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Board Shoots Down Retail Development At Deserted Chevy Dealership

The applicant had planned to replace the empty building with a five-unit retail space that would include a 7-Eleven.

The Westwood Zoning Board unanimously voted to deny an application to build a five-unit retail space on the site of a former Chevrolet dealership on Kinderkamack Road during their meeting Monday night.

Board members expressed concern about a requested variance for a "general retail use" at the site, where only specific uses — like a car dealership or large appliance store — are allowed. There are no commercial zones in Westwood where a general retail use is permitted, according to board Chairman William Martin. Instead, the uses which are allowed in each zone are listed in the borough's Master Plan.

"I think the general retail request was a little bit too undefined," board member Eric Oakes said.

The Westwood Planning Board completed a re-examination of the Master Plan last December and did not change the permitted uses in the zone where the defunct Chevy dealer is located.

Developer Nicholas Aynilian previously testified he had a 7-Eleven and a hair salon lined up for two of the spaces in the proposed 8,051-square-foot building, but the rest of the stores did not have planned tenants. Zoning Board members said Monday that they might have approved the plan if the request for a use variance was more specific about what would happen at the site.

"We really don't know what the rest of it is going to be used for," board member Michael Bieri said.

Board Attorney David Rutherford said Aynilian could apply again with a request for a more specific variance. Board members said they thought the plan for the building was an improvement.

"I think the site plan is a good site plan," Bieri said.

After the board denied the application, attorney David Lafferty presented experts to testify about a second application from Aynilian to build a similar 5,862-square-foot five-unit retail space on a site directly Kinderkamack Road from the previous one. The board will continue hearing testimony for that application at their next meeting on June 4.

Gary Conkling May 09, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Yes the zoning board should consider the master plan. But some common sense should prevail. Take a look around at buildings vacant for years because of the "Master Plan" Westwood Ford, Broadway across from Kmart to name a few. It appears the board is banking on when the hospital opens that this will bring the businesses they want into town. Whats a highway type outlet? Whats wrong with a tattoo parlor? Westwood is a urban suburb Avg property value $398,240 compared to Leonia $478,026 7 eleven had a 30 year lease. Lets see how long it stays vacant.
Mindful Thinker May 09, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I would tend to agree with GC's comments, in this economy the town should seriously entertain any offers from developers that would benefit the town and keep politics and special interests out of the equation. Valley Ford has been and continues to be an eye sore for the residents despite a very nice offer to develop the property. How many more years will we have to look at this decrepit building, not to mention the horrible condition of the roadway itself. It would appear there is an alternative agenda in place, its time for fresh minds to prevail.
Westwoody May 09, 2012 at 05:08 PM
What a joke! Obviously, if the master plan was correct, the building would already be occupied with a conforming use. How long do we have to look at this empty thing?
Barry Black May 13, 2012 at 02:16 PM
The old Chevrolet dealership has been empty for so long it is now considered a memorial along with the Ford dealership. The only thing these empty building do is keep the traffic down!
P DEE September 18, 2012 at 09:40 PM
what about the other stores on kinderkamack rd. open a 7-11 and what else? pizza or bagels...so these stores will be open and the other stores that bank on coffee sales & such close their doors.it's hard enough on small stores to stay in business, but do you care?

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