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Westwood 7-Eleven Plan Opposed by Neighbors

Residents who live on Kingsberry Avenue, near the former Chevy dealer, asked the Westwood Zoning Board to reject the application for a strip mall on Kinderkamack Road.

A decision for an application to build a five-unit strip mall with a 7-Eleven on Kinderkamack Road is expected to come at the Westwood Zoning Board's next meeting.

The board heard comments from the public about the plan during their meeting Monday, including some both against and in favor of the plan for the new 8,051-square-foot mall at the former Chevrolet of Westwood near Emerson.

Kingsberry Avenue resident Michael Meisten said he was worried about safety for children who live on the street or play baseball at the field at the far end, who might be tempted to cross Kinderkamack Road to reach a 7-Eleven.

Meisten also said he was opposed to the plan because 7-Elevens generally are open 24 hours per day and he was concerned that patrons from nearby bars may venture there "after a night of drinking."

Patrick Flannery, another Kingsberry Avenue resident, said he believed that other nearby 7-Elevens in Hillsdale, River Vale and Park Ridge, as well as the Quick Chek "30 seconds away" in Emerson, made another convenience store unnecesary for the site. 

Both Meisten and Flannery also said they were concerned about additonal traffic the mall might create, noting that the intersection of Kinderkamack and Kingsberry is already very busy.

"You have to inch out and pray that one of these [vehicles] is not going to hit your car," Flannery said.

Both men said they would be happy to have a new business occupy the site, but not one open 24 hours per day.

Norman Dorf, who owns the property but is not the applicant, said he believed the strip mall would look better than the current vacant showroom. 

"It's an eyesore," Dorf said. "It's been vacant for five years."

Dorf cited a recently-opened 7-Eleven in his home town of Tenefly, which he said does not look like "a typical 7-Eleven" and was built on a formerly vacant site.

"I think it's a lot better," Dorf said. "It's aesthetically pleasing."

Bruce Meisel, another Westwood property owner who is objecting to the application, also gave some testimony during the meeting Monday. Meisel said he was opposed to the plan because it conflicts with the borough's Master Plan, which was re-examined in 2011. 

Meisel will continue his testimony at the board's next meeting. Peter Steck, a professional planner hired by Meisel, will also testify about the plan at the meeting.

David Lafferty, the applicant's attorney, said he was willing to hold the vote until the next meeting because there were only six board members present at Monday's meeting. The applicant is entitled to have seven members vote and will need five affirmative votes for the plan to be approved.

The next meeting of the Westwood Zoning Board is scheduled for March 4 at 8 p.m. in the Municipal Complex.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

CP February 05, 2013 at 06:43 AM
Alcohol, tobacco, junk food.....is that what you need close to children, or even anyone? Also, see what police departments are saying about 7 Elevens across the U.S. (in your search engine type: "Eagle Rock 7 Eleven LAPD"; or look for "San Mateo Police Attachment 8 7 Eleven", or just do a "7 Eleven crime" search on the internet....not good, not good at all!!! Say no to 7 Eleven, not near children)!
21st century concerned citizen February 05, 2013 at 02:29 PM
I agree with Flannery and Meisten. We do not want or need a 7 Eleven in Westwood on Kinderkamack Road. While the owner of the property is stating that the proposed strip mall would be better than the current vacant property, we, as citizens of Westwood should not settle for something that is only better than the current state. We, as citizens of Westwood should be supporting improvements to our home town that will increase property values and make our community a better place to live. Again, I will say to everyone. look at what Park Ridge did to the location of Krell Lighting. They built a building with apartments and retail that enhances the area not just settling for something that would replace a vacant structure. As Taxpaying citizens we deserve not only a voice in what will be built on the site but also a structure that we will be proud of. I have never heard anyone say they were proud that their town opened a 7 Eleven
DES February 05, 2013 at 03:09 PM
We have a nice mom and pop convenience store a block away. Why give money to the chains? Put something else there.
David Lafferty February 05, 2013 at 04:30 PM
First of all, there is no liquor license involved so the 7-11 can't sell alcohol. Second, the Krell Lighting building in park ridge is completely vacant. Third, I suggest you drive a bit more north and look at the 7-11 in Montvale.
concerned mother February 05, 2013 at 04:34 PM
I agree with CP, we do not need this 24 hour 7 eleven store on KKK road. This is also where the school bus picks up and drops off children early in the morning, it is not going to be a safe area for children to stand and wait for the bus.
B@B February 05, 2013 at 07:01 PM
This business of advocating nonconforming uses because "the current building is an eyesore" is a business practice that's becoming increasingly prevalent in the Pascack Valley. Let an old car dealership deteriorate and become blighted property unless you get the zoning variance for the 7-11 that you want. Let a major intersection in Washington Township look like a slum unless you get the variance for a CVS that you want. Leave a blighted gas station unless you get a variance for a convenience store and six gas pumps on a tiny tiny lot. These outside business interests are holding our towns hostage by buying up properties and then not maintaining them --- and using that as leverage to get variances. Why do we tolerate this?
21st century concerned citizen February 05, 2013 at 08:17 PM
@DL The Building in Park Ridge was recently completed. I have seen the 7 Eleven in Montvale and again we do not want a proliferation of 24x7 convenience stores in the Westwood and Emerson corridor. Nationally 24x7 convenience stores are hangouts for teenagers and this is certainly not in the best interest of property values in Westwood unless you are looking to degrade the value of the homes in the vicinity of the proposed retail location.
21st century concerned citizen February 05, 2013 at 08:25 PM
@DL One additional comment. 24x7 stores have significantly more traffic than other retail stores as people are stopping in for short periods of time to pick up cigarettes, snacks, lottery tickets other other non-healthy items. If you are familiar with the area you will also note there is a pre-school next to the property in question. Unless you have a financial interest in having a 7 Eleven on this property I cannot understand why you are defending this proposal. I can assure you a majority of the residents in the area are against the convenience proposal
B@B February 07, 2013 at 08:21 PM
21st ccc: You should also be aware, since you have commmented also on the future of the Getty station in WT, that it is rumored yet another convenience store will be put there too and that the shysters that run WT are going to approve it.
PeterB February 07, 2013 at 09:22 PM
21st century concerned citizen - Sounds like you are stuck in the 20th century - early 20th century. What does any have a 7-11 across from the pre-school have any relevance on it being approved. Are you going to try to make the argument that it will make them delinquents? Your argument is extremely week. When it was a car dealership, were you making the argument that when cars were being delivered it would back up traffic? This is the same argument that drive thru fast food places cause more traffic, right? Before making that argument I would do vision exams on all drivers over 60 and then maybe we would realize where a portion of the traffic is created.
21st century concerned citizen February 08, 2013 at 05:04 PM
@PeterB 20th Century??????????? My agument is that opening a 7 Eleven on the site will not increase property values in Westwood which is FACT! The other agrument is that there are better uses for the property than a 24x7 convenience store which does substantially increase traffic. If you would travel down Kinderkamack Road to Emerson; you will see two new buidlings. Both are retail and residential. The first building which opened last year has all of their retail space leased and does not include a 24x7 convenience store. Both are attractive buidlings and both comply with current zoning laws in Emerson. Don't know what logic you used to say I am stuck in the early 20th century but your logic is flawed. Again anyone making an argument for opening a 24x7 convenience store does not understand the correlation of high traffic retail locations and property values. If the property values would increase why are the local residents complaining to the zoning board. Current Westwood Zoning does NOT ALLOW for this type of retail establisment
21st century concerned citizen February 08, 2013 at 05:09 PM
@B@B yes you are correct that I have commented on the future of the Getty Station on Washington Ave. My comments are 100% to support Ted and not for the BP takover of the location. I also do not know what you have to support the opening of a convenience store at that location as I have seen a number of BP conversions and they do not have convenience stores on their property. I must also state that I am a Westwood resident and I certainly do not want the Kinderkamack Road former Chevy Dealership location to be the site of a 7 Eleven especially when there is a convenience store minutes away. As residents we should be looking for the Best Use of the Property not settling for another convenience store
Joe Taxpayer February 12, 2013 at 04:25 PM
Gadfly B@B - Please run for Mayor. You have my vote. You certainly have a lot of time to kill. I would love to see your theories in practice. After you are finished I'm sure the Township will be utopian. All we need is your hope and change.
Robert Clinton February 17, 2013 at 06:27 AM
Mr. Dorf, the property owner, left out some key points regarding the Tenafly 7-11. First, the property that it was built on was not vacant, it was a gas station that sold rather quickly. Additionally, the board NEVER APPROVED IT AS A 7-11. It was approved as an independent variety/convenience store, and then once it was built the big ugly 7-11 sign was put on the building, and there was nothing that the town could legally do about it. The Tenafly council also initiated an investigation into how it was approved, and whether laws were broken in granting the approval.

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