By Robin Rieger
MT LAUREL, NJ (CBS) – A proposed Wal-Mart on Route 73 in Mount Laurel? Not in my front yard, say some residents of Beaver Avenue. They say there’s too much traffic on their street already and believe it will only get worse with a proposed 89,000-square-foot store.
The store would be bordered by Route 73, Fellowship Road and Beaver Avenue. A new fitness center is planned for the portion of the back lot on Church Road.
“It takes us fifteen minutes to go to a Wawa down the street, and that’s literally a quarter mile down the street. Traffic is horrendous,” says April Scott, who lives across the street from the proposed retail and grocery store.
“With the Wal-Mart there, with the congestion, the noise, all that stuff…it’s just going to be a big headache,” agrees Robert Bates, another neighbor.
Mount Laurel Mayor Jim Keenan says the proposed Wal-Mart is a permitted use for this redevelopment site. But he says it was only given preliminary approval so far on the building concept.
Citing residents’ concerns, Keenan, who’s also a planning board member, says the township can require that there be no entrance or exit from the parking lot onto Beaver Avenue. He says the Township can also reduce the speed limit from 35 to 25 miles per hour and consider speed humps to further slow traffic.
“Wal-Mart will take away from our employees based on the loss of business into our current union facilities,” says Gerald Chudoff.
Chudoff represents local union supermarket employees and plans to fight on their behalf.
“Their hours will be reduced, and it will affect them financially,” Chudoff explains.
Several residents have hired an attorney and, through Facebook, are urging people to attend Monday night’s council meeting to air their concerns. We contacted Wal-Mart, and the company says they don’t have a formal agreement with the developer yet.
The developer, Mt. Laurel Development LLC, did not return our calls for comment.