PetSmart, Ulta, and DSW all left Deptford Crossing shopping center in Deptford Township, N.J., leaving the center just two-thirds occupied. Amazon wanted to make use of 300 of its empty parking spaces to establish a makeshift last-mile distribution center, but an appeals court has roadblocked the plan.
Now an appeals court has upheld decisions made by the Deptford zoning board forbidding Amazon to go forward with its plan to park delivery vans in the spaces overnight, have employees man the trucks in the morning, and leave their own cars in the spaces while making deliveries.
The appeals court in Burlington County, a middle-income region across the Delaware River from Philadelphia where Deptford is located, ruled that the zoning board was justified in making its decision.
“The arrival, departure, and parking of Amazon trucks and vans in ‘waves’ throughout the day could have a detrimental impact upon the patrons and employees of the retail stores in the shopping center,’” the court determined.
But Heather DeLuca, a commentator on 107.3 FM radio in the county, questioned the ruling.
“Deptford Crossing is a huge complex and takes up a massive amount of real estate. It's not like droves of people are going there on a daily basis,” she said. “What I think is really going on here, is that the township doesn't want people to have one more reminder that they can stay home and order things they need off Amazon.”