NBC40 News, May 5, 2011
MILLVILLE — The Wal-Mart in Millville opened in 1995, and has been so successful that the company is now attempting to expand the building. But, local residents and business owners aren’t happy about the proposal.
Once again, a Wal-Mart in South Jersey has become the topic of debate.
“As you mentioned Mister Chairman, this is an application to expand the Cumberland Crossing Shopping center, more specifically the existing Wal-Mart store,” said Stephen Nehmad, the attorney representing Wal-Mart.
Thursday evening, the Millville Zoning Board of Adjustment held the first public meeting regarding a nearly 40,000 square feet expansion, which would add a grocery section.
“This will not be, as you will hear shortly, a mere expansion. This will be a total re-do of the existing store both interior, and exterior, as well as the site improvements that are within Wal-Mart’s ground lease area.” Nehmad.
In the audience were people on both sides of the issue; while many of the construction workers in attendance look forward to the job opportunities the project would bring, others are adamantly against the idea.
“United Food and Commercial Workers Union is a strong objector to Wal-Mart and their business practices. This expansion defies the principals of smart growth. Yes they do need a mix use of retailers in here. But, this is going to only create more store fronts with for sale signs and for rents signs,” said UFCW Union Local 152 representative Gerald Chudoff.
To see the negative effects, Chudoff cites two cases less than a mile from the Wal-Mart in question.
“Last October, the Pathmark closed in the shopping center, and the ACME closed earlier this year. It’s a very competitive economy right now.” Chudoff said.
Wal-Mart representatives say the project will help the area grow, but many are worried about the expansion’s affect on the next 50 years.
“The municipalities are struggling now trying to get tax ratables in. But, this doesn’t fit the community standards, and I don’t think it’s going to help the community at all.” Chudoff said.
The board heard a presentation from Wal-Mart representatives this evening. The public and Wal-Mart objectors will have a chance to speak at the next meeting, which is scheduled for June 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Millville City Hall.