Developer Presents Commercial Use of United Water Property

Initial drawings include plans for a new Shoprite, bank, restaurant and more

A representative for developer Peter Hekemian presented his company's plan for the 16-acre United Water property which includes a new Shoprite, a family restaurant, bank and 10,000 square feet of commercial space for local merchants.

The proposal also includes a 145-space parking lot for use by the borough and school district as well as a graded field that could be developed into a soccer field.

S. Hekemian Group entered into a contract of sale for the property back in December 2010 and this was the first chance for borough residents and business owners to see their plan for the site currently owned by United Water.

"The anchor is intended to be Inserra Supermarkets and there are a lot of benefits that can be achieved by redeveloping and moving to the new site," said Andy DelVecchio, a lawyer from the firm Beattie Padovano who represented the Hekemian Group. "We’re not likely to make everyone happy but we have come up with a concept that addresses the development of the property and also provide something to each of the stakeholders."

DelVecchio said the current ordinances and zoning would lend itself to the development of 50 single family units but that S. Hekemian Group would seek approval for the property to be zoned commercial. 

Inserra Supermarkets would drop the variances recently granted for the renovations proposed to their current location on River Road and would seek to avoid having to close for 15 months while the renovations take place.

"Athletic uses and their parking comprise roughly 30 percent of the property that the contract purchaser will dedicate to municipality at no cost," said DelVecchio.

The area for a potential soccer field would be "graded land" that would need to be developed but Hekemian would fully complete the parking area adjacent to it, DelVecchio said.

"It avoids forever the development of 50 homes on the property," said DelVecchio. "It avoids the school costs if the property were improved with 50 new residential homes."

DelVecchio presented a detailed chart of potential costs to the borough if the site were developed under its current residential zoning versus the proposed commercial use.

"We understand it might not meet with everyone’s vision – but again we believe when the compromises need to be made and analyzed," said DelVecchio. "It provides a lot more of something on this site and avoids the cost impacts of an 'as of right' development."


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