouses. All applications, made before the zoning change, were ultimately denied.
“It was very difficult to get something approved here,” Burroughs put it to the board in testimony Tuesday night.
Starbucks has indicated interest in being one of as many - but no more than - seven tenants on the property, Burroughs said. The exact number of subdivisions remains unknown pending discussions with other possible tenants, who he said have so far included additional national chains.
Wells said there would be “very minimal effect on village streets,” with all access points to the lot coming off the highway. A six-foot fence will be put up on the part of the property's rear that abuts a residential zone, with a 30-foot wide tree-lined buffer behind the building.
One resident said the buffer
would not suffice to mitigate the impact on his property, located on Paramus Road directly behind the site.
“This project is in my backyard,” said Jack Ingraham, who also spoke in opposition to the zoning change on the site two years ago. He asked that the developer make additional efforts to strengthen the visual barrier between his property and the commercial building.
Other concerns raised by the board Tuesday night were relatively minor, such as the exact nature of the landscaping, sanitation issues and the amount of truck traffic at the site. An architect on the project is expected to continue testimony on the project at a November meeting.
If approved, Burroughs said, the project would ideally begin early next year, with an expected construction time of roughly nine months.