Don’t Miss this Important Upcoming Meeting!
August 6, 2013, 7:30PM – Planning Board Meeting & Hearing on the Proposed DePiero’s Farm Development
This is the first public meeting in which the subject of the development of the farm will have been discussed since the April 30, 2013 rezoning hearing. We are hoping that a large turnout by the public will help convince the developer and the Planning Board to scale down the size and intensity of this development. From the Borough Website: “PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a public hearing for the application for Preliminary and Final Site Plan Approval for the Shoppes at DePiero’s, Block 2802, Lots 3 & 4 and Block 1002 Lots 3 & 5 will be heard, and action may be taken.”
Note the Location – This meeting will take place at the Pascack Hills Regional High School, 225 W. Grand Avenue, corner of Spring Valley Road, Montvale, and NOT at Montvale Borough Hall!
July 28, 2013
Unfortunately, back in April, we were unsuccessful in preventing the Montvale Mayor and Council from voting in favor of changing the zoning to accommodate a huge new development on the DePiero’s Farm and other nearby acreage: a 125,000 square foot Wegmans store, 50,000 square feet of additional retail, a 24,000 square foot garden center, 1,100 parking spaces plus new and wider existing roads, as well as 32 new townhouses.
Nonetheless, we must continue to fight for a much smaller development than what is currently being proposed. We must ask the developers to reduce the footprint of the anchor store and scale-down the number and size of the accompanying retail stores, townhomes, and other impervious footprint planned for these sites.
In reviewing Wegmans developments that are being sited in densely populated regions similar to our own, there is a clear precedent for scaling down the size of the store to better fit the community they will serve.
In 2011 (paraphrasing from the below-referenced article), a Wegmans spokeswoman for the Rochester, NY-based chain stated that in Newton, MA, the company was building a smaller version of its grocery superstores tailored for urban locations. At that time, she asserted that this was not Wegmans’ first “smaller-store” format, but that the company had a handful of stores in the 65,000-square-foot to 85,000-square-foot rate in rural communities not far from Rochester, as well as a 31,000-square-foot store that had opened in Syracuse, N.Y. in 1970. The Newton store was to be the chain’s first built with a “smaller urban” format and one that could become a blueprint for the chain’s future expansion in New England and elsewhere.
Here is another article about how another local supermarket, well-known and loved by many of us, has made good using a small-scale model. By way of comparison, our local Trader Joe’s in Westwood is less than 10,000 square feet in size.
We strongly believe that the right approach for the Montvale retail site will incorporate the following:
- As small an anchor store as possible – Smaller is more human-scaled, easier to navigate, friendlier, and less stressful for the shopper. Smaller is far more environmentally-friendly and respects the limits of existing infrastructure, helping to prevent further down-slope flooding and unprecedented pressures on roadways and drainage systems.
- Retention of at least five acres of productive farmland – Preserving our agricultural heritage should mean more than housing shops in pleasing barn-like structures – it can involve incorporating precious open space that also serves to grow local produce that can then be sold right at the complex at a farmers’ market or in the on-site restaurants.
- Creation of more buffer forest between the development and the surrounding areas –Forested buffers provide a visual screen and help slow runoff from impervious surfaces, allowing stormwater to recharge groundwater supplies and preventing pollution from entering our local streams, waterways, and drinking water supply reservoirs.
To make this happen, we need you and your friends and neighbors to come out on August 6 and let the Wegmans representatives and the DePiero family know that much smaller development on the two sites will have less impact on the social fabric and natural environment of our communities, but can still be financially viable.
Please make note of the information at the top of this page regarding the August 6 Planning Board meeting. We hope to see you there!
Mark Becker & Lori Charkey
Bergen SWAN, on behalf of the Coalition
May 1, 2013
Round One of our fight to prevent the development of the DePiero’s Farm acreage by stopping or delaying its rezoning is over and did not go our way. This is a tremendously sad ending of one story, but the beginning of a new and most likely longer chapter.
We will re-focus and redouble our efforts now on protesting oversized development at DePiero’s and holding the development consortium’s feet to the fire on planning as small and as environmentally-sound a retail complex as possible. Keep checking this site for further details.
Meanwhile, we want to hear from you. Please write to us with your suggestions for a cohesive, sound, and proactive policy that we can adopt as the Coalition.
Thank you all for your extraordinary efforts to work for a better outcome for this property. The astounding show of support at the April 30 meeting — so many attendees that they could not fit into the building — is testament to the long, hard hours we all logged over the past couple of months.
DO WE NEED ANOTHER MEGA MALL?
What is Happening to DePiero’s Farm & Why Should I Care?
A zoning change being considered by the Montvale Mayor & Council would transform 27 acres of open, productive farmland into a sea of pavement – a giant mall comprised of a big box store and a huge strip mall – 224,000 square feet of building footprint, with 1,100 parking spaces and new roads – as well as 32 new townhouses. This intensive development will alter our local landscape negatively and irrevocably.
- DePiero’s farm and its rolling fields are central, visible, and proud landmarks of our community. Montvale should be the envy of towns for miles around for having retained its rural character and honored its agricultural heritage for so many decades.
- Montvale should not try to emulate towns that have given over their few remaining farms or open lands to oversized stores and strip malls that have little to no individuality and could be anywhere.
- The proposed development will be a loss to the community and future generations. Not only will we sacrifice our open space, but the home town feeling of knowing your neighbor.
- This enormous development has no regard for the town’s infrastructure limitations – it will require expanded sewer capacity, create additional demand on water resources, necessitate paying for more town and emergency services personnel, and cause a greater need for road maintenance and repair as traffic usage patterns on congested streets grow in scale and complexity.
- Montvale should consider redevelopment of existing developed sites with unused structures prior to adding new hardscape to existing open space.
Why should Montvale change its zoning to burden us with this development?
Take action now to:
- Preserve some portion of the last large, visible farm in our area.
- Save our open space, remaining rural character, and quality of life.
- Stop smaller local retailers from being driven out of business.
- Prevent massive traffic jams, more air & water pollution and flooding.
- INSIST ON NO ZONING CHANGE until a full environmental impact statement has been done and more public hearings have been held. Call for open space protection and store size limits.
- REQUIRE A PUBLIC REFERENDUM on the proposed zoning change.
- SIGN OUR PETITION.
- SEND A PROTEST EMAIL to Mayor Fyfe at: Mayorfyfe@montvaleboro.org.
- DOWNLOAD AND CIRCULATE OUR FLYER.
The Montvale Planning Board has unanimously agreed to draft a resolution to amend the Land Use Element and Housing Element and Fair Share Plan of the borough’s Master Plan.
The resolution will be based on traffic and feasibility studies commissioned by the borough that recommend the commercial and residential development of DePiero’s Country Farm on West Grand Avenue. The decision to rezone the farm has been delayed due to public outcry during a hearing in December.
Aerial view of DePiero’s Farm in Montvale, NJ. Image source: Google Maps.