Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Montvale Votes to Rezone Portion of Farm Property for Retail

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Montvale Votes to Rezone Portion of Farm Property for Retail

Article excerpt

MONTVALE -- Plans to develop part of the DePiero farm with a "lifestyle retail center" will be submitted to the Planning Board within the next few weeks, the developer working with the DePieros said Wednesday.

The proposal would include a 140,000-square-foot Wegmans supermarket and 84,000 square feet of additional shops and restaurants to be built at the 89-year-old farm.

The Borough Council on Tuesday night voted 5-1 to rezone 28 acres of the DePieros' land after listening to hours of impassioned pleas from the public against the development proposal.

The joint venture between the DePieros and developer The S. Hekemian Group is for the Shoppes at DePiero Farm at the corner of West Grand Avenue and Mercedes Drive. The DePieros want to develop their land because their country store is no longer profitable.

"We appreciate the support and questions from our fellow Montvale residents in the days leading up to, and including, last night's public comment session for this proposed rezoning ordinance. While the circumstances that have led us to this juncture are bittersweet, we are grateful that we are able to proceed with this proposed plan and look forward to working with the Planning Board," said an emailed statement from a public relations firm representing Edward and Elaine DePiero.

Hundreds of people packed Borough Hall this week, forcing fire officials to turn some away. Many stood shoulder to shoulder in a corridor watching a television feed of the proceeding. Inside the council chambers, even more people lined the walls and filled the seats.

By Councilman Timothy Lane's count, 14 people spoke in favor of the rezoning and 28 against it.

Council President Leah LaMonica was the lone dissenting vote.

"We all want this to be right," she said. "There's no room for error here. We have to be sure the ordinance we send to the Planning Board is the right ordinance."

LaMonica asked to pass on the vote, then voted no.

Many who opposed the development fear additional cars on already congested roadways, noise and air pollution, and asked for the square footage to be reduced, particularly for the mammoth supermarket. …

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