Walmart Still Plans on Coming to Little Egg Harbor
William Harrison, attorney for Walmart in New Jersey, said on Monday that if the company wins an appeal of the case Melisa Malashevitz, et. al. vs. Walmart and the Little Egg Harbor Planning Board, it intends to go out for bid and begin construction right away.
The appeal will possibly be heard in April, according to Malashevitz’s attorney, Ron Gasiorowski. Other plaintiffs in the suit against Walmart include the Perlmutter Family ShopRites and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 152.
Harrison said he had not received official notice from the court when the appeal would be heard. Little Egg Harbor Township has prevailed in a lawsuit brought by opponents of the proposed Walmart. The Walmart application for a 161,143-square-foot Super Walmart to be located on Route 9 between Otis Bog and Mathistown Roads was approved in 2011.
The Walmart would be a combined supermarket and variety store, and opponents charged that a traffic study on the impacts made to Route 9 and the surrounding streets by the addition of the Walmart to the area was not based on a “super center,” on but a smaller Walmart. They sued on the basis there would be additional traffic.
In December 2011, Superior Court Judge Vincent Grasso ruled in favor of the township and Walmart, and Gasiorowski filed an appeal.
Harrison said that in the past, Gasiorowski has appealed such cases to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
But barring that, Harrison said the issue with the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection over locating the entrance road too close to the habitat of an endangered species of Cope’s Gray treefrog has been resolved. The required 150-foot buffer was decreased to 75 feet and approved by the DEP.
Other issues with the state Department of Transportation are “minor,” he said.
If all roadblocks were removed, the construction of the Walmart would take about a year, said Harrison. —P.J.