BARNEGAT, NJ – Dozens of trees have already been cleared at the intersection of West Bay Avenue and Sandpiper Road as developers make way for a new shopping center. The property sits adjacent to the Heritage Bay residential development, and across the street from the Acme Shopping Plaza.

Barnegat Land Associates, LP initially submitted plans for development of the 5.597-acre property in late 2011. Ultimately, they received approval to build a Dollar General, AutoZone building, a retail building, and a bank with two drive-thru lanes.

The project will be done in three phases, starting with the Dollar General and AutoZone stores.  In Phase 2, construction begins on the retail building, which will be separated into three retail pads.  The bank is scheduled for Phase 3 of the project.

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WP Barnegat, LLC, and the property owner have faced opposition to the project during many of their appearances before the planning board.  Area residents expressed environmental concerns as well as issues that could arise as part of the storm drainage systems.

The last time the applicants were before the Barnegat Planning Board, Julia Manhart, a Heritage Bay resident addressed issues regarding the expansion of the retail building in Phase 2 of the project. Additionally, Manhart questioned the adequacy of parking and lighting at the site, as well as traffic-related concerns.

Construction of an access drive from Sandpiper Road to West Bay Avenue is planned in conjunction with the Dollar General and AutoZone building phase.

“I have to admit that I am a bit concerned about how the new shopping center will affect going in and out of our development,” shared Nancy Scherer, who lives in Heritage Bay. “Although I realize we have no control over what a private developer builds, I also wish it was something other than another Dollar General or auto parts store.”

Although Dollar General and AutoZone are new to Barnegat, they both have other local stores in the vicinity.