The Planning Board approved plans to build a 151,507-square-foot Walmart on the Golden Triangle site, Wednesday.
The structure, located at the corner of Tices Lane and Route 18 and bordered to the east by the Old Bridge Turnpike, is expected to be smaller than the existing building, which is approximately 236,000 square feet, and will include a grocery store and pharmacy.
Thomas Kelso, an attorney representing Toll Brothers, told the Planning Board that a tentative agreement had been made with Walmart to use the space, contingent on the application's approval. Kelso did not say when construction will begin, but he expected it to start before the end of the year, or "ASAP," as he told the board.
Architect for the developer, Daniel Condatore, said 60 percent of the building will be used for general merchandise and 40 percent will be used for the grocery section.
The decision included approval of three use variances dealing with the number of parking spaces, trees and cargo bays on the building. Toll Brothers, requested that it build 722 parking spaces rather than 748, four loading bays rather than seven, and plant 112 trees throughout the parking lot rather than 142.
In exchange for the decrease in trees, the developer agreed to consider making a donation to the township’s Shade Tree fund. It also will include 1.4 acres of green landscaping throughout the site.
Part of the parking plan includes 152 employee parking space, 97 of which will be located along Route 18, and the remaining along Tices Lane
According to the application, the shopping center is expect to create between 250 and 275 permanent jobs, and its hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. Entrances to the facility include one from Route 18, one from the Old Bridge Turnpike, and two from Tices Lane.
Carl Pehnke, traffic engineer for the applicant, said he expects 40 percent of traffic entering the site to come from Route 18, 29 to 30 percent from Tices Lane, and 30 percent from Old Bridge Turnpike.
Improvements to the Tices Lane intersections include a widening of the intersection closest to Route 18, a left turn only lane, and a stacking lane on Tices Lane for cars waiting to make a left into the complex. The entrance also will be the main entrance for truck deliveries.
Pehnke said the store will get about six tractor trailer delivers a day, and 15 to 16 deliveries from smaller panel trucks each day.
The Tices Lane entrance was of particular concern for some Planning Board members. Laurence Bravman said he was concerned about cars making left turns from the shopping center onto Tices Lane. He also questioned the idea that trucks would use Route 18 exclusively to access the site, saying that trucks coming from Route 18 will would take Edgeboro Road to Old Bridge Turnpike, rather than travel south of the store, taking a jughandle and coming back.
In addtion, Pehnke said the amount of traffic would be higher during the week than when it was home to a Sam's Club, furniture outlet, and flea market. However, traffic would be significantly lighter than it had been on Saturdays, when people flocked to the market.
"It will be high during weedays in the pm, and less than was gnerated on a Saturday," he said. "It also would be substantially less than what would be gnerated if the building remained the same size."
, Toll Brothers is allowed to build up to 220,000 square feet of commercial retail space—with no one store being larger than 180,000 square feet—and 200 to 400 housing units. Under the agreement, no more than 10 percent of those units can be three bedroom apartments. Mayor David Stahl has said he expects Toll Brothers to build close to the maximum number of units allowed.
Toll Brothers has yet to present plans for the residential component.