Veterans in St. James VFW 395 are standing up to a plan by King Kullen to expand its nearby storefront by 4,355 square feet, encroaching on the VFW’s land.
The expansion, according to King Kullen's lawyer Vincent J. Pizzulli Jr., will expand the store’s interior, which includes widening the isles and bumping out the produce section.
“We do not oppose King Kullen expanding their store,” said Frank Todaro, commander of VFW Post 395. “Our concern is the way that they will expand the store in relation to our property … we’ll be crowded in and we feel that we’ll be crowded out."
The VFW decided to hire a lawyer after earlier attempts to fight the expansion failed.
“They’d like very much to get back together with Mr. Pizzulli and King Kullen and see if they can shake out what they couldn’t shake out the first time,” said Donald Kings, attorney for VFW Post 395.
King Kullen, located at 472 Lake Avenue, currently is seeking a zone change for a parcel of land that abuts the VFW property line in order to expand the store. The land is currently zoned as 10,000 square foot residential, and they are seeking a zone change to the zone change to CB, or Central Business.
Traffic concerns over construction, specifically how it will affect Washington Avenue and neighboring streets, are also fueling the debate.
“When you have a problem right now with the store the size it is I think by expanding the store it’s going to exasperate the problem,” said St. James local Jim Riley.