The team behind a proposed CVS in Washington Township has reduced the number of trees they want to remove from the site from 85 to 62.
David Caruso, the engineer for the proposed CVS on the corner of Pascack Road and Washington Avenue, testified about modified landscaping plans during a meeting of the Washington Township Zoning Board this week. According to Caruso, there are currently 143 trees on the residential properties where First Hartford Realty has planned to put the 14,769-square-foot pharmacy. Of the trees proposed for removal, 11 are already dead or dying and another four will only have to be removed if a county plan to widen the road is carried out, Caruso said.
Residents have criticized the plan for removing too many trees from the site, where trees have already been removed since the homes have been vacant. According to Caruso, eight trees were removed from the site since a survey was performed last September. James Kourgelis, who owns the site via a limited liability corporation, has also been accused of violating the township's tree ordinance by allegedly removing 12 other trees from his properties previously. Kourgelis potentially faces thousands of dollars in fines.
After Caruso finished giving his testimony, attorney Tendai Richards cross-examined him on behalf of the Northgate Condominium Association. Richards asked Caruso about the trees and the soil on the site. According to Caruso, some of the trees that are planned to be kept will still need to be temporarily removed while work is done. Fill soil that was previously used on the site will need to be removed because it is not compact enought to build on, Caruso said. After it is removed, the soil will be brought back one layer at a time and stamped down to ensure it can support the weight of the CVS.
The hearing will continue at the zoning board's May 15 meeting if there is enough time after a vote on for a new gas station and convenience store, or at the June meeting if there is not enough time. The next expert to testify will be a traffic engineer.