Shop Rite Manager Can't Produce

Hekemian called Shop Rite's produce manager as a witness in Thursday's special hearing of the Zoning Board. The question the audience was asking is "Why?"

Joseph Pagano, Director of Produce for Inserra Shop Rite, testified as a factual witness on behalf of Hekemian at Thursday's special meeting of the Zoning Board devoted entirely to the hearing of the proposed development of the United Water property.

Why did Hekemian call a produce manager as a witness? The people sitting in the audience are still scratching their heads trying to figure that out.

Attorney for the applicant, Antimo "Andy" DelVecchio spent an hour establishing Pagano as an expert in the produce/refrigeration aspect of Inserra's Shop Rite, New Milford which is one of the stores that Pagano oversees. However, DelVecchio objected at almost every turn when the public attempted to question Pagano about traffic, parking, and emergency service calls to Shop Rite because it was outside of the scope of his expertise.

As one member of SOD exclaimed out loud, "What a tremendous waste of our time and resources."

There was one moment in the testimony that Zoning Board attorney Scott Sproviero intervened with indignation. With regard to underground parking at Inserra's Bayonne and Fairlawn Shop Rites, Pagano said that it is not a parking plan that they favor because people do not like to go underground and the cart conveyor can pose a danger.

Sproviero interjected,"I'm approaching being offended because when it was the only game in town, it was fabulous. Now, not so much."

Sproviero was referring to Inserra's original plan for renovating and expanding the current Shop Rite on its present site that was approved by the New Milford Planning Board. During that hearing before the Planning Board, underground parking was hailed as being great. Sproviero asked how it is that their position changed so dramatically.

Pagano replied that unlike Bayonne and Fair Lawn, New Milford is an upscale community that needs this type of parking structure (outdoor). According to Pagano, the earlier application before the Planning Board gave Inserra no other choice than to consider below ground parking.

"Now we have options," Pagano said.

However, out of all the witnesses that Hekemian has had testify thus far, Pagano was the first one to go on record acknowledging that the area of the proposed development floods. When asked about flooding in the area of the proposed Shop Rite, he said that he was at the Lodi Shop Rite during a flood, "This (New Milford) flooding will be no way worse that the Lodi flooding."

Pagano did testify that there would be approximately 34 trucks visiting the new Shop Rite per day.These trucks include trailer deliveries, garbage, recycling and vans that take food donations from Shop Rite. 

At one point during his testimony, Pagano asked out loud, "Why am I here?" followed by his response, "Because I would do anything Mr. Inserra asks."

LENNY October 19, 2012 at 01:07 PM
mr pagano good way to put fair lawn down. I think you put your foot in your mouth. try going to the SHOP RITE in ROCHELLE PARK you can see how a store should be .Many peolple in fair lawn pass on your store and make the trip.
John R. Fugazzie October 19, 2012 at 01:28 PM
As an advocate for jobs, we suffer in an economy where job creation is not happening and choking the economics of our area. With an expanded Shop Rite in New Milford there will be more jobs. The community will not be healthy as so many are our of work, and Shop Rite is one of the few successful large employers in the state, and the community needs to be more open to job creation. This economy is not going to fix itself and no one knows better than me what the impact of companies cutting back have on the people who live in all communities. Neighbors-helping-Neighbors USA has 1000 very qualified people who need jobs, and to see some created in our backyard would be welcomed. Inserra is a responsible neighbor and i urge the town to find a way to make this store a happen. The alternative of continuing to lose jobs in your town will be devastating, it is time to think about the big picture. If you are worried about your house value by the creation of a new shop rite think how much more less jobs in your community will hurt all. John Fugazzie john@nhnusa.org
Lori Barton October 20, 2012 at 10:51 PM
ShopRite already has the approvals to rebuild their store bigger and better right where they are. The jobs will still be there for the community. Building at the United Water site is bad for New Milford and Oradell. It will impact flooding, traffic, and pollution. There is nothing good about this plan EXCEPT that Inserra would be able to stay open during construction. Relocating is good for Inserra but bad for everyone else. Mr. Pagano put his foot in his mouth multiple times, not just when he put down the fine community of Fair Lawn. His testimony truly was a waste of time.


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