Port Washington North board approves TJ Maxx parking lot

Port Washington North board approves TJ Maxx parking lot
Robert Eschbacher of VHB Engineering presents the most recent plans for the TJ Maxx parking lot at Soundview Marketplace. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

The Port Washington North Board of Trustees approved plans for the parking lot of an incoming TJ Maxx at Soundview Marketplace at last Wednesday’s meeting.

The action is subject to the final approval of Building Superintendent Bob Barbach.

The site plans for the clothing store were approved in June under the condition that the developers would work on controlling traffic near the entrance of the store, which will be located at the southwest corner of the building.

“Basically there have been several iterations of this plan and I think this is the last one,” Max Rinaldi, a representative for the owners of Soundview Marketplace, said.

The plans, which were presented by Robert Eschbacher of VHB Engineering, included the addition of an extra-wide crosswalk at the building’s entrance, three more 15-minute parking spaces, spots designated for compact cars, a fire lane that is the width of the entrance roadway, new all-way stop signs and turn restrictions.

A few parking spots located across from the entrance of the store and at the end of the crosswalk were eliminated in order for pedestrians to be more visible, Eschbacher said.

Mayor Bob Weitzner asked whether the regulations for compact cars work.  Eschbacher said they do but the problem is that nobody knows the exact definition of a compact car.

“My idea of what a compact car is may be different than someone else,” Eschbacher said. “Some people may say, my car is a compact. I can park there.”

Barbach said the reason for the compact car spaces is to widen the driving lane and give pedestrians more visibility.

“As you would all know that when you got a Suburban filling one of those spaces and a car backs out, you got to go 10 feet into the drive lane before you could even see whether somebody is coming at you with a shopping cart.”

Trustee Michael Malatino said he would like to see bollards, short poles used for traffic control, or a curb installed at the crosswalk’s entrance from the parking lot.

Eschbacher said in regards to the curb that the firm would have to consider how that would affect the drainage but the installation of bollards is feasible.

Barbach raised the concern that when the board approved the application for Target at Soundview Marketplace, village officials compromised with the owners over the maintenance of the parking lot.

He said that when the Building Department found that the contractor the owners chose to do the striping was doing a poor job, officials were stuck with it.

The village was assured that prior to the opening of a new business in the shopping plaza  the “phased replacement of asphalt and the striping would be addressed to our satisfaction,” Barbach said. “They just wanted to get Target open which gave them the cash flow.”

Rinaldi said that the owners agreed to do the striping but believes they completed everything asked of them in regard to the asphalt.

“My recollection is there was a part by Target that all we had to do was resurface, which we did,” Rinaldi said. “And then there was a whole part to the left, we dug up and put new tar down.”

“That’s what we agreed to do,” he said.

Barbach said the board agreed on not making the owners repair the entire parking lot out of respect for the fact that the shopping center still had vacancies.

“I am trying to remind the board that we compromised in terms of the remediation that was a part of the agreement,” he said. “For example, we have a lot of concrete curbs that had been seriously damaged and are being redamaged by the current contractor.”

Rinaldi and Malatino said that the approval of TJ Maxx’s application should not be contingent on the condition of the parking lot.

Weitzner said he would like to drop the issue of Target’s asphalt and for any issues with damaged curbs to be brought to the attention of the owners of the shopping center.

Rinaldi said the owners are running on a tight schedule because TJ Maxx is expected to take over  construction at the beginning of February.

He said the store has an exit clause and the village has to be careful about holding up a certificate of occupancy because the shopping center owners and the village will lose money.

Rinaldi asked if the board would consider allowing them until the spring to re-stripe the parking lot, and the board agreed due to that kind of work not typically being done during the winter.

TJ Maxx hopes to open by mid-March, according to Rinaldi.

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