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Aisle 9 grocery store gains nod of approval from Jackson Planning Board

JACKSON – A supermarket is expected to become a tenant in the Liberty Commons shopping center in Jackson.

During a recent meeting, the members of the Jackson Planning Board voted to grant approval to an application that proposed the construction of an Aisle 9 grocery store.

Following testimony from representatives of the applicant, Chairman Robert Hudak, Vice Chair Leonard Haring Jr., Michele Campbell, Timothy Dolan, Township Councilman Martin Flemming, Joseph Riccardi, Jeffrey Riker, Paul Nigro and Jackson Business Administrator Terence Wall voted “yes” on a motion to approve the application.

The 16,000-square-foot Aisle 9 grocery store will take space in the Liberty Commons shopping center which is under construction at the intersection of North Hope Chapel Road and East Veterans Highway in Jackson.

Aisle 9 will sell groceries, prepared foods and related items. It is expected there will be 35 full-time employees and five part-time employees. Hours of operation would be 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., six days a week, 50 weeks a year. The store will be closed on all Jewish holidays, according to testimony presented to the board.

Attorney Adam Pfeffer, engineer Steve Cattani and traffic engineer Justin Taylor represented the Aisle 9 application.

“We are proposing to occupy the center building (at the site) with a single supermarket tenant who wishes put three freezer-cooler units on the back of the building. The back of the buildings in (an) original approval were approved for loading.

“There were concrete pads along the entire rear of the buildings, with parking along the rear of the buildings. We are proposing to drop the coolers and freezers on the existing concrete pads; there would be no increase in the impervious coverage,” Cattani said.

According to testimony, the plan for the building which eventually became the proposed Aisle 9 supermarket originally included nine tenants before becoming the single-tenant grocery store.

Taylor, the applicant’s traffic engineer, said there is no anticipated effect on the previously approved traffic study with the change from nine tenants to one tenant in the building.

“Supermarkets anchor retail shopping centers all the time and that type of use is incorporated into the (traffic) rates and used to come up with the conclusions of the previous study,” Taylor said.

Dolan took issue with Taylor’s testimony and said, “I will not say I am a traffic planning expert, but I live in the area and I drive those streets. I would like to understand what planning you have done because that is a disaster in the late afternoon and the early morning.

“You’ve got a cross street, buses, (a business) with cement trucks, (the) Jackson Crossing (shopping plaza) across the street, plus (a convenience store) and the McAuliffe school down the block.

“The line of traffic trying to go to that left on Cooks Bridge Road takes 15 to 20 minutes at 3 p.m. I have 300 spots in a shopping center, where are these cars going? I do not think it can take the input. I do not understand how that is not going to have an impact,” Dolan said.

Taylor said the maximum demand for a shopping center such as what was being proposed does not demand that all of the parking spaces will be in need at the same time during the same peak hours.

He said not all of the employees and all of the customers would arrive at and leave the site at the same time.

North Hope Chapel Road is designated as Ocean County Route 639 and Taylor said county officials approved the traffic study and the driveways of the previous application, and approved the driveways as they are currently constructed.

“I am not here to tell you there will not be an impact (from Aisle 9). We are bringing traffic to the site. What I am here to tell you is that the driveway as designed and the traffic that is associated with (the plan) fall well within the parameters of what is acceptable,” Taylor said.

Following the testimony, the board members voted to grant approval to the Aisle 9 supermarket.

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